How do you know when what God has called you to do is really what you are supposed to be doing? I hope you will understand the answer to that question after you read Lisa’s story.
It never ceases to amaze me how the pieces of another person’s life story seem to all fit so nicely together once you learn about what they do and why they are doing it. Such is the case with Lisa, who is the third generation in the life of Ministers. When Lisa was young, her dad left the Ministry as a result of his “wounded-ness”. This event combined with her insiders view of Ministry life would prepare her for God’s calling –
The life of a Minister is not an easy one – its not just a week night and Sunday morning life. It’s an almost 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. The toll that this life had on her Father became the inspiration for her to respond to her calling. Lisa understood from a personal perspective that when a Pastor leaves a Church, they are not just leaving a job – no, they leave a Church family, they leave community involvement, they leave a hole in a leadership position held by someone the congregation could call in a time of need. When a Pastor leaves it creates a ripple effect throughout the entire community that they spent so many years serving.
For years, Lisa and her husband spent time looking for the “perfect” retirement house. Something they could build and enjoy life in during their retirement years. THAT house just appeared in an internet search bar one day and she just knew it was the one! Without really having the money to spend, she sent in $10.00 to have the book of plans sent to her. She was so excited that they had finally found their “dream house”!
Then, she heard a voice
“This house is not for you”
She knew it was God’s voice but she wasn’t quite sure what He meant – after years of looking she had finally found the house and NOW He was telling her “its not just for you”? Soon afterwards, she “just happened to come across” an organization called Pastors Retreat Network while doing an internet search. The more she read about the network, the more she began to understand how she could adhere to that voice and use this, their dream house, in a bigger way – not just for them.
However, she was also having a “Moses Moment” – wondering,
“Are you sure I’m the right person to do this?”
Although she felt like God had called her to use this house for a greater purpose, she had no money, no land and didn’t have any connections to obtain either one. For three years, Lisa prayed about what God was calling her to do, the idea just wouldn’t go away but she had no idea how or when or what to do to get started.
When Andrew showed up in her office one day, Lisa was still in the process of discerning God’s call and struggling over how to put that call into action. Andrew challenged her on this and ended up being the catalyst that caused things to change in a big way. You see, Andrew was the one who simply asked,
“What are you doing about the dream?”
And then he was the one who made phone calls and networked the idea of this dream to anyone who would hear him. Lisa was an employee of Oral Roberts University and one of the first phone calls Andrew made was to Oral Roberts’ daughter – what a snowball effect that one phone call made!
Within two months of that first phone call, Lisa’s dream was beginning to gain some solid ground of becoming true – a lawyer donated time to get all the legal paperwork done so the idea could become a “thing” through the process of incorporation. Lisa was then able to take advantage of her employee status and take class on “Admin to a Non-Profit” and “Accounting and Finance for Non-Profits”. As her own personal network grew, so did the number of people who heard about this dream and slowly but surely the pieces of putting it all together started falling into place.
She still did not have alot of money to make the dream come true, but she had PEOPLE. The people that knew how to make things happen. The people who helped her obtain 5013c status, the people who built a website and made some marketing materials. Even people like Dwayne Havens who volunteered his time as an architect to amend those original $10 plans for the “dream house”.
The vision of Barnabas House is to provide a retreat, a time away and a time of reflection and healing. Barnabas means son of encouragement. He was a colleague of Peter and Paul.God called Lisa to this Ministry and put the people in her life to help make it happen. Although many obstacles were placed in the path of her pursuit, it was ultimately the people that she serves that confirmed this calling. One of the very first retreat participants wrote,
[because of the retreat] ” I have literally felt the scattered and shattered fragments of my soul returning to me…”
If that’s not affirmation of following God’s call, I’m not sure what would be – the fact that THIS dream, THIS retreat can have that impact on someone else. THAT one choice to follow and act on God’s call made a huge impact.
[the letter continues] “You are proof that He hears, you have been the arms of love extended”
That response? That’s how you know you are doing what God has called you to do.
The long term plan for Barnabas House is to build that “dream house” on a piece of land and create a retreat center so that more Pastors and their spouses can come and have the same experience. There is a need for a Finance person to serve on the board and a need for a volunteer to do Quickbooks. Not of least importance, there is a need for donations to truly continue the work that God has clearly seen fit to get started.
During my interview, I asked Lisa what was the hardest thing about answering this call. She said that she has learned NOT to use the “excuse” of “I can’t do it because I have no money”. She realized that this dream didn’t just need money to get started, it needed people. People who were willing to hear her story and help champion her cause.
For starters, if God calls you to do something and you can’t figure out how to get started, He’ll send you people to help. Also, don’t ever tell God you “can’t” because you don’t feel ready. Moses wasn’t ready to lead the people but he was prepared – there is a difference. Finally, the power of networking. I know this to be true, you tell enough people your story and they tell people and its amazing what ends up happening.
So what are you doing to make God’s calling for you come true?