“Trust me” is how many stories of God’s faithfulness start.
At the beginning of my high school years, these were the words my mom heard when she wrestled with God about moving her whole family across the globe to follow my dad’s job. “This will have a huge impact on Alicia” she heard him say. So, she trusted, pulled my brother and me out of school halfway through my freshmen year, and moved us to a foreign country.
Honestly, those first 6 months overseas remain a complete blur. I think that’s what culture shock does to you! But as I settled into a routine, found friends, and a “new normal,” it became an adventure! A glorious adventure that stopped much too soon. Having new connections through friends and travel throughout the globe became an itch that I wanted to keep scratching. So, despite having to return to the United States after my sophomore year, I was bound and determined to leave again as soon as possible.
But God had a different plan. After graduating high school, I attended college with the intent of majoring in Mandarin and International Business: still intent to live overseas and continue my life of adventure as soon as I could.
But my freshman year of college was a whirlwind of pain, heartache, and eventually, despair. After attempting suicide the summer after that year, God caught me. He caught me and gave me hope in the darkest days when I felt so completely alone. He showed me that he had never left me and that if I would just return to him, my soul would be full and my life is given meaning beyond what I could selfishly want for myself.
So, when I returned to college for my sophomore year, I had a new vision that combined my newfound identity in Christ and my love for new cultures: missions. I changed my degree to Mandarin and International Studies.
The following summer, I studied abroad and met a friend who also had the same heart and passion. God would continue to use her in my life for many years to come. The summer after that, I went on my first short-term mission trip, to East Asia. It was on that trip I clearly heard from God that “while he wasn’t closing the door on long-term service, for now, he wanted me to stay and send and encourage others.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time but he eventually brought me to a job with a missions agency after college.
Those 6.5 years working in that mission’s agency were years of much spiritual maturing and deepening. I also got married during that time and while my husband and I were given the opportunity to serve overseas on a short-term trip together, God never allowed us to walk through it.
Then, in 2009, we welcomed our first son into the world and I began to step away from my full-time job. At first, it transitioned to part-time, but then in 2012, weeks before the birth of our second son, God clearly said “Good job, but you are done.” I confess it was very hard for me to leave.
It was around that same time that we discovered that our first son had a severe peanut allergy and long-term service in Asia was definitely not in the cards for us anytime soon. I was heartbroken. And lost.
For the next year and a half, I was spiritually crushed and even angry at God. I pouted around and busied myself with my motherhood tasks.
My heart was still out there: on the mission field, serving the missionaries, wanting to simply be a part of it in some way. Then a year and a half after leaving the mission mobilization ministry, I was presented with a challenge: nobody had been teaching the mission lessons at Vacation Bible School at my church in years.
Well, I couldn’t let that happen!
Not only that, but I had some ideas to improve it: I dressed up all week in an Indian saree and taught the kids about the country of India in tangible examples and interactive learning.
I laughed when, for several months after VBS, kids would come up to me and ask if I was really from India.
Shortly afterward, I was approached to bring this type of mission emphasis before the elementary children at my church on a monthly basis.
So, between that and the yearly Vacation Bible School mission lessons, I used a lot of what I had learned professionally and what I was learning as a mom, to write, create, and teach dozens of missions lessons for the next 9 years.
So, a few years ago, @mobilizermom was born as a practical way to begin to inspire and inform parents and pastors with God at work in our world. Though my life and ministry are not what I ever thought they would be, I look back and see God working through my pain, my challenges, and my selfishness. He taught me so much in my time in professional ministry and humbled me in motherhood. He pushed me outside my comfort zone even when I wasn’t looking for opportunities.
I love to expand the worldview of the church, families, and especially young children. God is BIG and he is at work in our world: let’s join him in simple and practical ways in your own home today and see him work across the world.