As a young woman in ministry, I thought it might kill me. It was so trying and much of it was just downright miserable. I was relying more on my own ability to work “miracles” than trusting God to do what He is best at. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be people’s life-changer…and that was nearly unbearable.
I was reminded of those moments yesterday when I got an IM from a former student of ours. This girl was “out there” as a student. She was loud, headstrong, and had NO church history whatsoever when she started dating another one of our students in the youth ministry. She was all mouth, did whatever she felt like doing at the moment, and had no boundaries. I remember banging my head against the wall trying to get her to understand that her actions were hurting her and that God had a better plan for her life.
Now don’t get me wrong….I liked her a lot. I knew early on that this girl was special. I knew that God had a calling on her life and that leadership would be #1 on her gift list. I was just frustrated with the process of getting her from where she was to where she needed to be. The risk of failing her and watching that potential be lost was nerve-wracking. Good thing that God is the one who ultimately changes lives!
Over the years I would watch as she would give her life to Jesus, get baptized, redirect that energy into Godly endeavors, eventually go to Bible college, and now she is a youth pastor. Her IM yesterday afternoon said, “Do you know how much you changed my life?” I stared at the computer and chuckled a little. Dear girl, I didn’t change a thing. I have no power apart from His and have no wisdom that He didn’t give me… I just got to be the vessel for His life transformation in your story.
I pictured her leading her own group of students. She’s probably banging her head against a wall right now over a life that she desperately believes in. She probably sees the potential and only hopes she can do or say something that will translate into the love of Christ. But I also have the privilege of being able to see her future. She will have her own moment, a long time from now, when she’s at a computer and an IM will remind her that ministry is a little bit about what we do and a lot about a faithful, powerful, loving God who will finish the work that He starts in people.
Someone will ask her if she knows how much she changed her life and she will answer as I did, “Yes, I do. I am keenly aware of the impact my life has when I turn it over to Jesus.”