i just got this email from a youth worker, and asked if i could share her story. wonderful story. i told her she’s one of the best “success stories” of the convention i’ve heard…
I don’t know if this email will find its way to you, but I wanted to write you to thank you and the YS Staff for an amazing and life-changing weekend in Nashville. By the time I returned home to the Washington, D.C. area, I felt as if I had be stretched, amused, convicted, encouraged, loved, challenged- well, let’s just put it this way- the box that my life once fit into has now exploded as a result of the awesome speakers and seminars that I went to. I was amazed at how God spoke to me through this experience.
You see, I’m a volunteer youth leader at my church. In order to pay my bills, I am a lawyer (don’t ask how I got into that racket- I really think it was an ADHD moment on my part that inspired me to do that in the first place!). I first felt God calling me to Youth Ministry in the Spring of 2003. At that point, I started hanging out with the kids in our Youth Group. It was at that time that I discovered that Washington, D.C. is a mission field, and that our little Episcopal Church was as well! But, the following fall, God sent Joy to us to be our Youth Minister. Over the past year, He has worked through Joy in amazing ways, not only in our students’ lives, but in mine as well.
Over the summer, we went on a missions trip with LeaderTreks. It was here that I felt God calling me to get even more involved in youth ministry. I was all set to sign on full-time! But, I still had to pay the bills. At that time, I was working at a fancy law firm, collecting credit card debt. I had a cushy “pleather” chair, wooden desk accessories, and an office with a window and a terrific view of the parking garage- I was even one of the few people allowed to go into the “Executive Kitchen” to get the coffee that didn’t have grinds still in it! But, as I grew in my walk with God, I realized that my work was not glorifying to the Lord, so I started searching for other employment. I felt God calling me to JUMP OUT of that job, as I could see where the practices of my employers and clients were oppositional to God’s Word. BUT, I thought to myself, and my husband agreed, that to quit a job without having another one lined up was folly- even if the reason for quitting was that I felt that I was actually working for the devil every day. So, we waited, and I started looking for other employment. In the meantime, things went downhill rapidly at work. I kept thinking that when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, He didn’t give Abraham an alternative sacrifice. He just told him to do it. And Abraham did, trusting that God would handle it. And God was faithful. But, I waited, and continued to send out resumes.
And then, I got a phone call from my husband. He told me to look at the Washington Post’s Employment Section. So I did. And I saw my job there. My cushy “pleather” chair, my wooden desk accessories, and my office with the window and the terrific view of the parking garage. You see, I’d been told before at work that I didn’t really fit in. That my faith was “offensive” to my colleagues. That I had to be something other than myself to really make it in the “corporate culture.” So, I went in the next day, packed my things, and turned in my letter of resignation. That was in early September.
I was so sure that God would provide me with employment. After all, it seemed that the loss of my job was clearly the work of His hand. I realized through all of it that I already had a “REAL JOB”- that reality isn’t mortgage payments or grocery bills- reality is the Kingdom of Heaven. So, I decided that my REAL JOB is youth ministry. Great. Totally shifted my thinking. No longer would I identify myself as Rebecca Drury, Attorney at Law, with the comfy chair, the nice paycheck, and the picture of the 2005 Mustang Cobra taped to my filing cabinet. Instead, I would identify myself as Rebecca Drury- the gal with a passion for building relationships with teenagers and impacting them with the amazing news of Jesus Christ- oh, and by the way, I pay the bills by being a lawyer. Great. A paradigm shift. Okay, God, now for that paycheck…
But the paycheck still hasn’t come. I still don’t have a job. I don’t even want to be a lawyer. But I gotta pay the bills. Sure, I don’t NEED a house or a car or clothes- but they would be nice, ya know? So, that’s where I was at when I got on a plane for Nashville.
And, thanks to y’all at Youth Specialties, and to the Holy Spirit speaking to me that weekend, absolutely everything and nothing has changed. Sure, my circumstances remain the same- I can’t buy my husband that X-Box that he wants for Christmas- heck, I can’t even buy new pants, even though mine keep falling down and have a rip in them! At the close of the final session, we were told to ask God what He is asking us to JUMP INTO or JUMP OUT OF. Well, I’ve already jumped out of my cushy pleather chair. But when I asked God what next, He said, “Be still.” So, here I am. Still. But, what has changed is that I am okay with that. I can be still, and I can be silent. And I can feel God’s loving presence right here with me, and within me. Yeah, the bank might forclose on our mortgage- but I am dwelling in the LORD! I can’t imagine a better place to live here on this earth.
So, I don’t know if I can be defined as one of YS’s “Success Stories.” I didn’t find a pot of gold, or even a clear calling. I’m still an out-of-work lawyer, praying for a calling into full-time, paid ministry. But now, I’m so much more than that. I am a worshipper of Jesus, Son of the Most High God. I have been given the PRIVILEDGE to have a RELATIONSHIP with my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sustainer. I have been touched by the hand of God, and He has assurred me of His presence in my life.
So, perhaps His gift is hope, because I feel hopeful about the future. Or maybe it’s faith, because I just know that I am safe in His hands. Then again, perhaps it’s joy, because as bad as my circumstances get, I can’t seem to wipe off this silly smile that seems to be stuck on my face- just thinking of how God reached out to me is more than my little heart can handle- I gotta smile! Or perhaps His gift is actually peace, because I am not afraid of the future. Actually, I believe that God’s gift to me in Nashville is simply Him- His love, His presence, His delight in me.
I thank you, and the rest of the Youth Specialties staff and speakers for allowing God to use you in this way and in my life.
May your ministry be blessed.