Oh my goodness!
I cannot believe it’s been this long since the last time I blogged.
I’ve missed blogging more than you can imagine.
The past few months have been the busiest months of my entire life…
not joking at all.
I am still loving my new job; so hard to believe I’ve been on staff at Ridgecrest for almost three months… that just doesn’t seem possible.
Anyway, I was asked about a month ago to write a post for Ridgecrest’s Blog that would be a part of a series called “Where’s Jesus?”… I of course said ‘yes’!
It’s been about a month since I actually wrote the post, but it was posted today on the Ridgecrest blog, so I thought I would share it with all of you…
[Also visit http://weareridgecrest.blogspot.com/ for more posts by amazingly talented writers!]
Where’s Jesus? Kate knows.
by: Kate Ford
In life, we are often faced with challenges and hardships. Someone on the outside may look into our lives and say, “Where’s Jesus?” They may look into our lives and see pain, suffering, loneliness, stress, etc. And for any “normal” individual, it would be practically impossible to see Jesus in all of that. We, as Christians, are certainly not called to be “normal.” The definition of “weird,” according to Dictionary.com, is “involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny.” By definition, wouldn’t you say God is weird? And being called to be Christ-like, wouldn’t you say we should be weird, not normal? With that said, when we look at our pain, suffering, loneliness, stress, etc., we should be patient with God in allowing Him to reveal what He is doing in our lives, unlike the “normal” individual. Then, we will be able to see Him in the challenges and hardships.
I personally relate to this subject A LOT. For those of you reading this, you may be thinking, “Who is Kate Ford?” I am the newest student ministry associate at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, and how I came to be on staff actually has a lot to do with my own personal hardships. Being on staff here is certainly not a hardship; it’s wonderful! However, my journey getting here has not been quite as wonderful.
Growing up in a strong Christian family who had never faced health problems, financial problems or really many problems of any kind, my faith was extremely strong in my mind. But I started learning in high school that my faith was not as strong as I’d once believed. To make a long story short, early on in high school my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor, my family experienced financial hardship for the first time (that I knew of), my dad was diagnosed with an eye disease that could cause blindness, my sister was diagnosed with clinical depression and my family seemed to be facing more and more challenges as our lives continued. It was at this point I began seeing my faith actually become stronger. Why? Because in every situation, I saw God. I saw His miracles over and over again. My dad’s brain tumor is now gone. My family is doing much better financially. My dad’s vision is remarkably better instead of being blind. And my sister is dealing with her depression in very healthy ways. All of these hardships only made my family’s faith in God that much stronger, and it molded our family into who God needed us to be.
Upon graduating from New Covenant Academy, I rushed off to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the art industry. I can still remember friends of ours asking my dad if he was worried about his younger daughter moving out to LA alone. My dad’s response never changed. He would always explain to others that he thought LA needed me and the faith I had developed. To this day, that is still the greatest compliment I’ve ever received. My faith only grew stronger living alone in LA. I joined staff at Mosaic, a large church in Hollywood; this sparked my passion for working in ministry. I was co-leading a community service ministry that was a part of the church, as well as serving in other areas of Mosaic. I had amazing friends in my life who were striving for Christ-centered lives, and I was in a wonderful relationship. I felt unstoppable. I was only seeing more and more good brought into my life by God. It was at this point that I faced my first hardship alone.
It wasn’t my dad’s or mom’s or sister’s. It was mine, and it was the first time in my life I’d ever felt broken. In the Spring 2012, I thought I had found the man I was going to marry. We had picked out our ring, set the date and had even started looking for places to live. He was a worship leader and youth associate at a church in Las Vegas, and I admired him more than I thought was possible. In May, I found out our relationship had been built on countless lies. He was certainly not the man I had fallen in love with, and I felt like my world had shattered. It was at this point I had also started facing financial issues and was finding it very hard to live in LA. After a few months, I was healing from my broken relationship but still could not afford to live in LA. After lots of prayer, I felt God pulling on the strings of my heart and telling me to move back to Springfield. I had no idea why God would take me from LA and place me back in Missouri after such a short time, and I had no idea where I was going to work. I had to leave my church in LA; I had to leave my amazing friends; and I had to leave the place I truly considered “home.” After I made the decision, I spent another five weeks in LA, during which I kept asking God, “Why?”
He never answered me, but I somehow had a peace about moving back. During my 26-hour drive, I continued to ask Jesus, “Why?” I knew there was a reason, but I couldn’t’ see it yet. My pastor in LA, Hank, said something to me during my last Sunday in LA. He told me, “Think of everything you’ve gained by being at Mosaic. Now you get to take all of that knowledge and wisdom and pour it back into a church in Missouri.” At the time, I wasn’t sure how that would even happen. About a week after I moved back, I found out about a job position at Ridgecrest with the student ministry and could hear God telling me this was something I needed to pursue. On Nov. 14, I was finally able to see a glimpse of why God had brought me back to Springfield: My phone rang, and I was offered the position with rbcstudents.
I’ve never felt this strongly about being in the right place. I feel God using me every day, and it is beautiful. Being able to help guide these amazing students and see God working in their lives through our student ministry team is one of the most rewarding and remarkable things I’ve ever been part of. Jesus was there the whole time during my challenges and hardships. If I hadn’t faced the challenges I have in the past year, I would be a different person. God used all of those hardships to mold me into who He needs me to be. As soon as I made the decision to let go of the things that were out of my control and give them up to God, faster than I could imagine, He showed me what He was doing and that He had been there the whole time. More and more everyday, I see why I am here.
To conclude my lengthy post, I challenge you to be patient and let God reveal to you what He is doing through the hardships you face. God is simply using those to mold you. Isaiah 64:8 says, “Still, God, you are our Father. We’re the clay and you’re our potter: All of us are what you made us.”
Allow God to mold you however He needs to.
I promise to have another post up soon!