In 2011, I was entering a new part of my faith walk. I was restless and searching for more meaning in my faith, more action. I was tired of just the Sunday morning deal and then returning to “regular’ life. I knew there was more, but what did it look like? What was the Gospel really calling me to? To live a good life? To a happy life? I think I have found my answer: a fully surrendered life.
It was that year I happened upon a new church, Harvest Bible Chapel Denver – a life-giving, truth-telling, reality-accepting, disciple-building church. (www.harvestdenver.org). I had been going to church for over 10 years and frankly, had slipped into a very comfortable, lazy faith. Harvest was like cold water on my face and I was being fed there spiritually like never before. In conjunction with that, I was trying to discern the next step…what was I supposed to do? God answered that – He had written an entire book of things to do, I just had to pick one. Through the legal work I was doing with His Little feet (www.Hislittlefeet.org), one of VO’s partner organizations, my heart settled on James 1:27 and I signed up for a mission trip to Costa Rica with VO. I signed up my then 9-year old daughter as well. I was hesitant and nervous. I was not the “missionary” type, you might say. I was a lukewarm Christian. I was fine with my faith if it didn’t inconvenience me, as long as I could keep living however I wanted. I was OK with Jesus as long as no one held my feet to the fire. I conveniently kept Jesus tucked away where I thought He belonged: Sunday mornings and bedtime prayers with my kids. I would have never admitted all this back then, but I see now that it was the truth. The idea of sharing the Gospel was foreign to my daily life back then – how in the world was I qualified to go on this trip? I was a “newbie” to actually walking the walk. I had no idea what we were in for, but I knew that my faith meant little if I wasn’t going to finally, after many years, walk it out in a meaningful way. I had finally said “yes” – and that one decision, I would come to realize, changed everything.
On that mission trip in Costa Rica, God showed me more of the “why” of me. I was (and still am!) an immigration attorney, bilingual in Spanish, born into a Latino-American family, had traveled extensively…all these things seemed to “fit” the professional calling of my life. But God had more for me and He showed me on that trip how so many of the gifts He had lavished on my life were to be used in an entirely new way. It was a new, unexpected “fit” for me – and it was surprising to me. He also opened up new places in my relationship with my daughter, who washed feet, tended to little ones and had the heart of a servant. It was walk-changing. It energized my faith. God so overwhelmed me with joy and provision, I could not help sharing about it with everyone. I realized that I had never really shared the Gospel with people in my life because even though I knew a lot about it, I had not experienced it, I had not been overwhelmed by it, I had not been completely blown away by it. I had never surrendered to it in any meaningful way.
Arriving home, it was easy to tell that we had been changed by it all. As a family, we continued the experiment of saying “yes” to the doors that God was so obviously opening to us. What would a surrendered life really look like? What if we kept saying “yes” – I mean, how good could this really get? Could He really knock our socks off? What amazing things have we missed out on already by not saying “yes”?
That summer, my husband and I decided that we could say “yes” to adoption. God opened the door to that, and we walked through it. We had hosted the children of His Little Feet in our home and longed for their return each year. More kids just felt like a “fit” – but international adoption? What if we said “yes”? Could we really do this? We already have two kids. What about work? What about finances? What would people say about our African little one? Are we out of our minds? What about…(insert anything and everything here)? The conversations just kept coming back to this: What if we don’t say “yes” to God? What blessings are we going to miss out on? What “blow our minds” amazing goodness will we forfeit? We are now #3 on our wait list for our daughter, who waits for us in Ethiopia. And true to form, God is knocking our socks off with provision, love, joy…all the things that can only come from saying “yes”.
We said “yes” to having me lead a team back to Costa Rica, which we did earlier this year. I also said “yes” to serving VO on the Board of Directors. It has been amazing to serve on a Board with people who are so diligent in saying “yes” to the things of God, and I have been encouraged by them all. My husband and I also said “yes” to turning over our law practice to God – and He has used our law firm to serve ministries and people all over the world. We said “yes” to me spending a week in India on behalf of His Little Feet just this last month. That trip could be the subject of a HUGE post, all about God’s provision, how He shows up BIG for BIG things. I can’t stop talking about it!
It has not been an easy road, this walk, which has required us to lay down things like time, money, relationships, and pride (among other things), but the last 2 years have been the most fulfilling of my life. It’s like I had been living a “good” life by most standards, full of color and action…but I’ve learned I’m not intended for a “good” life, but a surrendered life, which is so much better than “good” that I am not sure there is a word for it. It’s a process and it’s not all butterflies and unicorns. But it’s a “yes” life…a messy, hard, wonderful, scary, humbling, amazing, purpose-filled, “yes” life. And it all began with that first “yes” to God and VO.
What will God do with your “yes”?
Christine C. Mastin
MASTIN HOFFMAN & CREWS LLC