When God Said “Stay”

This is a post from contributing writer Jenni, of Live Called:

Most people fear that God is going to call them to a third world country if they surender their life to Him, but I didn’t.  I wanted to be a foreign missionary.

I dreamed of traveling to far away places. I studied Spanish and International Studies in college. I participated in mission trips during school breaks. I served as a missionary at a collegiate ministry after graduating. I began the application process to serve in South America. Life seemed to be going just the way I planned.

Then God interrupted.

Each opportunity to serve in South America became a closed door, for one reason or another. I was disappointed, confused and frustrated.

When I wanted to go, God said “Stay”. And so I did.

After working two part-time jobs for almost a year, I began to talk to an old friend. He asked me out and I said yes. While we were dating, I wrestled with God’s will.

Matt did not feel called to full-time ministry or foreign missions, yet I believed God wanted me to marry him. I couldn’t comprehend how this was God’s plan, but I had faith He would work things out. When Matt asked me to marry him, I said yes.

When we had been married a couple months, my husband told me that he thought we should pursue foreign missions. I was astonished and excited. We began talking to a local mission agency and started filling out paperwork. Days before we had planned to submit our official application, I found out I was pregnant. After a lot of discussion and prayer, we felt that we should discontinue the application process.

When we wanted to go, God said “Stay”. And so we did.

Looking back, I can see several blessings that I would have missed had I refused to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

By staying in the States, I married a loving, godly man who actively shares the Truth with others wherever he is. We have been blessed with a beautiful daughter that brings us joy and teaches us to daily seek the Lord for wisdom and strength. I have been able to minister to several women through my blog, my “foreign mission field” for now.

My life is not what I expected, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I know that I am where the Lord wants me to be. And that’s all that really matters. I confidently hold on to the promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:24,

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”

I am grateful for the assurance that God is faithful to fulfill His perfect plans for my life at the proper time. My life, family and ministry may look different than I expected; but they are “immeasurably more” than all I could ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

I am so glad that I stayed.

Has God ever told you to do the opposite of what you originally planned? I would love to read about your experiences!


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  1. quickeasycheaphealthy says:

    God says “Stay” to me a lot. I think He wants me to learn patience, lol. (Haven’t got there yet!)

  2. Tara Burton says:

    Thank you Jenni for your words! I can identify with most of what you wrote! I too have felt called to GO and my husband too! However we have been told to STAY for now and I have learned SO much in the 11 years of being married to him and the two children the Lord has blessed us with. I know that I am where I God has placed me and if He one day says “Go” I will probably dance with joy … but for now I have learned to be content to STAY :)

    ” I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:11-13

  3. Jenni, thank you so much for this lovely insight into your heart and how you are following God’s lead. I’m in a “stay” moment right now. I deeply desire to have another baby, but He’s asking me to stay the mother of one for now. I don’t know what He has in store, but I’ve certainly drawn near to Him as I follow His lead!

    • Megan, being in a “stay” moment like that can be difficult. I hope the Lord will continue to give you peace as you trust in His perfect plan for you and your family!

  4. Right now, much to my dismay, we’re “staying” here in our home of Costa Rica. I’d love to go back to Italy, where we lived for a couple of months recently, but for now we’re here and I know HE has a purpose. Thanks for sharing. I know lots of people experience this same dilemma.

    • I’ve never been to either countries, but I can imagine both have their advantages in some way. I hope God continue to gives you peace as you follow His plan!

  5. As you probably already realize, the concept of missionary does not depend on location. Therefore where ever you GO, make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything God has taught you. [Your GO just happens to be work, the drs office, grocery, etc.]

  6. Oh how, I can relate! Just experienced the same thing except God was telling me to leave. Thank you for such an encouraging post, I think I am ready to share my testimony now:)


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