The most precious gift that God has ever given me is a husband who loves and fears Him and who trusts Him so completely, he can accept many things in faith without understanding.
In the last week, my life has taken a sudden and dramatic turn. Although on hindsight it is clear that my entire life has led me up to this point, I believe that nobody could have ever known that this is where I will find my calling – full time ministry. Yes, it is clear now that I am asked now to ‘leave my fishing boats and follow Him’ – to become fishers of men.
I am fully alive now. Since I was a teenager, I had always felt a strong calling to become a priest. Yes – a PRIEST. Of course the Catholic Church does not have women priests so I knew that was impossible. And when I was 18 yrs old, I had contemplated whether or not I felt a calling to be a nun, and the answer was no. There was something particular about a priest’s vocation that called out to me – that tugged me from the deepest recesses of my heart. It whispered a promise of my yearnings fulfilled – if I can but understand and answer that call.
Now I know what my calling is. Now I know why I am the way I am, and why I have always wanted to become a priest, why my heart has always been restless and unable to find a vocation or calling to rest in. It is because my calling is to devote my life to God’s people the way priests are. Except my vocation includes the call to witness as a wife and a mother – to work as a lay person in tandem with my husband and family and the friends that God will call me to band together with in service.
Another dream I have always had since my childhood is to be a full-time mother. My current calling has been given with the understanding that when I have children, that they will be central to my ministry. When I was still in my teens, I deeply felt that the most wonderful accomplishment a married Christian can have is to bring up children who grow deep in the awareness of God’s love for them. With this calling, the two deepest desires of my heart is being answered – to give my life in service of God’s people, and to be fully present to my children and to love and serve them and witness to them God’s mighty love for them.
As for what my ministry is, it is not among 3rd world countries or among the materially poor. I am called to serve in particular young people alienated by parental rejection – and all who have lost the ability to believe in their selves or that they deserve love. But I serve all people because everyone to some degree have lost their faith in the unconditional love of God.
How many husbands, upon hearing that their wives are being called to give up their PhD and to forgo earning any income, would be completely supportive, no questions asked? Only a man with deep faith and love in God can do so, and God has blessed me with just such a husband! When I told my husband, that God had told me not to worry about our bread and butter, and that He will provide, my husband replied,“That is how I have always hoped to be able to live – with such a radical trust in God’s providence. Now I feel that you too are ready to live such a life with me.”
God has called us to a radical faith – more radical than we had ever expected or known. But He has promised me that He will give us the grace to do so, and already in the past few days, God has shown Zibin and I just how perfectly He can plan our lives for us.
With the realization of what my calling is, I also understand the choice of husband God has made for me. He did not give me a rich husband. He gave me a husband whose trust in God had always been greater than mine. He gave me a husband who grew up poor but who had always been contented with what he has. He gave me a husband who has never coveted anything – nothing more than he has, no advancement in his career, no promotion, pay increment or good opinion of others – but whose work has always prospered beyond our understanding and who is loved by those around him. Through my husband’s life, God had been showing me that those who trust in Him will have their lives taken care of by Him. 10 years of witnessing this in my husband’s life has prepared me to accept this sudden radical call of trust from God.
Now I understand why when I was 17 yrs old and asked God for my mission in life, He had responded with, “Are you willing to suffer for me?” It is because until I have let myself been completely loved – when I have opened my heart to receive His grace so radically – I would not be able to say “yes” with joy to such a question. But now with His grace, because I can finally see myself as God sees me, and because He is allowing me to see others the way He sees them, I can say yes.
Why will I suffer? Because my mission is to suffer with my broken brothers and sisters – to share in their pain, for only in doing so can I bring them hope. And I will also ‘suffer’ because my life will bring division – for I will no longer ever be the impeccably politically correct Ann that everyone knows again. I have my wish granted – that I will have the freedom to speak even in the face of rejection. That I will have the fortitude to be attacked by even those I try to help – and to accept that others, even fellow believers, who do not understand my ministry may criticize and condemn me. Beyond that, God has promised me the grace to love His people beyond my human ability.
“Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.”[audio:http://animann.negimaki.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/06-here-i-am-lord.mp3%5D