purpose, calling, path, journey, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Call: Hearing, Obeying, and Following God’s Calling

We all have a calling from God. Your call may change, or it may remain constant. You may hear it when you are seven years old or when you are forty-three, but trust me God has a mission for your life.



Phillip is back from Africa! I was so excited and relieved to have him home. He brought back a ton of stories. Some silly, some inspiring, and many heartbreaking. He worked with children whose lives are so different from mine that I can’t even really imagine. Yet, through all their tribulations, they find joy and purpose. God moves with them and it is so evident because survival would be next to impossible without Him in their lives.

We all have a calling from God. Your call may change, or it may remain constant. No matter when we hear it, God has a mission for us all. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #calling #purpose #scripture #journey #devotional

Hearing God’s Call

As a teacher, I see students who have plenty and waste it. I see students with nothing, who horde everything. And all the experiences in between. Phillip saw kids who didn’t always know if there would be enough food. Would they be safe till tomorrow? When they grow, will there be clothes to wear? Will they have a future outside their dirt field and cinder block rooms?

He also encountered faith on a whole new level…

“Heather, we work at believing and being Christians, but we are fooling ourselves if we think we are there. I met people whose faith is so deep, it puts mine, ours to shame.”

At first, this statement put my back up. What do you mean I’m not enough? I believe. I serve. I love my neighbor. I study the Bible. I..I..I…

Oh. Maybe I have more work to do. Maybe we need to see the world through others’ lenses every now and then to give us perspective.

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

1 Corinthians 1:28-29, NIV

Obeying God’s Call

God calls us all to two things: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your body; and love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). Easy to say, easy to remember, harder to do.

I don’t know about you, but my life moves very quickly. I am always hopping from one thing to another. And I often find myself over committing and under delivering. I want so much to do, that sometimes I forget to be. To listen in the quiet for what God needs from me. I am not alone and neither are you. We don’t have to do this alone. What we need to do is lean into God the Father and listen for His calling in our lives.

Phillip has set several goals for himself since his return. Getting sponsorships for children (enough so food isn’t an issue), donations of sports equipment so they have more entertainment (smiles), supplies for the schools so they have more opportunities (a better future). At home, he wants us to start learning more Bible verses so we have a better working knowledge of God’s word.

What all of this boils down to is God’s calling in his life. God has lit a fire in him that has been born out of love. That, my friends, is mighty and powerful and so beautiful.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

John 15:16, NIV

Following God’s Call

God blessed me years ago, when I was in college, with a clear vision of my calling to teach. I fully admit that it wanes from time to time. I think things are too hard, too bogged down in politics, too focused on numbers, but then God redirects my gaze. Children who need me to love them, to teach them, to guide them are put in my way and He reminds me that I am wonderfully made for His purpose. And so are you!

Not everyone is called through children like Phillip and I have been. My daughter has received her calling through sports. At the age of seven, she told me she didn’t want to be a spy anymore. She was going to be a soccer star until she got out of college and then she was going to help people be fit and healthy. At almost 21 years old she has refined what that means, but she is on track to accomplish what she set out to do so long ago.

God calls us and if we are listening, if we are patient, that calling will be fulfilled. And in heeding God’s call, we are being obedient to Him.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14, NIV

God calls us and if we are listening, if we are patient, that calling will be fulfilled. And in heeding God's call, we are being obedient to Him. Click To Tweet

Praying to Receive God’s Call

I have recently been looking at changing some things in my life. Change is scary for me. I like routine, I like feeling comfortable. Especially when that comfort was hard fought. I am feeling a tug, but I’m not sure if the tug is from God needing me to adjust the calling, or if it is from the enemy trying to pull me away from God’s work. Right now, I am in prayer about it. Hoping God will show me His path. I want to be what He has made me to be – a light in the world that reflects His love and mercy on others.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

2 Timothy 1:9, NIV

This morning in church I heard our pastor clearly revealing God’s voice to me:

“When you stay focused on hearing God’s answer to your big prayer, you may be missing God talking to you.”

I might be guilty of this. Once again God is asking me to slow down and listen to Him. So I’ll end with the beginning:

Hey God, it’s me. What do You want?

love, me

We all have a calling from God. Your call may change, or it may remain constant. No matter when we hear it, God has a mission for us all. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #calling #purpose #scripture #journey #devotional

Emilce Giardino

calling, purpose, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry, mentoring

Calling: Who We’ve Been and Who We’re Becoming

The Lord knows who we’ve always been, who we are, and who we’re becoming because He created each one of us with a specific calling.



This morning, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to go upstairs to finally open up an old box. The box has been sitting in a cabinet for nearly three years, and I have not had the courage to open it. It contains a bunch of old items that my siblings and I recovered from the little house where we grew up. Old keepsakes, letters, journals, and photos comprise its contents. We found these things in the attic at the old home-place after Mom passed away, just over three years ago. I’ve been reluctant to open the box because I’ve known that there will be things in it that could be hard to see. But, the Holy Spirit said it is time to open the box.

The Journal…

As I quickly scanned the contents, I came across a Steno pad journal with my name on the front. Although discolored, miraculously the little book remained unscathed during a serious house fire that nearly burned our old house to the ground. Somehow this little journal survived, tucked away there in the attic. Apparently it was one that my fifth grade teacher had assigned because each page contained a different writing prompt.

Thumbing through it, the particular entry that caught my eye was titled: “How do you think your childhood will affect your adult life?” Wow. Isn’t that the question we’re all still trying to answer?! Here’s what my 11 year old self had to say on the subject…

September 5, 1991.

I remember when I was younger, I used to have dreams about a big red bubble. In my bubble, I would float around the world and stop destruction. In my dreams I would see horrible sights. I would wake up and tell my dad that I wanted to help helpless people when I grew up. Hopefully someday I can make my dreams a reality. I will try to get good grades so that I can get a good future career which will hopefully be as a robotics technician or a writer.

Not Much Has Changed!

The thing that struck me as I read my own words is that in nearly three decades, not much has changed! Except for the part about wanting to be a robotics technician. Thankfully that childhood dream remained just that, a pipe dream! But the fact that I had terrible dreams where I saw awful things, is still true today. The Lord shows me things in my dreams, sometimes very hard things, but I have learned that there is a prophetic purpose to many of them. Sometimes He has me share a dream with the person that it’s about, or I simply pray for that person based on what I’ve seen in the dream.

And then there’s the part about wanting to help people who feel helpless. This calling definitely has not changed. For as long as I can remember, my heart has broken for people who feel hopeless and helpless. The Lord has begun to open doors for me to move through life–not in a big red bubble, but covered by His blood–to encourage those who are hopeless and to help those who feel helpless. And then there’s the bit about wanting to be a writer. Well, case in point, I’m writing this devotional that you’re reading and working on a family memoir. So, He is making my childhood dreams a reality.

The Spirit Is Unchanging…

Although we grow and change throughout our lives, the core of who we are–our spirit–is the same from the time we’re born until the day we die. And what’s more, as eternal beings, our spirit has always been and will always be the same. Our physical bodies change; emotions go on rollercoaster rides; minds become more fully open or closed. But our spirit–or rather His Holy Spirit in us–is unchanging. It’s in our spirits that our true identity resides. And in our spirits dwell our deepest desires and purest callings.

We can see an example of this in Jeremiah, when the word of the Lord revealed who he’d always been and who he’d become:

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5

Although Jeremiah was reluctant, claiming that he was merely a child, the Lord assured Jeremiah that he would fulfill his prophetic calling:

But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 1:7-8

The Lord knows who we've always been, who we are, and who we're becoming because He created each one of us with a specific calling. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Assurance for Our Calling…

Perhaps you have known from a young age that there is a call on your life. But have you also doubted that you have what it takes to really live out your calling? The Lord assures us that we will be able to fulfill our calling because He created us to accomplish the very purpose we so desperately long for.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Although I’ve always had a heart for those who feel hopeless, and helpless, for years I shied away from the calling on my life. I felt ill-equipped to help anyone else because I was desperately fighting so many of my own battles. You see, that little 11 year old Hope (or “Hopey” as my mom called me), was about to go through some of the darkest battles of her life. In less than two years, her dad would die. She and her siblings would be scattered to the winds.

For most of her adolescence, she would be extremely anxious and depressed. Bouncing from one home to another, she would wind up with emotional whiplash by the time she left the sixth family’s home that had taken her in. Lost and alone, her heart would harden. She would turn to all the wrong things to try to find acceptance and love- rigid perfectionism, shoplifting, sex, drugs, you name it… And in her late 20’s she’d hit a wall and try to take her own life.

The Lord assures us that we will be able to fulfill our calling because He created us to accomplish the very purpose we so desperately long for. Click To Tweet

A Much Better Ending…

But God knew who He had created me to be, and He did not allow suicide to be the end of my story. He knew all along that the story He was writing would have a much better ending. And I know now that He has already written the chapters that I’m living out. The story changed when He rescued me, and I gave my life to Him. Now Jesus Christ is the protagonist in my story, and because of that, it will indeed have a happy ending. And beloved, because Christ is in your story, it will have a good ending too. Because that’s what He promises, and He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

Do you have an old “box” that you need to open? Is there a call on your life that’s been collecting dust on a shelf of fear? How has the Lord assured you of who He created you to be?

The Lord knows who we've always been, who we are, and who we're becoming because He created each one of us with a specific calling. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references from the King James Version of the Bible.
surrender, striving, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, mentor, ministry

Surrender: Focusing Our Hearts and Eyes On the One Who Calls

Jesus isn’t after our successes, but our hearts of surrender. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the BIG things simply become One thing.



What are we called to? As Christians, what are we really called to?

I have spent a ton of time asking God for “my calling.” What is the one big major thing He has for me? What is the one thing only I can do? The big dream of God’s heart that nobody else wants?

You see, for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do BIG things. When I was a kid, my sister and I had an entire imaginary world, in which we were the most famous kids. At age 10, I began writing a parenting book. By the time I was fifteen, my 10-year plan included being a Broadway star, with a wealthy business husband and 3 residences, at 25 mind you. I was serious.

In love with the stage (and myself), I lived for recognition and dreamed of a future littered with public speaking accolades. I was ready to make my mark on the world, whatever it took. I held on tight to Philippians 4:13, because I believed I could do all things, nothing was impossible, and Jesus would help me succeed. As I write these words, I am shaking my head and laughing at my young “innocent” views on life and God.

During my college years, God really got a hold of my heart like never before. My dreamer spirit didn’t die, but my dreams radically changed. Now, I wanted to do big things for God. Dreams of being part of foreign missions, non-profits and every ministry possible began to form in my mind. I went on several overseas mission trips, worked with the poor in my own city, served in my church and eventually (finally!) my husband and I moved overseas as long-term missionaries.

I felt I was living the dream, doing all the stuff, all the big things God cares most about, the stuff no-one else is willing to do! Even though I thought I had arrived, God knew, this was only the beginning of our journey. After a short year and a half, we were back in the States, and I found myself, again, asking God about my calling. He faithfully answered, as He showed me, little by little, what true surrender looks like. Dreaming with God is wonderful thing, but we cannot lose sight of our true purpose.

Surrendering Dreams

So, what are we called to? As Christians, what are we really called to? Love one another? Live generously? Forgive seventy times seven? Feed the poor, heal the sick, care for orphans, clothe the needy? No. Our call is not just about actions. It’s not just about the mission. It’s not just about doing stuff for God. Our call is about a person. I am a Christian because I am totally in love with Someone. The One called Jesus. The question isn’t what are we called to do? Rather, Who are we called to live for? Who are we called to?

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Psalm 84:10

This is the heart of surrender I long for! I long to say, “Jesus, it’s not about me or what I do. It’s all about you! I just want to be with you, whatever you do. Wherever you are.”

Jesus isn't after our successes, but our hearts of surrender. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the BIG things simply become One thing. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Surrender and Abandon

Abandon. We are called to abandon. Total and utter dependence on Him. An unshakable “yes”, to surrender. To Him. No matter the convenience level, no matter the cost. We are His. This life isn’t about me. It isn’t about my family or my church. It’s not about us at all. It isn’t even about others, not even the least of these.

It is about Him. Jesus. High Priest and King. Sacrifice. Lamb of God. Lord of all lords. It is all, every moment, every day, every dream, desire, call is about Him. Him and only Him. Jesus Christ.

Can I live truly abandoned when following Jesus doesn’t look like I expected or when it is hard to get up in the morning? Can I live fully abandoned when I don’t see ANY of the glam and glory of doing “big things” for God?

Right now, His big calling in my life is three little people and a man pouring his life out in a “regular” job. Maybe my calling is a neighbor who just needs a friend, or the stranger at the grocery store. Possibly, God is drawing me towards the mom friend who is overwhelmed, or the babysitter who may just need a hug.

What does saying “yes” to God every day really look like? Can I be content with the lot God has given me? Truly, this is what Philippians 4:13 is about. Contentment. Not success, as the world sees it.

Abandon. We are called to abandon. Total and utter dependence on Him. An unshakable “yes”, to surrender. To Him. Click To Tweet

Contentment in Surrender

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

True contentment can only come in true surrender, to the Person of Jesus. God measures success in our number of “yeses”, not our number of medals and degrees.

So, what is the one thing only I can do? Only I can love Him for me. Only I can worship Him for me. Only I can sit at His feet as me. Nobody else can take my place in loving Jesus. This is the one calling. It’s not a thing. It’s a Person.

Jesus isn't after our successes, but our hearts of surrender. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the BIG things simply become One thing. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references come from the NIV Bible.