I’ll never forget the first time I realized God was calling me to ministry. It wasn’t a call I wanted to hear. I had fought with Him for weeks about His instruction to share my marriage testimony with the women of my church.
The interesting thing is that only months before I had lamented the fact that I didn’t have a powerful testimony. I’d never used drugs, never had an affair or an abortion, was never healed from catastrophic illness…how could I possibly reach others for Christ? I knew testimonies had to be powerful and life-changing. My life had consisted of being a fairly good girl who was in church from the time she was born. Nobody wanted to hear that boring story.
And then I made the mistake of reading Titus 2. Just for the record, if you don’t want to speak or teach or mentor or help other women, don’t read Titus 2! For the first time I realized I was one of the older women in my church. For the first time I realized Paul was talking to me when He instructed the older women to “teach the younger women to love their husbands and children…so that no one will malign the Word of God.”
But what could I possibly say to women? After all, I didn’t have a testimony.
That’s when God began to reveal the first step of His plan for me and ministry. That day, sitting at my kitchen table, my eyes were opened to the miracle He had done in my marriage 15 years earlier. That day, for the first time, I saw the life-changing work He had been doing in my heart ever since.
That day, I told Him no.
During the next few weeks I continued to tell Him no. Repeatedly…emphatically…pleadingly. After all, I was an upstanding leader in my church. People looked up to me, respected me. I didn’t want them to know how I had bulldozed my way through the first 15 years of marriage. I didn’t want them to see how manipulative and mean-spirited my heart had been.
Weeks passed and I finally gave in. “Okay, God,” I said, “I’ll do this because you say I have to, but I want you to know, I’m not happy about it!” (I call that defiant submission)
A lot has happened since that day in 1997. And today, I’m happy about it! I’m happy that God could take a self-centered, bossy, hardheaded know-it-all, and show her how much she needed a Savior. I’m happy He could show me that my good deeds and perfect Sunday School attendance meant nothing compared with my sin. I’m happy that He could use my testimony of being just an average woman who learned to serve a powerful, omnipotent God.
And that’s my life-changing testimony.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did….” John 4:29
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,
Vonda, Thank you for this wonderful article. Being a pastor’s wife and in ministry for many years, I relate to much of what you shared. I like your “defiant submission” term. 🙂 I’ve obeyed God kicking and screaming the entire way. It wasn’t pretty. The “no testimony” also stumped me in the past until God showed me that we each have a story to tell and a powerful testimony of His grace in our lives. While it may look different than others, it’s still a picture of love rescuing us. Holiness took our place for mercy’s sake. Thankful to have met you in person recently. It helps to put a face with beautifully penned words from an authentic heart.
Vonda, your message is perfect timing. As I sit doing my devotions this morning preparing to go to the Write-to-Publish conference this evening, I am humbled. I have written a book about God’s work in my life as an ordinary person that I am planning to pitch. My life was nothing spectacular. I am an ordinary woman living an ordinary life that has been blessed to see how God has worked through many critical, but common situations: divorce, remarriage, low self-esteem. I have been contemplating whether it is worthy of even being pitched, but God is calling me to do it.
Your words: “I’m happy that He could use my testimony of being just an average woman who learned to serve a powerful, omnipotent God.” has solidified and confirmed my goal over the next few days. Whether anyone is interested or not is not the point. The point is that I am being obedient to God’s calling, and if the time is right, He will take it to the next plateau.
Thanks again, Vonda. God has worked through you to inspire and reassure me. Blessings.
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