Ministry is so much more than the organizations we establish, the programs we execute, or knowledge we accumulate. The call and work of ministry is heart wrenching, tear shedding, and dependance testing! I often speak of the deploying and declaring the gospel is the easy part…but displaying the love of Jesus to the world can be the most challenging part.
It all looks great on paper, but once you hit the streets, it never plays out the way we have imagined that it would. This remains true for Awakening Church as we finish year one, and I’m confident that it will remain true until Jesus returns and brokenness is restored. One of our key leaders at Awakening Church is a young woman named Casey.
She has a challenging past of living on the streets as a teenager and a struggle with addiction. She got mixed up in many difficulties, but God got a hold of her heart and in full surrender, gave Him everything.
Through her experience, God has given her great responsibility in using her story to help others overcome similar things. She’s now ministering at a women’s shelter that helps women get off the streets and out of addiction or abusive relationships. I want you to hear how God is working in her as she reflects on the past year…
God has put me through the wringer this year…highs and lows like I could never imagine. The lowest part of 2019 was watching our close friend, Amanda, dying of cancer and rejecting the gospel through it all.
God made it clear I had been appointed to stay by her side, to be a witness and testimony of His love and salvation. He also promised He would be faithful and rescue her. But he wasn’t! And the longer she suffered, the harder her heart grew. And the harder her heart grew, the harder mine grew.
I became so angry with God I would spend sleepless nights driving around yelling and swearing at Him. “What are you doing God!? You’re making it worse! I thought you were going to save her! She is going to DIE without ever knowing you! What’s the point of me being here!? DO SOMETHING!!!”
I blamed God for my hard heart, and it was His fault I hated him so much because He was in control and He wasn’t doing anything. But I stayed and the Lord would whisper back, “Casey, do you trust me? Do you trust that I love Amanda just as much as you and I have a plan?” and the last and most difficult question, “If you never get to know if she comes to Me will you be okay with that?” And that was where I had to contemplate how much I truly believed His promises.
Well, turned out, God is faithful all the time. In those moments, it can be physically, mentally, and emotionally painful to sacrificially trust Him with it all – that is when He comes through and His glory shines 100-fold!
Not only did Amanda come to saving faith in Jesus as her Lord and Savior, but that urgency for the gospel and saving of lost souls has sparked a fire that can’t be contained. Since Amanda’s death, we have celebrated 16 souls coming into relationship with Jesus. So now I see, that the struggle with Amanda and with God wasn’t just about me or even her, but about so many others that will now spend eternity in Heaven because the Lord took me to such a dark place of desperation for Him.
I have learned that the most excruciating of lows bring the richest of treasures from the Lord. So, lead me to the valleys, Lord, because when I am there I know it’s exactly where You need me to be… Amen!”
God is clearly at work in and through the lives of Awakening Church. Thank you for your continued partnership with Awakening Church and your investment in the daily lives of Casey, Amanda, and all those we have opportunities to point people to Jesus!