Where I’m At

I often hold back from writing about myself and my life. I start typing, and the words refuse to come. It’s easier somehow to simply write about ideas and not make them personal. Sharing out of my own life is scarier. With it comes a feeling of vulnerability. Subjecting my life to the interpretation of others leaves me floundering at the lack of control. Hiding behind the wall and throwing out my thoughts is safer.

But Jesus doesn’t call me to a safe life, he calls me to a life of service. The past few years have been marked by that lesson, and I want my writing to be an outflow of what God’s doing in my life. To do that, I want to share some of where I am at in life, and how God brought me here.

Where I’ve Been

Three years ago, I was not the same person. The other me was in college, working hard toward a degree in piano performance. People knew me as a good Christian girl who excelled academically and held several leadership roles. They could see the outside. Perhaps a few who were very close to me could see hints that not all was as it seemed, but I never let anyone close enough to really see the truth. I was on the verge of a breakdown. My secret life, that only God could see, was killing me.

My addiction to immoral thoughts and habits affected my every moment. It was a vicious cycle that stole my sleep, hijacked my thoughts, and filled me with fear of being discovered. As I spiraled downward, I became consumed with bitterness toward people close to me and crippled by immense anxiety that took away my ability to handle normal stress or perform music. My body began breaking down, as I dealt with chronic pain, panic attacks, and mysterious symptoms. I questioned God’s existence, the truth of the Bible, and the rationality of Christianity, all while arrogantly arguing with those who openly did the same. I saw no hope, and often contemplated taking my own life.

Throughout this season, I could see God pursuing me. There were friends trying to encourage me, sermons that made a difference, and books that challenged my presuppositions. But the more I studied the Bible to try to find answers, the more confused I became. I was strapped to the idea that I had to work harder at this Christian thing for God to accept me. I prayed more. I studied more. I served at church more. But the answers I kept hearing didn’t make sense to me. I began to understand that accepting God’s grace meant that I had to admit that I was imperfect and needed help. This was unthinkable to me. My life was built on my “perfect” appearance, and if that foundation was taken away, I felt collapse was inevitable.

But my life was already collapsing, without me realizing it. In March that year, the Lord sent me a wake-up call when my car was rear-ended at about 60 miles per hour. Everything about that crash showed His staying hand. At a time when I wanted to end my life, God spared it in a wreck that could have ended it. I walked away from that wreck with only a back injury and an awareness that I was still alive for a reason.

By the grace of God, I completed my senior year and graduated. I still felt like life was pointless. The only thing that kept me from suicide was the knowledge that it would devastate my family. So, I went on with life, hating every moment of it. That summer, I had taken a job at an arts summer camp. While I was there, some friends of mine invited me to a church nearby. I went because that’s what I had always done. What I did not expect was that the Holy Spirit would use those few weeks of sermons to change my life.

The pastor was preaching through Luke 18: the persistent widow, the rich young ruler, the tax collector and the Pharisee. In the course of three weeks, all my defenses against God’s grace were torn down. I learned that my idol of appearance was keeping me from following Christ, and that a right standing with God was offered to me freely as a gift. It was not something I had to work for; I had only to believe in Christ. By taking the punishment I deserved on the cross for my rebellion against God, Jesus took my sin upon Himself, and in rising from the dead, He gave me His perfect record before God.

After hearing this good news, I broke down and wept–for the first time in two years. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see the beauty of grace for the first time. I knew Jesus, and He knew me. I confessed my sin, that I was a mess, and that I couldn’t do anything about it. He had forgiven me, and my life was beautifully wrecked.

In the months after, the Lord led me through a process of confessing my sin to others. Letting my parents and my friends in on what I had been hiding was extremely hard. But Christ gave me grace to obey, after a long time of fighting in my fear and pride. I was able to seek forgiveness and accountability. As my friend Chiree told me during that time, “You don’t know what grace is on the other side of confession.” I am here, on the other side, to say,–even though the struggle with sin continues–“Immense grace is here.”

In January of 2014, the Lord called me to full-time ministry work. I was working as a music teacher at the time, and although I loved my students, I was feeling restless, and no matter how much I tried, I wasn’t able to make a living doing music. I was faced with a choice: I could return to school and pursue a graduate degree, or I could take the jump I was always afraid to do. Since I was young, I wanted to be a missionary of some sort. As I got older and more entangled with sin, I drifted from that desire. Although I didn’t completely understand the gospel when I made a profession of faith as a child, I believe God did plant the seed of His calling in my childhood dreams.

My leap into ministry began with some questions from a friend: “What would you do if you could do anything, and money wasn’t a factor? What if you didn’t go back to school?”

I had not allowed myself to think that way. Every decision up to that point had been pragmatic. I had chosen my degree program because scholarships were available. I taught lessons because it was what I had skills to do. I was too content with the status quo to think big. But everything changes when you begin asking, “What can God do?” rather than, “What can I do?”

As I prayed and sought the Lord, He brought me to Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

For the first time, that verse stuck out as a promise to build my life on. If I trust in God completely and acknowledge him in every way, He will give me direction. I wondered: was my confusion and lack of direction caused by not acknowledging the Lord in some area of my life? As I prayed, the Holy Spirit pointed it out. I wasn’t willing to trust God with my finances. I knew stepping out into ministry would mean giving up control of my own provision. I confessed that to Him, and asked Him to show me the next step.

That very afternoon, He opened the door to serve with a prison ministry I had spent some time around. I began volunteering in writing and editing, and that volunteer work turned into an internship that summer. I was learning and growing, both as a new believer and in skills I needed. It looked like I would spend some time with this group. But the Lord had other plans.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.” While I was doing my internship, the Lord brought to light immorality in the leadership of the ministry. The organization had to be suddenly closed down. It was a dark time in my life, and I questioned what to do next. I knew God had opened the door to serve with them, and I knew He had closed it again.

  Where I’m At and Where I’m Going

With much prayer, the Lord led me to another ministry: Revive Our Hearts. This ministry seeks to call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Their podcasts and online resources had been crucial in my own discipleship, and the people of their ministry had been closely involved with the prison ministry. I knew their integrity, godly leadership, and message. They were reaching the people God had given me a heart to reach: those who were locked in their sin and needed God to revive them. My heart was drawn to pursue serving with them. Through many conversations and much prayer on both sides, I was invited to join the team working in editorial services.

In that role, I will be using my writing and editing skills to help the message of personal revival and biblical womanhood be communicated in an excellent, clear way. In a given week, I may be project managing a Bible study we are publishing, editing posts for or contributing to one of the blogs, obtaining copyright information for a pamphlet, providing administrative support for another staff member, or even helping stuff bags for a conference. I am elated and grateful to serve with this awesome team and be a part of what God’s doing in reaching women around the world (many of whom are just as lost and trapped as I was).

But, before I can move to Niles, Michigan and begin work, I have been given the task of building a team of people who pray and give toward my monthly financial support. You can help! Will you join with me in reaching women around the world? Any monthly gift, small or large, makes an impact for Christ’s Kingdom. To give a gift or become a monthly partner, click here and choose Mullins, Hayley from the drop-down menu.