About the Author

Stephanie Shott is the author of Understanding What Matters Most (a Bible study on Ecclesiastes) and founder of The M.O.M. Initiative (A missional mentoring ministry designed to enable and equip women take Titus 2 to the streets). She is also a popular, practical and passionate speaker and Bible teacher who...

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  1. I went off to college to learn Russian and become an Eastern Eurpoean “expert” — studied tons of the history. I think I took one class on Asian history. I’ve spent the last 16 years in China 🙂 … that which seemed so out of left field has had so many blessings for me! and surprises!

  2. Love this!! Thanks so much for sharing!! I work in Missionary Care at church, Prayer for missions, and with a sending organization too, and I will print this off and use it a lot!!
    Thank you for praying for Africa!! I have no doubt that your prayers have covered many others who have gone, have softened many hearts to receive Truth!
    Thanks for going to Costa Rica!! My daughter and family are preparing to go there to language school before moving to another Central American country…but He may change the course of their journey to Africa!! One never knows!! :))

    • Marina,
      I love how you have such a ‘missionary’ heart! Your daughter may end up going to the language school close to where we lived for a short time. Although we did not go to that school, it’s the language school most missionaries go to learn Spanish even if they are going to serve in a different country.

      I do love how the Lord connects the dots of our lives even when we don’t understand it. 🙂

  3. Love this!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
    I work in Missionary Care at church, Prayer for missions, and with a sending organization too, and I will share this with others.
    Thank you for praying for Africa!! I have no doubt that your prayers have covered many others who have gone, have softened many hearts to receive Truth!
    Thanks for going to Costa Rica!! My daughter and family are preparing to go there to language school before moving to another Central American country…but He may change the course of their journey to Africa!! One never knows!! :))

  4. This title describes just what I’ve been experiencing! Isn’t it crazy when we *know* just what God has planned out for us–then find out that we didn’t have a clue? That’s what has led me from being an English major when I first entered college… to planning on optometry school… to getting a physics degree with 2 babies under 4… to teaching science to 7th, 8th, and 10th graders… to where I am now, planning a huge move to go to grad school for medical physics!

    In the midst of all that, I was challenged here in the blogging world to claim one word for 2012. It took no time at all for God to place the word “faithful” on my heart, and now I’m learning to be faithful in my writing on my blog. It’s hard sometimes to pour out the authentic me in words for everyone to see, but I’m determined to be faithful to the God who has been so faithful to me.

    Best wished to you as you start faithfully down this next leg of your journey!

    • Mandy,

      What a blessing to have traveled down so many paths and seen the Lord’s hand in it all. Sometimes not until after the fact, but what a beautiful thing to see Him orchestrate the events of your life and the desires of your heart to place you exactly where He wants you.

      Not one step of your journey is wasted, sweet friend!

      By the way… I popped over to your site and loved it! I’m a big ‘quote’ lover too! I’ll be checking that out more often to see what quotes you add to it! 🙂

  5. I cannot even begin to describe how badly I needed to hear this today. Thank you. I’ve struggled for many years as to why I felt called to be a mom, but my husband was nowhere near ready to have kids – and then when my switch to feeling called to adopt a couple years ago happened but it still hasn’t for hubster, I’ve had some very confused, crying-out-to-God, heartbroken days. What a good reminder to be faithful even when we don’t understand. That line about how not every dream is meant to be fulfilled in the way we think it should, really, really resonated in my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

    • Rochelle,

      As I read your comment, my heart hurt for yours. I couldn’t help but think that knowing God’s will doesn’t mean our hearts don’t hurt.

      I remember when I lost my mom, I knew it was God’s time for her to go home, but it didn’t mean my heart didin’t hurt from the loss. Yet, the Lord allowed me to experience that peace that passes all understanding in the midst of it all.

      I’m praying for you right now that the Lord will speak peace to your heart in the midst of this storm and that you will soon see the storm clouds pass over and the sun shine like crazy in your life. and that the Lord will give you clarity for the next step.

      Whatever His course is for you, I pray you will know He is everything you need and He is all you need and that you have not escaped His view… not even for a second. He loves you with an everlasting love, my friend… and He is with you!

      So thankful for your testimony of courageous faith in the midst of it all! 🙂

  6. Freaked out, but faithful. That is exactly what I want to be! I’m curious… is Costa Rica somewhere you’ve already been, where you are now or where you’ll be going? We’re new missionaries in Peru and there’s a lot of freaking out going on, but God is faithful and by His grace, He will help us be faithful too.

    (And I wonder if God didn’t let you pray for Africa all those years and then call you both somewhere else so (among many other reasons for sure) you wouldn’t be the expert and you and your hubby could both learn all the new stuff together… It would be just like God!) : )

    • Hi Melissa!

      We moved to Costa Rica back in 2002 and lived there for 2 years before the Lord moved us back to the states to do an ongoing ministry with the nationals in Costa Rica as well as working with the Guaymi Indians of Panama.

      Moving back was another one of those “Freaked Out but Faithful” things too.

      I want to encourage you to be strong in your intimate relationship with the Lord as you and your hubby adjust to all these changes. Statistics show that the mission field can be a hard thing for marriages so you have to really guard your heart and emotions during these times of transition.

      I think you’re right too about my prayers for Africa. One of the many reasons may have been so we could experience the unfamiliar together and take each faith step in unison instead of me being 5 steps in front of him because of my prior prayers and research.

      LOVE that perspective, Melissa! Taking a moment to lift you up in prayer and would love to hear more about how the Lord leads you. (We’ve found it’s seldom anything we thought of before… it’s always exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or think!) 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for posting this, Stephanie! I can’t even tell you how much it spoke to everything that’s been on my heart lately. As a young, single woman, out of college, I’ve been feeling forgotten by God because of my singleness. I’ve asked Him over and over, what is wrong with me? I thought I’d be newly married, on the way to a successful career by now! Instead, I’m still single and suddenly He’s called me to do volunteer, teaching and missionary work on a reservation in South Dakota, of all places! (I’m from the East Coast.) I’ve been having so much trouble trusting His timing, His will, and the way He’s shaping my life. Reading this was so encouraging to me! I felt Him nudging my heart, reading this, that this is the faith He asks of me. Such a seemingly small thing, yet so hard!

    Anyway, just thought I’d let you know how your story has impacted me! Keep up the awesome writing!

    • Alicia,
      You truly seemed to echo the heart of every Christian who is in a season when they feel like God is silent. Waiting. Wondering. Trying to hold on. Struggling to trust when it doesn’t make sense and when you can’t seem to hear His still small voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

      I’m SO excited that He has you serving in South Dakota! What a courageous move of faith for you, my friend! I applaud you!

      You said it SO well… Trusting God is “such a seemingly small thing, yet so hard!”

      But once we surrender in sweet abandon, there is perfect peace, even when we don’t know what the next step is.

      Thank you so much for be so transparent and sharing something we all needed to hear!

  8. We too started out in Costa Rica 10 years ago on our journey. We lived there for 4 years then God moved us on to Nicaragua for another 5 years before he asked us to come back to the States for a season. (I think moving back to the States has to be the hardest move yet). I think the best thing we can do, and the one thing God asks of us, is to be obedient, no matter where or when He wants us to go. It is always good to see how faithful He is and provides all things (even friendships and the language) we need to accomplish His will. Many blessings on your journey!!!!

    • Rhonda,
      We lived there about 10 years ago too. I can’t help but wonder if we know some of the same people. We know people in Nicaragua too.

      If you get a chance, email me and let’s see if we know any of the same people. 🙂

      We moved back and began a ministry from the states to the nationals and that was a very difficult move, as well. It’s culture shock all over again. A kind of ‘reverse-culture-shock”.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

  9. Stephanie, I love watching your journey. What an amazing God we serve, who orders our path to go and do things we never thought possible. Thank you for being faithful!

    Love you, precious friend!

  10. Stephanie,
    LOVED this post. It’s like you were able to take a snapshot of some of my scared heart-moments with God. I too, had a dream. Several actually, but I clearly remember after I came to Jesus the dream he gave me was to counsel women. I thought it meant going to college and getting my masters. I was wrong. His dream included details of staying at home for six years. And then I would counsel through writing. Such a different dream, yet one and the same for our Maker. Thanks Stephanie. Love your view!

    • Heather,
      What a grand adventure it is to serve the Living God! I love your story and how He has connected the dots of your life. You truly are moldable clay in the Potter’s hand! 🙂

  11. Stephanie, what a great post! I love this! And you know, someone in Costa Rica may have needed you before someone in Africa. Who knows, you may still go! Bless you for your servant’s heart!

  12. Lynn,
    I love how you add wisdom to everything you share! Thanks for your encouraging words and for reminding me that God places us where He chooses for a reason that may have little to do with us and a lot for those He calls us to minister to! 🙂

  13. This so spoke to my heart today. I have been feeling the calling of our family towards vocational ministry for years, but my husband has yet to hear it. You were in that same place for seven years! Thank you for the encouragement to stick with it.

  14. Lindsay,
    I remember how strong the desire to go to Africa was. My heart literally yearned for Africa. I came to a point where I prayed that Jesus would either go ahead and place the same burden for the mission field on my husband’s heart or take it from mine because I couldn’t bear it anymore.

    A few weeks later our conversations began about the mission field and it wasn’t long before the Lord finally made the call very real to him, as well.

    Keep praying. The Lord’s timing is as perfect as His will. 🙂

    Praying for you now!

  15. Wow!! I’m right there now. For several years I’ve known I’m called to missionary service. Me – widowed mother of two?!?

    My heart has been Asia, but as the process continues there is a strong pull to Guatemala. It makes no sense to me. But where He leads me I will follow! ~ Lisa

    • Lisa ~ Wow! My heart is swirling with mixed emotions as I read you story!

      On the one hand, my heart hurts for your loss and my prayers are with you now as you work so hard to do all and be all as a widowed mother of two.

      On the other hand, I’ so excited for what the Lord wants to do in and through you! I know this to be ture… He never makes a mistake and wherever He leads you He will not only be with you, but He will go before you and be your rearguard as well.

      His timing is perfect and the preparation for what He is calling you to is not a season of silence but a necessary part of the journey!

  16. Stephanie,

    I think your fervent prayers somehow got transferred to me! I have never considered being a missionary. I supported those who were, marveled at how they did it, listened to the stories of those who returned. I always thought my mission field would somehow be right here, at home, and I was good with that.

    Then our annual global focus event at my church changed all that. A video streamed across the screen, and I felt deep down that “I have to go. I have to go there.”

    It was Kenya.

    I am now less than a month away from our departure date, for a two-week medical missions trip. This for a girl who has never been out of the states, and the closest thing I have ever done to missions work is helping at the soup kitchen.

    To say God works in mysterious ways is an understatement. I have no idea what the meaning of this trip is, or what it means for me, or those on my team. I just knew, undoubtedly, that I had to go, and so I am. The rest is up to God.

    May Costa Rica exceed every dream you had for Africa!

    • Beth,

      I can’t help but be SO excited for you! Answering the call to the unfamiliar is where God often shows you could never see in the security of your own little world. Keep your eyes and heart open for ways in which Jesus will show up and show Himself strong on your behalf.

      Enjoy Africa for me! And I’d love to hear from you after you come back. 🙂