I have been a Christian for most of my life. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was seven years old. As a child, I was very blessed to have the opportunity to attend a Christian school and to learn about my Lord and Savior at a very young age. The seeds that were planted during these years of my life were essential in my development as a follower of Christ. Looking back, I can see that my life is a testament that the Lord’s Word does not return void and that it does not return to Him without succeeding in the matter for which it was sent.
During my high school years, I felt a sincere calling into the mission field and traveled to Kenya for my first trip with Youth for Christ. This was an amazing experience in my life, and it was after this trip that I truly began to believe that God had a plan for my life. Foreign missions still remain very close to my heart, and I travel at least once a year with teams from my church to Europe and South and Central America. These trips give me an incredible opportunity to share God’s Word either in person or through my act of helping to build churches, housing, and orphanages for the local people. Every trip I take gives me a deeper appreciation of all the things I have and all the wonderful things the Lord has blessed me with.
My college years are not a time of my life that I am very proud of. I learned some lessons the hard way, and while I would not change anything in my past, I sometimes wish there had been another way for me to get to the point where I am now in my walk with Christ. It is sad that it took the realization that Jesus was all I had to realize He is all I needed. As each semester passed, my faith played a smaller and smaller role in my life until it was not even on my radar. I began to become very prideful, thinking that I could do anything and everything on my own. I should have remembered that pride comes before the fall. This path I chose began a dangerous downward spiral in my life, and when all that I had placed before God came crashing down around me, I became bitter. It took some time for me to stop blaming God and everyone, but myself.
I praise God that I can now face my future trials with the testimony of God’s faithfulness in my past. Once I realized that everything I had gone through was permitted and even intended by God, restoration began to take place in my life. I had to make a decision if I was going to allow my situation to make me a bitter person or a better person. God did not allow me to experience the pain I felt without serving a higher purpose. When I began to get my priorities straight again, God began to start causing all the events and things in my life to work together for good because I, once again, loved my Lord and was being called according to His purpose.
I have grown closer to the Lord in the last three years of my life than in the rest of my entire walk as a Christian. I can now look back on past experiences through a different lens and from a deeper and more humble perspective. I realize my Master had been preparing me for something so great that words cannot even begin to describe it; each new day was just another step in God’s wonderful plan for my life. While certain events stand out more than others, receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a very special day in my walk with Christ, and this personal revival began a new and important chapter in my life. Praising the Lord is one of the most powerful things I can do, and now I have a direct channel of communication with God to do just that.
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the “Walk to Emmaus,” which is a three-day pilgrimage to draw closer to the Lord. During this time, I heard from the Lord that He was calling me into ministry. He told me, “I needed to take the first step in faith,” and I believe that is what I am doing in applying to receive the education I will need in order to become ordained. God is not a God of mystery, and there is no doubt in my mind of what He is calling me to do. I have prayed about it and have sought godly counsel from my pastors—not to discern the voice of God, but to make sure that what I do lines up with what God wants for my life.
I am not sure where God is going to use me to better His kingdom, but I submit to whatever He is calling me to do. I have never been more certain of anything in my life, and I look forward to the plans He has for me and my family. I am very involved in my church and teach kid’s church on Wednesday nights and Bible study on Sunday mornings. Nothing feels more right than when I share with others what God has done in my life and what God can do in theirs if they will just let Him in. The closer I draw to the Lord, the closer He draws to me. I realize that my life is God’s gift to me, and what I do with it is my gift to Him. Jesus is calling me to follow Him and to feed His sheep. Because of my Lord’s grace, the strength and passion I now have was refined and made perfect in and through my time of weakness.