Several years ago in the winter of 2003 I began to wonder what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life. I remember driving home from work one day and thinking “God is this all there is? Am I where you want me to be?” At the time my youngest was a junior in high school and would very soon be going off to college and really not needing me-well at least not like in the past. Many people began to tell me I should go to college, pursue a career; the whole world is open to anything I might want to do. But the question I kept asking was "what did God want me to do?" That was the question I desperately wanted to answer. I started looking into college courses or career possibilities, but there didn’t seem to be any clear direction.
There wasn't a "big" event where God spoke to me and said "GO". He chose to speak to me in little steps and with various voices. I was very involved in youth group and leading a senior high small group Bible Study. I really wasn't looking for any other ministry. I just wanted to know what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life. I've never been to college so the thought of going both intrigued and scared me. But if that is what God wanted I'd look into it. It didn't seem right. The path wasn't clear.
A friend gave me a book called Releasing Your Potential by Elizabeth Inrig. The book began to open my eyes and heart to something new. Something I had never thought of-or wanted for that matter. As I read this book I felt a stirring in my heart, God began to open my eyes to the pain and needs of the women around me. Our pastor’s wife then led a group of women through the video series on leadership by Elizabeth. As I began to pray and ask a few others to pray about my involvement with women’s ministry I felt a passion growing inside me. I even had women come to me and say that they thought I should do something with women’s ministry. Everywhere I looked it seemed like there were neon signs saying ‘WORK WITH WOMEN”. With much fear and trembling, I obeyed.
Once my heart was set on being obedient to God, regardless of how I felt, I began to see things I hadn’t seen before. I saw women living in bondage to their past, uncertain how to live in freedom. God began to help me see that there were many women who didn’t understand who they were in Christ. They believed the lies the world told them. The lies that they weren’t pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, they weren’t good moms, or wives. They believed the lie that they could have it all as the world describes it but realizing they aren’t superwomen they feel they have failed. Then there are the women with prodigal children and loveless marriages, women trying desperately to hold on to what little hope there was and they feel so very alone. These are the women that God began to show me. And I began to see, not with my eyes, but with my heart women who were crying out for help. But what was I to do? I’m just one woman and didn’t have a clue as to how I should develop any kind of ministry to women. My answer came from two places the book of Nehemiah and the Internship in Ca.
Our pastor’s wife suggested that I and the two other women who would make up the team for Women’s Ministry attend the Internship in Ca. As I made arrangements to attend it was suggested from a friend already in a ministry to women that I study the book of Nehemiah.
One of the first things that struck me about Nehemiah was that once God had opened Nehemiah’s eyes to the condition of Jerusalem’s wall he sat down and wept, he mourned and fasted and prayed for several days. God broke his heart for his people. I needed God to do the same for me. Then I had to smile, for at the very end of chapter one it is recorded that Nehemiah was a cupbearer. I mean really, what does a cupbearer know about building a wall? But in spite of his inexperience God called him. God expected him to be obedient.
God expected me also to be obedient to the ministry he was calling me to. I hold no college degrees but I am willing to go where God calls me. Yes I could go to school and begin a grand career during this "second half" of my life, but that is not what God is calling me to. There have been so many lessons God has so graciously taught me since that day when I first asked God "do you want more from me?". I want to share that story in the coming days...