I have been asked many times why I serve in this public office - the job is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the pay is rather low ($19K per year), and you're always a target.
My service is my mission for my Lord.
I had never, ever even thought of running for office nor desired to do so. It just sort of happened. Growing up my parents were very involved with the Republican Party - and it was a lot of fun. They taught me to have a healthy skepticism for the people who represented us, and to never stop paying attention, and to be involved. So I was - with the West Wilson Republican Club.
About two years before I first ran I began to feel a strong calling from the Lord. So strong, that I thought that perhaps the Lord was going to make my husband and me missionaries. I struggled with this because my parents had both passed and the thought of selling the few belongings that I had to remember them was difficult but I finally came to terms with it and told the Lord that whatever He wanted, I would do it, even selling all of our belongings and my parents things.
About six months later Michael and I attended the Wilson County Republican Party Regan Day Dinner. Seated to my left was a preacher and to my right was my husband. Our state was in the third year of an income tax fight, and I had protested against the tax for all three of them. Our state representative approached the microphone and announced that she would be running for state Senate in order to challenge the man who was the architect of the income tax - the crowd cheered. With that announcement it was like a hand reached down from heaven taking hold of me saying "it is you, it is you, it is you."
Overwhelmed by this feeling and what was happening I turned to my left and grabbed the preacher's arm. He looked at me and asked me what was the matter. "I feel like I am supposed to run for the House seat" I said. "That's a good idea" he replied. "No, no" I said as I turned to my husband and grabbed his arm. Puzzled he looked at me and asked what was the matter. "I feel like I am supposed to run for the House seat" I said. "That's a good idea" he replied. "No, no it isn't, it isn't" I said as I rose and started backing away form the table entirely overwhelmed.
Over the next couple of days my friends from the Party convinced me to run - but like Jonah I wanted to run the other way. However regretfully I knew I had to obey so I prayed "Lord, if you want me to do this please put the words in my mouth, please provide the money and please don't let anyone see any other signs but mine."
That prayer provided a comical opportunity for the Lord because my chief opponent ended up being a sign company owner. He had 1800 signs - they were everywhere - for my one he had 3 or 4 because all I could afford was 500 signs. However, it was amazing because as I knocked door after door after door so often people would say to me "Is anyone else running because I don't see any other signs but yours?"
Oh how that tickled me but at the same time I knew that just because I felt called to run it didn't mean that I was called to win. I knew that the Lord may have just wanted me to have the experience, perhaps to learn something, to humble me or to prepare me for something else. No one was more shocked than I when I won. And I knew, as I knew my own name, that this was the mission that the Lord had been prodding me towards. I prayed that with His strength I might not ever squander a moment of this gift to serve Him.
My mother was Roman Catholic and my father was Protestant. That meant in order to marry mother my father had to make three promises; 1. To raise any children as Catholic; 2. To provide the children with a Catholic school education and; 3. To never witness to the children his Protestant faith.
Thus I was raised Roman Catholic, I attended private Catholic schools, and my father never once explained the plan of salvation to me. However, he couldn't help but witness to me through his character, and at times when the God-shaped hole in my heart that longed to be filled caused me to so deeply seek and at times to even question whether there really was a God, my father interceded and urgently assured me that who else but a God could create the great beauty and complexity of a flower, the vastness of the universe and the miracle of the human eye.
I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 28 years old. He had been calling me for many months through signs and through the testimony of Christians over the radio. That day I awoke in the morning and realized that church had already started - I leapt to my feet "Oh no!" I exclaimed "I'm late for church!" My husband watched me fly out the door.
I had finally arrived at the line in the sand - on one side was faith and trust and on the other was unbelief. I rushed into the church and as I stood in the back of the packed service I suddenly had a sense that drops of beautiful golden light were falling upon me and around me - filling me with thoughts that were not my own but of love and faith and thoughts full of wisdom. I remember looking around wondering if anyone ease was having the same experience. They apparently were not. As I left the church someone handed me a bulletin. I read the cover - it was Pentecost Sunday. "It was the Holy Spirit - I have finally received the Holy Spirit." I thought to myself.
When I got home I could finally read and understand the Bible - the veil had been lifted from my eyes. I spent the next three years immersed in the Bible. I found a Southern Baptist church. Studied Master Life. Soon our daughter was saved at church camp and then so was our son. My husband remained in the Catholic church for a while but I would invite him on special days to our church; my birthday, Mother's Day and finally on Father's Day - the service was so very special. After the service we talked about it alone in our bedroom. He said, "You know, when I attend that church it's like, it's like, it's like..." As he searched for the words I said "Is it like food?" He replied "Yes, it's like food." I said smiling "Michael, that's what its supposed to be like." He prayed to receive Jesus Christ that night.
My father was so happy. My mother prayed to receive Christ at my father's funeral along with seven others. My sister was saved and so was her husband and children - and so many others.
I thank Jesus Christ for dying for my sins, and I thank Him for allowing me to be his servant.
My prayer is still the same, I pray, that with His help, I will never squander a moment.