Labels and Trust {tales of a hometown missionary}


God had worked miracles. Moved mountains. And I was still stressing over money.

I stared at my eight-fifty an hour paycheck and the mortgage book in my hand and my calculating mind couldn’t make it work. I wish I could say that I trusted, I wish I could say I knew, but I didn’t. I fretted. Forgot the crumbled dirt under my feet, the hard earned crack on my surface– and whined to God in frustration.

God said, “Trust” and I cried, “Show me!” and compassion turned his ear to my plea.

He is a gracious, gracious God. 

Two roommates appeared and my monthly income boosted. It wasn’t enough but it was something. Of course, later I would see that they were a part of a different miracle entirely. My partners in ministry, the shimmering of God-light in my feeble attempts to touch lives with grace.

While cleaning and scraping paint and sanding floors and unpacking my hope chest, an issue at work kept my mind spinning with much larger numbers than I ever calculated for myself. One night, while resting in the room with the sunflower wallpaper and white sheer curtains, I bolted upright. The numbers had clicked. I scratched them on a piece of paper and carried them to work in the morning.

Two days later I was promoted.

And God said, “Do you trust me now?”

It would be a frugal living but it would be a living. The house filled, the varnish on the wood floors dried, I grew to love the over-sized sunflowers on my bedroom wall and the deepest parts of me settled to trust.

Christmas was coming.

Twinkle lights, peppermint sticks, the upright piano singing. 

But the children? The ones that littered the streets that summer? They had disappeared with the cold and snow and we were sent shuddered stares from across the street. We waved hi, offered smiles, tried to reach out and nothing worked. We were strangers and the parents who let them play in the streets pulled them inside away from us swiftly with warning glares.

Life with roommates was amazingly fun for this girl who grew up with only brothers. There were adjustments and questions but warmth and extra hands to wash dishes. There were nightly worship sessions around the piano and the prayer notebook that sat on the kitchen table and midnight talks about God and men and futures.

Yet, my heart ached to do the work that God had sent me to do and once again I saw that I was unable to do a single thing without Him. My heart could be good and full of hopeful intentions but the God who controlled wind and waves also controlled every aspect of life.

My knee bowed again as I was left with only the choice to surrender. If we touched one child with the  message of the gospel it would only be through the power of God. We were powerless in ourselves.

A week before Christmas we went caroling. The three of us and a whole group from church. Up and down the street, carrying jingle bells and plates of cookies. I saw them. The unnamed little ones whose faces were painting my prayers. . But they quickly disappeared again.

Then, at the second to last apartment, a young girl who looked familiar stuck her head out and said, “Miss Tasha?” My mind spun. Helen? I knew her. Knew her story. Knew her agonizing sorrow. She squealed and launched herself into my arms while her parents glared at me in distrust.

I didn’t know how to explain who I was. Hi, when you didn’t protect your child properly, I was one of the church-people who dealt with her shuddering and tears and whispered that God could heal the hurts left by the horrendous man who scarred her. For a moment I wanted to shake them. They stared at me with distrust?

Then Helen’s voice rose to a fevered pitch. “It’s my Bible Teacher!” I glanced down the street and saw that heads were sticking out of every door. I nearly groaned.

Over and over she repeated it. Bible Teacher. Bible Teacher. 

So much for my daydreamed plans of slipping in under cover and loving them until they asked why. My ideals of sharing the gospel after I had made friends disappeared into the frosty air. Christian was stamped across my forehead.

It wasn’t in my plans. Not one little bit. I couldn’t see God working, not yet.

It took roughly twelve hours.

When morning darted light across the sky and we were cleaning up from breakfast someone knocked at our door.

In tramped Helen with her stringy blond hair and startling blue eyes and roughness that gave evidence the mistreatment she’d faced. We gave her peppermint sticks and hot chocolate and showed her through the newly remodeled house. She sat at the kitchen table and closed her eyes. “I like it here,” she announced.

From that day forward there was never again two days in a row that children were not found on our porch. The title I had cringed at labeled our home as safe. Never again did a parent bat an eye at us.

And my whined, “show me” that I had thrown at God, crumbled my heart in awe. Trust was a journey that started with a step. And His faithfulness was unchangeable. The only variable was me. 

Part One: {In Jars of Clay}
Part Two: {Wind and Waves}
Part Three: {Miracles and Mustard Seeds}
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12 thoughts on “Labels and Trust {tales of a hometown missionary}

  1. Pingback: to flourish {tales of a hometown missionary} | embracing the miracle

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  3. Pingback: Songs to Believe In {tales of a hometown missionary} | embracing the miracle

  4. Pingback: Apple Pie and Eye Shadow {tales of a hometown missionary} | natashametzler.com

  5. Pingback: In Jars of Clay {tales of a hometown missionary} | natashametzler.com

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