God knitted us in our mother’s womb giving us unique personalities, gifts, and purposes in life. He also gave us free will to chose to follow Him or to take our own path and either lean on Him to help guide us in the direction He sees a need for, or, we can decide what our gifts and purposes are and take it from there. The church has many opportunities and areas in which to serve. Many often have a card for people to fill out regarding volunteering with a list of ministries they need help with. If there is a particular ministry you are interested in, first ask yourself, “Is this where God is leading me or is this where I want to be? For whom am I serving? Do I want to glorify God, or myself? This was a tough lesson that I learned the hard way and feel compelled to open up and be honest about. As a special education teacher, my gift has always been working with people with disabilities. I have been working with the disabled population for over 30 years. As a teacher, you learn a lot of different skills that can benefit you in other areas of life. Our church has a ministry for children with disabilities. Seemed like an obvious fit for me. However, I honestly must admit, I didn’t give it much of a chance. I walked in thinking to myself, “Ok, I’m the professional here. Let me show you some ideas I have for this ministry.” Of course, I never said that, but I’m sure my interaction with the others sounded boastful and proud. I wasn’t impressed with how they were running the program, so after only three visits, I decided I’d find something else to do. I have little fear of public speaking and I love to be on stage. Since I was a young child, I was an entertainer of sorts. School plays, choirs, and later, public professional presentations and training. I wanted to serve on the Women’s ministry so I could teach/lead a bible study for women. I wanted to be a part of the Worship Team and sing for the Lord. However, I never got asked to serve on these ministries. For over a year I would make the requests and would wait for a response. The response never came. I finally gave up asking and became angry with the church. How dare they not utilize my abilities and gifts. I have great ideas, and I’m not afraid to stand up in front of people and sing or teach. As time marched on, I became more belligerent about the church and their way of doing things. I began spewing my discontentment to other members of the church, hoping that someone would get in touch with the “powers that be” and say, “Hey, we have a great member of our church that has some great talents and abilities. You should really give her an opportunity to serve where she feels best suited.” However, that never happened. Instead, I heard God speak to me one evening in the quiet of my room. He simply asked me, “Are you wanting to glorify me, or yourself?” OUCH!! Suddenly I felt shame and guilt. I knew just exactly what He was saying. He was right of course. I instantly recalled my attitude I displayed to other members of the church. I wasn’t being called because that is not where God wanted me. I was reminded of what I enjoyed most when I was volunteering at the church our first year of retirement. The Job Club and Benevolence were what I shocking loved the most. I was helping other people, adults that struggle with getting a job, writing a resume, paying their bills, dealing with life and everyday struggles. I say “shockingly” because never in my wildest dreams could I see myself having any compassion in other people’s problems. I was far too judgemental and believed that people created their own issues. However, I discovered that I did feel compassion when it came to people that were truly lost and struggling. It softened my heart and turned my thinking around. God needs me to serve those less fortunate. I have been blessed with much, and now it’s time to serve the Lord where He needs me. Maybe I can help others find the drive, self-esteem, and talents they haven’t recognized in themselves and inspire them to become an over-comer. I thanked the Lord that evening for calling me out. The next small group meeting we had, I apologized to my brothers and sisters for my verbal disapproval of the church and shared with them what the Lord had said to me. Redemption truly does feel good. Amen.