Written By: Rev. Charlene Gibson
May long weekend, 1995-it had been a great hair night…the teasing and the hairspray had been successful and I was decked out in my best outfit. I had shown up to the Long Island Youth weekend that I had counted sleeps for in anticipation. Who knew who would show up for the event?! Me and seven other friends of mine from the same school showed up with anticipation of meeting new friends from all over Newfoundland!
We waited, and waited and waited. No new people…not another youth group showed up!. The worship leader had made it. The special speaker too. What could happen with only seven teens in attendance?
The senior pastor got up at the beginning of the evening to announce that he felt in his spirit that we should go ahead and have the weekend go as scheduled. He asked us to commit to asking God to speak to us over that weekend and encouraged us to consider that if seven willing hearts would hear from heaven, then it would be the best youth weekend in history.
And so the evening began….a weekend that changed my life forever. A reference point that began the rest of my story. Changing my history.
The weekend brought so many of us closer. The sermons were straight to the heart. Fast forward, it was the last service. On a warm Sunday evening in May, the speaker spoke on Jeremiah 1:5. A call for us to stop and consider God’s call in our own lives. When he concluded the sermon, He had us keep our heads bowed and asked us to consider the cost of surrendering our all to God’s PERFECT plans for our lives. In what felt like forever, even if it may have only been three verses of the classic, I Surrender All hymn, I wept before the Lord. Heavy ‘neath the gravity of God’s Holy Calling, I still remember the wooden pews that I stared into through my tears as I prayed. I knew then and there that God was calling me into a life of ministry. Despite being a girl, despite not being from a perfect family, despite having career aspirations of my own, I surrendered all…at the ripe old age of 14.
I left that retreat and when my Mom picked me up from the event, I began to tell her about the speaker’s sermon. I told her about this amazing story of Jeremiah. How God had spoke the words, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world”. In the late hours of that Sunday night my mom took extra long to drive home. She told me that night for the very first time, that while she was carrying me she would pray this verse over my life. That random weekend in my teenage life, was random no longer. It was a strategically placed event set in place by MY Sovereign God. This random weekend was truly a reference point for every decision moving forward.
Long story short, this weekend did change my history. From that point forward I have felt committed to living out God’s call on my life. Today, I am asking God to give all of us a willingness to pray for more reference point, life changing moments. These moments are hinges in our history. They become the very strength to keep us moving forward on those days when we doubt. Everything on the other side of those “moments” become who we used to be, not who we are becoming. They become reminders, clear pointers for us in our hours and seasons of wondering and waiting.
These moments are hinges in our history.
To tell you the truth, I have been in those “less than awesome looking events”, where all the good planning in the world seems to have been for not and few show up and few look moved. But to this day, I am still so grateful for the pastor’s decision to go ahead with a weekend that may have looked like a “flop”, a literal “no show”. I am so grateful that God is in the business to this very day of getting the attention of listening people. I encourage you to ask again for God to give you turning points, reference points that become crucial in your story. In the least expected moments, God calls. He will use the mundane to highlight His glory! David’s call was on a day he didn’t even get invited to the family outing to the sacrifice with the prophet Samuel and he was just out working in the field(1 Sam 16). The disciples were called from boats and booths that they earned their livelihood off of(Andrew and Matthew). Trust that God is always speaking, always listening, always hearing, always touching. Be aware that The God who is ALWAYS is now and He is always able to change your forever, now.
He will change your history, if you will let Him…despite what your hair is styled like!
About Pastor Charlene:
Charlene Gibson lives in Moncton, NB. She has spent years involved in ministry to both young and old alike. She has a passion for inspiring young women to see their fullest potential. She has lead a number of anti-bullying events throughout Canada in schools and churches alike. She also enjoys preaching and growing the body of Christ. She is head over hills in love with her princely husband, Kirk. They recently enjoyed their fourth anniversary and dream of many happy years to come.