My Life Is Crazy Too is a series of reader submissions. Your life is a story … this is your opportunity to share your stories about life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. “Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the STORY of your love.” Ps 89:1 If you would like to submit a story to this series, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s crazy guest is Colleen Mitchell.
When God started to knock on the door asking for my heart, my life,whispering to me that He was calling us to return to the mission field, I did not think I could say “yes”. It was two years after we had lost our sixth son Bryce to SIDS at three months old in 2009 and then suffered a very difficult second trimester miscarriage a couple of months later in early 2010. I had been grieving and living in survival mode for that long when my husband began to see a new light dawning for us. He led us as a family to form a not-for-profit foundation in our son’s name. I agreed, seeing ahead to where his heart was being called and knowing he was being gentle with me, on the stipulation that I was only interested in domestic outreach. See, I was stuck. I was hurt. I was still confused about God and what He wanted of us. I knew in my heart He was calling us forward, out of the phase of grief and loss to a new phase in our lives, but I was just so scared. Grief had become comfortable for me. I had built a life up around it that was working, that made me feel safe and in which I could have even have a little fun now and then. And I was terrified to try to walk another way.
My husband’s heart continued to be pulled by the call to return to the foreign mission field, where we had served before from 2003-2005. I continued to cling to the security of the life I knew even though it was falling apart at the seams. On a business trip overseas in early 2011, my husband took off for the weekend and found our current mission post in the Chirripo mountains and Cabecar indigenous reserve of Costa Rica. He came home to us leaving a part of his heart in this place. I knew then that the change was imminent. Deny it as I might, God was speaking to my heart too. I gave God an opportunity and hedged my bets. I promised Him that if He provided a miracle that showed me unequivocally that this is what He wanted for us, I would go for six months. And then we’d take it from there.
A few days later, my husband came home from an afternoon outing pale-faced and handing me something with shaking hands. That something was a check. A check from a local church, not our church mind you, a church that had, when he showed up out of the blue and shared with the pastor the struggle we were having coming to unity on this call to missions, offered from that moment forward to support us for the full amount of our living and travel expenses each month. Clearly, God had taken advantage of the opportunity I had given Him and I could not go back from there.
A few short months later I stepped off a plane with my husband and children to re-embrace my role as missionary wife and mother. We have now been living and working in remote communities and the indigenous reserve of Costa Rica’s Chirripo mountains for nearly a year. I cannot possibly describe the myriad ways the Lord has used this time to heal my heart, free my spirit and remind me who I really am. Yes, I am a grieving, hurting mom (incidentally, I miscarried again just four days before our departure), but I am so, so much more. And much of what I am is good, is joyful, is purposeful and valuable to the Kingdom. He wanted to open my eyes to that again, to give me the strength to walk in that again. All He needed was my weak, wavering little “yes”, a crack in the armor I had built around my heart, to let His light shine through.
Now, I spend my days savoring the chaos that is life with five boys, walking in unity of purpose with my husband, and caring for the least of these. My porch is full of students and friends, families in need of material help and women just in need of a kind and encouraging word. I go out to the orphans and share His love. We feed the hungry and build chapels for the poor. We bring the Gospel to an indigenous people who have not yet fully accepted Christ. And my life is full, and blessed, and abundantly beautiful. And every day I thank Him.
I thank Him for knowing my heart better than I did, for knowing the road to healing better than I did, for knowing that a humble and broken and scared missionary may end up finding her way to true joy in the midst of it all. Yes, this life is hard sometimes. And, yes, I still hurt sometimes. But what I know now more than ever, is that God wants to use all that. He wants to use all of us, all of each and every one of us. The broken and ugly parts as well as the beautiful, shiny parts. He wants to use us to tell a story, His story. A story of love and mercy and redemption, of a God who stoops right into the brokenness, tenderly cups a sinner’s heart, and leads her to true joy. Maybe He wants us to tell it right where we are and maybe we wants to bring us to a dot on the globe somewhere to tell it. What matters most is that we do. That we tell that story and sing it from the rooftops, because it is in this that we know our true purpose and true joy. It is in this that all men shall come to bend the knee. When the broken and the beautiful children of God go out and stand together as one, His glory will shine. I am privileged to stand beside my brothers and sisters here in Costa Rica. Honored and grateful, so very grateful.
My blog: From The Field