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A New Kind of Call

February 3, 2015

So I don’t normally post sermons on here, but I figured a portion of this one would help explain what’s been going on in my life lately, and what’s about to be changing.

“As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-20)

Follow me, and I will make you fishers for people.

Follow me, and I will make you fishers for people.

Whenever you look at this passage, you get the idea that these disciples were minding their own business, when out of the blue this Jesus guy shows up, and because it’s Jesus…and he’s just so compelling…that these people he didn’t even know were told, “follow me”…and they drop everything they had and went! But the more I look at the text, the more I believe that Simon and Andrew, James and John weren’t just randomly following some stranger, never to look back. They were following someone they had already heard about, perhaps already met.

You see, the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding areas aren’t really all that big, and each town is pretty close to the next. John the Baptist had been preparing the way and telling everyone about the one who was to come after him and how great this man Jesus would be. I’m willing to bet when they heard about a man as crazy as John (who ate bugs and wore camel hair clothing) and about Jesus (for whom the heavens were torn open at his baptism) news probably traveled pretty fast.

When Jesus came to Galilee and started proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is near, I bet those disciples had already seen his face and heard his story. They may have even spoken to Jesus and asked what all this kingdom language was all about, so that when the time came for Jesus to truly start his ministry, they were already prepared to follow. They just needed a word that now was the time.

When Jesus says “I will make you fish for people” it makes it sound like just another thing to do, another task to add on top of their already full plates. “Ok this morning we’re fishing for tilapia, but this afternoon we’ll fish for people.” Instead, I’ve heard the best translation of this verse places the emphasis on these disciples becoming new people, with new identities. It sounds more like, “Follow me and I will make you to become…fishers. for. people.” Their whole way of being is about to change. This is a calling to take on a new identity.

UMCHILDRENSHOME_LOGO

I’ve recently heard a new calling from God that I have been prayerfully considering for some time now. It’s a calling not just to do something, but to take on a new identity. After a lot of prayerful discernment I realized that God was calling me to become a foster parent, and that the time to act was now. And it’s a call I am happily answering.

Over the past couple of months I have been working with the United Methodist Children’s Home to attend Impact training and fill out lots and lots of paperwork. I have been mending my nets by adding baby gates to my home and locking away all cleaning supplies and sharp objects. I have been talking with a counselor to ensure I was making this decision for the right reasons. And I have been praying and listening and discerning that God truly was calling me to be a foster parent at this time. I’m excited to say that after all this discernment and working toward this ministry, I have finally been approved. All I have to do now is wait for the call to take in a child and give him/her a place to call home.

Baby gate. Check. Fire safety. Check. Kid toys. Check.

Baby gate. Check. Fire safety. Check. Kid toys. Check.

Just like Jesus was inviting his friends on a journey to minister to others and spread his message of love, I’m inviting you to come along with me as I learn how to be a foster parent and care for each child. I invite you to get excited with me, to pray for me and with me, to hopefully wait in anticipation as I see who I receive. I invite you to pray for the child or children who will be placed in my care, for they are facing difficult journeys that no child should ever have to face. Some may be coming from abusive or neglected situations and will need time to learn to trust again. There will be times I need you to be patient with me if I’ve had a sleepless night and can’t think quite as quickly as usual. There will be times I may ask for parenting advice from those who have walked this journey before. I’m sure there will be times I do not ask for advice and you give it anyway. But I invite you to go on this journey with me and help support me as I take on this new identity and see what God has in store for me as I answer this new call.

Just like the disciples may not have fully known what they were getting into, they may have been nervous about what would be asked of them, I am sure I may not fully know what all I am getting into, but I enter this experience with a trusting heart. I thought I had answered my biggest calling when I entered the ministry, but as it turns out, when you’re faithful with a little, God expects you to be faithful with even more. So I’m excited to answer this call and discover what my new identity will be as I take on the role of foster mom and as I minister to the community in a completely new way. I’m thankful that I take this journey not surrounded by complete strangers, but with a loving and supportive family, a helpful and prayerful church family, and a loving God that I do know, oh so very well.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. wanda romig permalink
    February 3, 2015 3:29 am

    Wonderful news, Julie! I admire and respect you so much for making it possible for a child to be cared for as I know you will care for her or him. I will pray for you and this new journey your are undertaking. You will not regret it.

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