How Do You Know if God is Calling You to Ministry?

He told me to ignore the call of God, and it was the best advice I ever received.

I was sixteen. God had been working on me. Not like cleaning out a few cobwebs kind of work. He was knocking down walls and rearranging the basic structure of things. I knew, well I thought I knew, that He was calling me to some type of ministry.

I pictured myself in the Amazon rainforest passing out tracts and cold chills went up my spine. Each intake of breath felt heavy, like I couldn’t get enough air. How do you know?

How do you know when God is calling you to a deeper place with Him? How do you know if God is asking you to be in ministry? Or even more daunting – missions? Just the word brought to mind the tiny black and white photos of the missionaries in the back of the Open Windows devotionals we used to read at the breakfast table.

I took my shaky questions to someone I knew would have the answers. Someone wise in the ways of the Lord – my grandfather.

My Pop, as we called him, was a preacher. He retired after 50 years in the ministry, but couldn’t stay away and was doing interim pastoral work to supplement the time he spent in his garden.

Sure no one else was around, I dropped my big question and waited. “Pop, how do you know when God is calling you into the ministry?”

His hands stilled on the mail in his lap as he turned to look at me. “Ignore it.”

I’m sure my mouth hung open because those were not the words I was expecting to come out of Pop’s mouth. “Ignore…God?” I didn’t understand.

“Ignore the calling. The best way to know if God is really calling you is to ignore it. If He does really have a calling on your life, He won’t leave you alone. There will come a point where it will be obvious. You won’t question it anymore, and you’ll know with confidence God’s plan for you.”

I let that sink in a minute, the velour sticking to the backs of my sweaty legs, and took a deep breath. I didn’t have to worry about it. The ministry train wasn’t going to pass by if I was unsure about whether or not to get on board. God would make it obvious.

And guess what? He did.

Perhaps you’ve heard God whisper. And you’ve wondered. Wondered if He’s really speaking to you. Is He calling you to some kind of ministry or the mission field? Is He asking you to open your heart to adoption?

I offer the advice of a wise old preacher and tell you, “Ignore it. Just for a time, because if God’s really trying to get your attention, He will. Trust me.”

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 NIV

****Today is the day!! Today is the release of the Guideposts book I co-authored. If you received this by email, click on the link to my site. Look in the upper right-hand corner. If you are interested, you can order from there. 🙂


Medic Alert

It’s my call sign. Jingle jangle. My husband can find me just listening for it. If I reach to move clothes on a rack, jingle jangle. When I cook dinner, jingle jangle. As I apply my make-up, jingle jangle. On my left arm, right next to my watch, is the source of my music…

Join me today at the Cafe. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

I hope you are keeping cool! We are enjoying the last few days of summer! School starts back soon. Let me know what fun things you have been doing.


A Journey to Africa – Part 3

This is the 3rd part to my interview with Heather Ricks. Her family of four is getting ready to follow God’s call to Africa. If you haven’t read the other parts of the interview, please don’t miss them. I don’t know about you, but just reading Heather’s responses gets me excited about missions.

CAROL:  How long will you be spending in Africa?

HEATHER: Initially, we were going to Tanzania for long term (however long it took to get the school up and running and turned over to nationals. Which could be about ten or so years).


When we signed up with SIM (Serving In Mission), we signed up for a two-year term. However, God must’ve had different plans.


After trying to raise support again, we got up to about 49 % before Jason lost his job. (The ministry was hit by the economy and had to let all the office staff go). When this happened, we had a decision to make. SIM was not paying us yet, and Jason again was put in the position of having to make money to provide for his family. It was kind of hard going to an interview saying that we were planning on leaving for Africa whenever we got enough support raised—which we we’re hoping would be less than a year from then. You can’t find too many jobs, making more than unemployment, that way.


We looked at different options to get us to Africa and provide for the family (a difficult thing to juggle). One option was the possibility of Jason getting a Bible teaching job here at a high school, and us going to Africa during the summer to teach. We already had enough money raised for that, but Jason could neither get a teaching job here nor did any of the African countries need someone during the summer at their universities at that time. So, we nixed that idea. The other idea was to see how much money it would cost us to go to Africa for a year. Because they treat one-year people as ‘volunteers’, we were able to get paid differently, thus cutting our costs by over half. When this happened, we had enough to go this summer. All we had to finish raising was our one-time expenses.


So, we are technically going for a year, but we are available for whatever. I’m through trying to figure out what’s going to happen after a year!


CAROL:  Do you have any reservations about leaving?


HEATHER:  Whew, do I ever! It’s always scary leaving the known and going into the unknown. What keeps me going is knowing we’re doing what God has made us to do.


What keeps me going is knowing we’re doing what God has made us to do.


CAROL:  What do your boys think about the move?


HEATHER:  Although we’ve kept our boys involved with the process the whole way, it hasn’t made it any easier for them. They’ve had to say goodbye to friends a lot, especially Jeremy. We were hoping we would be able to make the transition from Wyoming to Africa quickly enough that they would not grow ‘roots’. But, during this two-year waiting period, they’ve made close friends, and it is hard.


On the flip side, they do understand what we are doing. This has given us many opportunities to talk to them about how God has something special planned for them, as well. God didn’t just ‘call’ dad to go and the rest of us have to be dragged along. If I didn’t feel our boys were on board, I would feel this enough reason to abort the move. I don’t want to plow over my family because I feel like we’re doing God’s work. Our family has to be healthy before ministry can be done. We’ve had many conversations about how hard it is to move. Jason and I allow them to cry and grieve.


One thing that has helped is we’ve been in contact with other SIM missionaries that have boys around Jeremy and Jonathan’s age. They’ve been emailing Jeremy and Jonathan, so they are establishing friendships even before they move.  Jason and I have learned that kids are more resilient than they look.

Don’t miss the final part to this interview on Friday!