In our lives there are moments in time that change us and redefine us. You know those moments I am talking about, where something inside of us changes or clicks and we are never the same again.
In my life I could probably pick out a handful of moments that have changed my life. Most of those moments I can honestly say have changed me for the better. They are moments where God showed up, broke me free of lies and released me in new ways to be who He created me to be. They were defining moments.
As I look back over the past few years I can pinpoint specific prayers, moments with God and words spoken to and over me that have brought me to where I am today. And as we enter Thanksgiving week I am struck with great thankfulness for the amount of joy, peace, freedom and excitement I feel in both my life and my ministry. And as I have been communicating this thankfulness to God, I have been contemplating the moments that brought me to today. Although I could write about a vast number of defining moments today I would like to focus on just two…
Over four years ago, in the months leading up to the launch of #faithfellowshipyouth, we went to camp. I knew that after returning from camp we would be announcing the launch of youth group in the fall but the youth did not. I had experienced many years of struggle at camp but this year was different. My struggle came from knowing that God had called me to those youth and yet feeling so inadequate for the job. I wrestled and I struggled feeling inadequate. There was voices in my head telling me to give up. But thankfully I knew as I struggled that I didn’t have to hide or do this on my own. I didn’t have to struggle alone. In the middle of camp, after a leaders meeting I pulled my pastor aside, shared my struggle and asked for prayer.
There are not many prayers that I remember as vividly as this prayer. She didn’t condemn me or make fun of me. She spoke truth into the lies and prayed simply for the lies to be broken, for me to be set free and for the truth of who God saw me to be to be made real to me. As I write this there are tears in my eyes because every word she prayed over me has come true. In that moment, as she simply prayed, something in began to change. That defining moment, that prayer, pushed me into a path that has lead me to experience more freedom and security in God than I ever thought possible.
The second defining moment is married to the first. Two months after we started youth group and four months after that prayer I stood in front of our district receiving my ordination certificate. Not many know the internal struggle that came with my ordination. The months leading up to ordination was full of doubt and unease. I struggled with becoming ordained because ordination was supposed to be a confirmation of the call on your life due to fruitful ministry. Although I was confident in God’s calling in my life, I could not see fruit in my ministry. My first youth group never grew to more than maybe 6 consistent youth and I was only there for about 2 years. And my second youth group was only two months old. Where was the fruit that called for ordination?
As I wrestled and prayed about ordination there was a sense of peace to trust the sight of those in leadership over me instead of my own broken and fractured sight. I am so thankful for pastors and leaders who didn’t allow my own image of myself and my abilities to hinder God’s plans. There is something to be said of confirmation in what God has called you to do and to be. Standing before a district, supported by leaders far brighter and wiser than myself, I began to see myself as God did. I was by no means perfect and by no means was this the peak of my ministry, but it was a needed confirmation that I was exactly who God wanted me to be and where He had been calling me to be. And in that defining moment I learned to trust God’s call even when my eyes could not see.
There are other defining moments both before and since that I could share. There are even moments yet to come that will change me for the better. But as I look back over the past four years, these two moments were pivotal in bringing me to this very moment in time. These defining moments ushered me into a new journey in healing and strength and trust that I had yet to experience. And as I sit here today, I eagerly await the defining moments that have yet to come, that will take me beyond what I can imagine my journey to be.
May you also be aware of the defining moments from before and that will come beyond, where God will change you for the better.