Tag Archives: God’s call

Ka’thy Gore Chappell: Ordinary Miracles, Call and Real Life

I came late to the combination of “ministry & motherhood!”

While I have served in full-time ministry as a vocational calling since the age of 24, my husband and I dated when I was in my late 30’s and married when I was 41. One year later–on our first wedding anniversary–I was 7 months pregnant.

So at the age of 42, I gave birth to our daughter. She was healthy & beautiful!

Even though we were older parents, we were still “new” parents. It took us 10 minutes (not exaggerating) to get her in her car seat when we left the hospital to go home. (We have a video to prove it!) And I am always quick to say that our daughter would not have received a bath the first week of her life if it had not been for my mother who stayed with us that very important first week.

To this day, I still reflect on how quickly one’s life can change and sometimes joke that I am still catching up.

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From the first weeks of her life, our daughter–who is an only child–grew up “with” me and my husband. She was present where we were. She participated in college cook-outs, weekend retreats and mission trips. She worshipped God at church, on campuses and at state and national assemblies. She picked up trash with “Adopt-A-Highway” saying she “wanted to help change the world.”

She attended so many weddings of college students, she knew at age 4 how to find the family place cards at wedding receptions. She fell in love with Sunday School classes and the people in them. She experienced staff members as her dearest friends and called them by their first names.

She knew when times were tough with church. She noticed things. She heard things. She experienced the joys and the sorrows of church life. She mourned the passing of those who died and experienced the pain and struggle when life was not right at church.

While my husband and I were always intentional in how we loved, communicated and nurtured our daughter, we did become concerned that perhaps, she knew too much about church life. I was anxious that she would never want to be active in church as a young person or college student or adult. And of course, I thought she would never want to work or serve in ministry.

We underestimate our children, don’t we?

Imagine my surprise, when our daughter came to us to say that she thought she was being called to ministry. Part of me was not certain that I wanted that for her. Then, I experienced a God moment.

We underestimate the power of God’s call, don’t we?

Real life provided the space for God to call and for her to respond. Today, our daughter has graduated from college and is now pursuing a Master of Divinity while serving a local church congregation in ministry.

When did that happen? When did she grow up to be old enough and mature enough to have her own youth group? And how did God’s call on her life penetrate the good and the not-so-good parts of ministry that she experienced with me, our family and church?

The answer is that God’s call is greater!

From Isaiah 6:1-8, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of God’s glory. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!'”

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Ka’thy Gore Chappell is the Leadership Development Coordinator with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Prior to service with CBFNC, Ka’thy was the Associate Dean of  at BTSR in Richmond and served North Carolina Baptist churches for over 30 years.

Becky Caswell-Speight: “Wake Up! God’s Calling”

Last Sunday, during a lesson on God calling Samuel (I Sam. 3:1-10), one of the children looked up at me and said, “Boy I’m sure glad that I’m not Samuel. I like to sleep too much. I wouldn’t have woken up if God kept calling after me.” After a few inner giggles, I replied, “Yeah, I really like my sleep, too.”

This conversation reminded me of my two girls and one of the many interactions that happen in our family because of the movie “Frozen.”At our house we have a love/hate relationship with the movie.

My four year old daughter Evelyn LOVES it! Her entire room from the calendar to the bedspread is decorated in “Frozen.” She has cups, plates, dolls, stuffed animals books and posters all displaying Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Sven. She loves to play pretend and dress up in her Elsa costume and the day is pure perfection if she has the chance to wear an Elsa braid.

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Her big sister Ainsley, one the other hand, if she never has to hear about Elsa’s ice powers again, it won’t be too soon. You might think her dislike exists because her younger sister woke up to breakfast and the movie every single morning for six months. But you would be wrong.

I believe that her pure dislike for the movie came about the time her younger sister memorized every song and line and started using it to torture her–I mean, wake her up–in the morning.

A normal morning sounds a bit like this:

Evelyn: Sissy! Psst! [shakes Ainsley a little harder] Psst! Psst! Sissy! [shakes Ainsley again] Wake up, wake up! Wake up, Sissy!
Ainlsey: Evelyn, leave me alone [said in the most groggy go away voice that she can muster].
Evelyn: I just can’t! The sky’s awake, so I’m awake. We have to play!
Ainlsey: Go away, Evelyn!

This interaction is always topped off by Ainsley with a dramatic flop onto her back and a hand on her forehead for added effect. This repeats at least three or four times until Ainsley drags herself out of bed and into the playroom to act out whatever scene Evelyn has chosen.

Back to Samuel: As Samuel was lying down after a long day of caring for the Temple, he hears, “Samuel!” He thinks it is Eli calling, but Eli says no. So Samuel goes back to bed. Twice more, as he is  beginning to go back to sleep, he hears, “Samuel.”

Still not recognizing God’s voice, Samuel goes back to Eli each time. Eli, being a smart man, finally tells Samuel if he hears his name being called again it is God and to reply accordingly.

Finally after the fourth call, Samuel finally understands that it is God’s voice calling his name and he answers, “Lord, speak, for your servant is listening.”

Why couldn’t Samuel hear God’s voice? If it is God’s voice wouldn’t you think he would recognize that? Samuel thought Eli was calling him. Even after hearing God’s voice three times he still had to rely on Eli to help him understand.

Samuel could have been tired. Maybe it wasn’t the perfect time for Samuel to recognize God’s call. If he was anything like Elsa, my oldest daughter Ainsley, or my little Sunday school friend, he could have missed the call once or twice because he “really likes his sleep.”

The good thing is that God calls us. Sometimes God calls us and we don’t hear the call. Sometimes God calls and we don’t understand it. Sometime God calls and we aren’t ready to follow it.

The good news is that even if we don’t understand the call, God keeps calling. God keeps calling.

So . . . how is God calling you? How is God helping you wake up to follow your calling?

May God give us ears to hear and courage to follow.

Rebecca Caswell-Speight, Minister of Families with Children at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, GA, has served as a minster in many settings. Recently transplanted from Louisville, KY,  she and her husband, Josh, are parents to two vibrant, growing girls.