His Love is an Ever-Flowing Stream
My name is Miriam Bartlett, and I am getting ordination credentials for chaplaincy through the Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance. Born in 1980 at Living Waters Maternity Clinic in El Paso, Texas, I currently live in the USA with my husband and three children. I grew up in a home where my parents had an active and vibrant faith in Jesus. The exact day of my conversion I do not remember. However, since my earliest memories, I have wanted to love and follow Jesus. Putting my trust in Him as Lord and Savior was the best trade ever. When I gave my life to Jesus—He gave His life to me! His love is an ever-flowing stream!
Just like conversion, I can’t pinpoint a moment of calling. As long as I have walked with Jesus, I have wanted to be like Him and share His life and love with the people around me. Ministry, to me, is an automatic extension of His life in me. It is a river of living water meant to flow through me to others. This call to be a vessel and conduit of His presence has been confirmed to my heart many times through the years. These affirmations were through both His Word and other believers.
Life is Ministry
Although I have many years of formal training, my parents launched me into the idea of living as a minister right from the start. By their example, they taught me that “ministry” is another word for loving others. Sharing food with refugees, talking with drug addicts and prostitutes, and sharing our home and lives with every race, background, and personality was a normal part of growing up.
From my earliest age, they taught me to be available to the Lord. I was sensitive to His voice and aware of the needs of the people around me. It all led to a very engaged expression of my faith in my life. It set the tone for a lifestyle of ministry and outreach regardless of whether or not I was in a formal ministry position. Over the years, there were times when I had a specific title or position. At other times, I was serving on the sidelines. Either way, I’m happy because loving others brings me joy.
Local and Formal Ministry Training
Alongside my parent’s lifestyle ministry, I had local ministry training from the many churches I connected to over the years. These local training experiences include music, children’s and youth, teaching discipleship groups, prayer for the sick, fellowship groups, and evangelistic outreach. So when I helped with building projects in Mexico and among the First Nations in Canada, I felt joy. I also had a fantastic time when I went on a short-term trip to London. I was allowed to attend a bilingual Iranian/English seminar series for Muslim converts to Christianity, followed by outreach to Muslims.
In 2002, I graduated from Elim Bible Institute, where I received more formal ministry training. I studied Biblical Theology and engaged in outreach in the community, particularly with the homeless and youth. During my time at Elim, I participated in an internship at the New York School of Urban Ministry. My time at Elim and NYSUM was a particular season of growth. I had a more profound realization that my identity was not in how much I accomplished for God, but instead was a natural outflow of abiding in Christ.
After a decade in which I married Jonathan and started our family, I enrolled in Southwestern Christian University. In 2012, I graduated with a Masters of Ministry, Leadership Emphasis. Because I struggled a lot in school as a child, accomplishing an academic goal of this size was huge. It helped me stop seeing my abilities through a negative lens and encouraged me to challenge myself even when I feel unqualified.
An Unexpected Adventure
Even though I believe that ministry is a way of life, I certainly never expected my ministry life to look the way it does now. I thought I would be a full-time missionary or serve in a more defined way as a child. However, there have been so many unexpected twists and turns that reshaped my journey through the years. It has been less organized and certainly more informal than I anticipated. There were long seasons of waiting and also times of physical suffering as I dealt with health issues and readjustments as God closed doors. There were moments of fear and disappointment too. However, in the middle of all these things, God has always been there! He was reminding me that His river was still flowing in me.
Ordination Credentials for Chaplaincy through CLI and CLA
Much of my ministry during the last season has been closer to home and small in scale. But now, as my children are getting older, I’m looking for new ways to serve the community. Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) has become a part of my unexpected path by offering to refresh my training. Also, the CLI and Christian Leaders Alliance qualified ordination credentials for chaplaincy are what I need as I work towards becoming a hospital chaplain.
Although the path has looked different than I expected, God has used my journey through the unknown to grow my faith in Him. I am at rest because I know that Jesus loves me, He is alive in me, and he wants to love others through me. It’s just that simple. I am confident that He has set up appointments to experience His love and share that love with others. It is the essence of ministry, and this makes ministry an exciting adventure that never ends. His love is an ever-flowing stream.