“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
There are times in life when we can hear the call of God, and there are times when we might miss it if we are not listening carefully in our hearts and are not sensitive to the Holy Spirit. In November of 2010, my husband experienced a medical emergency. This was the most frightening experience we had ever had. We were living in Jacksonville, Florida, and all of our family was here in Dallas. Although our church family was an incredible source of support and prayer throughout the process, our hearts longed to be home with our family, so we began praying. We prayed fervently for the Lord to open a door that would lead us back home … or that He would settle our hearts to continue our ministry in Jax. We knew if the opportunity opened for my husband or me, we would walk through that door, so we waited and prayed.
In October of 2012, I received a phone call from a dear friend regarding a ministry position in the Dallas area. For almost two years, we had prayed earnestly. It was an incredible church within miles of our family and an excellent opportunity to connect with some outstanding leaders. I remember hanging up the phone and telling my husband, “God has answered our prayers! We are going home!” We were so excited. I jumped on a plane the following week and headed to Dallas. Now, I am a terrible flyer! Any time I am on a plane, I have to pray; this flight was nothing different. Thankfully, I arrived safely and quickly jumped off the plane to meet my friend driving me to the church for the interview. It was a whirlwind of a drive from one campus to another.
Our conversation was as if I had already accepted the position. We were chatting and catching up on life, and I was excited to meet with a few of the church leaders as part of the official interview process. Once on the campus, I toured the preschool and children’s area and spent some time with a couple of the ministers. Although my respect for these leaders and this church was great, I developed a very unsettled feeling in my heart. As our conversations continued, I tried to justify the sense of apprehension—it was a big move. I can adjust this to make that work; I can look at this a little differently. By the end of the day, my heart and stomach were so upset. My head was spinning. I was trying to justify why I would feel this way if this was indeed the very thing for which we fervently prayed.
As I walked away that evening, the Lord brought 2 Timothy 1:7 to my mind: “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and discipline.” He is not a God of confusion. Although I did not understand this at the time, I knew this was not the ministry assignment God had planned for me. I cried most of the plane ride home, not because I was fearful of the flight, but because I was trying to balance the fact that it appeared God had answered my prayer to move back home, but for some reason, He was closing this door. The sense of urgency that this was not the right step was so apparent, yet why would He take me home to tell me this was not where He was calling me?
We decided this was His answer to our prayer. We would continue our ministry in Jacksonville and serve with all of our hearts, and so we did. In October 2013, one year later, I received a call from the Executive Pastor of First Baptist Dallas. What? First Dallas was our home church. Dr. Criswell had married us, and I had previously served on the staff for 10 years. Although we loved our church, we did not see ourselves going back. Wasn’t it just one year ago we thought this was the Lord’s call on our lives, but it wasn’t?
We began to pray again. I remember praying and asking God to write it on the wall, just like He did for Daniel, because I did not know which direction He wanted us to go. After much prayer and conversations with several staff members and longtime friends at First Dallas, we decided we would fly home and talk about the possibility.
We caught a flight on October 31, 2013. The flight was smooth, and I was at complete peace in my heart and mind. I had asked the Lord to write it on the wall and give me peace to know this was His direction or to unsettle my heart as He did just one year ago. As our plane was about to land, we circled downtown Dallas and could clearly see the skyline. We had an overwhelming sense that we were home, and we were.
We have served the Lord at First Dallas for almost 10 years. He met our needs through every step, from the medical emergency to the first call of opportunity and ultimately to the place of ministry He intended for us. Looking back, I see how God took me to a place I thought was His will to prepare me to recognize His plan when He called. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we knew this was His call, and knowing His call is the WIN NOW!
Questions for Thought
1. Is your heart sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit today? Would you recognize His leading in your life?
2. Is there an unconfessed sin in your life for which you need to ask God to forgive? Is something preventing you from walking closer to Jesus today than you did yesterday?
God has called each of us to a specific purpose. Hearing His call and boldly taking action is the first step in obedience. Take that bold step today and WIN NOW for God’s glory and His kingdom’s work.
Learn more about Mission 1:8 WIN NOW here!
Director of Preschool and Children's Ministries
Shelly received a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Christian Education. She is passionate about serving in preschool and children’s ministry as these are the years when boys and girls are introduced to Jesus Christ for the very first time. She is married to her husband, Tye, and has three children and four grandchildren.