Colossians 1:9b-12 We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Three years ago, I was serving in a position for which I felt I received little appreciation and met tremendous opposition when trying to implement the calling and vision God had given my husband and me. I made it through that season but heard God’s voice tell me that soon he would take me to a place where I would feel more appreciated.
Two weeks later while shopping at a second-hand store (my favorite pastime), my cell rang. Usually I don’t answer numbers that I don’t recognize but I decided to answer anyway while walking the aisles. I was fully expecting a telemarketer or an automated appointment reminder and not the person on the other end of the line.
It was a pastor from a Christian school about 20 miles from my house. He asked me if I would be willing to teach Spanish at their school for the upcoming schoolyear (which began about six weeks from that call). I was taken aback and then I remembered having submitted a resume to that school years prior to assist with teaching chemistry. I giggled. I hadn’t spoken Spanish in over a decade. I had taken both French and Spanish in high school and currently both languages were blended in my head. There was no way I could teach Spanish at that school. I proceeded to tell the pastor that I was really not sure I could do it but agreed to come for the interview. His closing question to me was: “Do you believe that you have the gift of teaching?” to which I replied a hearty, “Absolutely!”
Fast forward through the interview (during which I spent most of the time giggling because I understood the Spanish-speaking interviewer but had no idea how to respond to him), I was dismissed with a loving and comical remark of “well, we like you and we’d hire you… if it wasn’t for your Spanish…” Days later, I was faced with a challenge: they officially wanted to hire me to teach Spanish. The idea was not to just teach beginner Spanish (which I felt I could do if I stayed just one lesson ahead of the first-year learners) but to teach four levels of Spanish and the highest level culminated with an examination to test fluency that was very serious. Passing this test was one of the steps the students needed to accomplish in order to earn an advanced diploma at graduation. No pressure. Something in me (the Holy Spirit) at that moment verbally agreed to take the job. I had a few weeks to prepare for one of the hardest tests I have had in my life.
Psalm 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
The more I studied, the more the Spanish language returned to my mind but there was nothing that I could do to prepare myself for those upper-level students. I had to rely on God. This was one of the only times in my life where I have felt as though I had come to the end of my so-called abilities and had to rely fully on God. Teaching every day at that school meant basically “teaching in tongues” as I liked to call it. Spanish flowed from my lips and I was given just enough information from God for each day; one day at a time. Something I once heard echoed in my spirit: God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. Even so, I spent nearly every day after school crying. Being unqualified was a very uncomfortable place in which I found myself daily.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6a “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient…”
Through the next three years, I was able to feel comfortable teaching Spanish. I looked forward to each day and felt God’s presence like never before. He truly went before me and guided me and filled me each day. And then, he moved me. I had completed my test. I had run that race. Now, God was calling me to the next event. Just like that he called me to another ministry.
1 Corinthians 2: 14-17 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
It was time to start a Christian school in our own little town. But there were just three months before the school year started. We had no staff, no school building, and no approval from the state. This would prove to be another new ground that the Holy Spirit was ready to plow in both my heart and my community. What would happen? How would God do it? A Christian school in Wolcott, NY? Who ever heard of such a thing? How would we survive without my paycheck if I was being called to volunteer?
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Once God gave the vision to Pastor Joel and me, we knew we were in for a big project and we knew that we had to be decisive, obedient, and prayerful in order to hear the strategy of the Lord on this one. We began sharing the vision with the congregation. Within days God had built a staff of six volunteers who were more than qualified to teach at Path Light Academy. We looked toward September with the expectation of teaching nine students. Members of the community rallied together and we built four classrooms in our church building. By January, PLA had grown to 23 students enrolled and eight volunteer staff members. Just this weekend, I received word that two more teachers from the community are interested in helping God’s plan continue to unfold in Wolcott.
GOD IS SO GOOD! Am I qualified to teach Spanish? No, but God is. Am I qualified to run a school? No, but God is. Am I qualified to do anything for his kingdom without his full blessing and strength? No. But He is faithful.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
In closing, I want to share a final testimony with you. Living without my paycheck has been a miraculous thing that God has done to show his ability to provide for us. As that season closes, I felt the urging to apply for a job as a case manager for the adult education program in our town (after school) three evenings a week. This job would allow me to volunteer at PLA all week and work three nights in the community connecting people with resources and cheering them on to graduation. The only draw-back: the job requires a bachelor’s degree. I am currently earning my BA in cultural studies/education but I won’t finalize that degree until December 2019. I felt God tell me to go anyway. I trusted his leading and went for the interview. At the end of the hour-long interview, the interviewer apologized to me and informed me that without a bachelor’s degree, I was out of luck. She told me she would email their human resources department but it would be weeks before I’d have an answer and it was 99% going to be a NO.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
Weeks? Waiting weeks without an answer as to whether or not I had this job was NOT part of God’s plan. But, I waited and trusted. Thankfully, it was literally 24 hours later when the interviewer called me back. She was dumbfounded. She said that HR told her to hire me anyway. I start this week. Hold on to this, folks!! You are NEVER unqualified or underqualified to do what God is calling you to do.
So… Go for that job. Go for that friendship. Go for that degree. Go for that missions trip. Go for that ministry position. Go pray for that hurting person. Go minister to the widow and the orphan. Go lay hands on the sick. Go and give your last nickel. Whatever it is that God is calling you to do: you are QUALIFIED. HE is the one who qualifies you. HE is the one who orders your steps. HE is the one whose job it is to ensure you fulfill the dreams and callings and use the giftings that HE places inside of you. Be blessed as you pursue your God-given dreams. Have faith. Live well. You are qualified.
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.