Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Mine did. In December 2007, my Papa died just three short weeks after being diagnosed with bone cancer. We buried him on Christmas Eve. He was 97, and he’d never been sick a day in his life. My Granny – his wife of 74 years – was lost without him. God made it quite clear to me that I had a new responsibility – minister to my Granny. I told God repeatedly that I didn’t have the slightest idea how to do that. I knew how to love her with all my heart, but minister to her. Really? My Granny knew the Bible like she knew her own name. How on earth was I going to minister to her?
Less than one month later, I received a phone call from one of the matriarchs in my church. She asked me to teach the women’s Sunday school class. Really, God? I’ve been telling you for the last month that I don’t know how to minister to one little old lady, much less a whole room full of them. But something wouldn’t let me say no, so I found myself attempting to minister (and that’s with heavy emphasis on the attempting part) to a whole class full of of women just like my Granny. Oh, they didn’t come anywhere close to her years of age, but they shared her love of God and knowledge of the Bible. I was in over my head, but God didn’t appear to be concerned.
In the following months, God’s call to serve was persistent. I kept teaching Sunday school, but I knew God wanted and expected more. And, I began to reply to God with a list of excuses like Moses. Really, God? I don’t even know all the books in the Bible in order by heart. Really, God? I haven’t had any formal training and there’s so much of the Bible I don’t even understand. Really, God? I don’t even own a Bible concordance or dictionary. Really, God? I’m so insecure. What if I fail??
God persisted in calling me to serve, and I persisted in stalling.
More and more months went by. I had several heart-to-heart conversations with my sister, Deedy. I told her I thought God was calling me into ministry. I have to laugh just typing this because even though I told her that, I didn’t have the slightest idea what it even meant. So, I lead a Bible study that summer with three dear friends, thinking that should clearly cover it.
Fast forward to September 2009 when I ran into a very dear friend while out shopping. I hadn’t seen her in months, and as we’re standing in the midst of a cute little shop called The Mix, she tells me that while she was attending a women’s conference with Anne Graham Lotz, she had a vision … of me … standing before women and sharing God’s Word. She was emphatic! I was speechless. She later wrote me three of the most beautiful emails I have ever received, and I’ve read them over and over and over again. She was certain. She told me God had laid me on her heart, and she was encouraging me to be obedient.
Over the months to come, God brilliantly used sermons, friends, Scripture, songs, struggles, heartache, and even pain to reinforce His call. I sought after the things I could do that felt like obedience to God, but with little risk and little discomfort.
Then November 2010 came. My mom died after a five week battle with cancer. We buried her on New Year’s Eve. I was not prepared for that. It forced me to deal with some deep-seated emotional issues that I had buried years ago, and it created a few dozen more. Then three short months later, my perfectly healthy Granny became suddenly ill and died four days later… and just one day before her 95 birthday. My world was so severely shaken. My Granny had been the glue in our family, and I felt completely lost without her.
But, the truth was, I wasn’t lost. I was right where I’d always been – in God’s loving hands! He poured His grace and love out for me with an abundance I’d never experienced. A transformation began that I cannot explain, but I can tell you that the words Wildly Blessed continuously echoed through my brain. It was a phrase God had given to me shortly after my Papa died, but I never really understood what it really meant. But I do now. Even in the midst of sadness from missing my Granny. And pain from old wounds. And uncertainty about what lies ahead.
Today, I’m focusing on two things – soaking in God’s goodness and being obedient to His call to serve… even though I still don’t know exactly what that means. I invite you to journey with me, and I pray you, too, will be wildly blessed!