As I sit here and reflect on the past nine years of ministry, I am overwhelmed with all God placed in my heart, what He has done, provided, and completed. It has been far more above and beyond all that I could have imagined (Ephesians 3:20).
When I took the initial step to move out with God in 2010, I knew God called me into full time ministry. Yes, I fearfully took the leap with excitement and great anticipation. Although, at times, the only way to do something is to do it afraid. Relying on God will always be the pathway to knowing it is not all about you, but all about what God can do. However, this doesn’t mean you sit on the sidelines and be the best cheerleader you can be. No, it means you get in the game with the talents and gifts God has given you and allow Him to develop them along the way. Just as Joshua and the priests had to put their feet into the water to cross the Jordan (Joshua 3:13), I had to take that step of faith and trust God with the outcome. And the same is true for you!
Has God placed a dream or desire in your heart? Once He gives you the green light to go after those dreams, you must make a move. A pursuit of excellence is what will distinguish you from someone else who goes after it half-heartedly. Go after your dream with an “I-will-finish-this-task” mentality. Is 2020 the year you take that risk? If you don’t take the risk, it may be the one thing you regret at the end of your life. If God is asking you to go after your dream with an “I-will-finishthis-task” mentality, how are you performing the task? Have you fallen short of aiming high? If yes, what will it take for you to refocus?
Let me share how it all started for me. I hope it will be an encouragement to you. . .
In 1996, while I was sitting in the audience listening to the speakers at a Women of Faith event in my hometown, the words of a counselor who cared for me in a hospital for three months during my illness ran through my mind: Someday you will be sharing your experience with others. It was at that event I felt God calling me into a teaching/speaking ministry. I didn’t share this with anyone but my mother-in-law, who attended the conference with me. Even during my battle with Cushing’s syndrome, I knew there was more to life than “just” surviving. I felt that God may use my story in a way that would encourage others. At the time, it was hard to understand God’s will in it all, and even when I felt His call, I didn’t know what it would look like. Yet, I still trusted Him with the outcome . . . or did I?
Although I felt God’s call on my life in 1996, it was a twelve-year wait until I received my first invitation to share at another church. Honestly, there were times when I wondered why. Why, God, have You not opened the door yet? But during this twelve-year period of preparation, I would feverishly immerse myself in God’s Word through multiple Bible studies, as well as work in various ministries. Each experience built on the previous one and prepared me for the open door God called me to enter through years later. Yes, sometimes I felt discouraged that God didn’t move a little faster in the process. I wanted to hurry Him along. But through a tough lesson, God showed me that He wanted me to be willing to speak to one woman first rather than a multitude. What God wanted and what I thought were very different. Humbled by a song I was listening to while waiting to pick up my then preschooler, I heard God speak to my heart, “Are you willing to speak to one person?”
When I finally bent my knee to His plan and became willing to speak to just one person, God began His plan, not mine. What I thought would be a call to reach multitudes, God meant for an audience of one.
Likewise, at times you may wonder, Is this what God wants from me? His calling on my life seemed to take longer to develop than I anticipated. Yet, through the waiting, I came to know God in a deeper way. He showed me more about Himself, and I realized that the preparation time was necessary for this season of my life. If I had stepped ahead of God, it would have been a complete train wreck. I would definitely not have been prepared. Yet now, in His timing, I am walking in the fullness of His calling. I don’t always know the next step, but I’ve learned to trust Him and just follow Him for the day ahead of me.
I share this personal story to say that God builds upon some of your darkest moments in order to accomplish His will.
I know you may find it hard to embrace some of your experiences as God’s plan. However, in every place a purpose exists, and it’s up to you to experience this purpose to its fullest. Regardless of the situation, you can control only one thing—your attitude. Oh, others can affect your attitude, but you get to choose how you will respond. Will you have a Promised Land attitude, or a wilderness attitude? One of expectancy and joy, or one that displays complaining and woe-is-me?
Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
I am sure as you look in the rearview mirror, hindsight is 20/20. Hindsight is a gift because you learn from what has happened in the past, gain an understanding for the future, and develop better skills to share with those you lead. At times, though, you can become stuck in the past, looking at either failures or successes. Yes, draw wisdom from all the experiences to move forward with better insight; however, you may need to refocus on where God is taking you in the future. Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author, said it best when he wrote, “Life can be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”
Proverbs 4:25-27 from The Passion Translation (TPT):
Set your gaze on the path before you. With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead, ignore life’s distractions. Watch where you’re going! Stick to the path of truth, and the road will be safe and smooth before you. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment or take the detour that leads to darkness.
God has kept you alive and given you opportunity for fruitful living. Yes, fruitful living! So, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to live your life to your fullest potential? Or are you going to settle for ease and comfort?
Revelation 3:7 (NIV) says, “These are the words of him who is holy and true . . . .What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
Aim to please God and not man. If you choose to trust God alone, you will end up right in the middle of what God has called you to for this specific time and place. “Behold, He will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? He will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
What you do with the opportunities given to you is your gift back to God through your response, action, and commitment.
Take the leap? Ready or not, let’s go!
- Keep your focus on Jesus!
- Move out with passion to what He has set before you
- Work at it with all your heart
- Give Him all the glory
So, here we are entering our tenth year of ministry. Reflecting. Evaluating. Dreaming.
Reflecting on all God has done through More of Him Ministries:
- Opened doors to speak in the US and Canada
- Partner with LifeWay
- Write: Author 5 books and 2 Bible studies with DVD series
- Provide a leadership conference for women, SHE Leads leadership conference
- Trained over 2500+ women through SHE Leads
- Reached over 10,000 women through retreats, conferences, and events
- Built a vibrant network and leadership team
- Seen lives changed and transformed
Evaluating where we want to go:
- Nationally offer SHE Leads leadership conference (we already have a SHE Leads scheduled for TN March 2020)
- Continue to build a valuable and extensive network
- Build into the next generation of leaders, moms, and women through local and national conferences
- iMOM conferences
- Prayer to continue the work God has begun. Continued good health.
- A team mission trip to help develop women leaders across the US and other countries
- Administrative assistant
- Provide a “drop in” prayer room location in the Lehigh Valley
What is God putting in your heart for 2020 and beyond? What is He calling you to dream big about?
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Journeying with Him,