John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Gift

Have you ever received an anonymous gift? Have you ever given a generous gift anonymously?

On Saturday in the mail, I received a remarkable gift. A sweet card and a copy of my account at Wesley Theological Seminary where someone had deposited money for me to continue to take classes.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to thank this person. I searched the card to clues. No return address. No sign AT ALL of who would possible give so generously and NOT tell me who they are or why they wanted to give this amazing gift to me.

Just when I started to doubt my calling, I have been renewed. Praise God to this person. Praise God to the people who believe in my calling. Praise God for you.

During my 200th post giveaway, I allowed you to ask me questions and there were several about my faith and calling. Here are my answers to your questions:

misszippy said... I have two ministers in my family. Both say they received clear "signs" from God that that was the path to follow. How did you know it was what you were supposed to do?


Heather said... I like a previous commenters question about a "sign" that may have happened for you to enter the ministry.

I have to admit that I first felt called to ministry, youth ministry in 1997. I was teaching a youth sunday school class during summer break from college. My class started with a few Middle High students and by the end of the summer, the class had to move to another classroom because there were so many students. Before I headed back to college I asked several students why they came to my class. The answer that I remember the most was: You make learning about God fun and you don't judge us.

Wow, talk about a sign. How did I make it fun and why didn't I judge?  But I really struggled (and still do) with women in ministry and was not prepared to take the next steps. I delayed and delayed and finally when I was in Hong Kong, studying abroad, I felt God calling me into ministry. It is a VERY long story; but basically, I was placed in an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus, to share with them the peace that I had through Christ. Despite feeling COMPLETELY unworthy and not wanting to be the one to share this, I did - well, God did through me. And I knew... that God could use a women... God could use me.

Updating My Status... said... How long have you been a Christ-follower? And what are your plans once you finish seminary? 


S Club Mama said... 

my question is: what do you want to do after seminary? head pastor, children's pastor, youth pastor, women's pastor? something else? 

I grew up in the Catholic Church, went to a Southern Baptist College, and then attended a Methodist Church. I have always believed in God. I would have to say that I became a born-again Christian in 1996 at a Christian Student Union Meeting at my college. I was officially re-Baptized - meaning I made the decision, not my parents, in 1999.

After seminary, well, I would like to say that I will go where ever God leads me, but I doubt that answers your question. I am studying Youth Ministry. I specifically feel called to work with Middle and Senior High Students, but I do not want to place limits on God. I really want to show youth, people that there is hope through Christ and I want to love - show this love, not judgment. Whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or something else or believe in nothing else, I want you to know LOVE and PEACE and know that there is a HOPE and that we are ALL here for a purpose.

I may not be a typical Christian ministry student in that I do not preach that Christ is the only way, but I believe that God comes to each of us and it is a personal relationship - a choice. God wants to KNOW each of us individually. I believe that being Christ-like, which is what being a Christian means - and showing Christ's love, people will want to know Christ. After all, Jesus ate with everyone and was even criticized for it. But Christ's love is all-encompassing and AMAZING... and if you can't see it through my actions, my words and my love, then I am not fulfilling my calling. I am FAR from perfect and have many flaws, and I sin daily... but I am SAVED by the grace of God through his only son Jesus Christ.

sAm said... And yes...I do have a question...have you always led a faith driven life or did you come into it later? No good reason for my question - I just find it very inspiring your walk with God and was wondering if you have always had the strong faith you show.

I cannot say that I have always lived a faith driven life. I think I consciously made the decision to follow Christ in 1996. Does this mean that I am sinless and perfect - IN NO WAY. I have many struggles but the difference is that I KNOW that Christ loves me despite all of my flaws, sins - really despite me. And that God can use little ole me too.  I re-dedicate my life to Christ too. Almost every Sunday when I take communion, I view it is another form of asking Christ to come into my heart and to guide me and help me live for Him.

Terri said... And here is my question, although you can ignore it if it's too personal: Do you ever have times that test your faith? If so, how do you handle them?

Testing of my faith. I have to answer this question a little differently than maybe you had intended it. I read it like: Do you ever question God? And my answer is YES! Of course!  Things happen and I do not understand them like my friend's niece who was born with a liver issue and just had a transplant from her father and then had a blockage in her little artery and I just want to scream out: WHY GOD? Hasn't this little baby suffered enough? Can't you give her a little break? Or with the earthquakes and tsunamis and other world disasters... I just feel like this horrible things are happening and how does this show God's love for us.

But I have FAITH. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11. I know "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

So I struggle with things. I ask questions and even sometimes I find the answers. Bottom line for me is that I have to trust God. I have to have faith that God knows what is best and I should glorify God even in the most horrible situations and not just when everything is wonderful.

Sara said... My question for you - is running ever spiritual for you or do you feel like it is time for you to be closer to God?

Running is VERY spiritual for me. When I first started to lose weight, I never ran with music or with a partner... besides God. I used my runs to pray, talk, listen, plead... be with God. I have been blessed with several AMAZING "conversations" with God during some runs. I even had a conversation with my brother (who is in Heaven) on my first 11 mile run (read about it HERE). Most of my short runs are alone and this is my time with God... and when I do not have that time, I am lost. And HERE is a time when my real running partner was revealed.

Now my long runs are with Bob or TriGuy but I have to say that each other them have been a blessing from God as well. That faithful morning in May when I met Bob (you can read about it HERE) and boy were my first impressions of him wrong. And now some long runs are with TriGuy - who takes me faster as I take him further... and who will teach me all he knows about Triathlons as I try to compete in my first one in 2011.


I still have more questions to answer, but I will save them for another post. Know you are blessed and remember the best gift of all - Jesus!


coach dion said...

My Brother is a Prest and every time I see him at the front of the Church I am so proud of him. I hope your friends and family are proud of you.

Terri said...

What a great post! :) Thank you for sharing with us - I know there are great things ahead of you!

misszippy said...

I love your "take" on Christianity. What a great approach and one that I'm sure resonates with many!

How wonderful that you received that gift! You have obviously inspired someone along the way. A couple of my friends and I just dropped an anonymous massage gift card in the mail to another friend who has had a tough go of it lately. It was so much fun to think about her receiving it!

Janet said...

Your response might be a little confusing. You do believe that Christ is the only way say that you dont preach that, but you go on to basically say that you do. Faith and belief in Jesus Christ IS the only way. It is hard to preach about Heaven and Hell and to know that people will in fact go to one place or another. but if anyone sugar coats it, then you might do a more harm than good. I am your sister so I know what you believe, so when I read this it seemed that it might confuse people.