Ordained Women’s Minister Call
1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.”
Hello! My name is Tammy McDowell, and I have an ordained women’s minister call. The above verse couldn’t be more accurate for me. I am from Decatur, IL, in the United States. I am 58 years old and the mother of five precious blessings, four of which are surviving. God has truly blessed me. I have a heart for hurting women, for youth and am looking forward to learning at Christian Leaders Institute. I drive a school bus and have a great bunch of young folks on my bus. My prayer is that what I learn through CLI enables me to handle the challenges I run into on the bus. I am also passionate about music, and I love to sing.
THE EARLY YEARS
I grew up in church and gave my life to Jesus when I was 12. We had a somewhat rocky home life and I, being rebellious by nature, took my life back. That was the biggest mistake I could have ever made. Sadly, I spent my teen years, “looking for love in all the wrong places.” This search led me to a local frat house party that ended, for me, with rape and a baby. I kept my baby, and that wonderful man is my oldest son. He is proof that God can take something meant for evil and turn it to good.
While I was expecting Jeremy, some Godly friends of my parents said they had a young man they wanted me to meet. I agreed with trepidation. I went to their home for dinner, and there was this sweet young man named Danny Smith. It wasn’t long before we were inseparable, and in June of 1980, we wed. We used to laugh at the fact that the three-week-old son we had given birth to got more attention than we did. Dan made it clear to me before Jeremy was ever born that the baby I carried was just as much his as mine.
Life was good, and before long, we were expecting our angel baby. Jillian Marie Smith was born on a snowy winter day in December of 81. She was such a delight and joy, and there was a radiance about her. The Bible says, “the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy,” and on April 2, 1982, he stole our precious Jilly. Dan performed mouth to mouth to the hospital, but she didn’t make it. I didn’t realize how that impacted him as a man, spiritual leader, husband, and father. Dan was angry with God, himself, and everyone. He felt worthless because he could not save our daughter. I didn’t know this until years later, but as time progressed, Dan became abusive to me and our children. We divorced.
Downhill Spiral and Renewal with God
I know this seems like so much information, but it is what started my downhill spiral. I went back to looking for “love in all the wrong places.” Now, this journey made for an unstable life for the three children I was raising, and I will forever regret that. In that time, however, I did get pregnant with my youngest son. I would never trade Brandon for anything. Because of my desperate search for love, which I now know to be a tremendous lack of self-esteem, I married three more times. I would come back to God and wander away again, all the while negatively impacting my kids. It was during these years that I was treated for bipolar, but I want to say our God is a healing God, and I am healed!
In 2010, I finally made a hard-core commitment to God. Oddly enough, I still managed to justify my choices, but it was getting harder and harder. When I married my fourth husband, I truly believed, and still do, that God brought us together. But, after a year and a half, he decided to leave. Now I know this sounds like history repeating itself, but there is a purpose for saying this. Jerry left and months later wanted to start up again. It became a pattern, and each time he left, I drew closer to God. Through this roller coaster ride, I have become active and bold in the Lord. It is time to step out and seriously do something! There are a couple of songs by Matthew West that I wholly recommend: “The Motions” and “Do Something.”
ORDAINED WOMEN’S MINISTER CALL TO MINISTRY
From my early 20s, I had a desire to start a home for unwed mothers where they could learn child care, job training, and most importantly, that God loved them right where they are. When I met my first husband, he shared with me that he had a dream much like mine, and I knew it had to be God. With one thing and another, we never got to realize it. The dream never left me. I still have a heart for women who have been physically, sexually, and emotionally abused. Also, I have a heart women who have lost children and need to be loved.
However, I believe my calling has grown. I have an ordained women’s minister call and much more. I want to be able to minister to and draw people to the Kingdom. Currently, I minister with my parents in a little mission here in town, and the desire to do more has been like a fire in my chest. Right now, Mom and I sing, and Dad preaches. Recently, I have also been delivering messages. That has significantly stoked the fire. I want to see people saved! I want them to know the peace that I have found in Jesus Christ. In spite of what people’s pasts are, there is a God that loves them right where they stand, just as way they are. God has an excellent plan for their lives!
When I drove the city bus, I had the chance to minister, and I took advantage of it. Someone hurt me. So, I bought myself a created ruby ring to remind me of who I am in God’s eyes. One day, a young pregnant woman was on the bus as I was training. It was easy to see that she was depressed. I gave her my ruby ring and told her about Proverbs 31. Her face lit up, and she had a spring in her step when she got off the bus. I continued to do that. I replaced the ring and wore the new one. When God led me to give it to someone, I did just like I did with the first one. I think it blessed me as much as it did the ladies that received the rings.
I always loved to sing, and I suppose that it was a very informal type of ministry. This phase is just beginning, and I’m excited! When I talked to my pastor, an alumnus from CLI, I told him I felt I had an ordained women’s minister call. He was very enthusiastic and took me to Jeremiah 20:9. As he read it to me, I could see that I am on the right track. I am thirsty to know my Father better, and I’m hungry for the Word! I am excited that I will be learning to present it correctly and in a way that folks can gain understanding! People often came to me for advice, and I wanted to be a psychologist. But now, this ordained women’s minister call is what the Lord has for me. I’m pumped for the chance to grow and share His love.
I love the Lord and share with everyone. My children, Jeremy, Amanda, Andrea, and Brandon, are a tremendous source of joy. I think part of my desire to do this is to show them that there are people out there that minister and are sincere. I hope that as they see me live for God without wavering, they will come to desire that kind of peace as well. Please, as you read this, keep my babies in prayer.
My first love is music. I sing all of the time and at one time wanted to be a professional. Now I am, by definition, but I would love to reach more people! A day in my life is, until school starts again, reading the Word, loving on my dogs, singing with the radio, and keeping the house. Of course, now I will be happily adding CLI and my ordained women’s minister call to that list. I tend to talk to the Lord as I do each thing, so praying is a given.
I’m so grateful to the Lord for sending His Son to die for me and the peace knowing Him brings me! I’m thankful for this opportunity, for CLI and this program, and my pastor for recommending it! I have been fighting Fibromyalgia for years and am unable to work full-time or even very much part-time. This program allows me to do what God is calling me to in spite of my lack of finances. I would not be able to do this without CLI. God bless you all, and if you need prayer, don’t hesitate to ask!
Learn about ordination and ordained minister roles at Christian Leaders Alliance.