Sunday, July 26, 2009

Never Say Never

How many times have you said to yourself, "I would NEVER do that." There are some things that I hope I never do, especially when it comes to obeying God and the Bible, I hope I never displease my Lord in committing a sin which I should never do.

But I am talking about another kind of never. The kind where you whisper to yourself, I hope I never will have to do that again. For example, we have moved 11 times in 27 years of marriage, and each time I say, I NEVER want to move again!!

One day when my kids were little, and attending a Christian school in Dayton, OH, I was following a big yellow school bus and watching the kids on the bus jump up and down, moving around, and said to my kids..."I would never want to drive a school bus." Not to long after that, I saw a position open at the Christian school to drive a school van back and forth to the campus my children attended. It sounded perfect, I would get to keep the van at my house, and take my kids to school, which I was doing anyway, and get paid for it. Best of all, I would be with my children, and be home when they were home.

I got the job, but there was a little more to it, I would have to get a commercial driver's license with a passenger rating because I was transporting more than nine students, and that test had to be done in a bus! A big, yellow, school bus.......the kind I said I would never drive! I took the training, and nervously took the practical driving test which involved various maneuvers with the bus. I managed to pass somehow!

Then one day the bus captain called and said, "Carolee, we have 70 students enrolled at the new will have to drive a bus instead of a van." I remember thinking, how did I get myself into this? I felt committed to the job since the school paid for my training, etc. so I did it for one year. Sometimes I would be in tears at the end of the day (after all the kids got off) but somehow I got through it, maybe the Lord used it to give me more patience.

When we moved up to Rochester NY for my husband's new ministry in the jails, we visited a church that I never really wanted to join. I didn't think the ladies were like me, they all baked homemade bread (so I thought) and were willing to have large families, if that is what the Lord wanted. I didn't think I would fit in. Worst of all, they almost all home schooled their kids, something I told my husband I would NEVER do!! I actually made him promise to find a Christian school before we moved for the kids to attend so I wouldn't have to home school. Only weird people did that!

Not only did we end up making the church I never wanted to attend our home church, but the Lord worked in my heart to start homeschooling my girls. I taught for a year at the Christian school, which the Lord used to prepare my heart and show me that there was a lot of wasted time in the classroom, and the attitudes weren't always so "Christian" among the students. I am now thankful that the Lord dealt with my attitude and changed my heart.

When we were missionaries to Mexico back in the 1980's, I recall telling my husband "I never want to do deputation again." We had three small children under the age of three, and it wasn't easy traveling across the US, staying in different homes. When Doug accepted a position with a full time jail ministry, I was relieved that he would have a starting salary, with health benefits, and although he would still have to preach in churches, they would be local, with no out of state traveling.

Fast forward five years, to 2003. My husband was attending a mission conference to present his jail ministry, and the Lord called him during the meeting to go back to the mission field. I wasn't even there to share in the moment. He came home and told me (although I knew it was coming, he always had a burden for missions) and I knew that big changes were coming.

We would have to do deputation again! I knew how rigorous it would be, but somehow, perhaps because I was a little older, I was more prepared for it the second time around. The Lord was so gracious with me....he took my NEVERs and made me willing to do what I would never have wanted to do if it were left up to me. Most of my NEVERs were based on fear. I was afraid that God would ask me to do something that I couldn't handle.

God can make you willing to do what you never thought you would want to. Be careful when you say may be just the thing God has planned for your life.

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