“The refining fire can be uncomfortable, but that’s because there’s a lot of refining that needs to be done in me.”
And she feels like Jeremiah when he speaks about “something like a burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jer. 20:9). She cannot be quiet about how God is moving in her life.
Two years ago, a friend delivered a prophetic word to her, in front of witnesses: You will be a pastor. Pamela’s first word to God on the matter: “Don’t make me go to seminary.” Her second was, “If this is what you want, you’re going to have to make it happen.” Six months later, she overheard a conversation about the C.P. program, and she knew that was it.
She’d worked in church music many years, but, as she puts it, “God took this very practical, black-and-white girl and said, ‘Let me show you what your spiritual gifts are.’” Turns out, her gifts revolve around prayer – big prayers, prayers for healing, “expecting and knowing God is willing and able to heal people.”
The first class she took was Spiritual Formation, and it confirmed her choice to follow the path God set before her. “I’ve always been a good student. Knowledge is easy to acquire. This is a process of God forming me into my new calling. Knowledge is great, but Spiritual Formation has been priceless.”
While it has been priceless, this journey hasn’t been without its costs. “The process has been intense, a process of God saying to me, ‘I have different things for you to do;’ still music, but in a different way. I had to give things up, like the church music director position.” In return, she’s watched God move: “The things God is putting together, I never anticipated.”
In fact, “I’m almost past being surprised by what God is doing.”
When asked to describe the people she’s met in the program, she uses words like beautiful and stellar: “They really care about what God is calling me to do and equipping me to do it.” She takes group classes through Skype and Google hangouts, and also one-on-one classes with her pastor and Classis leader. She is getting to know people, and making ministry connections, across the country. She is grateful for the many layers of support she receives, from the administrators and facilitators of the C.P. program, to her pastor and her Classis, to her mentor, to her fellow students – and, of course, to her husband.
Since she’s only halfway into her program, she isn’t certain exactly what will happen at the end. “God is still revealing whatHe’s doing. You have to say yes first to Him. When you say yes to God, you don’t know exactly what you’re saying yes to, but God brings all the people and resources into place as you need it.”
For now, Pamela is serving in prayer ministry and moving closer to becoming a Commissioned Pastor. She puts it this way: “God says, ‘I’ll give you a step. If you’re obedient, I’ll give you another step.’”