I think I was around 12. Twelve years old is when I first knew that I wanted to serve God with my entire life. I guess you could say it was when I discovered that I couldn’t feel okay with seeing myself doing anything else. It was the only future picture of myself that I felt made sense. Although I wanted to pretend and dream with my friends that I was going to grow up to become a singer or veterinarian, I knew, in my heart, that I would be a full-time minister. Yeah, I could do those other things too, but I knew that my life would be completely surrendered to God’s plan.. And I knew that meant full-time service. It wasn’t particularly normal for the other 12 year-olds I knew to go around saying, “I want to be a missionary when I grow up.” It was a pretty deep concept for a kid, but I just felt it. It was just there, in my heart. At the time, my adventure-prone, danger-loving self thought that I would grow up to be a missionary somewhere in Egypt, risking my life daily to bring a forbidden message of hope to people who desperately needed to know Jesus’ love. I was so ready to take on the world. I was willing to go anywhere God called me. I thought I was even ready to die for Him. I was so brave. After all, I had a military father who told me to (halfway joking) “be a man” when I would cry. He made me believe I was strong enough (even though I still only weigh 110 lbs.) to do anything!
As you can guess, life happened. And it didn’t end up looking like I thought it would. Strange, right? But one thing about it never changed. Even though at times, as I grew older, I wished it would, I couldn’t escape this call on my life to give myself completely to God’s service. I wanted to run from it and go become a psychologist, musician, dog-whisperer (love me some Cesar) etc., but I knew I would never be happy that way. I wanted to prove to myself and my parents that I was smart enough and determined enough to achieve anything I wanted… I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t go choose a career and leave this calling thing behind. You see, if you’ve followed Jesus for any length of time, you’ve learned that His plans normally don’t line up with your own. If you truly want to follow Him, the path doesn’t always look so glamorous. And you are constantly reminded that your life isn’t about YOU, and sometimes that reality kinda sucks.
So, I left my full-ride scholarship at a local university to go to Bible college. Full… ride… I still have school loans that I’m paying off (slowly)! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret for a second being obedient to the “call”, I’m just saying, free college was AMAZING! Just prancing on through the book line without having to drop a penny for an arm full of overpriced, and then immediately over-depreciated, outdated by next semester textbooks, was a dream come true. I got my prerequisites, and left the university. I know it was test of my obedience. Looking back, I’m glad I passed that one. Oh, and I think this would be a good time to add that following Jesus, also sometimes makes you look foolish to all the rational minded people in your life. My parents STILL don’t understand why I left my scholarship…
I finished college with a Bachelors of Science degree in Music Education. Yes, from my Bible college. I don’t teach music. Maybe one day I will. Right now, I basically “mom” all day. And that whole “call” thing. Yeah, it’s still here. Although I’m not currently risking my life overseas somewhere as a foreign missionary (I’m thankful), my husband and I are full-time ministers. He’s a pastor of a church we planted a little over 2 years ago. I am the children’s pastor and a worship leader. Before this, we served in previous churches as worship leaders. He was on staff. My call will never leave. It may look different in different seasons of life, but I will always be called to full-time service.
I’m sure to some of you, all this sounds so weird and not all that profound. And that’s okay. It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone. It is kinda weird. I guess that’s somewhat of the reason we are called a “peculiar” people. Believe me, this ministry life doesn’t always feel right, and sometimes I still wish I could run from it and just be “normal”, but at the end of the day (or the emotional meltdown), I know I am exactly where I am called to be. With each step of obedience, God keeps leading me on these amazing adventures most of which I step in to with a little reluctance. I’m not sure why He called me. I’m not sure what tomorrow or the next couple of years will look like, but as long as He is guiding the way, I know I’ll end up in the right place.