Following is a reflection I wrote for a website almost 3 years ago when I was first hearing a call to ministry. God has brought me a long way since that time. It is almost unbelievable. I will post an update following this one.
Like newborn babies, we grow to maturity one milestone at a time. I was only 3 years old the first time I spoke to God. Having just lied to my mother about how many cookies I’d eaten, I knew I’d done something wrong. I asked God to forgive me for all the naughty things I had ever done, and all the naughty things I would ever do. No one told me how to do that; I just knew that I should. As a 15 year old, I came to understand that it is the forgiveness bought by Jesus Christ on the cross that would bring me near to God. I asked Him to take my sins away, and to come and live in my heart. That was the day I was born again. I knew I would never walk away from that commitment, but I still had a lot of growing to do. Key growth times included when, as a collegiate, I surrendered my chosen profession over to God, only to receive acceptance into Ohio State’s physical therapy program, the very thing I had given to Him. He knew the plans He had for me. Through this experience the milestone I learned was the importance of surrender. Still, a long-time struggle I’d had was in comprehending how our God, who loves mankind, could see me as more than one in the mass of humanity. Was I really loved enough that Jesus would have died just for me? I asked Him many times if it were true. Then He spoke to me one day through a song by Casting Crowns. The lyrics asked, “Who am I?…that God would “care to know my name, care to feel my hurt?” The song went on to explain that it’s not because of who I am or what I’ve done, but because of who He is and what He’s done! Eureka! That’s why He cares! I am His! I had already been a Christian for almost 20 years, and this was like a revelation to me! His love for me wasn’t based on me, it was based on Him! Through this experience I learned that my very identity needs to be in Jesus Christ. In Him I am secure. I want to be found nowhere else! Now in my forties, I have walked though a lot of life. Our family has faced illness, death, loss, unemployment, betrayal, financial strain, and legal issues. I have come to realize that whatever influences eternity is the only thing worth pursuing. Perhaps this was solidified in my mind following the sudden and unexpected death of my mother. Grieving brings the essential into clear focus. My desire to pursue earthly advancement and knowledge has faded away. When I first voiced to a patient that I would really like to pursue a second profession in ministry, a flood of peace came over me. I believe it was a call to ministry. I believe that God’s Story is now able to shine brighter through my story, as I have found His ultimate purpose for me. I know He mightily uses everyday people in everyday places, and that is just the message I want to pass on to as many people as I can. I would appreciate your prayers as I take steps toward learning the details of how God would have me further tell His Story!