Call to Ministry
When I was 17 I knew with all my heart the Lord had placed a call on my life. As a teenager, who loved singing and being on stage, I thought I’d end up in music ministry right out of high school. Instead I attended a four-year university. After graduation, my first full-time job was singing professionally… in a nightclub. I later settled into a career in advertising, but God used my time as a nightclub singer to equip me for music ministry. He also used that experience to connect me with the man I would marry. Steve played the drums, and he not only became my husband, but also the sound tech and manager of my concert ministry. Together we began presenting Christian concerts at churches, women’s events, youth gatherings, even juvenile hall assemblies.
A couple of years later God opened the door for me to begin leading worship. I served weekly as worship leader for a local church, and often traveled to retreats, camps and conferences. Then the Lord began blessing us with children. Did I mention my life seemed perfect in every way?
Everything changed when our son died.
Our marriage suffered and nearly shattered. Our financial security evaporated. My health and wellbeing deteriorated. Our oldest child rebelled. I nearly lost hope, but God remained faithful. He proved the promise of Psalm 34:18, which gave me the title for my first book and CD: The Lord is Close. Through it all, God drew me even deeper into relationship with Him and proved His ability to meet all my needs.
I learned a testimony is not merely a before-and-after-Jesus-came-into-my-life story. Rather, it’s an ongoing narrative bearing witness to the difference the abiding presence of Jesus makes in our lives. God gives me new reasons to testify to His goodness and grace daily. I no longer doubt my testimony, and I believe Luke 12:48 applies to me: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Oil from the Jar
I could drown in the flood of grace God has poured on me, and I sense His pleasure when I pour out what He pours in. I coined the phrase “Oil from the Jar” to brand my blogs, tweets, and quips for this very reason. In the Bible, oil represents the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit. As I teach and testify, I identify with what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:5-7: For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Turns out all those years in advertising helped polish my speaking and writing gifts. I delight in using Scriptures, stories and songs to lead others to encounter God so they can experience the fullness of His abiding presence. These days I spend more time teaching than singing, and I now know this is what God called me to when I was 17.