After staring at the cursor blinking in anticipation for my first words, I decided that starting with a verse makes the most sense to my faith story.
Because the Lord has consistently brought me back to the truth of His words in Isaiah in which He says,
“I have called you by name; you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
I started my journey with the Lord at a young age, young enough that the closest comparison I had for the Holy Spirit resided in the concept of Jimmy Cricket – “let your conscience be your guide.” While I did not accurately comprehend the Holy Spirit in the beginning, the Lord, in all aspects of the Trinity, proved His activity in my life over and over while growing up.
His conviction led me to choices that were not popular but were peace filled, and I left for college with a strong foundation in the Lord, in the Word, and with people praying for me.
It was there where the Lord allowed the water levels to rise higher than ever before and the fire to blaze hotter. He taught me about authority and whose voices I allowed to speak into my life as people told me I would never succeed in my chosen career: teacher. The Word came alive in that season as I searched it with a desperation to hear the Lord speak, and it became my manna in the wilderness.
He brought me through that season with a confidence and strength in Him that only treading water could provide.
I did teach fourth grade for a few years before sensing the Lord directing me to a new training ground.
For the next decade, I served in higher education and grew in leadership.
The students taught me how to lead and, serving under both strong and poor leaders showed me how to follow.
These years were ones of learning how to wait on the Lord for promises to be fulfilled and
how to find my identity first and foremost in Him,
regardless of the titles that did or did not follow my name.
The Lord reminded me more than once that He has called me by name in the midst of my wait and weariness.
Those ten years came to an unexpected end when the office downsized and I found myself without a career. Once again, I discovered how much I had wrapped my identity in what was printed on my business card and, in turn, had the opportunity for the Lord to prove His faithfulness in the midst of the rolling waves.
Through it all, He has shown me He is trustworthy
and how holding on to His truth and promises results in hope and joy and peace and fulfillment,
even if those are only realized once the waters recede
and the heat of the fire withdraws.
As I write this, I reflect on His goodness in all the times I have heard Him call my name,
and I pray you know the joy of hearing Him call yours too.
He is for you, dear friend.
He calls to you to draw you closer.
This Christian journey is not for the faint of heart, and as we dig into His word together, may you also experience the reality of being called sister, friend, sojourner, and so much more.
For such a time as this.