In the last few days, a college friend of mine, in fact my old cheerleading partner was posting about his time preaching at a local camp. Now this is not any local camp, this is THE CAMP (Marietta Baptist Camp) that I pretty much grew up going. I started in the 3rd grade as a camper, at 15 I got to be an LIT (Leader in Training) and from 19-22, I was on staff as a counselor and program director.
While looking at some of my friend, who was the camp pastor for the week's, pictures and videos, a flood of memories came back to me. One very important memory came back to me. It was the day that I felt God calling me into the ministry, completely and whole heartedly surrendering my life and specifically my career to the Lord. The date was July 5, 1996. I was sitting in the second seat in the second row of the camp chapel. It was as if SOMEONE (God), tapped me on the shoulder with his Heavenly finger and said, "HEY YOU"! In my heart and I really think a little out loud I said, "YES, Lord" Since I grew up as a good Baptist, and going to Sunday School for 19 years, I knew from the story of Samuel and Eli, to say Yes and ask questions later! In His calm, but strong voice He said, "I want your life, your career, I want to be in the driver's seat of your life, and lead and guide you no mater what or where." Being the young and naive nineteen year old that I was, I pretty much figured that God was going to ask me to either be a missionary or a pastor's wives.
Fast forward seventeen years later, at the age of 36, I can tell you that I am neither a missionary nor a Pastors wife. Though I have been on some mission trips and in my college, seminary and single days, I did date some pastors!! Even though I have a Bachelors and Masters in Christian Education and have been on several church staffs, my perspective on "ministry" has changed a little bit. God has taken me on quite a journey these last few years since God took a chance on me that July day. In my twenties I had some great and not so great experiences as a church staff member. Then towards my late twenties I still was a paid staff person in ministry, I was just on staff at a Christian School and not a church. Then God chose to ripped the training wheels off my "standard issue, I can handle it myself" ministry experience.
It all began when my husband (who is by the way not a pastor nor a missionary!), decided we wanted to start a family. As good little Christians, we wanted to "increase and multiply"! Yet, the whole having a family, starting a family thing took us a little bit more effort, and a little bit more time then I would have liked. In fact it took us about two years of medication, treatments and many tears in order to become pregnant. Yet through that experience, God has openned amazing doors for me to minister to other women (and some men too) that have endured the journey of infertility. Not as a paid staff person, but as fellow journeyer on this windy Christian walk. Then after going through the joys of infertility to become pregnant with our first daughter, she decided she was done cooking and wanted out of me at a mere 30 weeks. Again God thrust me into an area of ministry that I never would have chosen for myself, or was even prepared to handle. Through my daughters early arrival, struggle to reach her milestones and some on going development issues, God has allowed me to meet, mingle and minister to people that I my path would not otherwise cross. Now as a thirty-six year old, married, stay at home mom of two preschoolers (one 4 and one almost 7 months), God has me in yet another ministry job. My job now is to be the Bible teacher, meal making, laundry doing, poop cleaning, play date planner, and so on and so on for two of the cutest blue eyed babies!
So to bring this rambling to an end, I write all of this to say that as a Christian we are ALL called to ministry. Whether you are on staff of a mega church, a small country church, a missionary, a teacher, a mentor or a mom, God has placed YOU into a specific position, that HE ALONE has called, cultivated and created. Be encouraged, "He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion!" (Philippians 1:6)