I posted this on my seminary blog today, and figured I’d re-post it here too, since this is my main (busiest) blog.
As I was clearing off piles of mess from my kitchen table, I pick up my entrace exam for seminary and began to re-read it. It helped to remind me how far I have come, and to see the continued path that God is laying out for me. It’s so exciting to be on this adventure, and I thought I’d share it with you all today. May it bless you and encourage you to walk in surrender and obedience in every area of your life. Like I said the other day, it’s so awesome to be used of God and it’s so exciting to see what he’s going to do next. Come and join the adventure! It’s so worth it!
Throughout my spiritual pilgrimage, one Bible verse has been at the core of every season of my life. It is this verse that has grown me into the surrendered, obedient woman of God that I am today; and it has been a constant reminder in every thing that the Lord leads me to do; no matter how big or small. God continually reminds me, “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 It is this verse that allows me to trust and obey God in every area of my life, and to desire Christ-likeness to flow out of every part of me for the glory of God. It is through this act of obedience that I am applying to seminary. It is through the surrender and stillness that I will be at peace during this application process; “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Phil. 1:6 So it is here, that I invite you to learn of my walk with Jesus and how he has formed my faith up to this point to live the adventure of becoming more like Christ as I take every step in faith and obedience to the will of The Father in my life. May you be blessed and renewed in your faith as I share mine.
My spiritual walk with Christ began as a young child who was raised in the Catholic faith. Early on, I knew that there was always more of God that I was trying to tap into; a relationship with Him; but the ritualistic traditions of the Catholic Church, along with its stricked catechism and doctrines seemed to keep me far from finding him. I continually strived for more of him by becoming involved in a few different Catholic youth movements, where I not only was a participant, but where I began to serve in different areas of their yearly retreats. It is here also, that I received my first Bible, and desired to know more of Gods word; but since the Catholic Church does not teach on the use of personal Bible study for communion with God, I was once again feeling as though I had to fend for my self when it came to my faith. The time during my youth and into my early 20’s was very rebellious and filled with worldly cares, but God never left my side, and would continually nudge me to come back to him. He finally led me to a local Christian outreach ministry, getting my attention through the music and worship style; and it was through this group of people God would work his miracle of salvation in my life. It was here that the Bible finally became real to me. Being along side other believers, I grew in my faith, learned and began to use my spiritual gifts, and truly embraced the community of people and pastors that I was growing along side of, and where I eventually got plugged into the church that I have been attending ever since; Church of the Open Door in Elyria, OH. As I became an active member of the church, God would allow me one more hard fall away from his will, to bring me into true surrender and to finally experience the awesome presence of God in my life. Today, my walk with God is filled to overflow with his presence, his peace, and my continued commitment to surrender and obedience to His will. He is not just my savoir or my closest friend, but he is the very life blood and breath that keeps me alive in every way, and whose spirit keeps me humble and seeking to become a mirror image of the likeness in Christ in everything that I do.
From an early age; as noted above, I have always had a persistent desire to serve in some capacity in Christian ministry. As I have grown in my walk, the spirit has continually burned a deep desire within me to do more of The Lord’s work here on earth; and I have learned and understood ministry to be “simply loving, serving and healing people in the name of Jesus” (Jim Mindling; Senior Pastor of Church of the Open Door). Put another way, we are blessed by God to be a blessing to others. Our task is to be the most radiant image bearers for Christ that we can possible be, and to be his hands and feet, and go where he sends us. As God continually calls us, he strengthens us and forms us into Christ-likeness; empowering us with His Spirit so that we can be sent out to serve and be holy representatives for the glory of God, sharing the good news of the gospel with the lost, meetings the needs of the less fortunate and building up the kingdom of God here on this earth. In John 15:5 Jesus reminds us that apart from him and the work of the Holy Spirit in us we can do nothing. It is this constant renew of our selves through abiding and remaining in Him that we live surrendered and accomplish His will in this world.
As a member of Church of the Open Door, I have consistently strived to serve and use my spiritual gifts of servant-hood in every way that I can. I have attended and led Bible studies, participated in the Evangelism Explosion program, been involved in life groups over the years, and currently involved in the church’s prayer team and Women’s Advisory Board; as well as facilitating an online forum for single moms, volunteering when needed, and as the Spirit leads me to do so in different needs of the church and the local community I understand that our changed lives in Christ, and our desire to do ministry must push through the brick and mortar walls of a physical building and overflow into our homes, community, nation and world. This is no small task to move a congregation from the comfort of their pews, but it must be done if we are going to truly minister for the cause of Christ.
My motivation for preparing for ministry has and always will be to obey God and live out His will for my life. The strength that I find to continue the call that God has placed on my life and in my heart is consistently renewed daily through prayer, time spend in His word and worshipping him in adoration through music and living a life that is pleasing to him in every way. When I think of obedience and a life of servant-hood toward God many scriptures come to mind. 1 Peter 9 states that “ But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you would declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”. Being chosen, belonging to God, to declare his praises is what living out the glory of God in our world is all about. It is this call that we all have, but again, as we find in scripture that “many are called but few are chosen” Mathew 22:14. It is this call to sanctification of holiness that few truly grasp and proceed on in true Christ-likeness. For those of us who do hear obey and are chosen; a new life, and a new adventure in Christ begins. It does not take away the hardships that we face in a fallen world, but it empowers us with the Holy Spirit that we are more than conquerors for the cause of Christ in this world.
So with all of this being said, I hope that you will see that my hearts desire is to be used by God and to bring glory to his name here on earth. I expect my preparation in seminary to not only be challenging but completely life changing, and I look forward to being able to represent your seminary in this world with the call God has placed on my heart. Thank you for your consideration in my attendance to your seminary, and I prayerfully hope that I will soon be a part of your call to Christ’s’ obedience as well.