I fell in love with the outdoors while working in Minnesota. Canoeing, backpacking, and cross-country skiing were added to my childhood love of hiking, swimming, and biking. I dreamed of buying the newest equipment for my hobbies, but my nursing salary didn’t allow luxuries.
Then I fell in love with Mike. We married and moved to Washington State. He was pursuing a theology major, while I worked as a nurse. I looked forward to ministering together in a church. But the more involved I became in my outside activities, the more I began to resent the thought of serving in churches. Ministry life wouldn’t give me time to do the things I loved. My resentment began spilling over to my husband.
When I found out I was pregnant (surprise!) my life dramatically changed. Having a baby made me realize how self-centered my focus had been. Now I was somewhat more inclined to help in ministry, but I still didn’t get involved much.
When my husband graduated, we first served a multi-church district. Or rather, my husband did. To me, it was his work, not mine, so I never did much ministry with him. Tragically, he died when our son was two years old.
Later when I married Jerry, another pastor, I had the same attitude. Another son was born, and as our children grew older, I resumed my hiking and backpacking. But strangely, I wasn’t happy.
My love for my sports and the latest equipment was consuming. No one paid me to assist my husband, and I resisted any attempts to get me involved. My primary focus was to find ways to earn money while being a stay-at-home mom.
And still I was unhappy. Bitterness crept into my life. I tried to spend time with God, but it was hard to be consistent, and it just didn’t do much for me.
But then church members began praying for a baptism of the Holy Spirit in my life. I began to spend time reading the Bible every day. I learned to pray.
Amazing experiences followed. My depression and sadness evaporated. I felt God was calling me into ministry, so I challenged Him, “God, if this is from You, my husband, Jerry, will have to ask me to do ministry with him.”
About a week later Jerry asked me to help him in ministry. Since then, I’ve been consistently involved in ministry, both with my husband and in other areas. And I’ve never had so much peace and happiness. Yes, I get tired and discouraged. But I also have indescribable peace and joy.
The amazing thing is that for years I was working for free, with absolutely no pay. Years later, when I was getting paid, God led me to give the majority of my salary away. He has a wonderful sense of humor!
While consumed by my own selfish interests, I was unhappy and depressed. When I finally gave my heart to Jesus and chose to live focused on Him, I found happiness. Working for Him was exciting! My resentment melted away. Not only that, but as my children saw the change in me, they were inspired to get involved in ministry too.
God has made it possible for me to hike many high mountains. He’s given us cars, furniture, and so much more. And my devotional time with God has become amazing! I no longer need to force myself to spend time with God. I live to spend time with Jesus. Giving over everything to my Savior, following His plans rather than mine, turned my life upside down.
I believe this is the way to be truly satisfied, and the only worthwhile way to spend my life.