Talk about culture shock! When my family and I arrived in Garrett County Maryland I felt God certainly made a huge mistake. How could a family from Northern Virginia, accustomed to millions of people, cars and houses, possibly minister to this laid back community 3,000 feet above sea level? As we traveled to candidate for the church I was praying and trying to convince God that He wasn't really calling us to this ministry! I was sure He was confused and thought we were someone else! However I knew the moment we pulled onto the church parking lot that this was going to be our new home. The next 5 1/2 years are history but the ministry proved to be many things for our family. For me it was a time of incredible spiritual growth and a great lesson that God can use anyone to do anything if we are obedient to His call, willing to step out of our comfort zone and exercise faith in Him.
"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." Jeremiah 29:11.
God has an awesome plan for each of our lives but many times we restrict His work when we demonstrate a lack of faith. We tend to place ourselves in a neat little box, become very comfortable and cozy with life and evaluate things using our own strengths and abilities as a gauge. This often brings discouragement because we are only capable of seeing the possible. Things that appear impossible create fear in us which causes us to reject the challenge God strategically places before us. When there is a lack of faith risk can be a very intimidating factor when making decisions.
When God placed a burden for youth ministry on my heart I was totally puzzled and scared to death! How could a former banking officer pastor a group of screaming teens whose character often resembled roller coaster emotions and raging hormones? I knew absolutely NOTHING about pastoring young people and brought zero experience in ministry to the table. My focus for the past 18 years had been my career. Yes, I was afraid to accept the challenge God was presenting me. I was anxious to remain in my little comfortable box while I attempted to figure out what it was that a full-time pastor's wife was supposed to do. But as I began to seek God's face for guidance and direction my heart became very heavy. God penetrated my heart with excitement, anticipation, enthusiasm, new ministry ideas and peace!
God definitely equips the called. When He begins to nudge our heart and whispers that it is time for us to step out of our comfort zone and do something for the Kingdom, He gives us everything we need to accomplish the task. I had no idea where God was going to lead me in this venture. This was a huge leap of faith for me. Looking back I can honestly say those were some of the most precious and rewarding years of my ministry. Several of the young men (including our son Brandon) are ministers. To think that maybe I played a small part in encouraging them to take a risk for Christ excites me. What if I would have ignored God's calling? What if I had refused to take that risk and remained in my small box? What if my faith would have wavered and I would have refused to accept God's challenge?
I love Him so much and am excited about what He continues to do in my life. I anxiously wait with anticipation as He continues to open new doors for me. God orchestrated the impossible early in my ministry. He desires to do that in each of our lives. Faith is a major component in our walk with Christ. Lack of faith will hinder the work God has called us to accomplish. I encourage you - be willing to take a risk, demonstrate faith in Him and watch God do the rest.