Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm a published author!

{Vote for your favorite Pinterest Challenge Piece here}

A few years ago I wrote a handful of articles for a women's magazine called "Radiant".  (If you've heard of Relevant, it was the women's version of that).  I really enjoyed writing these articles and thought I'd share them here every now and then.  You didn't know I was a published author, did you?!  

Writing is in my blood.  I loved it - even before I had my own blog.  So... taking you back to my very first one: February 2006

“Mishaps in Ministry”

Having my parents over to my college apartment for dinner could only mean one thing – there was something serious to be said.  We awkwardly talked through the meal about the weather or what was going on in school until there was no more food to eat or topics to discuss.  Only one thing was left.

I blurted it out;

“Mom, Dad – I think I’m going to commit a year of my life to full time ministry”.

These words weren’t new to them, but when I would bring up mission work before, I’m not sure I ever really communicated.  Instead of hearing that their daughter was thinking of dedicating the 22nd year of her life to ministry, I’m pretty sure all they heard was;

“Mom, Dad – thank you for paying for all four years of a private university.  I am now going to waste the degree you paid for and depend on all our family and friends for monetary support until I figure out what I really want to do with my life”.

Amazingly, God had worked in both my parent’s hearts that week.  By the time my dinner arrived, they were totally behind my year in missions.  It’s not that my words were magical this time, but we were in a more conducive atmosphere to talk – not in line at the grocery store or sitting in church two minutes before the service started. 

But that still left one great question:  How did I know God was calling me to be a full time missionary?

I always smile when I ask newlyweds how they knew their significant other was The One.  Their answers are ALWAYS the same – the universal “you just know”.  While I’m not sure it’s fair to compare ministry to marriage, it wasn’t that clear for me.

I didn’t just know

I had realized my heart for disadvantaged youth and wondered if God was calling me to minister to them full time or to use my degree to teach them academically.  The battle between my head and my heart during those years was intense.  It was hard to tell who was winning, or who was even supposed to win.

My heart would tell me that God wanted to use 100% of my life for ministry, and my head would convince my heart that I wasn’t pure enough, smart enough, or holy enough to be in full time mission work.

I finally stopped listening to both and searched the Word for what God said.  Coming across 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 my eyes opened and mouth dropped as God so clearly spoke to me.  “…Think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (NLT).

That was all the convincing I needed.  God knew I was weak.  In fact, that’s exactly why He called me to mission work.  He works best through the weak people of this world.  And boy was I weak.

My first time sharing Christ on the street corners taught me my first lesson in ministry – never go evangelizing alone.  Not only is it better to bring someone along to teach them how to share the Gospel, but it deters most guys more interested in your phone number than your life-saving message.

Never try to compete with pizza when it comes to sharing Jesus with kids.  Right after asking who would like to become a Christian at a Bible Club, the pizza guy came – the rest was history.  As crucial and important as the Gospel is, in a child’s mind, the pizza just smells better.

When working with bi-lingual youth, it’s best to actually understand both languages – otherwise you will be supervising a student-led Spanish Kids Club totally oblivious to the fact that they are accidentally reading about staying away from lewd women instead of honoring their Mother and Father.

In light of these funny mishaps, my six months as a full time missionary have constantly reminded me of how weak I really am – how little I can do apart from Christ. 

Here I am, a small white girl from the Midwest who has never touched any illegal substances or seen the inside of a jail.  I’ve never been molested or abused or homeless as so many of the people I minister to have. 

Yet, His power is perfected in my weakness.

My weakness is lack of experience and knowledge.  His power is in the fact that He can use me anyway.

God is using me, a 22 year old virgin, to teach women in a rehab home about good parenting skills, moving from brokenness to wholeness, and how to break the bonds of prostitution, alcohol and drugs. 

God is using me, a college graduate with no knowledge of the latest drug lingo, to spend a weekend with 30 abused, sexually molested, high school dropouts and drug-ravaged teens in order to point them to the hope they have in Jesus Christ.

God is using me, one of three children to never know what it’s like to be without family, food or home, to talk to homeless people on busses and street corners about their faith.

I realistically cannot relate to any of their experiences and trials – I cannot tell them that I know how they feel – yet somehow they are blind to that.  God is using me despite my upper middle class upbringing to reach the poor and oppressed of this world.

God wants to use you, too – right where you are.

We, as Christians, are all called to full time ministry, no matter what our profession or career.  We are all commanded to make disciples and teach them about Christ – despite our experiences, or lack there of.

So, as your eyes turn from this article and you close out of, remember this – you are now entering your mission field.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails