Sunday, July 01, 2007

How I got the "call"........

It's a sweet Sunday afternoon here. The wind is blowing and Kennedy's taking a nap....the girl's are outside playing with Kris so I thought, well it's quite and I have a little bit before we head over to some friend's for dinner tonight so this is a good time to write about how I got the call into ministry.

I believe that we are all born with a purpose, greater than we may ever know or understand. But we are all placed on this earth for a reason. The bible sates continually that we are here for God's purpose, which I have come to understand is so much bigger than anything I could ever comprehend! But, when I think back to the time when I knew God was calling me.......I have to go WAY back. I remember as a child, an eagerness to know God and just to love him. I had a very sensitive spirit and would often be crushed....I see so much of myself in Taylor with her eagerness to tell other's about the Jesus she has come to love in her own time.

I remember one night, I must have been 7 or 8 years old, and I was laying in bed. I began to really question my salvation. My mom had always told me that at the age of 4 I accepted Christ in my heart......and I totally believe I did, but there were many times through my childhood and teen years where I questioned whether or not my heart was right when I made those decisions. I have chosen to do things differently with my girls......not that my mom "didn't do" things right......but I have written down the exact date when Taylor and Hope have made their decisions to follow Christ. They have these bibles and they will always know, and go back to that specific date when the chose Christ. My prayer and hope for them is that they will never question their salvation. Ok so back to my night I was laying in bed and I was saying to God silly things like......"Please make my noise itch right now if I truly am a Christian." I'm NOT kidding, I went through a million things like that and NOTHING happened. This is when I learned the hard to swallow lesson that "You don't TEST God."

So my mom came upstairs and I was very upset......God was not playing my game with me. We went through the plan of salvation again, and I believe I accepted Christ for real that night. Throughout my elementary and middle school years God brought some amazing people into my life that I believe were sent to guide me into my calling. I've written before about my amazing youth group leader, Amy, that would spend hours just with me. We were so close and she was truly like a sister that I never had. Then I think of the many mentors I had in high school. When we lived in Japan is where I started to break free from my roots of the church. A lot of stuff happened there and I don't wish to walk down that road at this when we moved here to Charlotte, NC we began attending Hickory Grove Baptist Church.

I was very nervous our first Sunday there. There was a girl I met, that I thought I could be good friends with, it was her first Sunday too and not ever knowing it, but she would end up as my worst enemy in this world. (well in high school years anyway!) The first year we lived here was rough.......just trying to fit in with a group that had been friends since babes. But God was good and I began to find good Christian friends........some at church.....some at school. However, I still always felt like an outsider at that church. I don't know why, and I don't think anyone did anything or anyone really thought of me that way, but I just had a hard time "fitting in". I guess it's pretty normal at that age.

Well, all during my high school years particularly my junior year, I really felt my heart was changing. I was still your typical boy crazy, clothes shopping, talking on the phone girl......but I noticed that my quiet times at home were becoming very "deep". One night at Wednesday night youth group, that is when I began to feel God call me into the mission field. A girl was giving her testimony about how God was calling her to do amazing things in other countries. Now, mind you, I had just been around the world and back......I was NOT even close to thinking about God calling me "away" again. But oh I was wrong........

My youth pastor, gave an invitation that night.........and this wasn't your normal invitation. This was a invitation to listen to God's voice and feel lead by Him to see if He was calling me to go on this mission trip to Africa. I will never forget sitting there and feeling my heart about to jump out of my chest..........That is the holy spirit working. I raised my hand and I knew that God was telling me it was time to go.........again. I thought for SURE I would be surrounded by my friends and everyone else had this call on their life too.......right??? WRONG. I was the ONLY one. You know, and in high school gotta follow everyone else right??!!! HA!!

When I got home that night.......I said so casually, "Mom, I'm going on a mission trip to Africa.....I don't know how I'm gonna get the money, but God's called me to go and tell these people how much He loves them, so I am." My mom was like, "WHAT???!!!!".............I wasn't expecting that, I thought she'd be like, Ok, let me know what I can do to help. So God allowing a mother to see her daughter's calling at the age of 17 was a huge challenge as well. Then to top it off I had an "overly religious" boyfriend who was so jealous that I was going and HE was not. Many challenges faced me and you know what? I NEVER once thought twice about it.......I NEVER said, "Oh I don't think I'm supposed to's just to complicated."

I never questioned God, I never even thought about the dangers and the sicknesses that I could face while doing this dad took me to get all the shots I needed to go on this trip, and being the typical "I don't want to mess with this dad".....he tells the nurse to give me everything I need AT ONCE. Gotta love him! Not only did I faint in the office, but I ended up VERY sick that night. Then I thought, "Oh dear Lord, what am I doing???" But, that quickly passed and I was fine! =)

So the time came and I went on this amazing trip to Africa..........and life changed forever. My heart was so overwhelmed with love for those people that I long for the day I can go back and wrap my arms around them again. But what came from that was a passion............a passion to show other's the love of Christ and not shove it down their throats. These people had never even heard the name Jesus.....and yet they were SO RECEPTIVE to it. The concept that someone loved them so much that He died to save their souls was so fulfilling.......there were not "but how about this?" "and what about this?" It was just, YES, I accept his love no matter what! That by far was the most fulfilling trip of my life.

Later on in my senior year I went on a mission trip to Jordan..........YES JORDAN. This was in 1999 wasn't as scary as it is now for a Christian to go to that country. The biggest difference was Africa, where they have nothing and I mean NOTHING......they are so receptive to receive God's grace, it's what they hold onto forever.........but in Jordan, I would go round and round in circles with those people trying to help them grasp the concept of "grace" and "forgiveness" and the fact that someone would die on a cross for their salvation. I think in Africa I led 25+ people to Christ.......... in Jordan........I don't remember one.

Oh I could go on and on about this, and maybe I will include more of these experiences on this blog........but what I want to show you is from all of this is how I know God has called me. You see, I had gotten way off the path after I graduated from High school.....and I've already explained much of that. But just because I steered away from the call doesn't mean it's gone. Our calls are always there. I believe that God will use the good and bad experiences I've had in this life to help others.........I believe every hard and awful thing I've gone through is all for the greater of HIS glory, NEVER EVER MINE. And what is His glory? That other's may come to love Him and Know HIM more through all of life's experiences.

So has my call changed? I don't know.......I don't know if I will ever be a full-time missionary that at one point in my life I thought I would be.......I know right now, my biggest mission field are these three girls. I also know that Christ has called me and everyone to love our that is also my calling, to love other's, be hospitable, be giving, be forgiving, be graceful, serve and just to grow in HIM right now. What that leads to further down.....I don't know. I would LOVE to be a writer and an encourager of Christ. I'm not one to beat the bible on someone's head and say "REPENT OR DIE." =) those who know me can smile at that........that's so not me!

Whenever I feel myself getting away from the gifts and talents the Lord has given me.....I always feel that deep down turning in my stomach. So there you have it......well, this has turned into a very long blog writing session.......I had to take a break to take the girl's for a walk! =) So, now I'd better scadoodle away! Have a very blessed Sunday!!!

Walking by Faith and NEVER by sight,


Lisa said...

Enjoyed your post today. I was saved at the age of 8 but feel like I scared into it. Long story for another time but that call that you feel like God has called you to do, Hold on to it, it will come to past.

Sharon said...

I enjoyed this post. After I finished reading it I began to wonder how old you you know I just had to check your profile. You go girl......I guess I am the old one. :)
Isn't it great that we don't have to be old in years to be old in the Lord. I'll take old in the Lord any day.
Maybe one day soon I'll have to write down my calling story. Also two years ago I took a mission trip to San was incredible.
I hope you have a great dinner with your friends. Talk to ya later.

Karen said...

Well I really enjoyed "How you got the call..." I think it might make a good title for a book. You could collect stories from people and then put it in a book. I would love to hear Sharons calling story, and would like to know why Lisa felt scared into it, and what changed it for her. I think it is a good thing to remind yourself where it all began. It is easy to forget in the busy days. The book would probably be a best seller and you would end up on Opera. (Ill spring for the hair color and cut when that happens)

Where the heck was I when you were going all those places?? Funny how you can be in the same family and not know what is happening. Maybe when you were in Jordan, you planted seeds but had to come home before you could see them sprout. They probably just needed more water and sun shine.

I really think that your new home is where you will pick up on your mission again. Well I mean you already are, but I think you will begin with your community first and then move on. If you got the calling then you got the calling. Collect those stories! A persons experience is the best way to guide. But not everyone can write, and that my dear is where I think you come in.

I had another dream that you were pregnant so I really think prosperity is coming your way.

I am quite proud of my self that I finally figured out how to respond on this blog. I never saw that little icon at the end of the post or what to do until one day I saw it and had the thought to click on it.

Well chow and a good day to you.

Aunt Karen

Nicki said...

Yes dear Auntie, I am so proud of you for discovering the "comment" button!! =) Hee!!!

What a fabulous idea about the book.....maybe one day!!! Thanks for your encouraging words! I appreciate them so much!! And I will be taking you up on that hair cut when I make it to Ms.Oprah!! =) HA!!!!

You better stop with those dreams that I'm pregnant! =) But, I hope you're right, I hope better things are on the way! It's been a rough year!

Well, thanks for stopping by!! i'd leave a comment on your blog....but.......=)well, you know! posts are good Auntie...they are a good thing! You should try it.....get all those thoughts out there!