In June of 2019, my pastor started calling special Monday night prayer meetings and originally spoke in June on the Scripture Hosea 10:12 (NIV) “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.“ I blogged in June about praying during this special TIME.
I prayed a lot during the summer, not just on Monday nights, about the direction that God wanted me to go as a writer. School was out and I had special time, set aside by God, to pray, process and ponder. God knows my heart and how I need Him every minute of every day, but especially when I need wisdom on how to proceed with my life.
I believe that God began answering my prayers in late July 2019. When His heart speaks to my heart, the puzzle pieces come together.
In late July 2019, I felt a call to see my writing in my blog as a ministry. This call from God to me came through ministers at the She Speaks 2019 Writing Conference in July and from a minister at Bridge of Hope Church in Greensboro, NC. I had been praying and seeking the Lord to help me in my life, in my journey as a blog writer with a hope to publish a book one day, in my relationships and in my new journey in creating and planning for my new STREAM Studio at school. I was also in prayer for my husband, children, parents, in-laws and friends. As I prayed from mid June to mid July, I was being prepared to receive the words of the ministers and to understand that he has a plan for me. I know I am an elementary school teacher, a wife and mom, but now I can say I am also a minister of the gospel. Here’s my testimony of how He called me.
Before July 2019, I had never viewed my blog as a ministry. I just sort of wrote as I felt the topic develop and flow in my head. I hoped that my words encouraged and blessed others as I applied God’s Word to my life in my writing, but as I heard the minister, Bianca Olthoff, speak at the streaming version of She Speaks Conference on that July evening, the word of God spoke to me like never before. She read Ezekiel 37:1-14. This passage shows us a valley of dry bones. As I visualized this desolate place, I began to see that many people now are in a similar place: lacking the right resources, feeling hopeless, unable to stand and missing their purpose.
I heard God tell Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones in that valley and tell them God’s special message for them in Ezekiel 37:5-6: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to breathe into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel spoke and the miraculous happened. The bones became covered with muscles and flesh. Then, Ezekiel spoke again to them under God’s direction so that breath would enter their bodies and it did! They became as a great and mighty army.
I loved what God finished with in Ezekiel 37:12: “Now give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel.” His purpose in raising the dead to life was to bring them back to his perfect plan for them.
I knew as I processed her message that night that God needed Ezekiel to obey and speak the words of life to allow the people to be more than a pile of bones. I also love to hear from God as he illuminates His Word in my heart and helps me in my life. He needs me to obey and speak words of life and share His truth.
As Bianca Olthoff spoke that night at the She Speaks Conference, I became aware that my writing in my blog should be viewed as one that will continue to speak life and share truth just as Ezekiel had done. I want to obey God, continue writing in my blog and one day publish a book, but NOW at THIS TIME with an understanding that he has called me to be a writer. I am not just writing because I want to; I am writing because I must.
I heard Bianca talk about stepping out in faith and into ministry. I have often considered my blog as a place to share my faith and about time well spent with God and family. I realized that I needed to step out and build a new website to house my blog and continue to encourage people. At my new website, https://lisamaples.life/ , readers will have a safe place to land and learn God’s Word, its application in my life and how they can apply it to their hearts. I am stepping out in faith and into ministry. I am still a teacher who loves my day job, but in the evenings and on weekends, I write.
On Sunday, the day after hearing the speakers from She Speaks share mighty words of wisdom, I heard Valerie Moreno, the Next Gen Pastor at Bridge of Hope Church, where I was visiting my parents and their church which happens to be the church where I grew up. She reminded me that Jesus told us to go in to all the world teaching whatever he has commanded us. He wants us to be witnesses of him and to his gospel. I realized at that moment that my website can go into all the world through the power of the internet. If I will obey, He can use my words on the blog to reach women who I may never meet, but He knows them and their needs. He will carry His message. I must be faithful to proclaim it.
Pastor Valerie’s message focused on the gifting of the Spirit, the working of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. She spoke from 1 Corinthians 12:5-11:
“There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestations of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretations of tongues. All of these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
I knew from her message that I must operate as a writer in the gifting of the Spirit. His gifting has a purpose which is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit who gives boldness and will carry the message of the gospel.
Pastor Valerie shared Acts 4:29 and 31 where Believers had faced persecutions. They said, “Lord, Consider their threats and give us boldness.” They were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with boldness.
I believe that me blogging through the past few years has given me boldness to speak about how God has helped me. I can do nothing apart from Him. I recognize that in order to speak and write for the common good, I must ask him to help me speak with boldness in my writing and in person.
I realized during her message that The Fruit of the Spirit will reveal the heart. We need the Fruit of the Spirit along with His Gifting. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.”
Pastor Valerie read John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” She proclaimed that we are alive because we are connected to the source and that I will bear fruit if I stay connected to Jesus. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. When God gifts me with something, I have to be responsible for it and bear fruit. Evidence of Fruit shows that God has nurtured me.
Wendy Blight, another amazing speaker at She Speaks 2019, declared this:
“I am strong, brave and courageous. I am entrusted with sacred assignments. That is my call. I am going out to help women know that they have a call, a purpose, and that they are women of valor.”
I am a woman of valor. I love this view of women. We are meant to be helpers in our homes and now in order to share words that God inspires through me, I want to be brave, be courageous and be bold.
The weekend of July 25 – 28, 2019 will always be the weekend where God called me out of darkness into his marvelous light. He made it clear that He wants me to write, that He’ll give me the words and that He will receive all the glory as I abide in Him.
So, after further contemplation, I am sharing my calling from God similar to how Paul shared his calling and purpose for ministry with Titus in Titus 1:1-2.
Who I am in Christ: I am Lisa Maples, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, redeemed by the blood of Jesus and restored. I am a teacher, a writer, a wife and a mother.
Tagline: My ministry is to speak life by proclaiming Christian faith to women and to share truth so that others may know it and live godly lives. I savor moments spent with my family and friends knowing that God gives us all things to enjoy.
Key Benefit: The purpose of my calling is to encourage other Christians to know the truth found in God’s Word, to deepen and strengthen the confidence that believers in Jesus have and to be a witness of Jesus and his gospel message of transformation which brings hope and is for the common good. As I spend time reading God’s Word and praying, His Holy Spirit will reveal the heart and mind of God. It is my desire for my words which are inspired by God to inspire and help others to bear fruit in the kingdom of God.
Check out Paul’s words in Titus 1:1-3:
V.1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. V.2 This truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began – and he cannot lie. V.3 And now at the right time he has revealed this Good News, and we announce it to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been trusted to do this work for him.
I loved how Paul described who he is and why he has been sent which is to proclaim faith and to teach people to know the truth which shows them how to live godly lives. In addition, he sensed that God had entrusted him to reveal Good News at the right time and announce it to everyone.
God gave Paul specific directions. His Word spoke to me this past summer after a month of praying and also gave me specific directions. I have studied the Bible and am placing Scripture References below which have also touched my heart and shaped my perception of God calling me to see my writing as a ministry.
Acts 1:8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. You will be my witnesses in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 2:4 The Holy Spirit came on them with tongues of fire. (My prayer is for God to allow me to speak as He gives the utterance, just as they did.)
1 Corinthians 12:5-11 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestations of the Spirit is given for the common good.
John 15:26 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.
Joel 2:28-29 I will pour out my Spirit on your sons and daughters and they will proclaim the truth/prophecy.
Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
John 8:31-32 If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
I want people to read my words and hear the truth of God so their lives will be transformed with hope. I want to savor moments in his Word and feel so full after being in His presence. I am wanting to share moments from my life because this is what I have done on my blog and know that God has moved mightily in my life to rescue, redeem and restore.
I am working on transforming my new website to an even better version of itself. I hope it will be revealed in the next few months with the new name of https://lisamaples.life/ . The new website will have a brand new look and will be an inviting place for my readers to reach my faith based blog, teacher blog and some Freebies that I am creating! I just felt that today, as we are transitioning from Summer to Fall, I wanted to testify and share the words that God used to help me see that He needs for me to share my writing through the lens of ministry. He is with me and will guide me into all truth.
May God receive all of the glory as I speak life, share truth and savor moments.