“If you feel called to make that commitment, come forward!”
You may have responded to an invitation at some point in your life that began with similar words. I’m going to guess that this one that I responded to was a bit different.
I may have only been in 9th grade, but I was already familiar with that pounding heart thing that the Holy Spirit did inside of me when He wanted me to move. This particular night, the beating was so profound, there was no mistaking God’s intentions. The speaker had asked if anyone had felt called to full time Christian ministry. Honestly, I am not sure I knew what that meant, I only knew I wanted to give my all to Jesus and this seemed to be the next step.
Fast forward three years. High school graduation was over and I was so set! My application was accepted, a roommate assigned and in just a matter for a few short I’d be leaving home to attend a Christian college still committed to the full time Christian ministry decision I had made years prior.
As a female growing up in the ‘80’s, it seemed to me that my options for serving the Lord in this capacity were limited. I assumed this direction I was taking would involve me marry a pastor and spending my life supporting his call to share the gospel from a pulpit. This idea was mostly glamorous to me; a position that was both seen and honored.
Before driving me to the next state to go to school, my parents planned a family vacation that included a long road trip south. Grabbing magazines and books to keep me pre-occupied, I hunkered down in the backseat, preparing to pass away the long hours in the car.
You know that feeling you have when you’ve been broad sided? That’s how I felt as I read a magazine article titled “What it Means to Really Serve God”. A young Christian singer named Keith Green challenged Christians, bringing a raw message on the true meaning of ministry. Ministry meant serving, lowering and humbling yourself. His words gnawed at me, causing me to question my why behind my own pursuit of ministry. I couldn’t honestly say that serving others was the answer.
The next evening of our vacation, my family attended a service where the minister also delivered a hard message: loving God means serving God. Humility and lowering yourself were the key points of his message. God had my attention now.
On the long drive home, once again the magazine drove home the word God wanted me to hear: my plan for ministry for me and His plan for ministry for me were not the same. In fact, not only was the end going to be different, but the path to get there would be too.
When I returned home, I unenrolled in college and stepped out into an entirely different means of ministry training: through service.
I had no idea as a young woman why God would go against the conventional way of going to college for my life plans. Of course, He knew all along that the way He had for me was not to “stand by my man” as he preached, but instead for me to become a “preacher” of sorts. Had I gone my own way, I am sure my faulty me-built confidence could have never held me up. Pride never does. Instead, He had to take me down a humbling road of failures due to my own pride and learning what it means to truly serve in ministry so I could build a Christ Confidence that could stand.
Lynn Cowell is a Proverbs 31 speaker and the author of several books, writing for young girls, teen girls and women of all ages. Her newest book Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You is written for girls ages 8 -12. Make Your Move: Finding Unshakeable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures a Bible study for women releases this fall. Lynn calls home North Carolina, where she and her husband, Greg and the occasional backyard deer are adjusting to life as empty nesters. Along with their three adult children, the Cowells love hiking, rafting and anything combining chocolate and peanut butter.
More about Walk it Out
What Happens When We Read God’s Word and Actually Do What it Says?
Bestselling Author Tricia Goyer demonstrates the powerful work God accomplishes if we are willing to step out in obedience to Biblical commands and His quiet urgings, no matter our fears or feelings of inadequacy.
Walk It Out illustrates the real-life results of listening to the Scriptural mandates such as care for the orphan, serve the poor, go into the world to spread the gospel, and love others of all races. The author’s journey, from accepting Christ’s forgiveness and telling her story of redemption to answering the call to adopt seven children when she least expected, is filled with the exhilarating, radical, unexpected life that we experience when we walk into God’s plans for us.
“I neither planned or expected any of this—from the ten kids to the stamped-up passport. I didn’t accomplish these things by making a list and checking it off. They happened as I took steps of faith to follow God’s directives.” ~Tricia Goyer