Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
How Long Would You Wait?
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
My eyes are blurry with tears as I try to type the words welling up within me. Today of all days, God’s faithfulness has left me in awe. How long would you wait for God to fulfill a desire you believe he placed in your heart? Six months, a year, maybe two? Any one of those would have been my answer years ago, and yet as two years turned to four, four to eight, eight to twelve, and finally twelve to sixteen, I continued to hang on, almost vehemently, to the dream I believe God placed in me. It has been a dream I’ve significantly downplayed over the years for one simple reason… I am a woman. Most people who know me well see my love for Jesus and understand my heart for ministry, but few really know the dream. Could I ever say it out loud? Would anyone understand or believe my desire was from God? It was a chance I wasn’t willing to take with most people, so for years, I leaned into roles that others felt comfortable seeing me fulfill. I have loved all the jobs I’ve held thus far and see clearly how God’s hand was preparing me for where I am today, but they were never the dream. It brings me immense joy to write this blog every week, but it’s not the dream. It humbles me to sit and counsel the broken, but this too is not the dream. I have also previously served in a pastoral capacity, but only in a limited fashion, which was not the dream. So what is the dream? Dare I say it out loud or put it in print? Yes! Because, finally, in the past six months the Lord has brought me to full assurance to embrace it and to believe him to fulfill it. I am a preacher and a pastor! I love God’s word with unashamed passion and long to proclaim it to anyone who will listen. I love to walk alongside and shepherd those who are on this journey trying to figure out where God is in their lives. If this isn’t a preacher and pastor, I don’t know any other words! I see Proverbs 16:9 coming to life this week as I reflect on the past sixteen years and finally being able to say those words out loud without fear:
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
I have planned my course, but every role has prepared me, humbled me, and strengthened me. The Lord is who established my steps in order to take a new leap this week. Last Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching one of my favorite stories in Scripture at my church. I could feel the Lord’s presence as I brought the story to life and my heart was the fullest it has ever been. Tuesday evening was the cherry on top. After sixteen long years of waiting, I was officially ordained as a pastor. For some, this may seem like a formality as I’ve been serving in this capacity for the past six months, but it is so much more than you can imagine. The fact that the elders and staff see and believe God has called me out as a shepherdess of His flock, is an affirmation of my clinging to this dream all these years.
Faith has FINALLY become sight! COVID-19 made the ceremony small due to social distancing protocol but this made the evening that much more significant to me. Yes, it would have been great to have friends and family there, but the two most important people were. My husband Todd, who has cheered me on all these years and most importantly God, whose good pleasure I could feel smiling down on me. It has been a long, long, wait… but so worth it! For Your Reflection… What dream has God placed in your heart to do for him? If he has placed it there, he is faithful to fulfill it. You do your part but trust him to establish your steps. It will be totally worth it! If you’re still waiting, talk to God about it. I know just how painful the waiting can be. Talking with him helps.