I was talking with a friend about Lysa TerKeurst’s What Happens When Women Say “Yes” to God and she said, “Saying ‘yes’ to God is about the little things every day. Over time, they have a cumulative effect and add up to something pretty amazing.” So often we think saying “yes” is only about the really big things, but it is a series of little “yeses” all along the way that prepare us for those larger scale things God wants to do in and through us.
Looking back, I see that God used a series of “Yes” responses in my life in powerful ways. Each affirmative answer was layered on top of the one that went before it. God had a perfect plan from the start- He was just waiting for different people to play their parts. Here is how the story goes…
Six years ago as summer was winding down, I bumped into an acquaintance that was volunteering at Back to School Registration. We chatted briefly and just as I was about to say goodbye, she asked, “Hey, Marybeth, I’m inviting some women from school to be in a small group at my church Bible study. Are you interested in joining it?” Julie was not someone I knew well and from my place of insecurity, I saw her as president of everything and friends with everyone. She was always nice to me, I just felt intimidated because of my own issues. Still, I’d been praying since school got out for a Bible study with more Christian women from my kids’ public school. This seemed like the answer to my prayers so I said, “Yes, I’m interested. How do I sign up?”
A year later, one of the Bible study’s coordinators invited me to co-facilitate a group for the following year. I was flattered, but I didn’t consider myself the “women’s ministry” type. My passion had always been working with teens, and I wasn’t sure I was equipped to shepherd my peers. However, I sensed God calling me to branch out and see how my past experience could translate to impacting women. So, I said, “Yes.” I was blessed beyond measure by facilitating. I grew deeper in my faith and in relationships with godly women of all ages.
A few years into facilitating, my older son was starting Middle School when I received a phone call, “Would you be willing to serve as our school’s Parent Education Representative?” I’d never been involved much with PTA before. However, the more I learned about the position, the more I sensed God nudging me to accept it. With my past experience working in a public high school, it felt like a good fit. And so, I said, “Yes.” Almost immediately, God gave me an idea that I had the opportunity to implement through my PTA position.
In my new role, I approached one of our pastors, Mark, with a big request, “I love what my husband has been learning in the men’s group at church. Would you be willing to take the time to adapt it for a Parent Education evening at my son’s school?” He said, “Are you kidding? I pray for opportunities like this! Yes!” A few months later, Mark, spoke to 150 men in our public school about “Raising Boys to be of Character.” Our principal had never seen so many dads show up for an event in all her years of education. She was truly baffled and amazed. Mark was even asked to return three months afterwards to do a follow up workshop. Now, two years later, Mark has spoken about raising boys at least a dozen times and continues to be a sought after speaker in our public schools. His message has impacted hundreds of lives because he said, “Yes” to the idea God inspired in me when I said “Yes” to serving on the PTA.
After Mark spoke at my son’s school that first time, I was so excited that I shared during an open microphone time at Bible study. Later that morning, a woman approached me, “Hi, I’m Kirsten. I loved your sharing today and would like to write about it on a local news website. Can I interview you?” The answer was easy, I said, “Yes.”
Kirsten sent an e-mail with a few follow up questions after our interview. A tag line under her name caught my attention: “Are you a mom who likes to write? Join our Writing Moms group.” As a former English teacher, I’d been writing for years, I just hadn’t shared it with many people because I was too insecure. Tentatively, I probed for more information and finally responded “Yes” when she invited me to a writers group meeting. My heart pounded as I walked in, but the women were warm, friendly and encouraging. Instead of feeling intimidated by them, I felt welcomed and validated.
A few months later, Kirsten approached me, “Would you consider writing a blog on Rich Stearns’ book The Hole in Our Gospel for the news website I write for?” I’d barely ever read a blog and had no idea what writing one entailed. Our church was studying the book, but I knew very little about it. On top of that, our house was being remodeled and we were already had a lot going on. However, I’d been praying for subject matter to write about and an audience with whom I could share it. Now, both were being offered to me. After talking and praying with my husband, we realized I needed to say, “Yes.” We decided God would equip me with the time and inspiration I needed to write the blogs.
My involvement with the local news website opened another door for me, enabling me to write a different blog about our home remodel. Over a year and a half I chronicled all of the crazy things that happened and what God was teaching me through them. Both blogs enabled me to share stories about God’s transforming power on a public non-Christian website. I was amazed to see how God used the stories to touch lives.
By the spring of 2012, I sensed God preparing me for a new challenge. I’d been steadily co-facilitating a small group and loving every minute of it. However, I needed to say “No” to make room for a new “Yes.” It was a step of faith and obedience for me to put aside facilitating without knowing what would come next. A few months later, God made it clear when Karen, the Bible Study Coordinator, asked me to start writing a blog for the next year.
Although God had been preparing me, this newest “Yes” stretched me in significant ways. First and foremost, I was not technology savvy and felt overwhelmed about setting up and maintaining my own blog. Secondly, I realized writing about our studies meant I not only had to complete them weekly, but that I had to get them done early. I also had to come up with something worthwhile to say every week. With trepidation, I said, “Yes,” knowing I would have to rely on God every step of the way.
I could not have kept up the pace of completing the studies and writing something weekly if God had not given me the time and inspiration along with the support of a faithful prayer team. Looking back, it’s clear how each small “Yes” prepared me for the next one. God never revealed more than I needed to know, He just asked me to trust Him enough to answer “Yes” one step at a time.
There have been a few other side benefits to saying, “Yes” over the past six years. My faith has grown significantly. I’ve made some amazing new friendships by rubbing shoulders with different people. My confidence in God’s ability to equip me and use me has grown, and my insecurities have diminished. People who intimidated me because of their strength have become trusted friends who have cheered me along.
Any person who says “Yes” to God has stories to share. Hopefully my “Yes” moments have given you a glimpse of that, but now it’s your turn. Take a moment to look back at your own “Yes” stories and share one. Then, pray that God will prepare you for the “Yeses” yet to come.
One of my main motivations for saying, “Yes” has been to invite God to further His kingdom here on earth. Last fall I discovered the Irish band Rend Collective Experiment and their inspiring song called “Build Your Kingdom Here”. It has become a prayer for me each time I hear it. Click on the link below- you’ll want to stand up and shout, “Yes” to God.