Wednesday, May 1, 2013


So here's the thing: Sometimes I feel like I'm really not missionary material.

Lately, when I'm awake in the wee hours of the morning, I question my usefulness here. I wonder if anything I do matters. I worry that I'm not doing this missionary thing right. Or good enough. Or even at all.

I am plenty busy, but much of what I am doing is done out of weaknesses. In the meantime I'm wondering what my strengths used to be. I think I had some once. A long time ago. In a place far, far away.

I know that it doesn't really matter whether I feel like missionary material or not, because the fact is that God called us to France and we obeyed. But sometimes I just get tired. And I need to be encouraged.

Years ago, as a young Bible Study leader, I found myself feeling a lot like I do today. I remember calling a mentor, hoping she would cheer me up--you know by telling me what a great job I was doing and reminding me of my great capabilities and pointing out how cute I am.

When she answered the phone, she quickly picked up on my tired tone and said,"You know, Jenn, it sounds like you need some encouragement."

"Oh, yeah," I thought "here it comes. Bring on the compliments, the affirmations, and the praises." But they never came.

"Who called you to be a Bible study leader?" she asked me.

"Well, God, I guess." I replied, wondering when she was going to get to the good stuff.

"Then I suggest you go to him for encouragement!" she stated plainly. And then she hung up the phone.

I was stunned for moment. Crushed, actually. I wanted to be encouraged, and I wanted it NOW! I didn't know how to go to God for encouragement and it sounded so much more complicated than calling a friend. I collapsed on my sofa and burst into tears. I contemplated calling my mom. I finally prayed.

"Lord, can you encourage me?"

I'm not sure what I was expecting. I wish I could tell you that the clouds opened up and a dove descended from the heavens and loud voice cried out, "This is my daughter, with whom I am well pleased!" That didn't happen. So I sat in silence. Between you and me, sometimes I wish the Christian life was flashier.

I'm not sure how long it took--I was still  for quite a while. But eventually I took my eyes off of myself and gazed into the goodness of my blessed Savior. In his perfect love, my heart was at peace. I realized then that my thirst for affirmation was gone--swallowed up by the knowledge that he had already accomplished everything for me. The weight of performance was lifted and I sensed the quiet pleasure of a servant king who does all things well.

The Lord does not encourage with empty flattery or shallow platitudes--Perfection personified can not, should not sing the praises of the fallen and flawed. The Lord encourages by redirecting my focus to HIS greatness. I suppose that is why Paul writes in his letter to the Hebrews, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus." He is the source of our call, our means of fulfillment, and our prize at the end.

Today, as my heart once again hungers for encouragement, I turn my eyes to Jesus. I remind myself that his grace is sufficient. I delight because he is worthy, and I thank him because I don't have to be.


  1. I needed to hear this today. Thank you for being faithful.

    1. Glad it spoke to you, Leigh. I needed to hear it, too!

  2. Thank you, Jen, for words of encouragement, spoken to a needy heart. Blessings.

    1. Hi Carolyn, Yes, I have a needy heart, too. Gratefully, it's in the care of a very competent savoir!

  3. This really blessed me when I read it, too, Jenn. Especially where you encouraged me to get eyes off self and onto Christ as that's where all our fulfillment rests. I'm such an "accomplisher" myself and am needy at times to hear well-done thou good and faithful servant. Our humanness. Thank God He loves our frail selves anyway!