At fourteen, I knew there was more to life than what my day-to-day looked like. I felt broken inside, and I desperately wanted things to feel “right.”
If you could be any vegetable, what would it be and why? That question, and the answer of a friend of mine, got me thinking about life in a whole new way. I know it sounds a bit wonky, but sometimes metaphors have a way of hitting me in ways that go far deeper than general conversation. My friend compared herself to a head of lettuce. Lettuce! She said that lettuce could continually have its top cut off and keep growing back. My mind was spinning. That’s me! I feel I’ve been cut off and cut down to my stump in the garden of life, but here I am! By God’s grace, I’m still here and still growing. Thank you, lettuce!
Growing up, I was your general go-with-the-flow kind of kid. I didn’t have any other choice, really.
The oldest and only girl with two younger brothers meant that at the young age of five, I was propelled into a world of responsibility when my parents separated. I grew up knowing I was loved, but brokenness still took its effect in my life. I lived moment by moment. I didn’t really have a sense of peace and childlike buoyancy like my peers around me. It wasn’t until God got a hold of my heart that my life had any sense of purpose. At fourteen, I knew there was more to life than what my day-to-day looked like. I felt broken inside, and I desperately wanted things to feel “right.” I had a good friend and neighbor at the time that kept inviting me to summer camp, and that particular summer I finally agreed.
Long story made short, God used Colossians 3:2 to still the unrest in my heart and introduce me to His perfect peace. It says, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Boom. There it was. My mind was the battlefield. God set me free by opening my mind to Him and things above, things beyond this earth. I remember praying something like this, “God, I know you’re in control of everything. So, why wouldn’t I give my life to you?!” That was that start of my life-changing belief in Jesus Christ.
Fast-forward a handful of years and I said, “Yes!” to God at a Missions Conference in college. It was a “Yes!” to whatever He had in store for my life. I didn’t know all the details, but I had a peace and clarity from the Lord that He was leading me in the direction of missions—working wholeheartedly for Him regardless of the specific vocation. Amidst all the options ahead and around me as a college junior, I just knew in my soul that He had it all under control.
…looks to outsiders like this crazy life-on-the-edge type of adventure. I was down with that. We’d live missionally together. He was called to ministry and I was called to serve alongside him.
Within that year, I had met, got engaged, and then married my awesome Joshua Michael. I was in the process of applying for a 2 year international mission service when God reminded me that my “Yes!” was to His plans and not my own. I was pursuing becoming a missionary, but God had marriage in mind (first, anyway). I was a bit like mental and emotional whiplash, but I was excited! My husband oozes the joy of Jesus and lives out his faith in a way that looks to outsiders like this crazy life-on-the-edge type of adventure. I was down with that. We’d live missionally together. He was called to ministry and I was called to serve alongside him.
About six years into our life in ministry together, we had gone from two jobs and no kids, to one job and two kids. We loved living with the mission of making Jesus known through the way we lived our lives; however, there was a holy discontent in our souls. Around that time, Joshua felt compelled to step away from his pastoral position and to put all his efforts and energy into a vision God had given him in college. We moved from Maui to NC to stabilize and better establish One Love Skate 501c3. It was an intense time of trusting the Lord when feeling like we were walking blind. About two months into the move, we were invited as One Love (1L) missionaries to speak to a youth group at a Disciple Now for Element Church in Forest City, NC.
I distinctly remember a moment during worship through music where I tangibly felt the peace of God wash over me. It was like He was confirming in my spirit that I was right where He wanted me to be. I had said, “Yes!” and I was living out that “Yes!” It was like a divine hug from the Lord reassuring me that He had it all planned out; I didn’t need to keep freaking out. It was that same peace and clarity I felt when I said “Yes!” all those years ago. I loved talking to people about Jesus. He reminded me of that in that moment. I had let years of ministry work cloud my memory of that. I loved it! I was called to ministry and I had already said “Yes!” I just need that reminder.
God constantly reminds me to “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” His ways and His peace are life. I’m called to share that.
I love how God works everything out for the good of those who are called according to His purpose! I was called to salvation at 14, called to missions at 20, and then reminded of my call to ministry at 29. Man, what a ride! Ephesians 2 talks about being dead in our sins, being made alive in Christ, and being His workmanship. That is my story. I am His workmanship, created in Christ to do the work He prepared for me in advance. Those works include being a missionary with 1L where we use the tools and opportunities God gives us to show people true love, God’s one love in Christ. Part of our mission is to walk with people on their journey to saying “Yes!” to God.
1L is a dynamic discipleship and evangelistic ministry dedicated to sharing the one love of Jesus outside the walls of church buildings by partnering with people, churches, and organizations. God constantly reminds me to “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” His ways and His peace are life. I’m called to share that. In this word, we will have trouble—we will feel cut down and left stumpy, but Christ-followers have hope. He who is in us (Jesus!) is greater that he who is in the world. Like a head of lettuce, pieces of me have been done away with, but with Jesus at my core, I still have life—a life better than one I could have drummed up in my mind for myself. The love of Jesus created me and it sustains me; Jesus is my core. Just like lettuce, as long as I still have my core, I’ll keep growing.