At work I share an office with one of my co-workers, Jenn. Jenn is one of the sweetest, most genuine, kind, compassionate, Jesus-loving women you’ll ever meet. I instantly clicked and fell in love with her. Because she has three little one’s vying for her undivided attention, I only get to see her every now and then, especially when we’re not in Bible study season.
The other day she was at the office de-cluttering her desk when she found a stack of papers piled up in her drawer about an event LPM had put on about eight years or so ago called “Tell Me How”. That specific event was for college aged girls ages 18 – 25.
Just about eight years ago, I was 19 and attended that event. It was my sophomore year of college and I remember that being a really pivotal time in my walk with the Lord and I was all ears. I wanted to soak up any and all wisdom I could from gain from these wise ladies because after all, I was a sophomore in college, and what in the world did I want to do with my life? I was desperate to know how to not royally mess it up, my life that is. Little did I know, and nor would I have ever dreamed, that almost a decade later I’d be serving alongside these sweet ladies. That was a really neat thought for me.
Sometimes life brings you to a full circle moment and that was one of them.
I told Jenn that I attended that conference and that to this day I still refer back to those notes. I think it was fun for both of us to walk down memory lane because we were both able to see fruit from that conference, almost ten years later.
The keynote speakers were our very own Siesta Mama, Beth, Priscilla Shirer and Christy Nockels, who not only led worship, but also taught a session. I clearly knew who Beth and Christy were at the time (we’re obviously on a first name basis), but it was my first introduction to Priscilla, whom from then on, I fell in love with. Her teaching was so powerful, she was hilarious and her passion was contagious.
The three of them each took a main session, there were breakouts to attend throughout the weekend and then at the very end, the three of them did a Q&A session with us. This was by far my favorite part of the weekend. It is amazing to me the rawness and vulnerability people express when asking a question anonymously. (They wrote in questions.) Questions ranged from Christy’s lipstick color (which was a MAC color and made my heart happy) to things I’d be too embarrassed to even mention on here.
I know I’m only 27 and have years ahead of me to mess up, but I didn’t want to be, and still don’t want to be, just a statistic.
One girl geared her question specifically to Christy asking her how she gets to do what she does? For those of you who don’t know, Christy Nockels is not only gifted, but an extremely anointed worship leader. She serves the Lord with such grace and humility. This girl in particular had felt called to be in ministry similar to Christy’s and wanted some guidance. I totally understand that.
Like always, Christy was so gracious and had such wise words to share along with words of encouragement.
I was glued to her as she shared her journey with us. Not that I felt called to that particular area of ministry, but we’re all called to something and I so badly wanted to know how to know what I was called to and how to pursue that calling.
She said one thing at the end that is forever etched on my heart.
“Bloom where you’re planted.”
Serve where you are. Do the mundane thing. It may be mundane to you, but it’s certainly not mundane to God. Even if it’s something you don’t enjoy at the moment, rest assured, you probably will not be doing it the rest of your life. Be faithful in the little things. Be faithful in general. Stay committed.
If you told me in high school that I’d be working in ministry one day, I would have laughed in your face. Not because I disliked church and not because I didn’t love Jesus. I loved each of those things, but my heart was always drawn to teaching. As in, decorate my own second grade classroom kind of teaching. I was the little girl that grew up playing school.
However, during my senior year of high school the Lord really started stirring up different passions in my heart personally. I wasn’t sure what it all meant or what would come of it, but instead of sitting on it, I sought counsel and leadership from some older and much wiser ladies about what was going on to hopefully makes some sense of all the Lord been birthing in me.
Hindsight is always 20/20 so what I know now is that the Lord was clearly shifting my desires. Aren’t you so thankful for His leadership? And the fact that He knows what’s best for us? And for people in your life who can speak truth and life into you? And for His Word that is a lamp unto our feet? I could go on and on.
That year I actually applied for an internship with a traveling girl’s ministry and I was turned down. I was heartbroken, but knew that if the Lord had truly placed these desires to work with girls in my heart, he’d be faithful and guide me to serve in other ways. Although he shut that door, I decided to press on instead of give up and bail out doubting everything I was feeling. But I also trusted that the Lord would change my desires if I wasn’t called to that specific area of service.
My freshman year of college I stayed home and attended a community college here. During that year, I helped lead a small group of freshman girls. It was a good taste of teenage drama, yet I loved them so much.
When I went off to college that next year, I immediately got involved in a Christian sorority, Sigma Phi Lambda and through the next three years served as chaplain, rush captain and little things here and there. Do you see how the Lord threw me into girl’s ministry long before I made it my actual career?
As graduation neared, the desire to work in ministry exploded. I don’t think I talked about it a lot because it kind of scared me. After all, I went to school to learn how to be a teacher, not how to lead or speak to teenage girls. Or work in a church. That was a totally different ballgame.
But God is faithful and his grace is perfect. He opened doors in ministry that I never pursued on my own. I really struggled at that time with deciding whether to pursue teaching full time or take on the ministry position at church as the Girl’s Ministry Director. But how could I not take this ministry position when my heart was really there? When I look back I see how he really prepared me for this exchange of career paths. It is a beautiful thing.
Had I tried on my own, I can honestly tell you that I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. The Lord planted a seed in me years ago with a heart for young women, and I simply watered it along the way, again, by His still small leading, His still small voice. I tried my hardest to do what I felt He called me to do for that season and honestly, that’s all I still know to do.
It’s one thing to be passionate about something and walk out that passion, it’s another thing to think you’ve arrived. What does that really mean anyway? We won’t arrive until we reach Heaven’s gates. That’s our goal after all, is it not?
I don’t know what’s next for me or for you. But I can say with confidence and with experience that God is faithful. If He’s been faithful in the past, we can be sure that He’ll most certainly be faithful in the present and future. However, we must humbly throw ourselves under his hand. Under His leadership.
Trust the desires he’s given you. But check to make sure they’re desires that exalt Christ and not yourself. I could be really off saying this, but I’m not sure he’ll grant us selfish desires that steal his glory. He won’t waste His glory on us. Selfish idols and desires are things that rarely get his blessing, if ever.
How many times does he say in the Psalms that He satisfies our desires with good things. These are the desires that are rooted in what pleases and exalts Him. (Psalm 103:5, Psalm 145:16)
Bloom where you’re planted. And no matter what, don’t ever quit serving, dear sister.
“Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun. Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.” Psalm 37:1-7 (The Message)