When I was in high school, I became a Christian. As a new Christ follower, I felt overwhelmed and unsure of what God was doing in my life or calling me to. I remember a year after making that decision, I felt for the first time a push to do something that I thought God wanted me to do. At the time, I was a fresh 18-year old and I started serving with our church’s middle school group. I was in college taking very early classes, I was working full time apprenticing to be a pet groomer and my time outside of that was limited. I had the excuses, but the pull to join became overwhelming and after serving for a few weeks I no longer felt the excuses were worth it. Something came alive in me as I served with those students. I loved every minute. As I became older I started to study scripture more and realized that following God’s will was as simple and complicated as doing what the Bible said to do. My favorite book of the Bible became James and this verse stuck out to me “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says,” (James 1:22).
Do not merely listen to the word… Do what it says.
In one breath, it’s the simplest direction, and in another, it’s the most complicated. Someone hurts you? Love them. Someone needs help? Help them. Have extra? Give it away.
Throughout my 20s, I struggled with this idea of doing what the word said. I tried to live it out and failed along the way. Then one day, I read this verse from that same book I loved so much: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world,” (James 1:27).
And I felt another pull, one I ignored for longer than I should have. This pull led me to start to help with foster care. Children who were sometimes considered “orphans” sometimes just needed a safe place, sometimes a family needed someone to advocate for them. In the twists and turns of foster care, God was revealing my purpose.
It’s been 18 years since I started serving in middle school ministry. As I write that, I am in a little shock and disbelief. During these 18 years I have seen how God created me and gave me different gifts to be able to help middle schoolers.
This past May, I adopted my two girls from foster care. They were orphans, their mom had passed and their dad was not able to parent them. I was able to step in and be their mom.
I’m still learning how to do what the word says. I am not saying I have it all figured out and, to be honest, I still fail a lot. But I think when we look for our purpose, it can be as simple as stepping into what God tells us to do and seeing what He might do through us.
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