I've felt destined for ministry for most of my life, but in my early years, I struggled to define exactly what that means. When I was younger, being "called to ministry" meant becoming a pastor. As a female growing up in very conservative churches that didn't recognize or utilize female's pastoral gifts, I assumed this calling would lead me into missionary work—something that seemed okay for girls to do. When I was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 17, I'm not sure what was more challenging: the physical struggle of cancer or the disappointment from assuming I couldn't fulfill my calling. No doctor was going to give me a green light to travel the world as a high-risk cancer patient.

Calling Doesn't Stop

Over the years, God brought many helpful resources and people into my path to show me God's calling doesn't stop when we face adversity, and that God wants to use female leaders and cancer survivors in big ways. As my understanding of God's heart for women grew, I occasionally accepted leadership roles at church, I joined the staff of a church plant for a few years, and I even began speaking.

But what does being "called into ministry" mean? I kept asking myself this question. Is it a job? A formal role on church staff or at a Christian nonprofit? Does it mean marketplace ministry? Isn't everyone called into ministry—basically serving others—if they are following Jesus? I had big questions that didn't come with easy, quick answers. But then God stepped in to answer me.

God's answer

In search for answers, I found myself watching multiple vidoes on YouTube attempting to answer my question. Everyone had a different opinion and definition of ministry. I still wasn't satisfied. A few days later, I sat down with my journal and Bible. I needed a heart-to-heart with God. "Turn to Ephesians 4" I sensed Him say to me. As I opened my Bible to find the Scripture, I noticed something I'd scribbled in the margin 10 years prior next to verse 12. In my own writing, it said "What is ministry."

A smile broke out across my face, I'd forgotten all about the verse. As I read it, it was the most satisfying answer I'd heard all week: Ministry is preparing God's people for works of service and building up the body of Christ.

Not only did the verse answer my question, it helped me encounter a beautiful side of God. When Hagar encountered God in the same way, she exclaimed, "El Roi: You are the God who sees!" The God who made me had been watching and listening.

This didn't only answer my question, it super-charged my faith. I now have an answer to my question, "What is ministry?" and I'm encouraged to play a role in what God's doing. I'm not forgotten, God sees me. He's got a very special place and purpose for me.

Prayer: Father, I want to serve you and engage in ministry. I want to build up my brothers and sisters to they can serve you and know you better. Thank you for seeing me and calling me. Will you align my steps with your plan. I want to know you and understand who I'm meant to be. In Jesus' name. Amen.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." Genesis 16:13, NIV

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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