by Karen Baird

Do you remember, as a child, being asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? If you were like me, many answers came to mind. As adults we’re asked, “If you could do anything what would it be? Psalm 139:13 tells us, “For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother’s womb.” His plan for our lives doesn’t start once we enter school, or start going to church, or complete our education, or get married, or have a family, or even acknowledge Him and accept Him into our hearts. His plan for our lives begins at conception, in our mothers’ wombs.

As women of faith, we search for God’s will in our lives, and many times finish our lives with regrets and longing that were never quite fulfilled. John 10:10 tells us, “ … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Once we accept Christ, the next step is walking with him in “abundant” life! Only one thing is required of you when you accept Christ, faith — utter faith in who Christ is and what he has accomplished for you on the cross. That’s it! But once your redemption takes place, there are requirements of you by God to live Galatians 5:22-23, the fruits of the Spirit. This is where you will find your purpose in service to God. It’s not mysterious. It’s about complete obedience to God’s Word and commands and continued conversation and communication with Him through prayer and the study of His Word.

Years ago, during a season of life as a wife, mother, pastor’s wife, director of a preschool, teacher, musician, continuing my education, homemaker, daughter, sister, friend … you get it, I was wearing many hats … I realized I wasn’t doing anything to the best of my ability for God. One day, a godly author and speaker inspired me to simply give everything in my life back to God — everything — and then wait patiently for what He would return back to me. This led to a year-long journey of watching God give back to me and also take many things away. It surprised me, it frightened me, it even crushed me. But I came out ready for what He had next for my husband, our children, and me — a life of international missions. That was 2004 and I would not trade my walk and service to Christ before that time, and I certainly wouldn’t trade the service and incredible calling He has placed upon my life since that prayer.

Can I encourage you, no matter how many good and fruitful things you are accomplishing for the kingdom, will you stop right now and give everything back to God? Will you confirm with God that everything you are doing in your life is His will? May we live out the fruits of the Spirit that are right now dwelling in our hearts, according to His plan and purpose, and may we fight the good fight, finish the course, keep the faith, knowing that in the future there is laid up for us the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to us on that day (2 Timothy 4:7).