Light_Up_The_World_Cheryl_McManus

My first opportunity in ministry came about 6 months after becoming a Christian. I was 16. It was nearly summer, and our children’s ministry had some tables set out in the church lobby asking for volunteers. I perused quietly and politely until something caught my eye. They were looking for people to help do arts and crafts with community kids for a bus outreach they held during the school break. Did I have any experience or even interest in working with kids? Nope. Did I know the Bible stories they were going to be teaching? Nope. Did I expect that 10 years later I would be working as a Children’s Pastor at one of the largest churches in one of Canada’s largest cities? DEFINITELY not. But God did. And it was honestly ALL Him.

Somehow, what I came to refer to as my, “Hey! I can do that!” moment, innocently signing up for that bus outreach, became a catalyst into something that I hadn’t planned for or expected…

To become hooked on ministry. Honestly, I fell in love.

In the years following, I began the process of laying down my need to have every detail of my future mapped out, and instead surrendered to this beautiful adventure of following God. I told Him (as if He needed to be told), that what I really wanted from life was: to be a mom, to marry someone who had surrendered his life to God, and to serve Him IN whatever and WITH whatever He chose to put in my path.

Some paths have been forged more easily. Some have been fiercely fought through.

Some days I forget about that process of surrender and I have to go back to the beginning again.

But here I am. Imperfectly trying to make a difference. And I’m still in love.

I’d love to hear your story. To hear what has made you come alive… Or maybe you’re still wondering if there is a place for you in all of this. Well, let me tell you that there is.

See, I’ve come to realize that the only thing that disqualifies us from a place in God’s mission is if we say “No” to it. He can use any one of us. Me? The painfully shy, introverted and anxious, college drop-out (twice), sin-stained and broken girl. He moved the mountains of my life and called me into the open. The air is so much better here.

I think some of us have waited for a “special invitation” to come in the mail or down from the sky, saying it’s officially okay for us to be part of God’s Story, to be ministers, to be heard. But what I’ve come to realize (and celebrate!) is that we have ALL already been invited, and it’s the party of the century! We GET to step into this Great Adventure, the Great Commission, and have our hearts and expectations blown wide open. Even if our knees get a little scraped and dirty along the way.

I’m learning that Jesus’ death and resurrection were not only our redemption, but they became the great equalizer for those who believed. As we were born again, we all became something. We all became sent. His Spirit proved this to be true in every kingdom.

As women, I think if we believed, REALLY believed, what God says about us to be infinitely MORE true than anything else we have heard or experienced, we just might come bursting out of our hiding places and light up the world.

So, let me reassure you… your invitation didn’t get lost in the mail. You weren’t left out of this party because your clothes didn’t match the part. The Bible tells us that before the world was even formed, you were created to make a difference. You, my friend, have a call on your life and a place in this world, carved out just for you to stand up in it. You aren’t just a woman who KNOWS someone who is called. You ARE someone.

You have a voice to use, a heart to love, hands to serve - and you’ve got the BEST cheerleading squad at your side. God specifically planned you to be a woman of influence, in whatever corner of the world you are in. And as you step into that, He just may lead you somewhere you never expected.

So, let’s be women that scream “Yes!” to that invitation, whether we feel we deserve it or not. We can’t live our lives by comparison, or tangled up in the fear of imperfection. I think it’s our time to just be brave. I think that’s how we will change the world. 

Are you with me?!

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