“Lord, I feel this ‘tug of war,’ this battle inside me…..I don’t want to live like this anymore…I want a deep, committed relationship with You….I know you could use me and I could reach other young girls for you, Lord. Still there’s something holding me back….” Journal entry. May 22, 1993.
I have always struggled. Struggled to feel good enough. Struggled to fit in. Struggled to be me. Following Jesus at an early age gave me a focus and stability, yet the battle simmered inside.
After a miraculous intervention in my life 12 years ago, God lit a burning desire, a passion in the core of my being that demanded to be heard: leave the ninety-nine and go get the one. (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4) Do for others what I did for you! These were the words I heard from Jesus. And His model was clear. Rescue. Restore. Reaffirm.
I had no idea what that would look like, so I started in small ways. First, I became a youth leader. Next came the notes, coffee dates, and spontaneous conversations. Most important were the words of affirmation. I believe in you! These girls became part of my life. We made a pact to “do life together.” Then I volunteered for women’s ministry opportunities. I met the moms of these girls. We too, began to “do life together.” I then applied for a pastoral license. Wherever I was needed, I got involved. I told my story of the hand of God rescuing me from an eating disorder. My time in rehab. My defining moment where God spoke so clearly, “It doesn’t have to be this way!” No matter how scared or insecure I felt, I jumped in. I had to.
As I walked through each door God opened, more opportunities arose. Speaking engagements, youth retreats, coffee dates. With each encounter, I heard those same words: “…go get the 1!”
Who would have thought that today I am preparing for the transition into full-time ministry. Once again, God has called and I must listen and obey. Today I am an ordained pastor, on a mission from God. Writing, teaching, speaking, connecting with people of all ages. Ministry is a life of ups and downs, challenges and victories. God created each of us for a purpose. Finding that purpose is journey worth pursuing.
I honestly remember wondering if my life would amount to anything at all. I thought I was too far gone after my eating disorder and stint in rehab. How could God ever use me? What I thought disqualified me is the very thing God has used TO qualify me.
Each week I open the doors to my church and walk into the youth room. I see young girls. We talk. We laugh. We pray. We worship. Without fail, there’s always one that needs to know she’s not alone. She needs encouraged. She needs to be loved. She’s my one!