Carried by Grace

IMG_4049“When you make the big decision – Everything else falls into place.” It was the message I needed to hear that Sunday morning, as a young woman, trying to not only make sense of where I was in life, but also of that long and stubborn call into ministry. I had asked myself, “How could I, who had failed in marriage, with children split up through a custody battle and little income ever go to seminary.” I wondered how I could afford the cost, survive with even less to live on, and do right by my children. Where would I find the time and energy?

Months later, I visited the seminary I’d applied to and was admitted. Still I didn’t have any sense of how I could possibly survive. Back in the shipping department where I was working at the time, the words of that earlier sermon played over in my head, almost as if I were hearing it for the first time. “When you make the big decision – Everything else falls into place.” I thought through my options and what I had thought to be an insurmountable obstacle was seen for the small hill it really was.

As I took the first steps, God opened new doors. I learned that, when God is calling to you, and you make the big decision, the resources of God’s kingdom open. With my student loan gone and almost out of money, I walked into the church one morning and was asked, “Are you still looking for a part time job?” My search the previous months has been fruitless. We were in a recession and no one was interested in a person with my seminary schedule to work around. I had no idea the person who asked, even knew I was looking for work. The job offered that morning was one that fit into my life easily. I worked on my own schedule. I was free to come and go from the office whenever I wanted. The job was close by, so my children could walk over when they needed to see mom. Days later, I learned I had been given a substantial scholarship which would renew each semester until I graduated.

In the summer months, when the student loans were gone, my church supplemented my income. Along the way were gift cards signed, “From a friend.” Help with Christmas gifts and assorted other emergencies. Two years into seminary, I was appointed to a church on a part time basis. My memories of that time, are of being carried by grace. People have often asked how I could have gone to seminary with my large family, I usually reply, “On grace.” I kept finding people who chose to be gracious to me and to my family. I learned then, how God warms a human heart to compassion. God had certainly warmed a lot of people, to my need.

When God puts a dream in your heart, God already knows how you’re going to be able to follow it. Our response is to simply take the first steps and see how and where God leads.