Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Why Not Go Unless He Tells You To Stay?"

I was blessed as a college student, and then as an InterVarsity staffworker to attend Urbana - the mission conference held once every three years in Illinois. The music and the speakers I heard there still reverberate in my heart to this day - even though I attended years ago - in 1993 and 1996.

One such speaker was Marilyn Stewart. She had been a missionary in Mexico for a long while and I loved hearing her testimony about how that came to be. She had been attracted to missionary work, and prayed about whether it was for her. She said that when she prayed, and didn't hear from God she figured she was "a stayer". I remember she said she shared this with a "wise missionary man" who said to her, "Why does God have to tell you to go? Why not go unless he tells you to stay?" And from that moment she began to pursue leaving the U.S. to become a foreign missionary.

I believe God might be speaking to me in this same way about having another child. And, for me, the prospect of another child carries many of the same doubts and fears that foreign missionary work does (and I know this because I considered such work for many years - only resulting in short-term projects in Mexico, Guatemala, and India - but of course my life isn't over yet). Am I mentally stable enough? Can I handle it? What about the health risks? Do you see? -- there are MANY comparisons for me between missionary work and bringing another child into the world. I wouldn't have thought so until this morning.

Since my most recent miscarriage, I've avoided pregnancy - not out of fear of another miscarriage, just out of fear of another child. And Kevin and I pray every day about our family size. And I've talked off the ear of every close friend. No one can really give me any wisdom - and God hasn't told me to "Go!" But why not go unless he tells me to stay? That talk by Marilyn Stewart 17 years ago entered my mind this morning as I was thinking about the decision yet again.

There are many ways that God can tell me I shouldn't have more children. But he hasn't done so. At this point, I think I'll try stepping out in faith and see what happens. I hope one day to have a testimony as powerful as Marilyn Stewart's - even in the realm of family size.
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