Bloom Where You’re Planted and All That

by Laura Parker on October 12, 2012

I’ll be honest, this missions gig hasn’t gone like I thought it would. 

When I was a teenager, I devoured books on Amy Carmichael, determined to live in some hut rescuing orphans. I wanted to “accomplish great things for God,” and I assumed that meant a dramatic adventure, namely, taking a plane somewhere.

When I had kids and my husband began feeling the pull towards a life overseas, the dream began to morph.  Now, I’d just be Amy Carmichael with Kids, my children walking amongst the impoverished, learning a sacrificial love, developing a sold-out faith on foreign soil {while at the same time maintaining a sense of national home, cultural-relevance in America, minimal transition-issues, and general up-to-date fashion sense}.

I thought before we began this journey that it would be easy to find our niche of ministry– we are working for free, after all. I assumed we would do what we came to do, and when that shifted, I assumed it’d be simple to find the gaping hole of need that we had been divinely equipped to fill. That the Story of our purpose here and role would make sense, sooner, rather thanlater. 

But, two and a half years in, and I am continuing to find that Amy Carmichael I am not, that missions can be brutal on a family, and that fog is no respecter of the Jesus-disciple. 

And I was reading just the other day in this book I happen to love, and the words caught my breath, as is often the case when I have the guts and discipline to really ask the Living Word to speak.  And it said simply this:

And now, these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 corinthians 13

And I’ve read that a million times, but this week, it’s struck a new chord. Because, this, this is what I so desperately need– faith, hope, love– qualities not dependent on my circumstances, missed expectations, or personal doubts.

Faith. That God is in the smack-dab-middle of writing a good Story — for me, for us, for them.

Hope. That beautiful things can rise from ashes. That the next bend could bring what we’ve been waiting for all along.

and LoveFrom God, for God, and for all his kids around me. The extravagant, never-stopping, everybody-included kind.

And I don’t know where you find yourself this weekend, what circumstance or fog or barrier weighs heavy on your soul. Maybe it’s a job you hate or money that can’t stretch far enough. Perhaps it’s a child you don’t have yet or one who’s drifted far, on purpose. Maybe it’s the  drag of the mundane or the failure of the adventure. But whatever it is, whatever circumstance threatens to speak doubt or anger or depression, my prayer for you, for me, is that these three will keep on remaining,

faith. hope. and love.

Played out in a million, daily, gritty, far-from-dramatic choices

The kinds of choices Amy Carmichael probably made, but that never made her books.

 – from the archives of LauraParkerBlog, 2012
Laura Parker, former missionary to SE Asia. Twitter @LauraParkerBlog  |  Ministry  TheExodusRoad
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About Laura Parker

Living on three continents and moving 15 times in 15 years of marriage, Laura is no stranger to transition. Recently living in SE Asia with her family, Laura now serves as the VP of a counter-trafficking organization which her husband began, The Exodus Road. Laura is the co-founder and editor here at A Life Overseas and writes at her blog,
  • Cathy Sampson

    Hmm .. Amy Carmichael is also partly responsible for me being on the mission field. She probably has no idea that she has a lot to answer for … Problem is I am ‘ordinary’ and she was not … being “ordinary but faithful for Christ” doesn’t really have that magic ring does it? But that is the lesson I am learning the hard way here in Nairobi, Kenya. A fellow missionary friend reminded our missionary mums prayer meeting recently, that God isn’t going to say “Well done good and successful servant, but rather well done good and FAITHFUL servant.” I was hoping to be a bit more spectacular than that, but God brings me low enough times to remind me that He’s not looking for ‘spectacular’ – who of anyone observing can live up to that anyway, so therefore it’s incredibly unhelpful to present as being ‘spectacular’. Just ordinary and faithful, but to do the ‘extraordinary’ in His strength alone! Helpfully, Elisabeth Elliott’s version of Amy Carmichael “A Chance to Die” DOES portray her weaknesses and warts and all, and was a much more helpful account … for my money.

    • Beautiful, Cathy. Yes! Good and FAITHFUL… not so much good and successful. What a beautiful reminder for us ALL. I didn’t discover Amy Carmichael until I was already on course in mission training. But Elisabeth Elliot… wow! she was amazing to me. I read her books. Listened to her radio program. Imagined real life conversations with the woman. It’s so great to have trailblazers who have gone before us. Thank you, Cathy, for your message of grace and mercy today.

    • Cathy– I hear ya, I think our human nature wants the “success” rather than the “faithful” bit. It’s more measureable and feels better. But, oh to have eyes that stay focused on the things God cares about and not what we view as successful.

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  • Elizabeth Stewart

    I am loving your blog, Laura. So real and honest. I’m going to make sure to share it with my missionary daughter. I’m also a wanna be, but so far, far, from, Amy Carmichael. I’m following your blog now and found you via the Exodus Road.

    • Thanks, Elizabeth! Thanks for reaching out and saying hello! So glad you have found some encouragement here. And thanks for your connection to The Exodus Road, too! Love from here,

  • Geli Z

    I saw that you posted some
    work by Amy Carmichael. She’s fantastic and I actually work for the publishing
    company that produces a lot of her books! I was wondering if you would be
    interested in doing a review on a new one we have out, called Plowed Under.

    Email me if you are interested at!

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Geli Ziegler

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