My life radically changed eight years ago.
I'm one of those type-A, structured people who makes plans. I love to put things on a list and check them off. In January of 2005, I was a Junior in college. I was planning on graduating early and moving to Nashville to pursue a career in the music industry. Before I go into the story, let me back up a little bit...
In the fall of 2004, I started teaching a small group of 8th grade girls, and little did I know how much that role would change my life. I was terrified of teaching... of being inadequate, of not knowing enough, and basically terrified of a group of 8th grade girls. Looking back on that year, I learned way more from them than I actually taught them.
Now back to January 2005... I was sitting in a student ministry leader meeting on a Sunday night, and the Lord spoke so clearly to me that night that he was calling me into full-time ministry. There haven't been many occasions in my life that the Lord has spoken so clearly like he did that night. The Lord used a variety of ways to confirm this call, but no one was more surprised than me. Over the next few weeks, I sat down with as many people as I could to ask about their call to ministry. It was incredible to see how the Lord worked in such different ways in each of our lives. I'm so grateful that I was surrounded by friends and family who helped me walk through this process.
|with Christie, Courtney, Melody and Jackie|
|March 1, 2006 - my baptism|
|with Rob and the Smith family (Michael, Kim & Hannah)|
Looking back on the last eight years, they are full of spiritual markers. This morning, my pastor talked about the memorial stones that the Israelites set up in Joshua 4. As I look back, I'm so thankful for the memorial stones that are in place in my life. I've been challenged, learned lessons I'll never forget, and these are all markers of the Lord's faithfulness. I'm so glad that my plans didn't work out. He is so much better than he has to be. I'm excited to see what the next eight years have in store.
This is one of my favorite passages...
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified."