I used to consider myself pretty ordinary.
Yes, I did grow up in Venezuela and Colombia because my parents were missionaries. And yes, I did live in Germany for seven years because I married an Army man. But, 18 years ago that Army man, our three sons and I settled into an ordinary life, in an ordinary house, in an ordinary city. By southern standards, we even attended an ordinary church where we were involved in ordinary ways.
Life was good and comfortable, and we were pretty content.
Then, along with friends, I began a Beth Moore Bible study on the life of David. When we started, I expected it to be just another ordinary study, but then we got to 1 Chronicles 29. (I know, weird that 1 Chronicles could become life changing!) I read about the children of Israel giving so generously and so joyfully, and I was stopped in my tracks.
I had been in church all of my life, and with certainty I was saved when I was six years old, but what I realized in that moment was that I knew a lot about God, but I did not really know Him at all. I knew the right answers, but there was a serious disconnect. I struggled to even comprehend the actions about which I was reading. I was missing something. I certainly didn’t experience joy like that when giving, and giving generously was, well, just not on our radar.
So I prayed what was probably the second most life-changing prayer I have ever prayed. I told God that I didn’t care what it took; I wanted that joy in my relationship with Him. Up to that point, I had never wanted to pray “whatever it takes” because I was worried about what it might mean. But in that moment, I clearly understood that whatever came my way would come first through God’s hand and would allow me to know Him more deeply.
No Turning Back
That night was a jumping off place for me. I began to pore through Bible studies with an intense desire to know God and to obey. I began to ask Him to help me truly walk in obedience. And it was during that time I realized my life was starting to be anything but ordinary.
It all started innocently enough with a conversation about going to Venezuela on a mission trip. The trip leader asked about my local ministry involvements. I really had none outside of the four walls of the church. I asked God to prepare me for going overseas by starting right at home. As He opened doors, I asked for courage to step through them.
My family began serving weekly at the Downtown Rescue Mission, which eventually led to serving at many other places around our city. Honestly, sometimes I was terrified. There were SO many new experiences that were completely outside of my comfort zone, but each time I stepped out with my family, we saw God show up, and it gave us more courage and faith for the next time.
Eventually, I began to travel and lead trips overseas. A bunch of them! (Yes, I know, not really ordinary at all!) I had never done anything like that, but again God showed up and answered my pleas for guidance and help.
Around the same time, I began to teach ladies’ Bible studies. It was something my husband had encouraged me to do for a long time, but I didn’t think I was gifted in that area. Remember, I thought I was just ordinary. I didn’t realize until starting that God didn’t care if I was gifted or not; He was looking for someone who would say yes to studying and standing up in front of people. He would take care of the rest.
As I traveled and taught, God began to weave those two passions together. I began to see that many missionaries serving overseas were feeling lonely and isolated. They were feeling spiritually depleted. They were constantly pouring out yet rarely being poured into.
After one of my trips, a missionary friend from Southeast Asia contacted me and asked to join the Bible study I was teaching. I had no idea what that should look like, so I began to send her my lecture notes via email. Then, one of her friends asked to join as well.
At that point, the ordinary life I had crafted for myself and my family went completely out the window. And I was starting to like it!
What followed became a family affair. One of my sons challenged me to begin a podcast while another son designed a website. The other son provided a lot of my material for illustrations in my studies. My incredible husband and biggest supporter helped me problem-solve and stay organized and focused.
After much prayer, a lot of wise counsel and not a few sleepless nights, the ministry of 4 One Purpose was born. It started as a website to host podcasts of our local Bible studies so that women overseas could access them and participate. God clearly had much more in mind. Those Bible study connections led to the idea of directly ministering to overseas workers through three-day retreats designed to provide encouragement and refreshment to women and leaders.
Now, after numerous retreats overseas and one in the States, the vision has taken another huge step with the establishment of a 501(c)3 nonprofit ministry. The purpose is to encourage women all over the world, in every area of life, using the truths of God’s Word so they can go forth recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered and separated by God 4 One Purpose — to proclaim the Gospel of God.
Never in a million years did I anticipate that the prayer so many years ago would lead me to this place where God is allowing me to steward a ministry and pour into the lives of women both locally and around the world. Beyond the Bible studies that are uploaded weekly, we have had the privilege of leading retreats in Peru, several locations in Asia and most recently in Huntsville, Alabama, for the elders’ wives of our local church.
I have learned so much, but the best part is that I know God on a much deeper level than I could have ever dreamed. He has been constant and faithful. I am living proof that God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.
God has opened my eyes to the needs of missionaries serving overseas and to the needs of women who serve in leadership positions within the church locally. They need to hear words of encouragement and support. They need our prayers. Might you take a minute to pray for one and let her know that you care, that you have noticed her service to God?
I am pretty ordinary, still. But each time I say yes, God takes that ordinary and turns it into so much more. Not for me but for Him. I encourage you to try it. Just say yes and see what He does. You won’t regret it!