The past year has been full of God pushing me from my comfort zone. It was about a year ago that He called me to give up my Sunday School class-- a Sunday School class that was two hard years in the making. I wasn't even there a year when I felt Him call me away.
I was so confused. It broke my heart.
Since coming to know Christ, ministry is all I've ever known. All I've ever felt; the only life I can possibly imagine myself living.
As I let go of the Sunday School class, He opened a door for the unchurched. I began working at a local crisis pregnancy center. Nothing describes ministering to the broken in that way. Nothing describes feeling God give you words and watching as His Spirit literally chisels into the heart sitting across from you. In 10 minutes, I know more about that young woman than most others in her life. I have watched her cry; I know her fears; know her dreams-- not because I am some fantastic interrogator, but because I serve an Awesome God who trusts I'll know what to do with that information. In the past year, I have dropped the ball many times.
At the beginning of this year, as I finished up my time in Canada, I looked ahead at the 12 months in front of me, and had a growing suspicion that this would be the year. I am still not exactly sure what the "the" is, but since the first day of this year, I have known God was going to work mightily, and He has.
In January, He called me to walk away from my church. Say what?! But the message was fairly clear, "Your ministry is done here."
I was confused. But I tried to trust.
I began attending a new local church. A big local church, with a great youth ministry. The first Sunday I was offered a position as a Jr. High girls Bible Study leader. I was also offered a position on the church's sexual addiction recovery team. I jumped on the latter, before I applied for the former.
A few weeks later, I found I had been accepted to the youth leadership team. And I've had to force myself to go to any of the meetings.
This weekend was a weekend of change, and I knew it was coming. About a week ago, I had sensed I was on the threshhold of something, and had prayed that God would give me the faith to get through it. On Saturday, as I sat in an inservice at the pregnancy center, I felt so passionate. I stood up and gave a testimony of how I have a heart for teenage girls and college-age women. And the words felt dry. They felt empty. They felt fake.
Fake!? How is this fake!? I hate being fake! Why was that fake?
What is happening to me?
Sunday morning, I went to church, and dreaded the thought of going to housegroups that afternoon. As we left, I saw the teens emptying out of a room upstairs. I hadn't realized they were having youth group (since we had changed locations on Sunday). I turned to my mother, "Man! I didn't know they were having youth group!" But as I said it, it felt... fake.
What is going on? What is wrong with me?
I immediately figured I was off spiritually. Certainly, I must not be praying hard enough or reading enough because this isn't making any sense. A year before, I wept as I felt God pulling me away from my girls. I love... loved... them. Now, I felt distant.
Where did my heart go and run off to this time?
I spent Sunday afternoon sleeping. Maybe I was just tired and that was making me apathetic, though I wasn't really being apathetic. I had worshipped passionately that morning and listened enthralled as the pastor pulled truths out of Jesus' talk with Peter (you know, the "Feed my Sheep" one). I remember rejoicing in the grace and love He had shown me and thinking how much my life reminds me of that story. Then, two minutes later I'm walking out and shrugging off the fact that I missed youth group.
Last night, I went to the young adult group (part of the same church). I've always felt connected there. Maybe I would feel better. Maybe I was bordering discontent.
Enter Cindy. I'll never be able to tell her this, but God used Cindy in a mighty way last night. Cindy works with sex trafficked women. Cindy is going to India to work with sex trafficked women. She leaves next month, but for the past couple years, she's been working in DC.
When I think of sex trafficking, I don't think of DC. Just being honest here. As she spoke, I was captivated. I listened intently and finally heard the name of the ministry she worked with. I logged it away, and then sat through a message on the Great Commission.
A highlight from the sermon:
John: God, I've been praying for someone to come share you in my workplace. I've been praying for a light and a witness to come and share the love of Jesus Christ. I hope they come soon.
God: They're coming tomorrow, and they're named "you!"
John: No, that can't be right; I have to pray some more.
(to listen to the whole thing, you can go here: http://frontlinedc.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=122453&programId=87967)
It's starting to click for me. Again, I am still struggling to grasp 100% what 'it' is. But I woke up this morning thinking about the hookers on the street. Seriously, that was the first thought that popped in my mind. I checked my Facebook and saw pictures of a brand new baby girl. The fifth one I have welcomed this year. The message was clear to my heart, "Change is coming. Your ministry is growing."
I just looked up the ministry website. They deal with teenage girls (ages 11-17) who are unloved, rejected and at risk of becoming sex slaves. They have a street ministry, where, like Jesus, we go out on the street and find the prostitutes and tell them God loves them. That they are worth more. What's more. They are accepting applications in April.
Do you see the connection? Do you get it? The girls Beggar's Daughter seeks to reach become the women on the street. Those women on the street become the women across from me in the pregnancy center.
When I graduated from Bible college, I was all about discipleship. My job was to minister to the saved women, to the girls in church, not the girls out there. But God has been slowly pulling me away from that. Looking back, I think I am actually a bit of an idiot for thinking that God would pull me away from one church-based teen ministry just to put me in another one (duh Jessica!)
Somehow, I found myself in full-time sex ministry and have no clue how that happened, and definitely never intended on that happening. Ever.
But one thing I know for sure. Nearly 7 years ago, I knelt at an altar and told God He could have it all- my plans for my future, my hopes, my dreams, everything. He has never left me hungry, or in need. He, my God, is so faithful, so great, and He has given His love away so freely. He gave His life for me, giving mine up to Him is the least I can do.