Our Calling

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Our story about God's calling on our lives (so far)...

Submitted: April 22, 2008

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Submitted: April 22, 2008

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Our Calling

By Barb Allen

 

During our married life, our biggest commitment to church has been in an independent Baptist church. During these years, we had the opportunity and blessing to become personally involved with a number of missionary families. We were able to meet many of them in person at our church and at missions conferences, to hear their testimonies, to support those whose ministry meant something to us, even to fellowship with them and receive regular updates about their families and their work. We become very personally involved in missions as a result of this.

 

It was in 2003, at one such missions conference in Alabama that God called Steve and I both to surrender to ministry. Unbeknownst to the other, each of us at different times during that conference was on our knees at the altar surrendering our lives to a calling to serve God. Though we have never had a certainty of exactly what the calling was, we have always felt it would be in the area of missions. We were both in awe when we got home from that conference and shared with one another what God had done in our hearts there and realized that He had done the same thing in both of us!

 

We also both knew this didn’t mean that we were going to be on a foreign mission field anytime soon. We knew there was a process of getting one’s self ready for a calling, and that for us, it may never be to live on foreign soil, but we knew we were called just the same, and we had surrendered to do whatever God made clear He wanted for us to do.

 

For awhile that meant just staying faithful in serving Him in the local church, supporting missionaries whose work we knew was fruitful worldwide, and doing the things, personally and in our marriage, that would strengthen us and prepare us to be ready for a bigger work somewhere down the road.

 

We had a battle we had to fight right at home, our home church that is. We were members of a church with a pastor whose principles and methods were becoming increasingly questionable. We had known about some issues for quite some time and for too long, we even ignorantly accepted them as “the way it is supposed to be” and supported our pastor as we felt God would have us to do. It was becoming increasingly obvious that some of the things that we had been supporting, or at the very least quietly accepting, were Scripturally wrong.

 

Over time, my husband accepted the challenge he felt God had given him to try to rally for change within that church, to stand up for the truths of Scripture and not allow traditions and status quo to rule any longer. He discovered some people who said they would stand alongside him, but in the end he found himself alone when it came time to confront these issues head on. He was met with quite a wave of opposition in trying to do this and though he fought long and hard, he eventually felt that his family’s spiritual health was his greatest responsibility so he took his final stand in asking the pastor to be meet with him and the deacons to discuss these issues. When the pastor refused to acknowledge that there was anything to discuss and forbid any meeting, Steve chose to remove our family from that situation. And I praise God for making him strong enough to do that despite the opposition and the lies being told about him because of it. I'm sure we didn't always say the right things and we probably even had a few bad attitudes throughout that, the very hardest battle we've ever fought in our lives. But we are so blessed to serve a God that looks upon our heart, not our outward appearances. Thankfully, God could see our hearts were always bent toward trying to glorify Him as much as we possibly can in our human flesh.

 

Shortly after that, after visiting a handful of churches here in the area, we were led to Plaza Heights Baptist Church in Blue Springs. We placed ourselves as members under Brother Bob Collins' preaching. Our decision was confirmed in many, many ways after that time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was also the hardest thing that we have ever gone through. We were ostracized by everyone in our former church, which was just about everyone that we held dear and loved and whom we considered our family for over 5 years. We were lied about by the pastor, rejected by our friends, and persecuted by so many who called themselves Christians and yet blindly followed an errant pastor believing the Lord would will them to ostracize us. I guess I better understand now how people can come to believe such outright falacies, such as the Muslims who believe their god wants them to kill everyone that is not "of them." I'm so glad we serve a God that died for everyone of us and wants all of His followers to love one another and seek to help all those who do not yet believe, not kill or in any other way ostracize them. We know what it feel like to be treated as lepers. And no one, though many were aware of the same issues for which we took a stand, has yet been willing to stand up for the truth of the Bible against this wayward "shepherd".

 

This time became as marked by depression and anxiety as the grieving of a losing a close family member to death. Our marriage almost did not withstand the pressure that this put us under. It’s amazing how you can be totally sold out to what it is that God wants you to do, willing to give up everything that you hold dear to stand up for His truth, and yet be driven to despair as you are lied to by the enemy of our souls about how you did it all wrong and how all the persecution that you are enduring is really just God’s punishment on you for not being willing to stay and make change happen. It was an incredibly difficult time in our lives. Sadly, we often turned on one another instead of to one another. But God led us to solid Biblical counseling that He used to save us from destroying what God was trying to do in our lives.

 

And then, in September 2007, almost exactly 2 years after our lives started over and after we were healed in many ways from the pain and suffering that we had endured then, God reminded Steve and me both of the calling that He had placed on our lives back in 2003. He reminded us that He had begun a good work in us and that He was still working and the He would be until His work was completed. He had never stopped working. Everything that we had to endure was all a part of his preparation for us, all a part of His spiritual training preparing us to live 2 Corinthians 4: to know that we have a treasure in our earthen vessels, not because of us, but because of His power in us, to know that though we are troubled on every side, we need not be distressed, and though we were perplexed, we did not have to despair, to know that though we were heavily persecuted, we were never forsaken and though we were struck down by some, none could destroy us.

 

Our marriage is now back on solid ground, not problem-free, but growing closer every day and blessed in knowing that every trial we endure together strengthens us for the ministry God is calling us to. Our spiritual lives are now back on fertile soil. Our family is once again enjoying the blessings of serving God together. Our friends (our new friends) stand beside us, serving God alongside us. God is so good! He has begun again to ask us to step out of our comfort zones and follow where He is leading, to surrender completely to His calling in our lives. Steve took that first step by walking down the aisle on December 31, 2007. He made the best New Year’s resolution ever. And it was not a mere resolution to be forgotten about before January is over. It was a life-long commitment to follow God wherever He leads us. We are just starting the process of applying for missionary work through the International Mission Board. Please pray for us!


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