Read His Words Before Ours!
I used to think my story was boring.
Just your typical, “I grew up in a Christian home, found Jesus, was baptized, and went on my merry way all before I entered second-grade,” kind of story.
Those things are true, but I’ve learned how the Lord uses every story–sensational or otherwise–to show His redeeming power.
When I was six, my parents divorced. People often ask if I remember my parents when they were married, and the short answer is no.
I do, however, remember feeling confused.
How could you stop loving someone?
How could my mom file for divorce?
A daddy’s girl at heart, I quickly jumped on board with whatever Dad had to say about my mom. His bitterness, blame, and judgement clouded how I saw my mom. As both of my parents remarried, I initially didn’t think my mom deserved to get remarried. In my mind, Mom was the enemy of my story, the reason nothing was as it was supposed to be.
Quite frankly, there wasn’t much spiritual fruit in my life when both parents got remarried. New siblings were born, I moved across town, and changed churches. Even though I wasn’t a fan of these changes, I can now see that God knew exactly what He was doing.
After my first year in a new youth group, I attended summer camp. One of the evening sessions ended with a time of response. As the band played Come as You Are, leaders coached us through a time of reflection:
When had I felt like God abandoned me?
There was no way He had been in the midst of my parents’ divorce.
But, in those moments of honesty, God spoke into my brokenness.
“I was with you and I love you.”
Cue the tears. I came to God in the messy form of my teenage self.
He met me and redeemed my story.
That same week I forgave my mom in a prayer room and symbolically washed away the bitterness inside me. She wasn’t the enemy. The brokenness of a sinful world was to blame. God called me to forgiveness, and bitterness had become exhausting.
I really believe God redeemed my sinfulness at seven years old, but the Lord used those moments at camp to draw me back, renew our relationship, and awaken me to real life.
Church became the body of believers with whom I craved community.
Community group became the place where I dug into the Word and asked hard questions.
I began taking active steps of obedience toward Christ as He called out to me.
Several years later, in the same room at camp, after an incredible time of worshipping God, I sat down for another evening session. Even today, I can show you the page of notes where I quickly wrote the speaker’s arresting question:
“After a time of worship like that,
why are you not going where God has called you?”
I didn’t have to wait long for my answer.
From way out in left field, the Holy Spirit clearly called me to vocational ministry.
I told my friends and leaders, and headed home determined to chase this call.
And then I came down from the mountaintop experience.
I loved the teaching internship I’d started that fall.
Maybe I could minister to kids as a public school teacher.
I made plans to study elementary education, was accepted into a school, and even placed a housing deposit for the dorms.
God is a God of peace, and He gives peace when we walk in His call. Ephesians 6:23 says, “Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith,
from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I never had peace about pursuing education.
Just eight months before beginning classes, a family friend asked about my college plans. My lack of peace brought immediate tears and the Holy Spirit immediately convicted me for my lack of obedience in pursuing His calling over mine.
I went home and told my parents I needed to attend the undergrad program at our local seminary. There were a lot of questions, but peace set in quickly as I applied and scheduled a tour.
Here I sit, preparing for another year of school, on staff at my local church, and serving in many ways at church beyond my work roles.
Walking into ministry was, and still is, a scary pursuit for me.
I desire security.
Vocational ministry doesn’t provide monetary security.
There is no guarantee I will find “success” or that I’ll see the fruit of the seeds the Lord sows through me.
What I am guaranteed through seminary training is intense spiritual growth and preparation to walk confidently on the path He has laid out for me.
Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us He goes before us and will not leave or forsake us.
I cling daily to this truth!
God uses our seemingly boring stories to display His glory and redemption.
He redeemed divorce and the bitterness that ensued
into a story of hope.
He redeemed my stubborn resistance to a scary ministry calling
into a story of His guidance and provision.
“So we set our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!