Since I started this blog in May, so much has shifted in my life, including this surprise:
I’m changing careers! I feel confident God has called me in a different (and unexpected) direction: ministry.
My heart is beating with excitement and, to be honest, a bit of fear. It’s a leap of faith and far outside my comfort zone.
But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if he doesn’t come through. –Francis Chan
Later this month, I’m starting a two-year church residency program here in Omaha. This program comes with the opportunity to earn another master’s degree. Yep — I thought I was done with school, but the Lord has different plans. (Good thing I love to learn!)
I’ll be getting a master’s in ministry leadership. The degree application required me to submit a spiritual life essay, so I decided to share it here so you can learn more about my story and how God has shaped my heart for ministry.
I’m also sharing because I encourage you to do the same … tell your story. You don’t have to write a novel or spill all the details. You don’t even have to share it with anyone right away. But I challenge you to reflect and process those defining moments in your life — the good and the bad — that have shaped you into the person you are today.
I believe there’s power in our stories and that God will shape our mistakes and mess into a new storyline that gives him the most glory, brings us freedom, and generates hope for others. If you’re alive, you have purpose and potential no matter your age, past, or location.
Also, did you notice my website looks different? I’ve learned a lot about websites, templates, and hosting over the last few days. (PSA: WordPress.com and WordPress.org are very, very different.) I’ll be filling in the pages and adding new content in the weeks ahead.
Moving forward, I’ll be writing more about my new chapter in ministry. If you’d like to go on this journey with me, you can join my email list using the form at the end of this post. (You’ll get a free book guide when you subscribe!) I’ll be starting a newsletter soon with my writing, ministry updates, and other encouraging content.
Last but not least, I want to acknowledge my amazing and loving husband for supporting me on this journey! It’s really our journey. So thanks, babe, for being you and balancing out my high-strung tendencies with your easy-going attitude.
I love you all!
Spiritual Life Essay
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, I had a wonderful childhood with loving parents and a little brother. From an early age, my life revolved around dance — costumes and competitions, routines and rehearsals, travel, tap and jazz. I loved the stage. Performing boosted my confidence and satisfied my creativity and craving for movement. I felt like myself up there under the lights.
On Sundays, I’d sit in the sanctuary and listen to the crescendo of church hymns, sung acapella. For many years, God wasn’t personal to me. Church was just a routine — what we did one day each week that didn’t have much bearing on the other six.
Instead, I found my worth and identity elsewhere, whether in my new Doc Martens or latest boyfriend. In middle school, I feared feeling left out. So I did what I could to impress and made some destructive decisions in the process.
Barreling down the wrong path, I was rebelling and clueless that the Lord was chasing after me — until everything changed. Freshman year in high school, I found myself plugged into youth group and sensing God’s presence. I saw myself as a sinner for the first time.
A few months later, I was baptized on Easter Sunday. Forgiven. My heart was changed. I was a new creation. But I continued to straddle the line — with one foot stuck in my muddy old life. For many years, I lived this way: my heart loving Jesus but my actions showing otherwise.
In my teens and twenties, the performer in me took an unhealthy turn. I strived to behave well, achieve, and people please. I wanted life on my terms.
In all my striving, I lost myself and my focus on my Savior. My quest for control led to captivity. I experienced my own Jonah story in 2009 after college — when I hit rock bottom while fleeing from God. After course correcting, God revealed a few verses that convicted and challenged me:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26)
This passage prompted me to rededicate my life to the Lord (although I wondered whether I had the courage to live this way). Fast forward a few years, I felt convicted again. I knew my husband and I needed a church home, where we could serve and be in community instead of sitting incognito in the back row and bolting after service.
God led us to a new church plant in 2016, and I felt my life shift, my faith grow, and my heart on fire for Jesus. Simultaneously, I sensed a growing restlessness in my career. I let this feeling simmer for months while praying for purpose and direction.
This May I was reading Ephesians 4 in The Message. Verses 17-24 jumped off the page. Conviction, that familiar feeling, washed over me. I knew that while Jesus changed my heart many years ago, some of me was still resisting and hiding, fearing to live my life fully for him.
Days later, I acted on a desire God had given me years earlier — sharing my writing online to encourage and point people to Jesus. This small step set in motion a series of events that only God could orchestrate. He opened a door for me to pursue full-time ministry. And after weeks of prayer, processing, wrestling, and worship — God has graciously given me the clarity and confidence to say yes.
So here I am, learning how to live my life outside my comfort zone, on God’s terms. Surrendering my desires. Giving up control. Resigning from my stable job with good benefits. Releasing my plans and anticipating his perfect plan to unfold.
My mission is to move beyond casual faith and live creatively for Christ. And I want to encourage others to do the same. I believe God has given me gifts of teaching and writing. I have a hunger for more Biblical knowledge and desire to develop my leadership and speaking skills. I feel compelled to spend my life teaching, writing, encouraging, and pointing others to Jesus.
Looking back, I realize why I loved performing on stage under the lights. Through dance, I was embracing a passion that God placed in my heart — in other words, I was living creatively, free and fully myself. Yet as I grew up I bought into the enemy’s lies — be prettier, stay quiet, strive for perfection, perform to win approval, pretend to be like someone else. I’ve been restless because I was hiding.
We’re not meant to live a safe, comfortable life in the shadows. Jesus tells us to let our light shine so that others will know God (Matt. 5:16). It’s not about performance; it’s about faith in a Person. So I’m taking a giant leap, trusting that giving up my own way will yield a bright life that shines God’s glory and leaves an eternal impact.
If you’re still reading this — wow! Thanks for making it this far. Again, if you’d like to go on this ministry journey with me, you can learn more on my ministry page and join my email list using the form below.