I was asked to write about my faith journey and my calling to ministry as a part of the discernment process. As I sat down to reflect and eventually begin writing this, I thought about how we ask our youth to write a similar statement as a part of their Confirmation Journey. I cannot remember if I ever had to write a statement of faith for my Confirmation journey. I found it to be both challenging and joyful.
Everyone, should have a chance to share the story of their journey.. No matter where they may be…
And after countless attempts at editing, I share…. I am sure it is still not perfected (It may never be, right?). But here it is:
I am by nature and heritage a story teller. I have listened to stories all of my life. Stories with imagery so strong and messages so moving that these stories have shaped the person I am today and in a way have shaped my theology, my beliefs and how I view the Lord. I come with stories of my childhood, of being part of a loving and supportive family, of growing up in a community of faith, of a pastor whose tales of faith opened a door of wonder and awe, stories of scripture and Sunday school, stories of true love, stories of motherhood, stories of loss and stories of healing. These stories are gifts, treasures that have fueled my passion for serving families, children and youth across multiple settings throughout my lifetime.
I have stories to tell of God’s incredible goodness, of His influence in my life and the lives of others. I am passionate about the stories of others, and how their stories have shaped their personal theology, their beliefs and their faith. I long to hear their tales – of the things that have defined them, that have brought them closer or (and although difficult to hear) may have separated them from a relationship with God. I long to show others the connection between the “religious and the spiritual”, and the ease in which combining the secular and the sacred paves the way for living the Christian life. I want others to understand the power found in prayer and that God always hears our praise and pleas. Always.
I find delight in being able to serve the church. The church is where the holy spirit is made visible. I love the church for being the body of Christ. I hold the church as close to my heart as I do my children. The church is a part of my soul, a solace, a place where dreams are realized and hearts are healed. No other place (in my opinion) is that like within the community found in the church. The church being as equally flawed as its parishioners makes the intangible idea of God’s grace real.
I have spent my life growing in a community of faith, of people who understood what it meant to come from different places, theologies, and practices. I grew up knowing what it meant to celebrate all that it means to be a Christian. I have always wanted to serve in parish ministry, I have had this calling my entire life. I wish to spend my life continuing to serve the greater church, and it’s people.
I worry. I worry about the balance between being clergy, a mother, a wife, a daughter – a person who exists alongside or maybe even outside of the requirements of the role of a minister. I do not come into this calling with ignorance. I realize the role I am embracing to serve God and the church is a complicated and sometimes difficult role.
I find that it is in those moments, those intimate and uncomfortable moments in which words escape my very rarely wordless lips – that I understand my calling to ministry. There is a calming wisdom provided through scripture that God renews our strength through hope. I delight in the imagery from that scripture (Isaiah 40:31) — of soaring above on wings “like that of eagles; of running and not growing weary, of walking and not being faint”. This knowledge fills my heart with an indescribable and overwhelming optimism. I walk with this gift in my heart… each and every day.
I pray, that through ministry, I can provide hope to others. And that maybe, just maybe I will leave behind footprints of joy.
Here I am Lord, send me!
And so be it.