Missionary Rose Marie Miller shares her journey to discovering Nothing is Impossible with God
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 , $ 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.
The missional life has not slowed down for Miller. At age 88, Rose Marie actively ministers to Asian women living in London eight months out of the year, further proving that nothing is impossible.
An Interview with Rose Marie Miller, Author of Nothing is Impossible with God
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 fulltime 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.
Q: What are some of the biggest lies that Satan tells us?
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.
Nothing is Impossible with God:
Reflections on Weakness, Faith, and Power
No one likes to feel weak. Just thinking about our inadequate resources can fill us with fear and hopelessness. But Rose Marie Miller has a different perspective. For her true weakness is a gift born out of a deep sense of need, it drives us to Christ and unleashes all the redeeming energy of God’s grace in our lives and others. Rose Marie Miller, a living example of God’s power in weakness, weaves together biblical insights and personal experience and shares a new, gospel-driven way of living where the way up is down, the weak become strong, and the dead receive life in her new book Nothing is Impossible with God: Reflections on Weakness, Faith, and Power (New Growth Press). God, for whom nothing is impossible, uses weak people to change the world—and that includes you!
An excerpt adapted from Nothing is Impossible with God:
©New Growth Press – used with permission
The God of the Impossible
On our first trip to Uganda, Jack and I stayed in a hotel in Kampala with many Asians who had survived the years under Amin. It wasn’t long before we were accepted by Hindus from India and Muslims from Pakistan. God used those experiences to help Jack see that the “nations”— particularly those from Asian cultures— had come to England. The result was that WHM began a work in the Southall area of London where many Asians live. In 1994 my daughter Keren, her husband Bob Heppe, and their four children moved to London to bring the gospel to Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims.
A few years after Jack died, I sensed God’s call to join them. Many of the Asians come from Kenya and Uganda, fleeing persecution. My heart is stirred by the sorrows and heartaches of their lives. Over the years I have also listened to Bob talk about God’s passion to reach the nations as he sends us with good news into a world broken by sin. I am not here for myself!
So, when I was invited to India to speak at a conference, it seemed natural to say yes…
…The next year when another invitation came, I was eager to return. The organizer, put together a one-day event for about ninety women. We gathered for tea, a special meal and four talks about women from the Bible who were just like us, though they lived many years ago. It was moving to stand before these ladies and talk about the God for whom nothing is impossible. Ruth Batstone spoke about Eve, I spoke on Sarah and Hannah, and an Asian woman did a study on Mary.
The theme of our talks was “Nothing Is Impossible with God.” I chose the four women: Eve, Sarah, Hannah, and Mary, and interacted with the other speakers about the themes of their lives. Their stories are included in this section. Let me share why I chose these particular women.
Eve believed an impossible lie. In my life journey, I have realized that if I had been in the garden of Eden, I too would have chosen to eat the fruit rather than submit to God. The impossible lie that beguiled Eve was that God was withholding something from her. Satan knew how to seduce her and twist God’s word to his advantage: “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1 NIV). We need to know what God really said and we need to listen when he speaks. We especially need to listen when he says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Sarah believed an impossible promise. Sarah was asked to believe God’s promise that she would have a son. Her problem was that she had been barren—infertile—for many years. This was a very important promise. God had told her husband Abraham that he would be the father of nations, so it was crucial for both Abraham and Sarah to believe that God would do the impossible. What did I learn from Sarah? I like to take matters into my own hands like Sarah did. I am impatient in waiting for God to work out his plans. Like Sarah, I need the laughter of faith for the impossibilities of life. Sarah’s laugh was a genuine laugh of faith when, at ninety years of age, she held little Isaac in her arms.
Hannah prayed an impossible prayer. We hear Hannah praying twice: once in desperation and once in faith regarding who God is and what he is doing in her life and in the nations. I was captured by her plea, “If you will only . . . give [me] a son” (1 Samuel 1:11 NIV). It reminded me of prayers I have prayed: “If only you had not taken Jack, I would not be so lonely.” It is too easy to live out of the “if onlys” of life and not come to the place of faith as Hannah did. God answered her prayer and gave her a son, whom God used to bring his people back to himself. Jesus’ mother Mary recited Hannah’s second prayer to her cousin Elizabeth after she found out she was pregnant with Jesus. I longed to be able to exalt God in prayer the way she did.
Mary was given an impossible task: giving birth to the Son of God and nurturing him into manhood. She humbly submitted to God’s plan for her life and brought forth the One who would save his people from their sins. But there was another side to Mary. She also needed a Savior, and I wonder if it all came together for her when she saw her son die that she might live. Scripture’s last mention of her has her praying in the upper room, waiting for the coming of the Spirit— the One Jesus promised while he was here on earth. Like Mary, God also has given me a task: bearing children, taking people into our home, going to places like Uganda, London, and India. Like Mary, I too am flawed, but I have the same Savior she did. She is truly a blessed woman, and I am blessed too.
About the author:
Rose Marie Miller, Bible teacher; conference speaker; missionary with World Harvest Mission; and author of From Fear to Freedom: Living as Sons and Daughters of God. Rose Marie and her late husband C. John “Jack” Miller worked together to plant the New Life Presbyterian Churches and begin World Harvest Mission. She has five children, twenty-four grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren and divides her time between London, England and Jenkintown, PA.