Updated: Nov 2
Those of you who have been reading my posts for a while may be aware that I am still a college student (for a semester and a half longer!). I study Biblical Ministries at Biola (which stands for Biblical Institute of LA). This semester, I am taking a course called “Integrated Semester: Christian Ministries.” This course includes creating a website and posting blog posts. Fortunately for me, I already have a website. Fortunately for you, the class’s requirement of posting blog posts will allow you to see inside my life as a Biola student and into the future ministry I hope to accomplish in my life. This post is the first of many posts that may seem unrelated to writing or books. I hope you enjoy!
When I first came to Biola, I came with a plan: I would attend the school online and gain the “head knowledge” I needed for ministry while volunteering at my church to gain the “hands-on knowledge” also necessary for a life in ministry. COVID threw off my plans and for a year and a half, I was unable to serve in youth ministry, the field I was 100% sure was my calling.
During the year and a half I spent in isolation, separated from my ministry and my friends, I wrestled with God. I fell away from my healthy routines, no longer read the Bible, and was covered with a blanket of guilt and shame. I had lost sight of my Heavenly Father and no longer knew where He was guiding me.
At my lowest point, my classes began to teach me exactly what I needed to hear. I began to learn in my “head knowledge” classes that my guilt and shame were not from God. I suddenly felt able to throw off the burden that had covered me for so long and return to the me I wanted to be—a woman walking with God every step of the way.
But the woman I had been before COVID hit was no longer there. The journey back to walking with God was a harder road than I expected. I cried out to God, expecting to feel Him nearby as I had in the past but that “feeling” was not present. I returned to service in youth ministry, expecting to feel that great joy I had once felt when serving and was depressed when it was not there.
My “calling” was not for youth ministry but for something deeper. Something present within youth ministry which I could take to the world outside of a Wednesday night youth group. I had needed the close, nearness of God, the feel of His presence in the time before COVID as I began to build an identity centered around Him. I had needed to find joy in serving Him and in His community to recognize later where I was truly being “called.”
I am called to serve readers.
I am called to write, to write often, and to write with the creativity He has given me. He has placed a story (or two or a thousand) in me and I am called to bring them to the world. I am called to use my position as an author to influence the world for the better.
I have a heart for readers and desire to serve them in any way I can. I have a dream to own a bookstore and believe I can minister to others through this business. I am called to love others no matter who they are or where they come from.
No matter where I am or what I am doing, my ministry is largely based on two things: community and Imago Dei.
Community: I believe God has created us to live in community with one another. We are made to build one another up, not to tear one another down. I believe that, in order to minister to anyone, one must first build a relationship. That starts with creating a community where trust, consideration, and connection are at the center. When people are welcomed into the community and feel at home, they recognize that you have their best interests at heart. My desire, my calling is to create a community of young readers built upon trust, consideration, and connection. It is a community like this to which I can minister to and disciple.
Imago Dei: “Imago Dei” means the image of God. We are made in the image of God but don’t always reflect that. I believe that the most effective way to minister to people is by reflecting the fact that I am created in the image of God. Being made in the image of God means I am a representative of Him in the same way that a US diplomat may go to another country as a representative for America. That diplomat must be on their best behavior or else it reflects badly on the country. Who wants to come to America if the diplomats are constantly rude and arrogant? In the same way, if I am rude, arrogant, inconsiderate, or otherwise unpleasant to be around, who can blame those around me for not desiring to accept God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Instead, I can reflect the image of God by loving those around me as He loves them, reflecting His joy, and choosing His peace. As a result, others may question where my love, joy, and peace come from and may choose to accept God’s gift for themselves.
So what is my calling? I believe I am called to the world of writing as an author and to the world of business as a bookstore owner. In these places, I believe I am called to minister to readers, particularly those who are still in school (grades 6-12) by creating a community where they feel welcomed and accepted and by reflecting the image of God to them.