My Spiritual Evolution
Hello, my name is Melissa Hale, and here is the story of my spiritual evolution. I am from the United States in sunny central Florida. I am a mom of five children and a wife to an amazing husband. Florida is where I grew up and went to a beautiful church. One Sunday after church, I clearly remember telling my dad that I wanted to give my heart to Jesus. I was only five years old. Even then, at that moment, the Holy Spirit touched my heart, and I cried as I asked Jesus into my heart.
I grew up in the church under the preaching of some of the best ministers and teachers. I spent my weekends as a child listening to sermons on Moody Radio and continued the tradition to adulthood. As a teenager, I volunteered in every ministry position I could. Eventually, I became a leader in several ministries as a teenager. I experienced many things in my life that made my faith strong. But most of all, God’s word was constantly interjected into my life.
As I grew up, I felt a call into the ministry, but women in ministry were few and far between. It seemed like the only thing that could “support” me would be if I went to school and became a pastor. However, that seemed strange. So, I decided to become a teacher or a child psychologist or a pediatrician. Once I began college, I found that my passion was not for any of those things, and I quit school.
Marriage and Tragedy
Not long after I became an adult, I married my high school sweetheart. While life was never easy and always seemed hard, joy was our underlying life goal. We always said, “We may not be rich, but we are rich in love.” Thirteen years of marriage and four children later, I had received a promotion at work. Our monetary struggles looked like they were finally over. We had a fantastic celebration on Christmas Eve with our extended family. Just one week prior, my husband gave our son a brand new bicycle on his ninth birthday.
On Christmas Eve in 2011, I left home to buy food for our Christmas Eve dinner. I took two of my children with me. The other two boys were planning on riding their new bicycles with their dad while I was gone. I left for one hour, and as I approached my house, I saw an ambulance and a police car. Slowing down, I turned, and people began flagging me down. I was bewildered. I rolled my window down. Then, I saw my nine-year-old son screaming, “He’s dead, He’s dead. Daddy is dead.”
My Husband’s Untimely Death Leads to My Spiritual Evolution
I will skip over all the details because some days, I do not feel like writing them all out. To say that this moment in my life was a faith shaker is an understatement. Losing a spouse on Christmas Eve is terrible. But worse, the bicycle my husband gave our son for his birthday was the culprit in this mess.
It was a freak accident that was not designed to shake my faith. It was designed to decimate me, to decimate my family, to decimate my children. It was designed to destroy my calling and the calling of my children. No, it was not a faith breaker; it was a destroyer. I knew that God called me. Not months before the worst day of my life, I heard God’s voice telling me that the dreams and calling I had as a child were still there. I knew God was calling me into ministry.
I heard it said, “Don’t play with fire, or you will get burned.” In my life, I was in the fire, and I was consumed, but I was also remade. Quickly, I knew I had two choices: Die emotionally and spiritually or live. As you can see, I chose life!
My Spiritual Evolution Defined
Someone asked me recently, “Did you have a relationship with God before your husband died? What is the difference now?” My answer is this: Before my husband died, Jesus was my friend. Someone who I would talk to and serve, but it didn’t go too far. We were good pals. Afterward, Jesus was my breath, my life, my Savior, my lifeline. He never left me. When I cried out, He answered. When I felt like I would die from the loneliness, I felt His tangible presence. I realized that without Him, I am nothing.
I call it my spiritual evolution because I know that I am still in training for what God has called me to do in this life. The definition of evolution is “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.” My relationship with God slowly changed into something unable to be explained.
New Blessings and My Calling
God blessed me with a second husband, someone who loves my four children. Together, we have a son. One year after my husband passed away, my life renewed. God kept His promise to restore what the enemy stole from me. God gave me joy and a double portion at that.
Sharing my testimony, I have been honored to speak all over the world. I encourage women to live out their calling – even though they are just “moms” or “wives” or “a woman with no education.” Many are called, but few are chosen because people do not answer the call that God has for them.
I have been serving as a Children’s Pastor at the church I attended after my husband died. It was the church where he gave his life to the Lord. I have been on staff in sunny Florida for almost two years. I feel like I have one of the most important “jobs” in the world right now. It is teaching the future generations who God is. I recently lead a missions trip to Nicaragua, where we ministered to hundreds of children.
My Spiritual Evolution Leads to a Ministry Degree at CLI
Each year, I find myself wishing that I had a degree in ministry. I decided to stop wishing and start making it happen. Currently, I homeschool four of my five children and tutor once a week, plus weekly services and staff meetings. I am glad for the opportunity to fit classes into my busy schedule. The cost of a seminary degree is out of reach at the moment, since I am still in the trenches of raising children.
I am thankful for the visionaries at the Christian Leaders Institute who have developed the generosity driven model of education. Therefore, people called into ministry can study free of massive costs associated with quality education.
My life now is filled with happiness and hope in Christ Jesus. My daughter is planning on being a full-time missionary, while my oldest son is the Worship Leader for our youth at church. Our family loves to go on missions trips, preaching the gospel across the globe.
Reflecting God in My Life
I do not know what my future holds in this calling. I understand that the credentials of a degree in ministry will open new doors, as I continue to live out God’s call on my life. Currently, I have no plans to leave my position at church. I pray that as I learn more about God’s word that my understanding will be increased and reflect in every part of my life.
Learn about degrees at Christian Leaders College.