A Family Calling

24 Mar

Twenty six years ago, I was an IT professional struggling with a gnawing in my heart.  Gnawing seems to be a crass word in this sense, but that is the only way I know to describe it.  My relationship with Christ was stronger than it had ever been and He was calling.  And I was running.  I tried to excuse it away as a bleedover of my love for the youth ministry at Washington Avenue Baptist Church.  In fact, I passed up an opportunity for serious career advancement because I didn’t want to move to Charlotte BECAUSE of my youth Sunday School class!!  (This is the evidence for those who think I am a fool … Think what you will.)

The more I struggled with this uneasy feeling, the more I knew exactly what it was:  God was calling me to ministry of some sort.  And I was terrified!!  I was nervous about telling Diana.  I was uneasy about the fact that we had a six-month old and this would be a radical change of life and income.  I had a great career ahead of me in computer technology and the financial potential was endless!

My parents had always taught me the most important thing I could do was to provide for my family.  I was scared to death to tell my mother and father, just knowing they would tell me I had lost my mind.  So I prayed.  And I ran.  I knew it would require me to continue my education and had no idea how far that would lead.  I even had no idea how my friends and peers would react:  They KNOW how imperfect I am.  What would they say?  What would they think?

As I prayed and wrestled, I gave God every good and logical excuse I could think of.  And He took them down one by one.  He confirmed and He called.  And the greatest confirmations came from my family.  My mother and father, whom I told AFTER Diana, basically told me “if God is calling, you have to answer!!”  I was floored!!  But I had already received the greatest confirmation I could possibly receive from my bride …

When I told her, she wasn’t surprised at all.  She agreed to pray with me and we would figure this out together.  Then she told me a story that I will never forget.  Several years before she even met me, she was at a retreat or a youth camp and had a strong calling from God.  You might say an unusual calling.  The Holy Spirit told her that some day she would be the wife of a pastor.  Then, in her words, she met me.  Some time later she knew that I was the one, and just guessed she had misunderstood.  But now it all made perfect sense to her.

And it takes a family calling …  My profession is both extremely rewarding and heartbreaking.  Some go out of their way to encourage me.  Some go out of their way to tell me how sorry I really am.  And then I come home everyday to a woman who is called, and her calling is to walk the mountain tops and valleys with me.  To very little fanfare or recognition.  And she will not like the fact that I wrote this, but it is true.

Another great confirmation for me is the fact that I know I couldn’t make it without a partner who is just as called to ministry as I.  Who loves our church just as much.  Who celebrates the victories and struggles through the hardships.

Because, she is called too.  It really is a family calling.

3 Responses to “A Family Calling”

  1. pamgaddy March 24, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    Diana is truly a special part of your ministry. You are blessed, and so is Ebenezer!

  2. Donna Murray March 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    Wow! Very profound words from my very wise brother.

  3. Martha Vaughan March 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Pride is ok when it is pride in a son-in-law and daughter. Love you both and so so proud of you.

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