Have you ever been through a time of transition in your life? Do you ever find yourself knowing what’s coming next, and what God is calling you to do, but also dealing with a tension of letting go and moving forward? This is such a difficult season of life for the follower of Christ to go through. It’s an exciting yet difficult time. When God speaks, it’s none the less re-assuring and comforting, but it’s also a charge to let go and step into the unknown.
Recently, and even in the past years, the Lord has led me down this path time and time again. He has put me in one place, and allowed me to experience the joy of that place, people, ministry opportunities, and everything else he wants to teach me through His presence there. I have told many people, especially my closest friends, that God has me on a certain path right now, which seems to differ from many of my friends that are my similar age. I am learning to stay focused on the path God has me on, and not the path God has others on. It’s been quite a journey, and the journey is in some sense just taking off.
I always like to reflect back on the faithfulness of God, and see how far He has taken me. Here recently, I have found myself doing a lot of reflecting and reminiscing. There has been a lot of times throughout the week where I have found my self secluding to a place of solitude. When traveling to different places, getting to see many friends that are spread out, and just reflecting on the incredible places and people God has allowed me to be a part of, that is when I really rest in the provision and faithfulness of the Lord. Reflecting on His faithfulness also allows me to have a clear perspective on the present moment. It is so easy to get caught up in the frustration, discouragement, and confusion of the moment. But God is always working, and one day I will look back on this moment, and have the perspective that He desires.
I want to reminisce and allow you to see what God is doing in my life, in hopes that it may encourage you:
Within the past 6 years, God has taken me to 3 different places, and is now leading me to another one. When I graduated high school, I went to an incredible school and place called Shorter College. In this intimate environment, I experienced ministry and community like I never have before. The two years I spent at Shorter in Rome, GA, God confirmed and clarified my calling to ministry, provided me with a great campus of believers and friendships that I will never forget, and plugged me into an amazing church, with opportunities to help lead and learn from a College Minister and ministry that was flourishing. Academically, I finally discovered effective study habits, and socially, I thrived and enjoyed the friendships that were directly around me. Life on life was happening, and an actual reality every day.
After two years, God was leading me away from Shorter, for several reasons. This calling led me to Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA. As random as this was, it actually wasn’t, because God knew exactly what he was doing. Many many years ago, my family lived in this town, and I actually became a Christian there, at the very church that I plugged back into during my time there in college. I moved to this town barely knowing anyone, starting fresh over. All I knew was that God had called me, and I was called to ministry. I was being led to a secular and worldly environment, where I would firsthand be exposed to what the world and college life was. Drinking, partying, temptations, lust, sin, etc, was directly around me, which I was not used to at Shorter my first two years. I began to go through some serious spiritual warfare, for honestly one of the first times of my life. I felt miserable, lonely, and confused, but God was working the whole time. I pushed through this funk, and after sulking in it so much, I finally decided to not let it overcome me. It was at that point, that real ministry began to happen all around me. I plugged into the leadership of the BCM on campus, that was in serious need of being revived. God brought us a new campus minister, a small leadership team, and a fresh vision. The next year, we not only saw our numbers go from 30 to over 100, but real community and discipleship began to flourish. My two and half years involved in that ministry were encouraging, challenging, and re-affirming of why the Lord brought me there. I also had the opportunity of investing in a small, local church, which was the same one that I was saved and baptized at when I was younger. I re-connected with the Pastor after all those years, and began to invest in the body of Christ. Putting aside my preferences and ideals, the Lord really humbled me, and blessed my time at this church. I also majored in Rhetoric (Communications). Not only was this the most random major in the school (if not world), but the best one for my calling. I experienced a chance to improve my speaking and communicating skills, because I knew ministry was ahead. I can honestly say this major came in handy!
Almost two years ago, Graduation Day was arriving, and the Lord laid in my lap an internship in a place that I had never heard of…Spartanburg, SC. This internship was in the area of college and young adult ministry, at the First Baptist Church. I found this internship myself through an incredible website called “Google”, applied, interviewed, and moved up there the next month. This all occurred in the span of just a couple months.
Here I was again, in transition… I knew God had called me to this place, but I began to wonder why. I began this internship with 15 hours a week at the church, and working part time at Chick-Fila. I also began to take seminary classes at a local extension center. Yes, the beginning of this particular journey was once again, extremely difficult, lonely, intimidating, and confusing, but through my feelings and flesh, Christ remained faithful and victorious. Not even 8 months later, I was bumped up to an Assistant Position, and my opportunities began to increase. Looking back, I never imagined that I would get to experience what I have at First Baptist Church. Not only have I been discipled by some incredible men, including my boss, Phil, who I love so much and has taught me what it looks like to lead and handle God’s Word with urgency, but also my Pastor, who I never thought I would be close with, who is the Pastor of Billy Graham, extremely respected and active not only in the state but around the world. These aspects are incredible, and have humbled me to the extreme. I have had the privilege of being able to preach several times, lead through discipleship, outreach, missions, shepherding, and even learning how to do administrative work. The level of ministry that God allowed me to be a part of here was something I never dreamed of, and all I could do was give God the credit and glory. Why would He allow me to be a part of this? He began to consistently draw me back to Himself, showing me that my pride is weak and feeble, but His power and my dependency on Him was what proved to be effective. God has done nothing but confirm my calling to ministry, and strengthen it even more.
Now why do I tell you this? It’s not to brag, or say “Look at me.” It’s to prove how weak I am, and how Great God is. God chooses to use people like me and you, who are weak and unable, to make us strong and able through His Spirit. I’ve learned that if you surrender, and learn to live life through a perspective of, “It’s yours Lord, freely take me and use me.” You will be beyond blessed and rewarded. You will be stretched, and maybe sometimes picked up and moved somewhere, but God is in it, so why miss out on that?
With that said, God has led me to yet another journey (crazy, I know). Many of you know, but many of you may not. About six months ago, the Lord started to stir in my heart more about ministry, and what may be ahead for me. I have developed a heart for all people, areas of ministry, and people groups. God is taking me somewhere in which I have absolutely no idea where it will take me, but I know it’s Him working. The Lord recently has opened a door for me to finish my Seminary M-Div degree full time, in a place that will literally shape and develop me in a way that will carry weight the rest of my life. The city of New Orleans is not only a broken, evil place, but also a place of need and great harvest potential. It’s a very sinful place, but also a light in the darkness, as many people are laboring and striving for the salvation of many in that city. God led me to this city recently, through several ways, and opened a door for me to not only finish my degree full time there at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, but also learn what it means to have a heart for the lost, and let the Lord shape me in numerous ways. With that said, in about seven weeks, I will be moving down there, to purse my degree and finish sooner than later, in order to not only have it behind me, but for it to allow me to be better equipped in the future for what God is calling me to do! Scary? YEP. Exciting? YEP. Will it be hard to leave where I am now? YES.
I am finding myself now, more open to things than I ever thought I would be. Who knows where I will be after this degree? Maybe back to Spartanburg, maybe staying in New Orleans, or Colorado, New York, Texas, Florida, Australia, or Antarctica. I also have no idea what will happen while I’m at seminary, what opportunities God will give me, and what my days will look like there. That literally is how random and sporadic everything seems right now, but God is sovereign, in control, and on His throne. And I want to be a part of that.
I want to close with looking at Scripture, in hopes that it won’t only encourage and guide me, but you as well.
The life of Paul was one that represents a coming and going, being led by the Spirit. But how did Paul respond when he was being sent from town to town, place to place? What did that process look like for him?
“The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” Acts 23:11
Without covering too much detail, Paul had just been presented before the Sanhedrin because of his proclamation of the Gospel. From day one of Paul’s conversion, he constantly walked, talked, and acted according to the Spirit, being persecuted for his belief and faith in God. But during this persecution, salvation and scores of people came to know Christ. After this beating and hurt in Jerusalem, Christ Himself appeared before Paul, encouraging Him, and speaking to Him of what was to come. He had been wanting to go to Rome for the longest time, but God’s timing wasn’t allowing that just yet. It was coming though. Every season of the mission was crucial.
What’s the point and closing here? Just as Paul was encouraged, but also reminded of what was to come, so are we. Paul had a mission, and a calling, right there in that moment. He couldn’t afford to forget the moment and present, but he also had his eyes on the future and the journey ahead. When we grasp and actively pursue the calling of God TODAY, in the moment in which you find yourself, it is then when the future and next step becomes less anxiety and fear driven, and more exciting and obedient driven. Everything matters, and every season of life matters. The question is, how will we approach our seasons of life, and our willingness to be open according to what God knows is best? As I am learning every day, I hope you will too, that life is too short and fragile to wonder “what if”, or “how”, or “how long”? Not dwelling on these questions literally requires a dying of myself, and it is then when I find freedom and excitement.
Trust in Him, one day, one moment at a time-and know that the future and days to come will be filled with blessings and incredible journeys. The transitions of life are a gift!
Picture taken by OfRen.