Before July 2009, I was in a spiritual coma. I had a super rough junior year of high school, and I decided to put God on the back-burner. In July 2009 I went on a youth conference trip as I did every year. That week was very special to me. God worked to meet me again and show me that He had not abandoned me as I had abandoned Him. One night that week, my group and I were gathered after an overwhelming chapel and communion service, speechless and broken at our realization of what it means to be in Communion with God. One-by-one people in my group started telling about all their struggles: porn addictions; being molested by a family member as a child; pot addictions; drug addictions hidden from parents; bad relationships; abusive parents; all of these things that brought us away from trusting God. I remember looking around and hearing God speak to me for the first time in a long time: "Look around you. This is who you will be working with." And I knew it: I had received my calling. I would be helping teenagers in a Christian setting work through the many struggles of teen-aged life. This was it.
So I set off on a path I felt God guiding the entire time. I found the school that God would have me go to, and I started as a freshman in college with a major in Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture. I thought that surely I was being called to be a youth pastor. I didn't feel like I really wanted to do that, and often questioned why I would go to college for a program that would not really help me pay bills and student loans once I was done. But I trusted God and kept going. A few years later I felt that God had taught me all I needed to know from those youth min classes and felt that I was being re-directed to Psychology - the originally intended program I had in mind before July 2009. I felt that God was re-directing my calling to something more along the lines of what I would want to do: counseling. Maybe I was supposed to counsel youth and families, or marriages and families, or students at school. Something along those lines. Recently I have not been sure at all of what I want to do. I haven't felt that any of these job ideas were really what I was supposed to do, but trusted that God would be mighty to align my passions with my calling in some way.
June 27, 2014: I am a leader for a group of high school girls on a retreat in another state. I am familiar with who the girls are, and they are familiar with me, but we don't really know each other. I am still new to them. That night, we had a phenomenal speaker who shed beautiful truth about the way God designed marriage in His image. When we got back to the hotel, I was getting ready for bed but happened to step out into the hallway before going to bed. A girl was trying to get people together and I asked if I could help. We got all of the high school girls together in my room and she began to share about herself, something she found so hard to do. She shared about an addiction she's been struggling with with, and confusion that has been concerning her, but she had been too afraid to share that with the group for fear of rejection and being shunned by those who she was close to. Quite the opposite though: the girls spoke to her assuring her that we love her and that we want to help her. She opened up an avenue for a few other girls to share struggles and memories that haunt them. And they ministered to each other. I remember sitting on my bed with a few other girls listening to the beauty of burdens shared, thinking back to that week in July 2009. I reminisced through those moments as if they were repeating again in front of me and remembered the words God spoke to me that night years before, "Look around you. This is who you will be working with." I smiled. And then I heard God speak to me again, in that moment. "These are those people." I shuddered and was in awe of what I just heard. These girls were those people I would be working with. These girls were those people I would be ministering to. These girls were those who God was saving me for. All this time, I thought my calling would be something so elaborate, so broad and general. I would be a youth pastor with a large youth group; I would be a counselor with many clients needing my counsel. No. I would be there at the right moment for eight girls who needed the guidance God had given to me to give to them.
That is my calling. Not so elaborate as I thought it would be, but much more beautiful than I could have imagined. No, I still don't know where I will be going a year from now, or what will happen with our moving process, or where we will be going to school at some point - if I'm even going back to school once I'm done with Undergrad. But I know that where I'm at right now is where I'm supposed to be.
Right here, with these girls.