Am I Where I Need To Be?
Recently I got an email from a loving, concerned friend. She asked me some pointed questions about why I am in Maine. I prayed about my response and then answered her email just a few minutes ago. I thought I would share our discusssion.
Sonya: (In a conversation with God whom she feels has been talking to her about me) It's none of my business. Why don't YOU talk to him.
Jasper:God has talked to me a lot about this.
Sonya:What I am wondering is what you are doing in Maine? Do you really feel a "call" or is it just comfortable at this point? (You know Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, right?)
Jasper: I am not comfortable here. I do feel a call. It is deep and true. I wouldn't be here without it. I have never been comfortable here. Sometimes I think that is part of the problem with why we have struggled with feeling at home. Comfortable for me would be in a church in St. Louis. But I would only truly feel right about it when God tells me the calling for me to be here is complete. I tried to get away last summer at this time. I was completely ready. Kendra was totally excited about moving back home. But something was tugging at my heart to stay. Then we candidated for the position in Missouri and God helped us both realize that the call here is still true and that God has placed us here for such a time as this. So, yes, I without a doubt feel God's call is still for us to be here. (As much as I would like otherwise sometimes).
Sonya: First thing, of course, is Mom and Dad. You don't have much time left with them. Will you have regrets here? They're not going to say anything to you (or tome) but I know that since your siblings are INSANE, they could really benefit from you being closer.
Jasper: I know this and thanks for the extra heaping of guilt. (LOL) I would like to be closer. But God calls us to leave it all behind for the sakle of the call. I keep in very good contact with them by phone. Of course this is not either of our preferences for communication but I do talk to them 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes it is more like 4 or 5. The truth is, other than our Friday lunch date, I didn't see them much more when I lived ten minutes away. It is hard, yes but I know I am where I need to be right now. Will I have regrets? I don't know that answer. I believe that I am doing what God would have me do right now. Mom and Dad and I talk about it occassionally. Sometimes it is a harder conversation but we are comforted by the knowldege of the call and what that means in a pastor's life. Sure it's hard. Sure I know it is hard for them and us but again, God didn't call us to a comfortable place. Being there would be much more comfortable than being here. Yes, some of my siblings can be crazy but God has placed them there and me here.
Sonaya: Second, you have a gift, a blessing. (You're "special".) You grew up around po' Black and White folks. You understand the experience, the pain, the loss. Can God really use those special skills in MAINE????
Jasper: Those are not the only skills he gave me however. I think it is much more than a race issue. My upbringing helps me to love the unlovable. It helps me see potential (and tap that potential) in people others see as unusable. The fact that I was raised in a black community on a very tight budget helps me understand people better in general. It also provides me an opportunity to take kids who do not have a worldview of any kind to areas where they are challenged and changed. Our trips to inner city Raleigh have made a lasting impact on these students. I see it in them everyday. So my answer is yes, God can use those specail skills he gave me in Maine. (Though I do miss seeing African American people. The only balck people here are usually from a native african background.)
All this to say that I still regularly look for jobs closer to home. I will be ready (and excited) to go when God tells me it is time. This email has helped me to think out why I am here and I thank you for that. I am completely sure that right now I am where I need to be. Again, that doesn't mean I am not looking to coming back home some day. I just am waiting on His time and not mine.
I Love you too!