In February, 2000 ~ I copied a quote into my journal. It was written by Betty Stam who had been a China Inland Missionary. This quote became my prayer to the Lord:
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my time, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. Fill me, and see me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt. Send me where Thou wilt. Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but there are times when I think of things, and think some more, and then don’t write them down, because it makes it so “final” when it is there in black and white. With a prayer like this, it means if I am totally willing, there is no turning back.
My journal is full of quotes asking God what He wanted to do, and what His plan was for me. Many times I wrote “Please Lord, speak to me.”
April 5, 2000 ~ I journalled, “Lord, where can I go? What can I do? Lord where do you want me? Between now and May 30th, will you show me? Please Lord, use whatever way you wish – dreams, scripture, people. Lord, I want to be used. Please Lord, speak, your servant is listening. Lord, please make me strong and courageous, because of who you are and what you are going to do in my life.”
Right about that time the Lord began to plant His Vision for women’s ministry in my heart and mind. It began simply with the idea of a women’s retreat house ~ “a place where women can go to be refreshed” and then it grew and grew. The Lord laid plans on my heart for this ministry. I shared these with Alvin and tried to figure out logistics. Isn’t that so like us humans, trying to figure out God’s plans? Then there was a dream about a house and some details. The Vision was taking on a form that was bigger than what I could ever have imagined.
At the end of April, a good friend shared with me, that she had deliberately prayed for me and asked God about the direction He had for me. We sat having coffee and Lynda said, “Joy, God told me that He was going to use you to do something amazing for Him.”
I began to share the Vision with my closest friends. For me, even this was a little scary as I was making myself very vulnerable. Who knew what they would think or say?
Right about this time, I was just beginning to read Exodus. I read the part where Moses questioned God, and said that he (Moses) was not eloquent of speech, and so maybe God should just send someone else. And yet, the Lord tells him to go, and that He will help Moses. I felt inadequate myself. I couldn’t help it ~ I was a daycare director. What did I know about setting up and operating a retreat house for women? I knew though, that God was saying, “I am with you.”