Surprising Calling to Ministry
Greetings in the name of Lord Jesus! My name is Leah DesLauries-Stollar from Washington, USA.
I can honestly say I’m amazed at the way our Heavenly Father can take a mess of a person, and put them in a place of faith, devotion, and AWE for what the Lord can and does accomplish.
I didn’t come from an overly religious background. I pestered my parents to attend church for two reasons: 1. I was attracted to the art, architecture, and the feeling of awe in being in God’s house. And 2. My friends’ families always seemed to be so involved with their houses of worship, and I wanted that, too.
Why couldn’t I be more like them? My eight-year-old-self wondered. We couldn’t be like them because we were a completely dysfunctional family. Drug abuse, a co-dependent marriage between my parents and sister, who was older by eight years, whom was a perpetual runaway.
I credit what small exposure I had to God to my paternal grandmother, Ferne. She would take me to Mass, and then to the Grotto in Portland, Oregon. When we moved to Bothell, WA, I talked to my mother, and we started attending a Lutheran church there. Upon my insistence, I was baptized at the age of nine.
A few years later, my parents divorced after a violent episode. I was sent to live with my maternal grandmother. I felt very let down by God. Soon acting out in every abhorrent way I could think of. By the age of 20, I’d tried almost any substance to kill the pain of being abandoned, unwanted, and a useless human being. I was pregnant with my daughter. Her father was a dealer, and his mother was worse. So, with the help of friends, we left that abusive cycle.
Some years later, my daughter was attending church with her friends and BEGGED my husband and I to go. To make her happy, we did. Amazing! She found us a congregation who spoke plainly and made Jesus accessible! After attending for two years, learning the Gospel, the hope, and love that Jesus has for us, we three (daughter, husband and I) decided to be baptized. Now, my father who is a Godly man in his right, sat the three of us down before the next day’s baptism ceremony. He cautioned us that things were going to be more challenging from here on in. How soon that was proved right. Spiritual warfare stuck! We had no doubt we had received a surprise calling to ministry and we accepted that!
Time passes; new daughters are born, my mother became too ill to care for herself, my husband broke his neck, my pre-teens start testing boundaries. I was working two jobs to support my family. All these changes brought me to my knees. The living Word saved me from just giving up. Praise be to God.
My ministry dream has already begun in a sense. I work as a manager in a fast food restaurant, and I tend to be a mama to some of these lost children. We pray in the break room, hanging out the drive-thru window, and even in the walk-in fridge at times. The best time to pray is always now. It seems that I’ve become a mother, counselor, and confessor all in one place.
My dream is minister to those I meet, those I work with, and those I meet during my travels. I want to share the love of Jesus, letting them know he’s always with us. In everybody’s life, there are times when it feels as though all is lost. The living Word gives us HOPE.
I identify with the word Pastor the most, although my ministry tends to be more wandering than stationary. I travel extensively when the good Lord allows. The unique challenges in this area? We’re more or less rural, but becoming more citified every day. We have extensive substance abuse problems, the neglected children that are the unwilling victims of what that lifestyle entails.
My wonderful pastor is very supporting of me and always does his prayerful best to direct me in answers I seek. My family is also very supportive – as much as two teenage girls can be at those ages.
The reason the CLI scholarship is of the utmost importance to me is that when called to counsel, comfort or reassure, that through God, I can do so. Being a life-long learner, I pray to encourage others that they may too have God’s peace.