Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Autobiography

Born and raised in a house that was culturally churched my beliefs proved to be liberal and universal. I thought one to be foolish by questioning my stance before God. I was one of fifteen on a Youth Task Force that represented the entire Presbyterian youth population in the West Texas region. I was very active in my own youth group, community and mission trips, and my works seemed to testify that I was a “good person”.

In the eighth grade my world, as I knew it, was rocked by my parents divorce. The remainder of my junior high and high school years would be spent in a home with a depressed mother and the feeling of abandonment. Soon, I found myself in college and with some direction of peers and my search for significance, I had entered the party world, yet still attending church and bible study. One Sunday evening the Lord graciously interrupted my life by four air force intel students at our Sunday night bible study. Seeing our beliefs the group prayed, fasted and invested in myself and my dear friend Amanda. My beliefs and their origins were challenged by Ronnie (one of the air force guys) and my foundation was merely sand.

On a Sunday evening after bible study and month after Amanda's salvation, I went to have a few drinks with Amanda's roommate. After dry heaving for quite some time, the Lord had truly revealed my sinful, depraved state. Amanda and Ronnie had come home from a date and Amanda found me in my pathetic circumstance. Completely undone, broken and guilty; I did not want to be around Ronnie, who was an incredible representation of Christ to me. Ronnie came in, regardless of my request, and he looked me in the eyes and said, “There is nothing you can do that can take my love away from you.” As far as I could remember I had sang “Amazing Grace” and yet, until I saw my total depravity before a holy and just God, those words had never really had such a great meaning. My life was surrendered to the Lord. There was nothing in and of myself that would have ever chosen him over the god that I had created that was comfortable to me. There was no steps that I took on my own to soften my heart and make my deaf ears hear the words of the one who created me. It was by his amazing grace alone that I was able to stand again. Not on shifty sand but the firm foundation that He laid before me. This is why I long to share the hope I have in Christ Jesus. Because of salvation and sanctification that the Lord has worked and continues to work in my life, I will pour into the lives of others.

I was discipled for the nine remaining months I had with my air force brothers and sisters. As they received their assignments, I traveled with one of the girls to Kentucky to work a Junior High Camp. This would be the first time to pour out after being poured into. I can remember having a great compassion for the kids and I ached for them to know the truth. I was positioned alongside two men, one was a minister and the other a youth minister. I was initially intimidated since I had been a believer for such a short time. Yet as I observed these two men, my heart broke. For some reason they did not seem to be there for the kids, nevertheless their spiritual state. I had a strong desire to defend and confirm the gospel and the complacency of these men did not equal that desire. Upon my return home, I immediately found two women that mentored me and I began to serve the youth in my home church. I found the more I soaked myself in the word, the more I loved to teach. My three years of serving the senior high girls at my church ended as the Lord had called me to step out in faith towards the mission field after graduation.

The field that the Lord had me in was Sedro-Wooley, Washington. During my ten week mission, God used me to counsel 50 year old women to youth aged kids. I taught at Vacation Bible Schools, a Disciple Now, a Lock-in, a week long youth camping trip and numerous bible studies. The Lord used me as a vessel to plant seeds and share the gospel with exchange students from Italy, Belgium, France and Sudan. The lessons learned were many and my eyes were opened to the fields full of lost.

Upon my return I served as a Juvenile Probation Officer at which point the justice of God became clear to me. After dealing with suicides, aggravated sexual assault cases, etc., my heart was heavy and depression began to set in. I had never hurt so much for a people and my own past pains were on the rise. I was approached by the campus minister at the Baptist Student Ministries at Angelo State to consider taking the position of campus intern/missionary. After much prayer I made the transition into full time ministry that would last for a two year term. As the campus missionary, under the headship of the director Lee Floyd, I: helped lead a leadership team of 25-30 students, mentored and discipled ten girls a week during scheduled one one ones, preformed local and state interviews for Go Now Missions, lead a bible study once a week, and planned, coordinated and directed over sixty events and two retreats a semester along with one mission trip per year.

I cannot begin to explain, without length, all that the Lord taught me and the experiences I had serving our God through the Baptist Student Ministries. Since my term there was merely two years, I had to seek the Lord as to which direction I should take next. I find myself in that position today. For the summer I was a Pharmacy Tech and currently I am in a Junior high class room working with special needs kids and yet I still have not found rest in my soul knowing my love and passion for ministry. By all means, the Lord has used me and sanctified me working in those two secular fields and apart from them I fear that I would have very few non-Christian friendships. I am not merely wasting time, yet I pray that I am making the most of it and more importantly making the most of God's glory for His namesake.

For over a year my pastor, Lakan Mariano, has give me counsel and has strongly felt that I should be attending seminary to further equip me, and for years my singleness and financial self-support have been used as an excuse not to go, being controlled by fear and unbelief of the Lord's provision. A year and a half ago, I had printed out information about Southern and had even printed out the application and never followed through with obedience and faith. As Christ pursued me, I pray by his grace and strength that I might be able to pursue this time of equipping in my life with faithfulness. Not out of selfish ambition, although to sit under the wisdom of solid instruction that leads me to know and love this God we serve would benefit me, but if anything to have the tools to minister to others in their search for significance. I thank you for taking this time to see where the Lord has worked in my life and for considering me to journey on at Southern.

Future Possibilities

It seems that I am consistently apologizing for the length of time in between composing blogs. I suppose there is alot to be said and yet I find little time to write it all out. So, what does my life look like you ask....
Work has been great this last month. i love the kids and daily find it a joy to serve them. The Lord continues to sanctify me in humility, patience, grace, love and numerous other attributes by working with these 11 handicapped kids. Many of you were able to work the Eldorado D-Now with me. It was such a blessing and honor to serve alongside such a solid team of leaders. While pouring out into the senior high girls, I was so blessed to be poured into by great teaching and fellowship with my dear friends who are attending Southern Seminary.
Speaking of Southern, as most of you know, I have submitted my application to Southern in hopes to attend in the fall in pursuit of a masters in biblical counseling. This has been a process that has taken place for well over 2 years. I can remember being a Juvenile Probation Officer printing out the biblical counseling degree plan. Mara Garza had just been under Dr. Scott at Master's when I heard that Dr. Scott moved to Southern. After talking to Mara and much prayer I printed out the application and allowed it to sit on my shelf at the BSM during the two years I served as the campus missionary. I could never bring myself to the place to throw it away. For over a year I laughed at Lakan out of nervousness as he continually encouraged me to go to seminary. The sin of unbelief towards the Lord's provision and fears of entering yet another chapter in my life single overwhelmed me. I received new yesterday that the application that was printed out almost three years ago was sent to the Admissions Board at Southern for review. It has been a long journey. In now way would i take one moment of it. My ministry at the BSM, the restoration in my family and plenty of experiences have grown me in wisdom and has refined me. Yet out of obedience and combating the unbelief in my life, I am excited about the possibilities ahead. I am leaving Spring Break for Louisville to visit dear friends, attend a personal campus visit and hopefully meet with people that can guide me through this process. Then I will road trip over to St. Louis to visit my dearest friends Amanda and Ronnie and their now 4 kids.
To be honest this can be a lonely walk at times. I have spent numerous nights at the lake with me and the Lord praying through things. I daily have to remind myself that the Lord is sovereign and his grace is sufficient for all my needs. I battle unbelief and pray for the times I lack in faith. My Abba Daddy has truly lavished his love upon me and in Him I will trust. Please continue to pray for me as I seek the Lord in the direction I should take. In the next blog I plan on sharing my autobiography that i had to write for the application. It was such a blessing to look back on my redemption, sanctification and the work in and through me throughout the last 6 years. To him receive the glory and honor forever.

"If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because he upholds me with his hand. I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, that is my own; but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely." - Charles Spurgeon