Living in His Will
By: Major Barbara Rich
I remember the local officer’s words like it was yesterday. “You and Jon are wise to answer the call to officership when you’re young. It’s so much easier before life happens and you have lots of responsibilities. Life becomes more complicated!”
Those words came from a middleaged Salvationist and businessman at our home corps. There was almost a hint of “what might have been” flowing through his words. Had he been called at one time but chosen not to leave a secure career? I’ll never know, but I do know that God allowed those words to stay with me through the years, and they’ve been a reminder to not allow my worldly goods, family concerns or personal will to keep me from what God has for me, even when his plans are unexpected.
My journey is a bit unusual. I’ve been given two opportunities to say “yes” to a call to officership. One time came in my mid-20s when life was relatively simple, with no children and no mortgage. The second time came when life was anything but simple.
In the summer of 2010, God started speaking to my husband and me about returning to serve as officers. I was a third grade teacher at the time, with a son in college and a daughter in high school. My husband was the executive pastor at a multi-campus church where many of our closest friends were also on the staff. We had built a home where my retired-officer mother had her own, lower-level apartment. Life was good, and yet, as we prayed, God revealed that it was no longer the life he had for us.
God wanted to know if we trusted him enough to sell our home and furnishings and be appointed where we could use our gifts in a new way. I remember in my quiet time praying for peace and clarity. Peace came through the words of our teenage daughter, Allie, as she claimed God’s promises for her own life. She assured us that she knew it would be hard, but she trusted that God hadn’t forgotten her in this major life change. Clarity came through the Lord changing the desires of my heart. It’s often through tears and a decent amount of wrestling that I submit to God’s way over my own. I’ve found a sweet satisfaction that comes from trusting God even through a “tunnel of chaos.”
As I reflect on my life, I want to know that I held nothing back. I will never be forced to wonder “what might have been” with these later years of service as officers. I’m living an adventure that I never knew was possible. God gives me tasks on a regular basis that are not manageable in my own strength and, yet, when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).