Monday, November 26, 2012
Retirement isn't in this missionary's vocabulary
An Interview with Rose Marie Miller,
Author of Nothing is Impossible
Nothing is impossible with God. That’s what Rose Marie Miller had always heard, but for a long time it didn’t seem to ring true to her. Even while serving in ministry, she kept God at a distance, building walls of self-protection and self-reliance. She wanted to avoid weakness and vulnerability at all costs. Then, God powerfully transformed her heart. In Nothing is Impossible with God: Reflections on Weakness, Faith, and Power (New Growth Press, October 2012, ISBN 978-1-936768-68-4, $ 15.99, also available in eBook), Miller shares how God revealed his grace and forgiveness, changing her life in ways she never thought were possible and welcoming her into new, missional life of discipleship.
Q: In Nothing Is Impossible, you speak quite candidly about your resistance to actively be a part of some of your husband’s ministry outreaches. Was he aware of how much you were struggling with your faith at that time?
Was Jack aware of my struggles? No, I do not think so. It was hard to be honest with him. I was successful in taking many troubled people into our home that I think he thought I would be happy with everything he wanted me to do. It wasn’t until coming out of Uganda and asking him why I couldn’t cope that he had a sense of my need. The next time I went, it was with such joy that it was a no brainer---then three years later when I told him I wasn’t returning, he was able to accept that. But then, of course, I did when I heard he had a heart attack. This was a watershed for me when I realized that God was with me. And that was all I needed to know.
Q: Tell us about some of the changes that God made in your life over time so that you were able to become a full-time ministry partner with your husband.
It was always God coming into my heart with a big push. In Switzerland showing me my pride and arrogance, in Uganda showing me how helpless I was, and Jack telling me I act like an orphan. Then after his heart attack in Uganda God reminding me he would be with me as he was with Moses. God’s Spirit was always behind me to change my heart. He continues to do that today.
Q: What does it mean to live a lifestyle of forgiveness?
As an old black lady used to say about her sins, “I bunch them.” I believe I used to do that. Now when I say something I shouldn’t say, or think a thought I shouldn’t, or neglect speaking when I should---and of course there is much more—I try to confess them right away. I realized during the years that sin is against God as David writes in Psalm 51, and this is where I go with my sin. To “bunch” them is to have a heart distant from God.
Satan’s biggest lie is that God has kept something from you. You deserve more than what you have. He is not creative. This is the same lie he told in the garden to Eve. Following that is the lie that you have no self-worth. This can lead to centering your life on career, relationships, marriage, children—expecting that your worth will come from what you do or what people think of you.
Q: Many of us struggle with contentment. How can we work towards being truly content?
Contentment? I believe it goes back to the lie of the evil one that your circumstances or people are the cause of your discontent. The struggle is to accept God has sovereign control over your life and over all that is around you. I was a very discontented pastor’s wife, and one day the Spirit showed me that it was rooted in my not accepting God’s right to control my life. A good read through II Kings shows how sovereign God is. It is good to have a heart fixed on the steadfast love of the LORD. Also to know that you are a part of God’s plan to bring life to broken people.
Q: You devote a major portion of your book to learning to pray. Prayer seems like such a simple concept, but what are some of the things we so often misunderstand about praying?
First we miss how helpless we are to know how to pray without the Spirit teaching us (Romans 8). Second, we miss the kingdom aspect of praying. It isn’t about us; it is about God restoring a broken world and people. Third we lack persistence (Luke 11). Forth we forget we are in a battle. Our enemies are not flesh/blood, but principalities, powers, and rulers of this dark world. This is what we learned in praying for our daughter, Barbara. We forget how eager the Spirit is to hear our prayers and we lack the faith that our prayers are stored in heaven in a bowl to be thrown out when it is God’s time. We do not pray with expectancy.
Q: You sometimes tired of life in the mission field, and were ready to stay in the same place for a while when your husband died. What happened when you came home to America where you could stay in one place for a while?
There is no easy way to deal with grief, but in spite of losing a partner, I continued teaching in our Sonship weekends and women’s retreats. It gave focus to my life. At that time, I think I forgot I wanted to be in one place, because the next two to three years there was a lot of traveling. My desire to stay in one place was not thinking of what God wanted; it was about me.
Q: Did you ever think that God would give you your own mission work?
No, it was God’s call that brought me to London, but it was also the care of my sister that kept me from coming full time. Last November (2011), I was granted a full-time visa to stay in London for two years. We will see what will happen at the end of 2013.
Q: Where are you actively involved in ministry today? What groups of people are you reaching out to?
Our target group of people is Asians from India, Kenya, and Uganda. I am involved in teaching, praying, building friendships. I am part of a U.S. team that ministers in these areas.
Q: You share with the women that you minister to about the women of the Bible who faced the impossible. Who were some of those women, and what challenges did they face?
The Spirit has used Eve, Sarah, Hannah, and Mary in my life to teach me about myself and the ways of God.
Eve believed an impossible lie. If I had been the first woman, I would have eaten the fruit.
Sarah believed an impossible promise. I, like Sarah, tried to bring in the kingdom through much self-effort.
Hannah prayed an impossible prayer. Against all hope she prayed for a son and learned about God— truths I am still eager to learn.
Mary was given an impossible task. She was human just like me, and I, too, was given an impossible task—to bring men/women to Christ.
Q: Is there ever a time where we can retire from doing God’s work?
I do not find retirement in the Bible. We are never off the hook to continue to learn about God, his ways, and his will, and to share with the truth with others.
New Growth Press Christian book store provides Gospel-centered Christian books, small group and kids Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling and missional ministry. For more information about Nothing is Impossible with God and other releases from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com.