I have said never.
I’m not one who thinks that every time one says never that God makes sure that’s what happens.
I don’t believe that God is simply out to derail everything we don’t want to happen.
But I do believe that often times we speak out of ignorance.
We don’t want certain things to happen … so we say never.
Then God, in His lovingkindness, turns our never around on us.
He allows the opposite to happen for our good and His glory.

I have a handful of those times in my life when I said never.

#1 – I said I’d never attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With a Mission (YWAM).
My parents were encouraging it (and I was resisting) and my younger sister had gone before me.
She attended a DTS in Switzerland.
I was living in Israel and went to visit her when her school ended.
I was so inspired by the stories of the students who had just come back from outreach …
and 6 short months later, I was in England attending a DTS.
It was a significant time of spiritual growth and healing in my life!

In England @ the YWAM base

#2 – I swore I would never attend a School of Biblical Studies (SBS) with YWAM.
When I was in England on my DTS, my younger sister was in Hawaii attending the SBS.
I said never.
NINE months of intense Bible study … there was no way.
I didn’t like school.  I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day.
But God began speaking to me, and opening doors for me to attend one in Montana.
Only 3 months after finishing my DTS, I was on my way to Montana to attend the SBS.

In Montana for SBS

#3 – College.  Never.
I was going to be a missionary for life.
I would stay on staff with YWAM until retirement … should that day ever come.
I didn’t want to stop doing ministry and leading outreach teams to go to school.
But after 5 years on staff with YWAM, I had earned 72 credits from the University of the Nations (a non- accredited YWAM Uni.)
God led me home … where I submitted an application to Colorado Christian University (CCU).
They accepted 68 of the 72 credits I had.
AND I graduated in 15 months with a B.S. in Christian Leadership.

#4 – I thought I would never marry.
But – should God bring someone into my life, we would have a long term relationship before getting married.  Slow.  That’s what I wanted.
I watched so many of my YWAM friends meet and marry in 6 months or less.
That was NOT going to be me.
But you guessed it.
Again, God redirected my never.
I met Steve in January, when I was at CCU.
We started dating in March.
We were engaged in May.
And we married in August.
EIGHT months.
Although our first year of marriage was exceedingly difficult …
we are about to celebrate 16 years of marriage in 2 weeks!
Marriage has certainly been a venue that God has used to bring about growth!

August 22, 1998

#5 – Kids.  No way!
I couldn’t imagine being a mom.
I was a missionary … set on traveling the world to tell others about Christ.
I loved teaching the Bible and wanted to go on teams to teach leaders in the 10/40 window.
My intentions were good.
But God knew I had much to learn by being a mom.
5 years into our marriage, we started a family.
In 6 1/2 years, we had 4 kids.
Now, I’m a stay home, home schooling mom and I love it.
God uses the daily moments to refine me, as I am tested and challenged.

Mother’s Day 2014

#6 – I was not going to raise my family in Colorado.
Although I’m a native, and I love Colorado …
I really wanted to live in Montana.
I lived there for 6 years before I knew Steve.
We lived there our 2nd year of marriage.
I wanted to have some land and call Montana home.
But after being gone for 5 years, God brought our family home.
He knew that we would need the support of our families during this season of life.
And we needed to be close to them.  And I am SO very thankful to be here!
August 4th, was our 3rd anniversary in this house.
AND it’s the longest place we’ve lived anywhere.

#7 – I would not, could not ever be a missionary in a place like Africa.
I could go on short term trips … but live there?  Never!
Now, God has burdened my heart for Tanzania.
The vision of starting a school there breathes life into my exhausted soul.
I dream of going back … and being an active part of establishing a school that will change the lives of Tanzania’s orphans.
I hope and pray for the day that God takes our family there.
Maybe only for a few months at first … but then for a longer period of time.
2 … 3 … 4 years?
And so I wait to see how God would work through this “never.”
He has already softened and opened my heart toward it.
So maybe … one day!

And I am absolutely certain that those are not the only times I will say never.
And when I do … God will love me enough to use those nevers
to bring glory to Himself through me.