Although I can’t remember the exact day, I remember these exact words: “Rhonda, I’m inviting you to come into the deep water with me.” Although I didn’t hear the words with my ears, I heard them loud and clear in my heart, and recognized the voice of the Holy Spirit. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what He meant, but I knew right away, that invitation didn’t just come out of the blue. In fact, His words were timed perfectly after reading Ezekiel 47, which followed an intense period of time of seeking God and His will for my life.
Ezekiel tells of a vision he experienced regarding the beautiful River of Healing. He says, “It was deep enough to swim in, but too deep to walk through” (vs 5b). He goes on to describe it as one with many trees growing on both sides and explains the River’s supernatural ability to make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure affecting everything it comes into contact with. “There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows….The shores will be covered with nets drying in the sun…Fish of every kind will fill the Dead Sea…Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river, and the leaves will never turn brown and fall, instead, there will always be fruit for food and the leaves for healing.”
Obviously, Ezekiel was very descriptive about what was happening in the water—healing was taking place. I could picture it in my mind. And…The Holy Spirit was clear, His invitation was for me to partner with Him in bringing about transformation, spiritual healing and life. I accepted His invitation.
Although I accepted His invitation and dove right in the water, in some ways I got stuck on a few rocks. It was between those rocks and hard places God baptized me, taught me how to swim and prepared me for the rapids ahead. Honestly, I’ve grown frustrated with the hang ups and slow downs, but realized God was actually answering my own prayer!
When God called me into the ministry I was humbled (and still am!) and terrified that I would mess it up. My greatest fear was that I would somehow not represent Him well because I knew I was in way over my head! I remember writing this sincere prayer years ago:
I am sure of Your calling on my life
I can see now You’ve prepared me for such a time
God, I never want to disgrace Your holy name
My prayer is to be pure and kept from blame
Spirit, search me… know me… try me… expose me—Remove anything that shouldn’t be
For in my heart I heard You call and I have answered, Here am I, send me
I long to be a vessel of Your great love
Use me as an instrument of Your will
I’ll share Your heart and be Your eyes, hands and feet
I’m willing and ready for any good thing
Spirit, break me… mold me… refine me… transform me until Your reflection is clearly seen
For in my heart I heard You call and I have answered Here am I, send me
I’ll go anywhere you want me to go
I’ll do anything You ask me to do
I’ll say exactly what You tell me to say
Your Kingdom is at hand—Lord use me and have Your way
Spirit guide me… teach me… equip me… fill me
I want my service to please Jesus– my King
For in my heart I heard You call, I have answered, Here am I send me
Fifteen-ish years have passed. I’ve completed a lot of Holy Spirit hands-on lessons and field trips. I’ve also completed a lot of study, on the job experience, and a lot of mentoring sessions and check-ups. There have been times I’ve started all over, but the preparation has been absolutely thorough. At times I felt like I was sifted as wheat, but God was faithful to answer my prayer—Spirit search me, know me, try me, expose me. And He did. I asked Him to break, mold, refine, transform, guide, teach, equip and fill me too. And He did—and still is—but yeah, that’s what I prayed for and over a course of time, He has prepared me for such a time as this!
My official “Such a Time” will happen on May 20, 2021 when the General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene will lay his hands on me and ordain me as an elder into the Church of God. I can’t even describe what I feel in my heart, but this one thing I know…“The Lord will work out His plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8a).
I am thankful for my family—my husband, my parents and kids who have walked this journey with me, and for family who instilled into me the ways of God. I’m also thankful for many friends, peers, and mentors along the way.
I am looking forward to ordination, but if I have learned anything during this process, I have learned to keep the above prayer in my heart and on my lips. I have always and will forever need the Holy Spirit working in my heart and life to accomplish anything for Him. I appreciate your prayers as I flow in deep waters! “Life will flourish wherever this water flows” (Ez. 47:9b)!