How I Found My Ministry

The written word has been a part of my life since I was a young child. So, I always knew that I would become a writer. As I grew older my love for writing grew. Through the years I wrote poems, short stories, stage plays and attempted numerous hot and steamy novels. However, although I also loved God since I was a child; my relationship with the Lord had stalled. I still felt the call of God on my life, but I knew that the books I wanted to write did not glorify God one single bit. So, I ran from the Lord and told myself that I would serve the Lord once I had published a few books. But in those years, I was never able to finish any of the books I attempted. Looking back, I now see those unfinished books as God’s gift to me – I would be so upset if any of the books I attempted to write before I met my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ were circulating through bookstores now.

Anyway, during my early twenties I loved to go out to night clubs – that was my thing. My daughter, Erin (I was only blessed with one child, and she has truly been a blessing in my life) began asking why we didn’t go to church, and I told her that I needed to get my rest on Sundays. Even though I said those words to Erin I started feeling a little guilty about not going to church. Some nights I would actually decide not to go out to a night club and I would stay home and read my Bible. I have always enjoyed the Old Testament stories because they read like novels to me (even though they are true life stories).

Although I went out to night clubs a lot, I could never go on New Year’s Eve. I was always compelled to attend church. There was just something about beginning the New Year in the house of God that seemed so right to me. The church I attended every New Year‘s Eve was Revival Center Ministries in Dayton, Ohio. I still had not committed my life to the Lord though, and the reason for this had a lot to do with the fact that I couldn’t finish any of my hot and steamy novels – so I could publish that nonsense and then serve the Lord (crazy talk, I know. But those were my thought non-the-less).

Then I met this lady by the name of Louise Jordan. She worked with me and we used to go to lunch together everyday. Louise was a Christian, but that didn’t stop me from telling her all about my night club exploits. I filled that poor woman’s ears with all of the garbage I had allowed into my life. She never judged me; she would just smile and listen. But Louise was a praying woman and she would go to early morning prayer every day before she came to work, and little did I know, she was praying for me.

I laugh when I think about this now, but if God is after you, He will get you by force or by choice – you pick. Anyway, One Friday evening Louise and I were leaving work at the same time and she asked me which night club I would be attending that night. I started to answer but then I hesitated, thought about it and said, “I’m not going out tonight. Matter-of-fact, I don’t think I’m ever going out again.” And that is exactly what happened. But I will say this about Louise – she is a smart woman because she didn’t start shouting and announce to the world that she had been praying that I would stop going out, she waited. See, although I had decided not to go out anymore, I still hadn’t given my life to the Lord.

In the same year one of my close friends died. She had only been twenty-six and I couldn’t understand how a heart could just stop beating on someone that young. It devastated me and caused me to face some simple truths. I wasn’t ready to die and if I had died at that point in my life I know for certain that I would have gone straight to hell. But still I was powerless to do anything about it. I became very depressed at this time because I knew I was destined for a place I didn’t want to be. Then my sister, Debra became a Christian and gave me a Bible for Christmas. I must admit that although that Bible was the best Christmas present I have every received, I didn’t know it at that time and I laughed at my sister for giving me that Bible.

A few weeks later I had a nightmare and believed that I was in hell. I woke up in total fear. I grabbed the telephone and called my sister, I asked her if she wanted to read the Bible with me that morning (yeah, the same Bible that I had scoffed at, I now wanted to devour). Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided that I would go to church. The church I attended on January 14, 1994 was Revival Center Ministries, the same church I had attended for several New Year’s Eve services. At the end of that service when Pastor Willie E. Mitchell Sr. made an altar call – I finally knew with in my soul how I could make a change. I stood up and walked down to the altar and fell in love with Jesus. I then went into the bathroom and fell on my knees. I told the Lord, “I will serve You, show me how.”

I had no idea that writing Christian fiction was how I would serve the Lord. In fact, because I now truly understood what it meant to be in love with my Lord Jesus, I wanted nothing to do with the thing that kept me from the Lord for so many years – writing. So, I said that I would never write again, I even stopped reading novels (which I loved almost as much as writing my own books). For two years straight it was just me Jesus and the Word of God, and believe me when I tell you I devoured my Bible. I had to buy a new Bible in less than a year’s time, because the one my sister gave me was falling apart.

I then began asking God to show me my ministry. Most people only think of pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets and singers when they think of ministry within God’s kingdom. I didn’t feel lead to do any of those things, but I believed that God wanted to use me for His glory – I just didn’t know how. I served as a greeter, director of the churches drama department, director of the singles ministry, and worked on several committees but still had no clue what God what me to do.

One day when I arrived at work there was a book on my desk. I recognized it as a novel immediately and I actually became frightened. Why was this book on my desk, I wondered. Then a friend of mine (Scott) came to my cubicle and told me that he’d left the book on my desk for me to read. I told him that I no longer read novels, and he informed me that the book on my desk was a Christian novel. I was floored. I didn’t even know that Christian fiction existed. The book was This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and I read it from cover to cover. I then read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Those two books convinced me that Christian fiction was definitely a ministry – and from that time to this I have desired to minister to God’s people in such a way that they would grab hold of God’s unchanging hand and never turn back.

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9 Replies to “How I Found My Ministry”

  1. Vanessa, I could never get enough of hearing your testimony of how the Lord wooed you for all those years. I’m blessed by His love for you!

  2. So grateful for your obedience after reading this I remembered the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
    Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 41:10

    To His glory

  3. This sounds so much like my testimony.that I was moved to tears. In my case, I knew the Lord but walked in disobedience..I didn’t want to write novels. For years, God told me that’s my ministry, but I decided that nah…300 word blogs of encouragement was enough. Until I collapsed thousands of feet in the air on a routine business trip and landed in ICU….all I could think about was if I had come face to face with God, what will I tell Him I did with the gift He had given me?
    Love your work Vanessa, be blessed.

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