“Mom?” He asks in passing as I’m organizing the covers on his brother’s bottom bunk.

“Yeah, Buddy?”

“Do you think you’ll ever be a missionary?”

The question came out of left field. I’m not sure where the word “missionary” came into his vocabulary or exactly what he has in mind when he hears it.

“Uh… I already have been, buddy,” is the best way I can think to respond. Life and kids and the to-do list are swirling around me — I make a mental note that this is fodder for a more important conversation later on, when there’s a bit more quiet and I can just look this one kid in the eyes.

“Remember the pictures from Chichen Itza you you brought to homeschool group for your presentation? Or how you were born in Scotland? And when we lived in South Africa?”

A lightbulb seems to go on. “Oh yeah. Cool!” He dashes off to throw shoes on and get outdoors, and I’m left to sigh and wonder: Will I ever “be a missionary” again? Or is where we are now where we are going to be?

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As the last few old years have turned into new ones, our pastor has talked about praying for that “one word” for the year ahead. Based on the book by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen, My One Word, the idea behind the My One Word movement {which began storming Christian circles around 2010/2011} is to skip the resolutions and let a single word to become your focus for the year ahead, to inform and transform your walk with Jesus.

I sat quiet on the last day of 2015, giving thanks, and wondering about a word. Before this movement began, but for several years in a row between 2002 and 2006, I felt like the Lord continuously whispered to me the Word adventure. He had it in mind to take me on the adventure of a lifetime, and if I was willing to say Yes to His invitation and obey Him when He called me, I would get to enjoy an incredible journey with Him.

As I prayed and asked the Lord for a word for 2016, hoping a synonym for ‘adventure’ might perhaps pop up — I sensed a single, simple word emerging in my thoughts. Again, and again.

FAITHFUL.

I penned it down in my journal: “I pray you’ll grant me ears to hear Your voice and a heart to understand, and Lord, above all, this year will You show me what it means to be FAITHFUL?”

Let’s be honest. Faithful seems kind of boring compared to adventure.

But the whisper kept coming, and I had to trust: when God gives you a word, He has a reason.

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Now let’s be more honest. And let me warn you: this might not make sense. I found it easier to be faithful in the impoverished villages of rural Mexico than I do in the we’ve-got-everything-you-need world of modern America.

Even though we are giving to ministries that serve the poor on a monthly basis, it bothers me that I’m not hands on. Even though I’m working at writing words of encouragement to share, it bothers me that I’m not speaking them, or leading a Bible Study, for example. Though I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow most days, I still feel like my current day-to-day isn’t enough.

Our comfortable life makes me strangely uncomfortable. And sometimes you look at motherhood and think: Is this it?

At the same time, I get this unsettling, but settling sense that the Lord is saying “You’re right where I want you.”

But this is the hard part, this is what makes it so easy for the enemy to whisper that what I’m offering to Jesus is not enough: faithful looks different for everybody.

I wanted to be out doing the stuff…among the people…

But the Lord said, “Here is your home. And some children to homeschool.” Motherhood is isolating. And, homeschooling my children is isolating, but I can not deny for a second that God made it SO overwhelmingly clear that this was the way, walk ye in it.

I often want to be away where I feel like I have been called to go

But God has said, “I want you here.” Here, being back in my wee hometown. Here, often simply serving my many small children. We cannot deny how clear He has made this, repeatedly, this Be Right Here whisper.

And this is the complexity of faithfulness, friends: true faithfulness will never look the same twice.

What God calls you to do and what He calls your next-door neighbor to do might look totally different. More accurately, they will look different.

To gently paraphrase C.S. Lewis’s words at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia:

If God is the author of your story, it will be the story no one has ever read before that gets better and better with every chapter.

Sometimes faithfulness is going halfway around the world. Sometimes it’s serving God exactly in the place where He has placed you.

[bctt tweet=”Faithfulness isn’t about your position on the globe — it’s about the position of your heart.” username=”carolinecollie”]

I have to be willing to say yes to the slums in Serbia. But I also have to be willing to say yes to this life, right here, right now.

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eggs

This is what seems clearer and clearer: we’re all missionaries, and the mission we’re called to is faithfulness.

Right now, faithfulness looks a lot like being purposeful, and persevering in parenting.

Right now, faithfulness looks a lot like being careful with our finances and consistent in our work, making it possible to be generous to others.

Sometimes faithfulness looks like packing your bags. Sometimes it looks like unpacking, and setting roots in the soil.

Perhaps I needed this lesson: Away and missionary are not necessarily synonyms. Missional living is a willingness to share the love of God with the person in the slum, the person at the checkout, and even the tiny people God places in our care.

Motherhood may not have the glitz of dozens of other callings, but that in no way lessens how incredibly important it is to see it as a calling, and to lean on Jesus to help you serve faithfully.

Have you ever felt like everybody else had a better gift to bring to the proverbial party? Like the gifts you have to offer Jesus aren’t as “awesome” as everybody else’s?

What does God really want? Fattened calves and huge sacrifices? 10,000 rivers of oil? Our firstborn sons? Consider these words.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? {Micah 6:8}

Forget what race the person is swimming in the lane next to you. Listen attentively to the voice of the Holy Spirit, ask the Lord to lead you and obey what He tells you to do — these are the gifts that please God. Just start asking, keep asking: what does it look like for me to be faithful?

And you precious Mamas doing the unseen things? Picking up toys and scrubbing dishes and nursing tiny souls at 3 am? You do have what it takes. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Andy Stanley recently wrote, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God might not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

And faithfulness to that calling? It may turn out to be more of an adventure than you think.

xCC

Do you struggle with comparing your walk with God with the “walks” around you? I’d love for you to leave a comment and continue the conversation.