May 1, 2016 - Stephen Barnett - Mary & Martha Director of Finance & Operations
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. - James 1:2-3
Do you remember the turning point in your life when you let go and let God? The moment when you finally turned to Christ and let Him have all of you because you were so tired of trying to make your plans work?
For me, it happened when I was 23 years old. After becoming so tired of chasing my dreams my way, I realized that the only dreams worth fulfilling were the ones God had laid out for me.
It was the summer before my senior year of college where God really started tugging at my heart. While playing football at the University of Arkansas, I was getting up at 4:30am to head to practice, and then getting home after 10:00pm. It was about 10 days into this routine that I awoke from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, and had a strong internal feeling questioning where I was headed in life. I didnt get any sleep that night as I just started to pray and talk to God. No magical revelation was given, no clear vision was made, but I knew that Christ was starting a movement towards something unknown in my life.
In the middle of our season, when I was making great headway on the team, I got called into my Coachs office to be informed that my starting position on the kickoff team was going to be moved back to make way for graduating seniors, giving them a chance to play. Though I was happy for them, I suddenly was on the back-burner of the team. Why was God putting me in a rough position that I didnt want and that I worked so hard for? Did I waste eight years of my life seeking something that wasnt what I was supposed to do? I waited game after game to play, but I never got called in. I was so passionate about football, that surely God wanted me pursuing this passion of sports. I was more than ready to jump to the professional football world to spread the Gospel to lost players; why was God not letting me go there?
Over time, I came to know that God was talking to me and telling me that He had something more for me. He was telling me to give up my passion for the unknown. He was encouraging me to let go of my desires and let Him alone be my desire.
After much debate, I reluctantly ended my time with the Razorbacks, and dove straight into my degrees, graduating with Marketing & Accounting under my belt. My life was on a new track. It was risky and unfamiliar, it wasnt exactly fulfilling my deepest desires (or what I thought were my deepest desires), but in the unknown I knew God was a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I had no idea what He was doing, but I was willing to go for the ride.
I dont think working with thousands of women every day is exactly what I had envisioned when I let God make my steps for me, but I have loved every moment of encouraging these women and our customers every day. I dont think sitting at a desk for hours is exactly what I thought of when I let God lead the way, but the co-workers and environment Mary & Martha and DaySpring provide has created life-long friendships and mentorships. I have become part of something bigger than myself, something that is sharing the Gospel to homes all over the US, and I am excited to see how many lives will be transformed through this great company.
Isnt it funny how in hindsight we can see how God is directing us to His will? How the moments we doubted He gave us reasons to believe? How the times we said, Are you really sure?, that He gave us peace unimaginable?
This is the God we serve, one who is outside of time and intricately (and patiently) moves all of humanity for His good. The trials we face, the confusion of life, the world we live in should fuel our fire to hold onto Gods hand a little tighter, as we really have no clue what Hes up to. God wouldnt hold nearly as much majesty and grace if He wasnt also mysterious in His work. To not know His will is hard. But to know it is for His good makes the pursuit of faith all worth it.
My dreams of working in the sports world as a professional athlete are long gone, but Im more than ok with that. Christ has led me to a life much fuller than I could have ever dreamed. Hes given me peace of where I am is where He wants me.
Wherever you are in life, seek God and allow Him to talk to you. You might not see the path right away, but over time He will keep giving you doors to go through to where you should be. Make the most of every situation that Hes giving to you by praising God through them. Know that all things from God are good. Seek to find peace, and then work hard with what is laid in front of you.
Praise God for the events yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:4
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