How I Became an Egalitarian: Discovering My Calling

This is Part 3 in a series that started here.

With the troublesome verse resolved in my mind, I threw myself into knowing God more.

For me, learning about Jesus was like discovering a long lost treasure after an epic journey.  I had spent my whole life looking for him, and now that I had found the one who gave me meaning and purpose, hope and fulfillment, and love beyond comprehension; I wanted everyone else to see what I saw and feel what I felt!

So it was natural for me to start encouraging the other students in the youth group that I had joined.  They had had the privilege and opportunity to learn about Jesus their whole lives, but I noticed that many of them didn’t seem very eager and excited about learning from the Bible.  I wondered why they were so uninterested.  Perhaps it was because they hadn’t yet really tasted and seen God!  I wanted to show them.  And this is how my journey in ministry began.

Before long, Pastor Gee asked me to become a part of a group which had the purpose of encouraging spiritual growth in others in the youth group.  I made visitations to other students and encouraged and prayed for their relationships with God.  As a culmination of our goal, two of of the team members (Sam and Pam) and I envisioned and planned a retreat that we called “All or Nothing”.  The main thrust of the retreat is that you must either be “all” for God or “nothing” at all.  There is no halfway in between.  No sitting on the fence.

My greatest contribution to this retreat was a covenant that I wrote for everyone to sign, as God led and as they chose.  To sign it meant to surrender all of ourselves completely to God.  The “all” was defined in detail:  your thought life, your love life, your friendships, your family life, your school work, your future career, etc.  I signed and gave it all to Jesus, knowing that he had already signed and given everything to me.

Shortly after this retreat, I entered my first year of college and was asked to be a youth advisor for the youth group.  I was eager to keep encouraging others to keep giving their all to God.  The elder youth advisors (Auntie Jan and Uncle Iewen) encouraged me to take an equal role in leading the high school group at Friday Night Fellowships.  They didn’t hesitate to ask me to speak to the group or even to leave me in charge of the fellowship when they couldn’t make it.

In the spring of my freshman year of college, after several months of serving as youth advisor, I heard God’s call.  It happened rather unexpectedly.  I was driving Mary, one of  the girls from the youth group, home from church one evening.  As we were talking, I just felt this sense of destiny inside of me — that sense of knowing that this is what my life is meant to be all about — so much so that I bursted out,

“I want to do this for the rest of my life!”

Mary looked at me surprised.  After I explained to her what I meant, she asked me, “So what does this mean?”

I didn’t know.  I had never thought of it up to that moment.

The next morning, I asked God that very same question, “So what does this mean, Lord?  Was that really you prompting me?”  I had a lot of questions for God that morning, and he had a lot of answers.  One of which was the reminder that I had given my all to Jesus — including career.  Had I really meant it?  My answer of course was yes.

But what about my parents (who were not believers)?  What about money?  What about –?  I thought of many different obstacles, and the future just seemed full of hardships.  In the midst of all my questions and doubts, a Bible reference appeared in my mind, “James 1:12”.  I didn’t know what James 1:12 was or whether or not to believe that it was God or the figment of my imagination, but I decided to look it up.  What I read took my breath away —

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

It was no coincidence that the verse addressed my questions directly.  And I knew in my heart that God was saying to me that the road ahead was not going to be easy, but it was going to be worth it.

So that day in March of 1998, I said yes to God to serve him in full time ministry.

But what did full time ministry mean for me?  As I looked back on my short history in ministry, I could see clearly that God had given and affirmed me (through others) in shepherding and pastoral gifts, but surely God was not calling me, a woman, to be a pastor?  I did not believe he was calling me to be a pastor, even though in my heart of hearts, I knew that was exactly what I was created to do.  I thought maybe I could pursue biblical counseling — or somehow become a pastor’s wife.

My two best friends, Sam and Pam, had felt God calling them to become missionaries.  I loved that we all felt called to ministry, but I was secretly glad he was not calling me to be a missionary!  Or was he?  God would make me come back to this later.

Click here for the next part in the series.

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