“Come again?” You could say that has been my response to God for about the last year. A little back story. When I entered college at Milligan 3 years ago, I declared my major in nursing and added on a track to get my pre-med requisites. The goal was to get my nursing degree, get into medical school, work as a nurse through medical school and finish as an OB-Gyn by the time I was 30. For the first to years I went full force at obtaining all this. Even though it was many hard hours of studying and lots of nights with little sleep, I was striving hard for my dream. Key word there being MY dream. I know God sent me to Milligan for a reason and gave me a desire for healthcare for a reason but in all reality, becoming a doctor was MY dream. It was the equivalent of saying “Okay God here’s how I want to live my life, come and bless it, give me strenght, help me prosper and I’ll glorify You and figure out someway to give You back a bit of my life.” For me I thought that was good enough for God. Last summer God started stirring my heart for something different though. Something quite out of my comfort zone. He started revealing to me the truth of Matthew 10.39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus doesn’t say ‘whoever adds me into the mix of their current life finds it.’ or ‘whoever asks for my blessing on thier plans will find life.’ He says “whoever loses their life” in other words ‘whoever gives it all up’, ‘whoever surrenders all their plans for my sake.’ God also began to deal with me on the verses in Jeremiah 29 especially verses 11 and 13. Verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Notice He doesn’t day ‘you know the best plans for you life, I will come and take those and bless those and give you hope through them.’ The more the Lord strengthened our relationship, the more I realized that I had been living my life like this was how God worked. Several months ago He began dealing with me on verse 13: “You will seek me and you will find me with all of your heart.” I had to ask myself, am I really seeking the Lord with all of my heart or am I simply seeking what I want and asking God to come along; am I really seeking the Lord’s will with all of my heart or simply his blessing on my will? This was not an easy question for me. Any of you who know me know that I’m all about planning. I’ve had my entire life mapped out for years.
So how did I respond? Last summer when I was working at Powerlife, I knew God was being so clear with me and He wanted me to surrender my plans to Him. So I compromised. I pretty much made a deal with God. “Okay God, You don’t want me to be a doctor. I’ll give up going to medical school and in two years when I finish nursing school, we’ll discuss this all again and go from there.” I thougth it was a pretty good deal at the time. I mean I walk halfway, God walks half way. Wrong again.
So after Powerlife last year, I began to fill people in that I would no longer be pursing a medical degree. Many people didn’t undertsand and didn’t approve but it was something I knew I had to do. Throughout the year my realationship with Lord got better and better. I was getting closer to God and diligently seeking Him like never before but I still felt there was something else weighing on me. I knew God was calling me to really give my future to Him… my whole future. But for me that was just too scary. I had a million excuses. I said I trusted the Lord but I was living like I trusted me. Some of my thoughts were “If God wants me to do something different, He’s going to have to show me more details.” “I’ve had all this planned out for too long. Doing anything else wouldn’t make sense.” Well newsflash for me: GOD DOESN’T ALWAYS MAKE SENSE. Actually HE USUALLY DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I mean look at His track record for a minute. It didn’t make sense to use that God used Moses when he was ‘slow of speech and tongue’, or that he would use a young teenage boy to kill a great big giant, or that he would use Paul who killed Christians to write the majority of the books in the new testament and while I could go on about this for days the biggest part that doesn’t make sense to me is that He would choose to use Jesus, the only perfect One to save a lost, sinful, icky, filthy human like me.
In all this teaching God kept reminding me of these verse out of Proverbs. 19.21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand!” and 16.3: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” and 16.9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Coming to Powerlife this year, I had no intentions of making any other big moves or compromises. In my mind there was still a year left in my original deal with God and there was no need to make any revisions. But surround yourself with the presence of the Lord for two weeks and it’s not easy to block out what He’s trying to tell you. Even thought the first week I knew God was wanting to work on me, I once again had a mile long list of excuses. “My youth group is here this week. I need to focus on them.” “We have a whole week of camp still left, no need to focus on this now.” But in all of God’s sovereignity, He already had made plans for my heart.
On the way from Student Week 1 to Student Week 2, it was only my friend Casey and I in the car for the Saturday drive. Casey, I should add, is an amazing Godly woman. She’s like a mentor and great role model to me. While we were traveling she, having know idea what I had been struggling with, asked if had ever thought of being a Bibical Counselor. This question opened the door for the conversation I had been avoiding for a year. I then for the first time confessed the words that I felt God had been calling me into the ministry for a year and I was just running scared. I told her of all the things God had been showing me and all the many ministry paths he had shown me throughout the year. I felt this huge relief just in telling someone all I had been holding back for so long. She of course encouraged me to really seek what God was asking for and surrender without letting fear stand in the way. As I expressed my concerns to her, she said words that for once made so much sense. “Ministry is scary. But if God wants you in ministry, being in ministry in God’s will is safer than not being in the ministry out of God’s will.”
On Sunday we had church service with the staff and Jonathan really encouraged us to get away and have alone time with the Lord to recharge before the new week began. I knew that he was right especially with everything running through my head. Me and my friend Abigail decided that during the afternoon we would get away and do an hour of prayer. During this time I pleaded that God would be evidently clear with me and if it was ME standing in the way that He would break me and move me so that I would be used for Him. Towards the end of prayer time I pulled out my Bible and turned to some passages in Psalms that always encourage me to hold to the Lord. The first one I turned to was Psalm 27.14: “Wait upon the Lord, be strong, take heart, and wait upon the Lord.” It’s one of my very favorites. I flipped over a couple pages to Psalm 37. Also one of my favorites in which vs 4 it says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As I read this I thought ‘God, I’ve been delighting myself in You like never before. And my desire is for something more. Why am I so scared?’ And even though vs 5 was underlined in my Bible and was something I had read many times for the first time I put together vs 4 and vs 5: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.” WOW WOW WOW! Words seem so silly when I try to describe what God did to my heart in that moment and what volumes those words spoke to me. In that moment what God desired for me was so clear. Delight myself in Him, trust that He’s planting the desires in my heart, commit my whole life to Him, trust Him, HE WILL FOLLOW THROUGH!
I do not understand why God would call me to the ministry.I don’t know why He would choose to use me. It doesn’t make sense to me and probably never will. I have no idea which area God is calling me to be it missions, women’s ministry, Bibical counseling, etc. I know that the journey has just begun and surrendering was simply the first step of many more that won’t make sense. I do know that God has called me and I trust His promises in His word to know that He has this all together and He’s the only One worthy of my whole life. It’s scary and it’s exciting. Equally terrifying and terrific! But I’m more excited about my life at this point than I have been EVER. God is so good and so faithful and He never ceases to amaze me with His love. In coming blogs I will keep you updated on what’s coming next for me along this journey but for now I want to leave with lyrics that God gave me during prayer on the day I surrendered.
“I’m not begging for a blueprint, Your calling is enough.
I’m not desperate for the details, in Your promises I’ll trust.
So I lay it all at Your feet, every piece and part of me,
All I am, All I’ll ever be, Lord, it’s all for THEE.”