So often in church settings we hear the same words over and over, and while there are many examples, the one placed on my heart is “being called.”
“I feel like I’m being called to ministry,” “I’m being called to missions,” etc.
We hear that and we think it’s something reserved for some super Christian that we have no hope of becoming. They can do that, but I’m not smart enough, not strong enough in my walk with Christ.
That’s not true.
If you have a relationship with Christ, then you have a calling. Lots of them, actually.
See, we’re called to be part of the church. To spread the gospel everywhere we go. Sometimes we’re called to go to a different place. Sometimes God changes the plans we set for ourselves.
And sometimes we question it.
This summer was supposed to be the summer I stayed in Oxford, got a job, made close friends.
I applied to almost every place I could even imagine working, and every single door that opened closed before I could get my foot in it. I was back home much more often than I even thought was physically possible, and I spent most nights alone watching Netflix. For the life of me, I could not figure out why nothing was working.
Then my mother forwarded me an email. It was from the missions pastor at my home church asking for a couple of college-age girls to help with a camp in Farmington, Maine.
Now there are a couple of key things that you need to know: 1) It is extremely rare for there to be a need for female leaders. I don’t know what it is, but chicks just volunteer to do more. And 2) Maine was the first place I went on a mission trip, and it has always held a special place in my heart. And recently, I’d been dying to go back.
The first thought that crossed my mind was, “I want to go.”
The second thought that crossed my mind was, “I don’t have money.”
Of course, I had gotten ahead of myself and not actually finished reading the email, which informed me that the church would cover airfare while the camp would cover ground-costs. Essentially, it was a free trip.
So, being the obedient daughter I was raised to be, I asked for my mother’s permission. She was a little hesitant (She’s a big planner, and my going to Maine at a moment’s notice wasn’t exactly in her plan any more than it had been in mine). However, she decided it was my call.
And like that, I was off to Maine for the third time in my 20 years.
Luckily, I was not forced into the utterly unknown world of Girls’ Camp alone. Another girl from my church accompanied me, and we were the only Mississippians in a huge group of Mainers and former-Mainers.
And as well as things had fallen into place, I was still doubting that I should even be there. I’m not good with kids. I certainly don’t know the Bible well enough to teach it. And they wanted me to lead a creative writing workshop, which I’m still not entirely sure I’m qualified to do. The only thing I was really comfortable with was the 70-degree weather. But God had a few more surprises in store for me.
As it turns out, the theme for the week was “You Want Me To What?” That seemed pretty appropriate given the circumstances, especially since I was promised a partner who had to been to the camp before, but I wound up paired with the girl from my church, so we were lost as geese all week.
And on top of that, the theme verse for the week was Ephesians 4:1—“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Now what the camp director did not know was that our summer Bible study was on that very same passage in Ephesians. In fact, we had spent about three weeks on the first verse.
That sealed it for me. I was supposed to be in Maine. It wasn’t an accident. It was where God wanted me.
So for a week, I helped lead a group of 15 teenage girls through Bible studies, devotions, prayer, mission testimonies, and camp activities.
I had to be emotional support for my girls but also for my partner as the depth of the culture there wore her down. She wasn’t prepared for how dark the world these girls live in can really be. Less than 1% of Maine is considered Evangelical Christian. As of 2010, it is the least religious state in the U.S. These were girls who have had to deal with social persecution, physical and emotional abuse, devastating loss, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts.
There was an entire day that we spent sharing our stories and crying and consoling one another. We saw how God is working in the lives of these girls, and it broke my heart to see how desperately they need the joy that God provides.
I saw these girls grow closer together and closer to God. We shared tears and testimonies. I gained 15 little sisters that week. And a week before any of it, I had no idea I’d even be there. Now, I’m making plans to go back. Because my mom forwarded an email.
As we begin this school year, don’t forget that God has called you to where you are, even if you’re turning in circles trying to figure out where exactly that is, so make the most of it. There’s a sense of joy and fulfillment that comes with doing what God wants for your life. Don’t pass that up. When God calls you this semester, answer.
Kaitlin Flowers is a junior English major from Tupelo, Mississippi. She leads the communication ministry and moderates the BSU blog. She is also a member of the drama team. Her future likely involves books, cats, and unhealthy amounts of coffee.