Called Into Youth Ministry
12.13.08 | | Comments
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us..." 2Cor 4:7 . What a verse! The more you think about it the more it means. If I had a "life verse" this would be it! Do you ever feel inadequate to do the things the Lord has called you to do? Unqualified? Do find yourself asking the Lord why He has placed you where you're at? I do. Often. I find myself just shaking my head some days as the pressures and problems of Life come crashing in. Or when my teens face impossible issue and come to me for the answers.
I've been in full time youth ministry for over a year now. Some days I wake up and wonder how I got here! That's usually when God reminds me that He is the one who called me and that He is adequate for what ever issue I'm facing. 2Ti 1:9 Says "...who (Christ) has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before time began." Before time began, wow!
I grew up in a Christian home and attended church my entire life. I don't know when it started but for about as long as I can remember I've always felt that God had a specific purpose and plan for my life. He had something He wanted me specifically to do. Only I had no clue what that "something" was. The older I got the more I felt it. When I was 17 my world as I knew it, turned up side down. My family switched churches and I didn't have many friends, my grandmother who I was very close to remarried and sort of forgot about me for a while. I graduated a year early from high school. My Mom had 2 miscarriages and nearly died from hemorrhaging after the second one. She was on complete bed rest for 3 months. When she was able to be up and about again, she was so depressed she kind of check out on life and even thought of leaving us a few times. My Dad worked a full time job with a long commute so he wasn't around much. And to top it off my whole family came down with the Whooping Cough. Anyway all that to say it was a really sucky year! During that time I ran our house hold for a while. I'm the oldest of 12 children by the way!
At that point I just wanted out, but really felt that the Lord was telling me that home was my mission field for now and that I was where He wanted me to be... There's nothing glorious about changing diapers and cooking for a crew the size of my family. But looking back I'm so thankful for that time. When everything was pulled from under me I had no where to turn but the Lord. I got to the point where I told God I couldn't handle anything else and that if one more thing went wrong... I would freak or break down or something. That night my Grandfather had a serious heart attack and almost died . I was in the car on the way home from the ER just crying when the song, "Blessed be your Name" came on the radio. That was a turning point in my life, I felt the Lord asking me if I would still bless His name...even in the midst of everything. At that moment I knew I stood at the cross roads of my life... I could give in to the pain, bitterness, and the anger or I could as the song says " yet i will choose to say blessed be Your name." That was the point of surrender for me. I gave God control and let Him use those circumstancing to mold and make me. He gave me a servant's heart and a true joy in my heart. Home was where I was supposed to serve for now. Lord knows they needed me. That egging feeling for more of "something" never quite went away. But I learned to trust and wait on the Lord for His timing.
When I was 18 1/2 or so I got a job working retail at Joann Fabrics, and I also ran my own house cleaning business. Things got better slowly on the home front. Healing takes time. And the Lord did work miracles in my family! He's so good to me. Once the family was in a better spot I felt that restless feeling again. I started asking the Lord questions: What was the purpose of my life? What do You want me to do? What is it you have for me? Work retail forever? College? What?
I had been listening to FLN for years and heard they needed camp counselor's for their Youth Action camps. The camps were amazing, I felt alive and the burden on my heart was lifted. Then I went back to "normal" life. But I was so hungry for more. I prayed constantly that the Lord would show me what He wanted me to do. I started to feel my time at home was concluding... it was really weird. I ended up attending the CORE (Youth workers seminar) here at FLN in the spring of 2007. I wasn't sure if I even wanted to go I wasn't really a youth worker, but a close friend convinced me to go by saying that "you never know.... maybe God would use it" I think he called it "Devine Dreaming". FLN announced that they were looking for a female youth counselor. I felt the Lord pricking my heart. At the end of the seminar everyone stood in small groups and prayed for each other. It was one of those, pray for whoever is sitting on your left type of things. My friend was on my left so he prayed for me. He didn't really pray though, he just looked at me and said something along the lines of " ...you are anointed all ready... go forth in your ministry". Well, to put it mildly, I flipped out! I wasn't sure what he was talking about! I looked at him like he was nuts!?!
After that prayer I couldn't get the idea out of my head. The next weekend I came up back to Family Life and volunteered for the spring Sharathon. It felt like home, there was that connection. And I really started praying..."Ok God is this, what you want me to do?" It seemed so impossible at the time. I went home and prayed that God would make it really, really, clear to me... hit me off the head with lightening or something... I just I wanted to know after so many years of wondering what I was to do. When you pray like that, be ready for an answer! Right after I prayed that, I heard an old Steve Curtis Chapman song playing on the radio, the chorus reads..."are you waiting for lightening, a sign that it's time for a change/ Are you listening for thunder/ while I quietly whisper your name?/ For the sign and the word have already been spoken, /now it's by faith you must look and listen." I almost fainted! It was days before I could even talk about it. It was like was God speaking to me and He was!
After much payer and arguing with the Lord for a while, I submitted my resume to Family Life. The funny thing was that now that the Lord leading me in a particular direction, I didn't want to go! I told the Lord anything but youth ministry! After everything I went through with helping raise my 11 siblings I didn't want anything to do with kids! The Lord worked a miracle in my heart though and gave me back my love for teens and children - after I re- surrendered to Him.
The rest is history now! I still question why I'm here some days when things get tough, but only when I take my eyes off Jesus. Looking back, how can I doubt His calling? At 21 I'm only a few years older than most of my "kids". But I'm learning that whom the Lord calls He equips! Jeremiah 1:6-7 challenges me! It says: "Ah, Lord God! Behold I cannot speak, for I am a youth! But the Lord said to me; Do not say, I am a youth, For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak."
So my treasure is as it says here : "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us..." 2Cor 4:7 . that it really Is in the excellence of God's Power. That's the only reason I'm here!