I’ve dreamed of using my talents and abilities to serve God and others in full-time ministry. Two years ago, I would have told you (and probably did) that my dream was over, as I returned to Oklahoma after pursuing a missionary career in Asia that didn’t go as planned. What I didn’t know at the time was that God had other plans for me. I learned that what I thought I wanted wasn’t really what I wanted at all. And that God had much better plans for my life than I could ever dream of.
I will remind you that the last two years have not been easy. In fact, they have been some of the most spiritually challenging years of my life. Which is exactly why I want to share praises today and tell how God took what I thought was a ruined ministry career, a broken spirit, and a dreamless future and turned into something beautiful!
This started when I married my best friend in December of 2012, and continues through today as I have officially started a full-time position in LifeGroups and LifeMissions at LifeChurch.tv!!
I first heard of LifeChurch from a friend I met at camp in high school. This friend lived in Oklahoma City and attended one of the first LifeChurch campuses. At that point, I didn’t have the ability to attend LifeChurch myself,, but I did watch Craig’s sermon’s online, read the YouVersion Bible when it was still just a website, and bought all of Craig’s books. My first year of college in Ada, Oklahoma, I continued listening to LifeChurch messages and music. I dreamed of one day working for a church like LifeChurch in media or teaching.
Fast forward to my University of Oklahoma college years, I attended LifeChurch South OKC a few times with friends. I went to a LifeGroup a time or two. But, I found my place at Journey Church, particularly when I was on staff as an intern. Though I went to a different church, I kept up with LifeChurch’s progress as they grew and kept note of the jobs they had available. I never truly thought I would ever get hired at LifeChurch, but I wanted to know what ministry opportunities were out there. Oh, and I should mention, Chris attended LifeChurch beginning in college and he never left 🙂
I found myself in Fort Worth for seminary, then moved to Asia for missions thinking I’d finally made it! Then God interrupted my plans sending me back to Oklahoma to marry Chris and work at a local nonprofit. After visiting a few churches, I started going to LifeChurch with him. I really thought that I would never work in ministry again. Honestly, I was a little upset with God and the church and the whole idea of “being called to ministry” because it hadn’t seemed to work out for me. I didn’t care to finish my seminary degree. I focused on serving others through nonprofit work.
A few months into our marriage, I convinced Chris to move to the metro to cut out my commute. We found ourselves in a wonderful area again searching for a church home. We attended a few that friends recommended, yet again we found ourselves at a LifeChurch campus. It just felt like home.
I had the opportunity (praise God!) in the Spring to finish my seminary degree debt free. I was so close to getting a Master’s that I bit the bullet and decided to go for it. I had no idea why I was actually getting a ministry degree, because I didn’t think I would ever use it. When people asked what I wanted to do with my degree, I truly had no response.
In order to focus my attention on school (since I was in school full-time), I resigned from my position at the nonprofit and began freelancing. This gave me the ability to build my own schedule while still supporting my family, and getting to do what I enjoy. I took a contract position that was only going to last a few months.
With me finishing seminary, my contract position ending in the summer, our apartment contract expiring, and Chris finishing storm season, our family had to make a decision what to do next. This seemed like a great opportunity for a change. Unknown to almost everyone (even today) Chris and I wanted to move back to Southern Oklahoma to be close to family. We thought this would be better for us financially and more comfortable living somewhere familiar. Moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone is hard!!
To prepare for a move, both of us applied for jobs away from the city. We looked into housing options. We even tried to get pre-approved for a home loan. But, nothing was working out. I mean nothing.
And it didn’t make sense. We wanted to be the best stewards of our resources. We were struggling in the city. We missed our families. But the doors just kept getting shut in our faces. Chris and I were both unsure of where we would be or what we would be doing. It was a crazy couple of months.
One weekend, after attending a church service, Chris and I drove home discussing our future. I specifically told him how much I loved LifeChurch, but I missed the wise mentors from my church at home, and I didn’t feel connected to the community where we lived. I actually listed a few things I would improve at our LifeChurch campus to help in these areas if given the opportunity.
Not joking, about one week later there was a job posting in LifeGroups and LifeMissions at our campus!! And the job description allowed for this person to make the very changes I had been telling Chris about on our way home.
This threw a loop in our planning as we’d been looking to move. We had a heart-to-heart about me applying for the job, because it would mean we’d stay in the city. Neither of us really thought I even had a chance at getting the job, as thousands of people apply for LifeChurch jobs each year! But after much prayer and consideration, I applied, putting all of our plans in God’s hands.
A few more weeks went by, and we continued to pursue moving not expecting to hear anything from LifeChurch. Then I got a call and went in for a first interview. And then a second interview. And then the “big” interview. When I was first told I was chosen for the job, I thought they were joking.
For the week after I accepted the position I walked around in a daze thinking that the staff would wake up and realize they made a mistake. When Chris met the staff I just knew they would see how talented he was and decide he was better for the job than me.
Getting the job was seriously such a blessing and such a dream come true that I’m still amazed when I walk into my office each day. I work for one of the best churches in the nation! Using my gifts to help others grow and minister to our city!
So I came back from Nepal, feeling crushed. I was turned down for job after job, feeling desperate. Not serving in “vocational ministry,” feeling inadequate. Trying to move, feeling lost. No home loan, feeling rejected. Living several months in uncertainty, I was angry and frustrated.
Yet, it was all for nothing. Because in the midst of it all, God had a plan. Looking back it’s beautiful and miraculous and phenomenal. As excited as I am for this new job, I’m even more excited and enthralled at the way God has woven this all together.