I don’t often share some of the more personal things God speaks to me about my life. I know that probably doesn’t sound right with the level of transparency I am called to but there are a great many things God will speak to me intimately that I keep private because I believe the things of the Lord are like a treasure and we should keep them sacred and tucked away for the moments we need them the most.
One of my treasures that I have had tucked away keeps coming back to me over and over and I feel so incredibly called to share it with you here tonight. I keep picturing someone needing it as much as I did in the moment that God gave it to me. I pray I can speak it to you as eloquently as God spoke it to me that rainy morning a few weeks ago and I pray that it releases you from the shackles that have long since tugged you back to places you were not meant to return.
I must start by explaining a few things to help you understand where I was when God came rushing in ever so gently and lovingly helped me to see a chain that I hadn’t realized was still attached, weighing me down and distracting me from much more important things.
For those who know my story, they would affirm whole heartedly that my coming to Jesus brought RADICAL transformation. From the inside out, God completely re-birthed me into the woman that I was always created to be. Healing me, redeeming me, restoring me, transforming me. It was a whirlwind as I shifted from this broken, damaged woman into a glued together, whole woman of God.
My heart was all in and all I wanted was to run with all I had towards the calling God had given me. I immediately began to seek out this calling, determined to prove to myself and God that I was never going back; to show the world that I was no longer the same and tell them of God’s greatness. My intentions were so pure and so good but that determination held within it a need that would turn me from the very purposes of God and cause me to linger in a place of rejection that I didn’t even realize I was trapped in.
I had a very fast growth and I was very much on fire. There was nothing and no one that could hold me back. While I struggled with fear and doubt, always wondering if I was hearing God correctly, I still had such a desire to move in obedience and run that great race that I dove head first into ANYTHING God showed me. I dove so fast that often times, I never even stopped to ask if the timing was right. There were many mistakes that followed as I struggled to do something I was not yet fully equipped to do and God in his infinite grace, would come along beside me and help make it right and help me pick up the pieces and move forward.
He never let me forget that there was grace. He never stopped reminding me that even if I sometimes jumped ahead of him, He would pull me back. God never lets us go too far from Him and He will stop us if we start trying to do things in our own capacity, even it is from a good intention.
In the last six years I have had many, many individuals speak over me that I would have a powerful women’s ministry. Each one almost speaking the same things: that I would speak and teach and write Bible Studies and that my own testimony of redemption and healing would change multitudes. And each time it was spoken, I felt this stronger need to make it happen. After all, it was my calling right? I was made to preach and teach. I needed to get to it. Each time it was spoken over me, sadly, I felt more and more pressure to be that woman because if I didn’t, then I was letting God down.
My sweet friends, can I just say something really honest for a moment? God can and often does speak to us through others but just because it is spoken does not mean that it is always 100% accurate or that it is 100% for the NOW. Sometimes God speaks into us a word of knowledge, wisdom or prophecy so that we understand who were created to be IN HIM so that in a future time and place we can do those very things. But far too often, we hear those words spoken and we lose ourselves in the pursuit of our greatest “calling”.
And that my dear friends is exactly what I did. I stepped out on a limb. I went into ministry with two of my closest friends not having the slightest idea about how to handle all of those things, trusting people too easily when my discernment should have shown me that something was coming and it wouldn’t be pleasant, pouring myself out until I had nothing left in a season where God was trying to get me to rest in Him because my entire world was about to be flipped upside down.
I had to find it. That darn ministry. I had to fulfill it. That oh so important calling.
And that pursuit almost cost me my walk. Because at the end of the day, I was overwhelmed. While God would show up and work through me each time as I so desperately asked Him to do, knowing that I wanted to see change, I would go home and be under such attack that I couldn’t even see through the clouds. I would become stressed out and fearful and questioning everything about myself and I would begin to feel alone and afraid. And each time, God was saying to me, “You don’t need a title Kristy. You don’t need a ministry. Just be who you are. Be the wife. Be the mother. Be the child of God. Worship. Write. Laugh. Play with your children. Leave the rest to me.” And each time He spoke those words I would cry, “I am sorry Lord. I am just not good enough. I keep messing things up but I AM TRYING SO HARD.”
And oh how I was trying.
But I was trying to run after a part of my being that was not yet meant to be. And God allowed me to walk out those moments because they would become valuable lessons in my life. Lessons that I would look back on and cherish, once all the pain had sifted.
So, then we came here. God brought us to this place. Upon coming here, in the grief so deep, I surrendered everything to God. I laid at his feet my life, my dreams, my hopes, my anger, my fear, my doubt, my family and this “calling”, this ministry I was trying to fulfill. I told God I didn’t want it anymore. Not even a little. I just wanted to be able to wake up each day, feel His presence, live a life that would make Him proud, show my children how to run the race faithfully and steadily and to breathe. I came here planning to never be “in ministry” again.
What a silly notion that was. Yet, I did not understand.
For the first two years that I have been here, I have been torn down to the very rawest parts of me. I had lost many many things and God took me through a wilderness so thick, I felt I might never see beyond the trees. Those two years were a stripping away. A tearing down of all the things I had built around myself thinking they were going to help me when really they held me back. God stripped me of the need to depend upon anyone and anything except him. It wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy.
Then in December of last year, God began to stir. You see, while I was refusing to be “in ministry”, the fact of the matter is, “ministering” was all I knew how to do. What does ministry even mean really? We use that word SO much and so many pray for that ministry. Well, I believe that ministry is when we reach past our selves into the lives of those around us, when we see through Christ like eyes and we identify their needs and speak life into them. Ministry happens EVERY day and it doesn’t come in the form of a position or a fancy book or a Bible Study, it just comes in the every day moments of God sitting in the middle of us and those we choose to walk through life with in that moment.
Without even understanding or seeing it, I was walking in my “ministry” every day. I was volunteering, I was counseling, I was praying for others, I was teaching, I was laughing, I was crying, I was rejoicing, I was rebuking, I was questioning and I was praising and all the while, I was bringing others with me and they were receiving healing as I was, they were receiving wisdom as I was, they were being filled with hope as I was. I was sure dead set on just being a nobody when all along, I was a somebody, I was a daughter of a King who loved on His people every single day even when I didn’t know if I could.
By the end of December, God was speaking so much into my heart that I could no longer try to pretend I wasn’t hearing. And just after Christmas, the Lord asked me a defining question, “Why do you keep running from who you are? No title is needed. Just be who you. I release you. Will you go?”
Tears streaming down my cheeks, I said yes and I dove head first (this time after much struggle and much prayer and much questioning) into what God was showing me. And three months later, I see so clearly.
Last month, as I was enjoying a Facetime chat with a friend and we were discussing some areas of our lives God had been working in, I saw an image of myself. It was if I was seeing a short film and I was the leading lady. I was wearing a uniform. I reached down and picked up my name tag and pinned it onto my shirt. I zoomed in on that name tag only to find that it was blank. No name. No company name. No position. Nothing. It was a clear, white, very blank tag.
What an odd thing I thought? “Lord, I don’t understand. Why are you showing me this? What on earth does a blank name tag mean?”
Without any hesitation, the Lord answered, “Stop looking for a title or position. Ministry is not about what role you think you are in, it is about the every day moments when you leave your home and you share life with my people, encouraging and loving them. As long as you keep seeking a title, as long as you keep searching for some kind of position, you will miss the very things you are actually called to do.”
You want to talk about a punch to the gut. I was so stunned and so heartbroken all at once. I had to get off that Facetime chat and go straight to my bedroom. I had to sit down and just let it all go. And let it all go I did. I cried for an endless amount of time. I couldn’t even find the words and suddenly like a movie reel, I began to replay all the moments that I had spent in pursuit of a title. And while I was so busy pursuing that position and title, I missed some very important moments:
I missed ministry opportunities with my children. I missed ministry opportunities with my husband. I missed the beauty in being a wife and a mother. I missed the reality that homeschool started when my son was born, not just when I decided I was a homeschooling Mom. I missed that being here, writing down my crazy and passionate thoughts and my journey are some of the most intimate moments of ministry I experience. I missed the fact that my ministry is not found in some church or some office…it is found INSIDE OF ME. It is my life. It is the laughter, the tears, the mistakes, the victories. It is who I am as a person. It is not a title and it will never be a position.
It took me a while to get up off the floor and it took me even longer to finally say, “Oh Father, forgive me of my selfishness. Forgive me for thinking I needed some title to count me good enough for the Kingdom. You counted me good enough. You died for me and THAT IS ENOUGH. Period. Nothing else matters.”
And it was in that moment, that I let it all go. I may someday find myself in the midst of those ministries people spoke over me but I am 100% okay if I never find myself there at all. If I never publish New York Times Bestselling Bible Studies and I am never a published author. If I never do anything else than love God with all my heart, walk day by day with Him, sharing my journey with my precious family, teaching, training, discipling THEM. If that is all I ever do then I will have done more for the Kingdom than any title could have ever afforded me.
My friend, I know you want to show the world you have changed. I know you want to take place next to the mighty warriors you so look up to but don’t pursue, not even for a second, a title or a position. Pursue God. Pursue His Word. Pursue your own heart. Pursue your family. Pursue the needs that you can meet right where you are. Take off that name tag because it means NOTHING. The only way you will ever know that you are enough is by giving your identity to God and knowing that if all you ever do is serve Him in your ordinary, every day life then that is ENOUGH.
You are extraordinary just as you are. Your life is the very ministry you are desperately seeking out. Stop searching. Look in the mirror and surrender.
In Christ’s Love,