Our God is such an awesome God! I want to share a testimony with you today from a pastor’s wife that I know will bless you and be a reminder of how awesome He is.
Being in vocational ministry is a position like none other….and it’s not easy. Those of you that have been in ministry for longer than 2 seconds know that to be true. My husband and I are walking into our third year in full-time ministry this month. Yes, we are still new to some things….but I have found that facing hardship within ministry is- at the core- the same as facing adversity outside of ministry. The question that we all face when in the “thick of it” is ultimately the same: how do we keep moving forward?
I know this to be true because this is not my first climb over treacherous mountains. In fact, you could say that I’m a regular mountain climber! You know what really intrigues me though? As I’ve been reflecting over the last several years, I have come to realize that God has been preparing me all along for the season I am in right now. And you know what? I bet the same is true for you too. Allow me to explain.
I was 16 years old when I got the news that would permanently alter the course of my life. One minute I’m focused on prom, college, and my every budding social life….and then the next minute I’m told I have a rare form of cancer that would most likely kill me within five years. And if by some miracle it didn’t – there was no way I would be able to have my own children, after they hit me with the VERY nasty chemotherapy drugs they were planning to use.
Those have been some of my favorite words throughout my life. In my opinion, there are no greater two words that give Him the intense glory that only He deserves.
When circumstances look impossible….
When life is so extremely hard….
When there seems to be no end in sight….
That seems to be the theme of my life. 20 years later, 3 different types of cancer at 6 times throughout those years, parts of my lungs missing, my shoulder blade gone – rendering my dominant right shoulder useless, a mastectomy with reconstruction, and three beautiful children that I carried and birthed myself are all subcategories of those two words: But God.
And throughout each of those treacherous mountain journeys, God has taught me so much about Himself and about finding joy throughout it all. It’s actually really simple in nature, but not always so simple in execution.
He is the answer. Seeking Him….resting in Him….trusting that He is in control- THAT is the only thing that provides joy in those journeys. But for those of us who have weathered storms, we know that it’s not always easy to do that. Our sinful nature gets in the way and we become like Peter, when he took his eyes off of the Savior as He beckoned him out onto the stormy waters. Peter lost focus of WHO he was walking towards and zeroed in on WHAT he was walking through.
Guys, we HAVE to keep our eyes on the WHO instead of the WHAT….ALL the time! It’s tempting for us to really emphasize that during the rough waters. But I have found that I need that reminder to keep my focus even when the waters are still. I feign control when the ripples are small or nonexistent. But the ironic thing is, is that He is still in control even in those quiet times. When I keep my eyes constantly on my beautiful Savior, the waves are easier to handle when they begin to pick up speed.
When God called us into full-time ministry I had no idea that it would come with a tsunami attached to it. We accepted the position at our home church, and two days after they announced it we found out my cancer had reared its ugly head (after a 7-year hiatus) and with a vengeance. It looked completely stupid for us to continue to step out in faith by moving forward with this career change.
He provided a peace to both my husband and I that is unexplainable in our human understanding. We said yes and let me tell you, He did not disappoint. He worked out EVERY detail for His glory and for our good! It has been over two years now and I am cancer-free, we are neck-deep in ministry, and God has provided our every need and then some.
It was so helpful to us to know, from those past experiences, that God would provide the answers we needed. It was incredibly scary but oddly invigorating at the same time. Our lives were completely in His hands and all I can say is WOW! Friends, He will never ask you to step into something without equipping you to do it. Yes, you won’t feel adequate but you know what? We’re not supposed to! He IS adequate, so you don’t need to be.
Seek Him, trust Him, find the joy in the journey, and allow those words to permeate your life too: But God.
Wow God! I appreciate Heather sharing her journey with us and what a testimony of God’s faithfulness it is. I pray you will think of her story when you are going through difficulties and remember her words of encouragement and that God is faithful!
You can read more of Heather’s blogs at heatheraolson.wixsite.com/heatherolson.