I’ve heard those weird church kids say it. I’ve heard those young adults going to Bible school say it. I’ve heard pastors say it. But I never thought I would utter those words.
“I feel called into ministry.”
“That’s great for you,” I would think to myself, “that’s definitely not for me.”
I also was never going to be one of those stay at home women. In fact, I judged them heavily for letting their life “go to waste.” They mooched off their husbands, spoiled their children and didn’t contribute. Or so I thought. I was determined to earn my Doctor of Nursing Practice; I was going to make my own money and carry my own weight. I was going to be that woman bucking stereotypes. And my man was going to stay at home with the children.
I judged people for three things: getting married young, staying at home, and doing the Global University Berean Program. As I write this to you, I’m twenty-five years old, I’ve been married for four years, I stay at home besides teaching exercise classes and piano lessons, and I’m working my way through the Global University Berean Program.
I’ve learned to stop judging others because God sure has a sense of humor at my humbling expense.
Before moving to TX, I had absolutely no heart for ministry, but I married a man who did. A very patient man in fact. I was annoyed by people at church who asked me to serve MY precious, valuable time to the church. Don’t they know that Ben is the one who cares and I’m going to do my own thing? Yet, multiple pastors and mentors spoke over BOTH our lives- you both have a calling for ministry. I think they got their signals crossed.
I honestly never really put much thought into “my calling.” I just figured it was nursing. When we married, the plan was Ben would serve his six-year enlistment in the military then go into vocational ministry. Meanwhile, I would provide by working as a Registered Nurse. It made perfect sense, it was the right plan.
Three days before I was to start my career as a nurse in North Dakota, my husband received military orders to Texas. In my last year of nursing school, I was seriously questioning if this was the career path for me. I really couldn’t describe a specific reason why, I just didn’t feel right about.
I get this weird feeling when something isn’t right. When I was little, I would get this feeling when I felt uncomfortable around strangers or when I lied to my parents. It would make my stomach feel weird, hence, “the weird feeling.” I guess people call it a “gut feeling,” Christians call it “The Holy Spirit,” all the above apply to me in this situation.
I still had that weird feeling even after graduating and passing the licensing exam. I kept shoving this nagging thought to the back of my mind. But I ignored it since it would mean I wasted time and effort. Not only that, it would require MORE time and MORE effort. And I don’t like wasting my time.
The military orders encouraged Ben to reenlist and pursue his career in the military while it gave me the opportunity to figure out what God’s direction for my life.
When we moved to Texas late 2016, I struggled immensely with this idea of “calling.” I had recently graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree that May and passed the NCLEX in June which licensed me as a Registered Nurse. I took college courses for six years straight. Fall, spring, and summer semesters for six years. No breaks. (I even took online classes during my eating disorder recovery program.) By the grace of God, I made it through with good grades. It wasn’t always pretty, but I survived. I remember my parents and I doing a happy dance when I earned my first “C.” It was in Organic Chemistry, that was a rough course, it was pure survival. That was my only “C” my entire academic career, I fought hard for that “C.”
Naturally, you would assume, since I had a degree in nursing, I had my nursing license, I would work as a nurse when we moved.
We moved to Texas and I didn’t look for a job as a nurse. Instead, I signed up for the Monday night Women’s Bible Study. They were going through Beth Moore’s Entrusted 2 Timothy study. Beth Moore loved using the word, “calling.” I walked away from the study learning that we have all been entrusted with the Gospel (“the precious truth”) and a gifting. We must return the Gospel intact – the message of the Gospel (John 3:16) must remain the same, true to Scriptures. We are humans, we are sinful, and we are forgetful. Yet God still entrusts us to share His precious truth. The gifting – we all have a gifting – is what God has invested in us spiritually. This gifting is intended to be invested in for the purpose of multiplying (Matthew 25: Parable of the Talents). My purpose is just this: to spread the Gospel and tell others about Jesus. I do this with the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within me, I do this uniquely with the gifts He has given me, and I do this for the community He has placed me in. I am a sinful but forgiven, loved daughter of Christ who has been set on this globe to be unleashed in spreading the Gospel. How powerful is that!
I didn’t want to waste any more time. So, I labored over this “gifting” of mine. What’s my calling, Lord? What specific purpose do you want me to carry out on this Earth using the gifts you’ve invested in me? Is it nursing? It drove me to my praying knees, it consumed my prayer life, I bugged Ben constantly about it.
Instead of wallowing in a pit of self-despair, I decided to bloom where I was planted. God placed us in a wonderful church and I became immersed in studying the Word, I started pursuing my the Bible and Doctrine Diploma through the Global University Berean Program, and I was head over heels for ministry.
Something really bugged me though. This idea kept nagging me. I saw it everywhere I looked, it was prevalent in conversations with women. I saw a very apparent need and I wanted to do something about it.
I couldn’t find many resources that bridged the gap between eating disorder recovery and finding identity in Christ. There were lots of books on secular eating disorder recovery and lots of books on finding identity and freedom in Christ, but very little of them reconciled the two.
Through the past year, I’ve been very open about my eating disorder testimony. I know women, yes even Christian women, struggle with finding the healthy trinity of eating, exercise, and body-image. It’s a struggle that is prevalent in and outside the four walls of the church.
So I set out to write a book that reconciled the two. A book I’m still working on. Then God gave me some opportunities to mentor women silently struggling with eating disorders.
It felt right. I didn’t have the weird feeling anymore. My life became part-time stay-at-home-spouse and part-time co-founder, mentor, writer, church volunteer, group exercise instructor, and piano teacher.
Having my Registered Nurse license created tension and an unceasing dialogue in my mind especially during that first year after moving. “I could be making good money right now instead of writing.” Who’s going to care what I have to say?” “At least nursing is a great back up plan.”
But this dialogue has exposed my root issues and true motives. Every time I went searching for a nursing job, ready to throw in the towel on writing and ministering, it was because I felt we needed more money. The enemy convinced me that I could easily solve all our problems with more money. Maybe we could move out of our apartment and live in a home or we could put more towards savings and retirement, I could build my resume for the future, we could have nicer things, etc.
Every time I severely wrestled with this internal dialogue, God kept making it clear that He has a different plan for my life. I would get an email from someone I’ve never met before reaching out for help. Or I would get a text from a woman in the community who was struggling with an eating disorder and needed a listening ear. Even a stranger I met at a Christmas party last year sat next to me and said, “God told me to tell you that you need to speak to women and bring to light the bondage of eating disorders.” And it’s not necessarily that I have anything new or original to say. But I have a unique lens that has been tailored by God through insight and experiences. I’m a vessel for His voice, not my own.
I’ve prayed for over a year and sought wise counsel on this calling of mine. It took a season apart from pursuing a career to allow God to reveal his true call for me. And I believe that my calling may take on different forms throughout my lifetime. (It may take on the form of nursing at one point.) In retrospect, my primary motivation in pursuing nursing was selfish, I wanted it for the money and stability, it was something I had control over. God’s calling on my life is not about me. This calling is confusing, constantly transforming, and frankly scares me. As my mentor would say, “If it doesn’t scare you, then it’s probably not of God.” My calling scares me so I must be on the right track!
My final post in this blog series is titled, Physically I Will Be.
So the question is, “Where will I be?”
You’ll know where to find me, I’ll be fulfilling my calling.
(Disclaimer: If you are called to be a Registered Nurse, I applaud you! I personally know what it takes to get through a nursing program. And I’ve seen first-hand what you go through every time you step into work. I’ve met many women that are called into nursing and they are rocking it! I’m not encouraging every woman to quit their careers and do what I did. This situation is unique to me and what I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to, each situation is different. The best advice I can give you is to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, He will ultimately guide you.)