A CALLING TO SERVE by Madi Meinzer & Aiden Braun
A year and a half ago I had a plan for my life that looked like this:
Accepting an offer to start an intensive nursing program at UBC, living out in Vancouver with my awesome roommates and dating my boyfriend for another few years until I finished my education and came to a financially stable place before considering marriage. Education, stability, comfort, and doing what was expected of me were my guidelines. The plan seemed perfect, fool proof, with responsible priorities and a socially acceptable timeline.
Flash forward to the present: my husband and I are coming up on our first year anniversary after declining my offer to nursing school and taking time off school to spend majority of the year doing missions work in Europe and the Middle East.
Now, I won’t be pursuing a career in nursing or going back to UBC, my roommate is my husband (and currently in my dad’s house again) and I am becoming comfortable with a lifestyle that is heavily dependent on God’s provision, and on others that he has blessed us with. We still don’t know for sure what is coming up next (...you mean you DON’T have a plan?!?!!??!) but we are trusting that we are right where we need to be for today if we are being obedient to our loving Father. So, not necessarily the most glamorous life I thought I’d have, but I am sure that it is better than any life I could have imagined.
So what happened? Everything changed when I gave up my fear to be obedient to God. I was living in fear of breaking societal norms, fear of letting my family down if I didn’t pursue a highly academic profession, fear of people thinking that I was one of those girls who got married young and then didn’t accomplish anything with her life. Deep in my heart I knew that Josh and I were supposed to get married even after a few months of knowing him, I knew that God was calling me to missions and I knew that a life of stability and working for money wasn’t for me. It was so hard to give up my spot in that nursing program, to say yes when Josh proposed and to leave my home for a year not knowing what to expect. It was so hard to see the world that I dreamed of, that I was so close to grasping disappear when I became obedient, and there were times when I was upset with God for asking me to give up these things. What I didn’t know was that throughout the next year, the Lord would be so faithful, as He always is, to show us why choosing him above our hopes and dreams, our families, our careers and above the expectations others had on us was and always will be the right choice. I learned this year that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, timidity, of “fitting in.” Perfect love, which is God, drives out all fear. While it is scary, and so difficult to break out of our plans and our expectations, He will always be so faithful to meet you in the middle, ready to equip you with courage, your next step, and solid ground to stand on.
My name is Aiden Braun. I’m 20 years old and over the last couple of years, my life’s focus has begun shifting away from myself and more towards the person of Jesus. My desire is to know God more and find authentic living by leaning on my identity in Jesus. The Bible teaches us that Jesus willingly took on all of our shame, failures, and sins upon Himself and paid for them on the cross. Three days later He rose from the grave with our freedom in hand, providing a way for us to have an eternal life with God which starts now.
Believing in the victory of Jesus allows you to live a life of freedom. The God of the universe decided that humanity was worth more than His pain and suffering. When you believe something like that then all other pressures of our world tend to take backstage. Your focus becomes fixed on the one who said you were worth it. One of the examples Christians should be showing to the world is this: “I was worth it and so are you.” I want other people to experience the overwhelming love and grace which Jesus offers as I have. Although we often get it wrong, the people who make up the church strive to show Gods love in a multitude of ways which includes serving others.
Jesus demonstrated time and time again that he came to “serve and not to be served.” The more you press into Jesus the more you discover the manner in which he serves all humanity. This in turn draws me to emulate Jesus’ example. With so many opportunities to care for the people in daily life including the community that gathers on Sundays, I have sought to press into serving. A few examples are Sunday services, special events, and an humanitarian impact trip to help with the refugee crisis in Greece.
I see, on the horizon more opportunities to be a part of more of our local ministry and global teams. In all of this, my focus is not on my efforts but rather on the strength, courage and help that Jesus provides.