Sunday, January 22, 2012

Surrendered to More

by Shannon Milholland

Carynne, Scott, Clara, Me, Hannah and Hayleigh 
I wasn't sitting that far from the speaker but I questioned whether I was hearing her correctly. Anne Graham Lotz was poised at the podium and delivering a God-inspired message. Somehow no matter what words passed from her lips, my heart heard one message. Shannon, don't teach women's Bible study this spring. You need to be more available to your husband.

I wrestled with God. I didn't want to relinquish to this message. Wasn't there another way?After a couple stubborn days, I yielded my will to God's. I placed an uncomfortable call to the women's director of our church and mumbled something about not teaching a class in the spring.

That night brought sweet, sound sleep for me while rest escaped my dear husband. For about five months he had been fervently praying about one day entering the ministry. A new hobby accompanied his faith-filled prayers. He often surfed the web looking for articles on church leadership and administration.

This wakeful night he "stumbled" upon a job posting for Hope Church in Memphis. As he read the job requirements his heart stirred and his mind doubted. By morning he had sent his secular resume and texted me to ask me to pray for him.

Three weeks later we found ourselves on the way to Memphis from Dallas seated right next to the Senior Pastor of Hope Church. He "just so happened" to be returning from a conference on the same flight. Before the wheels of the plane touched down, I knew God would call Scott to this church.

My first 24 hours of our weekend interview in Memphis confirmed I did not want to relocate. Once again I was at odds with God. I knew with certainty God was calling Scott to Hope but was God calling me?

Sunday morning found me alone long enough to pray. I needed God to make me okay with moving. I asked Him what this move meant for me? Did I have to surrender "my" ministry to Scott's calling?

My heart wasn't the only one God was talking to that morning. Our Senior Pastor arranged for the first and only time in the history of our church to have our Director of Women's Ministry meet privately with a candidate's wife. Within moments of meeting me she looked me straight in the eye and said, "Shannon, I want you to know God isn't just calling Scott to Hope. He is calling you."

I thought following my husband into the ministry meant the end of my ministry. It was the beginning. Through the loneliness of our early days in ministry, I heard God's call to write. Through writing, God has increased my opportunities to speak. I surrendered by heart to God's call. In return, God gave me more ministry than I could imagine.

I wonder about you. Are you like I once was feeling lost and hidden in your husband's shadow? Let's surrender together. Surrender to more.
____________________________


Shannon is the author of Jesus & My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary living and the free 30 day guide PrePrayed. She finds joy among piles of laundry and miles of carpools and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. As Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, she shares her arsenal of secrets about how to be successful in the sometimes intimidating world of social media. She is a dynamic speaker who authentically shares her struggles and delivers a strong message of hope and encouragement. When not writing or speaking she enjoys her favorite job of wife to Scott and mom to four daughters from preschool to high school. 

10 comments:

  1. Ah Shannon! So nice to 'meet' you here and hear a little of your story. I love the affirmation of how God was calling you along with your dh:} Although I know it to be true, I do often struggle with that sense of clarity in calling and for me, especially, as missionaries, how the ways I most sense His calling really fit into the ministry and if I am selfish to seek those. Thank you for your encouragement:}

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  2. Abby, so thankful you stopped by today for some encouragement. Isn't it great to know that we're not alone in our struggles?!

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  3. Wow! I have been praying for a similar situation. The other day I felt I need to wait and keep myself more available for my husband. Thank you for your word & example.

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    1. Venus, the wait is painful but it is in the wait we draw closer to His heart. Praying for you as you wait!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your story here, Shannon. I too have had to relocate to follow my husband's calling -- 3 times. Each time, God has shown me that He's called me too. I love your testimony and the beauty with which you share it.

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    1. Carla, what a great word. Thanks for sharing that encouragement. Truly we are at home when we are in God's will.

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  5. Thank God for surrender.
    God help us to surrender all the way!Amen!

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    1. Amen sistah! Surrender is the sweetest place to live!

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  6. Oh Shannon, this resonates more than you know! I met my husband because we both were in ministry... but at different churches. Marrying him meant leaving behind where I'd worked/served/lived/loved for almost 6 years. Bittersweet indeed. I definitely wrestled with God on what this meant for "my" ministry in the future. God is good though and I've seen His hand in my life so much through this journey. Thanks for sharing and for encouraging us wives! :)

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    1. Denise, press on sister. God is continuing to work in and through you to reach others!

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