It has been almost 3 months since I moved to Denver, and I am doing so well! I have found a great church and community in such a short period of time, as well new exciting job opportunities have recently come up. Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed for me, it truly means so much! I want to soon share a larger update on life for those who ask how I am doing. Texts just really do it justice and even in conversations over the phone or face to face, it’s sometimes hard to really summarize and express everything. Before I do that though, I wanted to write a post on why and how I came to move out here. My plans went up and down so many times this year and I was constantly in a season of uncertainty. As some can contest, almost every week my ideas would change. Looking back, it’s been incredible to see God’s faithfulness throughout this whole year leading up to this point and I hope this can help to paint a good picture of all that God has done.
For those of you who don’t know, last year I began a ministry internship with H2O church, a college church at Ohio State that I had become involved in during undergrad. I had a heart for the gospel being spread, as well as a desire to pour into college students. I became a Christian in college and experienced incredible healing and restoration and wanted to help others experience the same thing. At this point, I didn’t have a desire to enter the professional workforce and thought vocational ministry may be a future career path. I had a great opportunity to try this out with H2O, so I dove right in.
After raising all of my support, I began the journey. Overall, it was an amazing experience. I experienced so much joy and fulfillment in my job and felt confident that God had led me to pursue this internship. I got to meet and form relationships with so many incredible people. I saw transformation and a move of God’s spirit through the people I poured into, as well as the church as a whole. It was a really cool experience being on the frontlines and having a first-hand insight into the leadership and direction of the church. I got to work with an amazing staff team who really loves Jesus and is so fun to be around. I grew so much in character and my relationship with Jesus, which I will be forever thankful for.
I quickly learned though, ministry is really, really hard. The first few weeks I spent almost all my days constantly meeting with students and having deep, and some very emotionally draining conversations. Everything seemed to be going well, but I was running on steam and after the big rush, a staff member asked how I was doing. I started to break down and didn’t even know how to respond. That was the first time throughout those couple weeks, that I had actually processed anything. All the social interaction had caught up to me and I was so depleted. Though I love building relationships and is the way I often most experience God, I am still an introvert and I have a limit before I start to crash and need to spend hours alone.
On my days off, I usually spent most of the day by myself to recuperate. Some days I desperately needed and wanted to be around close friends who would pour into me, but my community was small during this season and I didn’t have much energy for meeting new people and building relationships. But even if I did have energy, the people that would be the easiest to form relationships and be with were in H2O. Though I loved the church and everyone dearly, it was also my place of work, so it was not always refreshing. In many ways, it was a very lonely season. Not only because of my lacking community but because most of my friends outside of the church staff had never experienced vocational ministry first-hand. There are just some challenges and experiences you can only relate to and understand if you have worked as a missionary.
I also struggled to feel like I was acting genuinely in my missionary work. It felt weird being paid to do what I am called to do as a Christian. I firmly believe it is biblical to be paid for missionary work, however in the process at times I didn’t feel like I was acting purely and authentically in my work. One of my spiritual gifts is evangelism, and I feel very confident and skilled in this area. At times though I went into performance mode and did my work to feel good about myself and impress people. I became very prideful, and sometimes it would lead to me being critical and judgmental of others who maybe weren’t “performing” well. Though it wasn’t the norm, sometimes it was really hard to go to appointments with students. Sometimes I really didn’t feel like talking to people, especially when I wasn’t doing well emotionally and was so depleted, but only followed through because it was my job. It made me feel guilty. I felt bad that I wasn’t really present or loving them well. Also, it felt wrong that I wasn’t finding joy in what is the Lord’s work.
Despite all this, throughout my internship, I thought I still wanted to pursue ministry vocationally after it ended. Most of the reasoning and motivation was because in ways this felt comfortable. It was challenging for sure. However, in my mind, I was “good” at my job. I knew how to share the gospel well and felt confident in my ability to lead. I also had no idea what I wanted to do if I didn’t pursue ministry.
After a few months on the job, I didn’t think I wanted to go on staff for H2O but looked into other ministry opportunities. I looked around at other churches in other states and looked into doing overseas missions. Doors kept closing though and I didn’t feel confident about anything. Then a few weeks before my internship ended, I went to get away in nature and sat alone on a rock by a rushing river. I came humbly before God and asked him for direction, and for the first time was genuinely open to any possibility. I honestly processed my journey and realized that there was no way I could be sustained in any type of ministry in the spiritual state I was in. It had only been 9 months and I was exhausted and the joy I once had was wavering. I desperately needed and wanted a strong community around me and knew that I would need that going forward to be spiritually healthy to flourish in any ministry job. I felt God telling me, “not now.” I felt He wanted me to get connected to a new church and vibrant community to help me grow in the Lord for the present future. I was certain it was God speaking because even though I had no idea at that moment what I would do or where I would go, I felt at peace for the first time in months and was confident the Lord would provide and lead me in the right direction.
I then started to pray about next steps. My aunt earlier in the year told me that I was welcome to stay with them in Denver and explore. I didn’t give it much thought at the time as I was looking at ministry opportunities. But after receiving this guidance from the Lord, the idea came to mind. I felt really stuck in Columbus and was already pretty sure throughout most of the year that I wanted to move even though I didn’t know where I wanted to work. So, I made a visit out West and quickly felt comfortable and saw this would be a great opportunity. Plans came together quickly and less than 2 months after that afternoon by the river, I arrived in the mile-high city.
Like I said, I am doing so well now and am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given. In the midst of all my struggles, God knew what would happen and the beautiful plans he had for me. If you are in any transition phase or in a place of uncertainty, I know it can be so hard to be patient. However, we must give everything to God and humbly trust that he knows better than we ever will. It may take months for answers, but take heart, God is SO faithful!
2 thoughts on “Trust the process…”
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Amen! Glad to hear you’re doing well! It can be so easy to keep pouring out and doing things that are considered good and glorifying to God, but then forgetting to fill back up. It just reminds me of how dependent we have to be on God. We may be able to go a while, but eventually there’s only so much we can do, and He doesn’t want us to do it alone either. I neglect the “Helper” given to me more often than I’d like to admit. Way to be open to what God has for you and running with it! I’m excited to hear more of how God will write out your story Erin!