A STEP OF FAITH: Detours not Dead Ends
Part I. Today is a big day for me, and I am a bit nervous. I’ll explain later after I provide some context. In February we conducted our first Love in Action campaign. We raised funds to support school employees from Mayfield, Kentucky, who had lost their homes in a tornado. This all came about after our February Victory Week. Our theme that week was Love, and we had fun sharing our answers to silly posts about love. However, in my quiet time, I began to focus on how love should characterize our lives as believers. Was there something this ministry could actually DO for educators? I sensed it was time to move beyond thought to action.
This ministry is still in its infancy stages, and we are constantly trying to discern the next step. My teacher brain needs a plan, one that is complete with action steps and timelines! As educators, we are told to “begin with the end in mind.” While this is great for establishing standards, learning targets, and assessments, I’m finding it doesn’t work too well when it comes to ministry.
This is a bit unnerving for me. I don’t really like uncertainty, and I spent most of my career creating, executing, and evaluating plans! I still feel it is important to have a plan, but the Bible reminds us that even though we can plan our ways, ultimately it is the Lord who directs our steps and establishes them (Proverbs 16:9). God is teaching me a great deal about what it means to trust Him when I don’t know the outcome.
So, when God planted this Love In Action campaign in my heart, I presented it to the VEM board, and they wholeheartedly supported the idea. I am not exaggerating when I say none of us knew what we were doing. We didn’t know how to secure contributions online, and we didn’t know how much money to raise. We simply stepped out in faith and trusted God to help us make it happen. We formulated a goal, set a three-week timeline, and waited.
We worked hard to share our campaign with many people, but we mainly focused on the Victorious Educator community and Facebook group. We were so very grateful for all of the contributions, but we fell well short of our goal. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I prayed. I told God I knew this was from Him, and I sought His guidance on how we were supposed to proceed. We hadn’t raised enough funds to adequately give to the 12 school employees in Mayfield. I thought I had hit a dead end; however, in reality another step of faith was required. This wasn’t a dead end. It was just a detour.
I contacted my local church. They graciously gave a donation, but more importantly, they put me in contact with a state organization called the Texas Baptist Men. This organization focuses on supporting communities with disaster relief. I shared our campaign with them, and they generously gave a donation that far exceeded our goal! I am literally typing this blog through tears. God is so incredibly faithful (Hebrews 10:23, Psalm 89:8).
If God has placed a calling on your heart, I want to encourage you. Don’t hesitate. Take a step of faith and watch Him work. Be prepared for detours, but keep pressing forward. It may not be easy, and it may cause you to feel uncomfortable. Do it anyway. To be honest, I’m preaching to myself right now. The minute this plane lands, I am headed to the bank to withdraw funds so we can give each person $500! I know it doesn’t come close to what they probably need, but I feel certain God’s love will be felt. It is my prayer each and every person will be drawn to Him. I’ve never done anything like this before. I am a bit nervous, but I am trusting God in this next step of faith. Let’s hope there are no more detours!
I’m signing off for now since we are about to land. I will fill you in on my flight home tomorrow!
Part II. It’s a little over twenty-four hours later, and my heart is full. To say the day was full of emotions is an understatement. I had thought and prayed about this day for weeks, and the build-up in my spirit was intense. I so wanted this ministry to bless these individuals. At the same time I wanted to ensure they knew God orchestrated it all. I rehearsed what I thought I wanted to say, but nothing felt quite right. I prayed and asked God to allow His Holy Spirit to do the talking. I had to let go of trying to have it all nice and perfect. I had to take another step of faith.
As we drove through the tornado-ravaged town of Mayfield on our way to one of the schools, I saw unimaginable damage and destruction. What was once a beautiful downtown lay in ruins. Some neighborhoods are literally gone. It has been five months since the devastation, and many people have moved on. However, there are others who are still struggling to rebuild their lives. It isn’t over for them.
I had the privilege of meeting 12 of these people. They are teachers and school employees who lost everything in the storm; some even experienced physical harm. The emotional scars were still evident, but their dedication to children gives them the strength to show up day in and day out. It was such an honor to represent this ministry and to share the love of Jesus with them.
We visited five schools and gifted 12 people. The nervousness about what to say left me. Each person heard that they were not forgotten. God loved them, and so did we! At the end of each visit, I asked if we could pray for them, and every single person said, “Yes!” In case you were wondering, all of these were public school employees! The recipients were so appreciative, and I truly believe God will use this special day to draw each person closer to Himself.
We may never know the impact of our efforts today, but it doesn’t matter. Taking a step of faith isn’t about results. Taking a step of faith isn’t about us. Taking a step of faith is about trust and obedience. I’m learning that God is able to do abundantly more than I can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I think far too many Christians give up too soon. We see a dead end instead of a detour. We forget the power of the resurrection and the God who spoke creation into existence. There is nothing He cannot do (Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37, Mark 10:27).
You will never regret taking a step of faith—even if it is the wrong one. God is a big God. If you make a mistake, He knows your heart. He is big enough to direct your steps in a different direction if necessary (Proverbs 16:9). If you believe God is calling you to do something, you have sincerely prayed about it, and you have peace about it, then just do it. It doesn’t have to be something major. Maybe it is offering to pray for someone or simply encouraging a parent who is struggling. Whatever God whispers to your spirit, respond with obedience and respond immediately. You won’t regret it!
I was so blessed today, perhaps more than anyone. We miss out on so much when we rationalize our way out of God’s calling on our lives. I don’t want that for you. What has God placed on your heart today? What is your next step of faith? Pursue it! If you run into a dead-end, look for the detour, but stay the course! Blessings await when we take a step of faith.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit."
A special thank you to Alison Gregory and the Graves County School District (https://www.graves.kyschools.us/) for their facilitation and support.
Thank you to the members of VEM, Hillcrest Baptist Church and Texas Baptist Men (https://www.tbmtx.org/) for their generous donations to this Love in Action campaign.