Early in my adult life, I was sent to Tampa, Florida to work with college students at the University of South Florida. While there I attended Christ Community Church. I began to notice a lot of young couples in the church who had no organized time to gather nor was there any pastor to give them guidance on their marital journey. As I talked with some of them they were floundering in their desire to have a better marriage and didn’t have anywhere to go to get answers to their issues.
It was after talking to them that I began to have a burning desire to help them. I went to the head pastor and asked if I could start a young couples group to talk about some of these issues. He said to me that it would be okay but there was no space available to do so. I saw a huge shade tree outside his window and asked if we could meet under it and he had no problem with the idea. The next week we advertised the group starting and when the day came for the first meeting over 20 couples showed up.
That Sunday school class fueled my passion for working with married couples. After pursuing 4 post-graduate degrees and spending countless hours of counseling couples and families over the years, my passion has not been abated. The more counseling I do the more I love it. It reminds me of a passion another person had in the bible as I was reading today. It’s the story of Nehemiah after he heard about his people and their fate. “The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah 1:1-4 NIV
When Nehemiah heard about his brothers and sisters in distress, he fasted and mourned and wept and prayed for days. Nehemiah began to experience passion when he heard about a disaster that occurred with people he loved. His whole life was taken up with the seeking to fix the disaster he heard about.
What drives your passion? What keeps you up at night or wakes you up early in the morning? What thoughts do you have that you can’t seem to shake? I believe that God put Nehemiah here on this earth to build the wall of Jerusalem. I know He put me here on this earth to work with marriages and families. What is your passion He has or is calling you to do?
On this journey I believe that we all have a purpose and we all have certain gifts and abilities He wants us to use. Take some time on your journey to find your passion. Keeping your eyes open to hurts and problems in life is the first step in the process.