THE MAKING OF A BOOK
Click HERE to read from the beginning.
PART 7 THE CHALLENGE
The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. He chooses people for ministry before they are born, and he does not change his mind. I could not escape the tug at my heart and the things God revealed to me when I was a teenager, but my failures created doubt about God’s ability to help us.
Rod’s part-time job at the church made it possible for me to stop working and devote my time to caring for our sons. The busyness of life and the 24-hour demands of raising children buried the sorrows of my past until they were old enough to go to school. With my husband at work and our children at school I had too much quiet time. The failures of my past rose from the grave to haunt me.
At times, I wondered if I was mentally ill to believe God had spoken to me. I tried to resolve the issue with a request I was sure God could never fulfill. “Put me in ministry without my cooperation,” I challenged. “If that does not happen, I will know you never spoke to me.”
I was positive I had presented God with an impossible task. With a bit of smug satisfaction, I was sure the challenge would silence the ghosts of my past. Until I walked in the church, picked up a church bulletin and glanced at the list of the church’s ministers on the front. In the past it had always been Children’s Pastor Rod Myers. That bulletin had Children’s Pastors Rod and Teena Myers and stayed that way to the day we left the church.
With the stroke of a pen God put me in ministry without my cooperation. Now I could not deny God had told me to tell people about him. I did what I should have done eighteen years earlier; made an appointment with my pastor to discuss what it means to be called to ministry. I had never told anyone everything, including my husband, until that meeting.
I reasoned, if God really spoke to me, my pastor would recognize a true call to ministry and confirm the dreams and things said to me were from God. If God had not spoken to me, he would confirm I was crazy and that would be the end of the matter. I was hoping for the latter result.
I left his office with instructions on how to become a credentialed minister in the Assemblies of God. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians “woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” I’d had enough woe in my life and did not want to invite more, so I enrolled in Berean Bible College.
Two months later, the message from God about change was fulfilled. We had discussed what those changes might be and thought we would have a new ministry in a different church. The opposite happened. My pastor announced God had brought him to the church for restoration and his job was done. He had accepted the pastorate at a church in another state. But the pastor was not the only one who left. Everyone in leadership left the church except a few deacons and Rod.
Our pastor had been a good shepherd beloved by the congregation. There were many tears. I was sad to see him go too, but I also saw a window of opportunity. A new pastor would have to recommend me to the regional and state boards as a candidate for ministry. If I shared everything with a pastor who did not know me, he would surely think I was crazy.
A year later, we had a new pastor and I had finished studying the required books to be credentialed. This time I drafted an essay explaining why I believed God had called me to ministry. When I made the appointment to request his recommendation, I asked him to read the essay before we met.
I went to the appointment positive my new pastor would decline to recommend me. He picked up the essay laying on his desk that I had given him and said, “I did not get the sense there was anything flakey in this essay. I will recommend you to be credentialed.”
A few months later, the Sunday School Superintendent asked me to teach an adult class. Rod had just started a teen Bible quiz program and asked me to be the coach. I did not want to overload myself trying to do both. I declined. The superintendent returned the following Sunday with another request. “Will you teach the class temporarily, while we look for another teacher?” Before I could say, “No,” he showed me the Sunday School material about Joseph, the teenager who had dreams from God and made his brothers jealous. If I had known what would follow, I would have said “no” again.
TO BE CONTINUED…