By Dawn Stanford
Ever since I first gave my heart to God at five years old, I’ve been on a journey with Him. Even at that young age, I knew God was with me, and I talked to Him regularly. At age 13, I remember hearing about Lottie Moon, the female missionary to China. That was the first time in my life that I felt a strong stirring to live a life of ministry. During my college years, I took off a semester to attend a Discipleship Training School with YWAM for 6 months. Honestly, I thought that I would go off to be an overseas missionary for the rest of my life. That did not happen. God led me back to finish college and embark on my professional life. Through this, I realized that living a life abandoned to Christ and following Him all my days included my professional life, whether I was in vocational ministry, the business world, a stay-at-home mom, a waitress, or whatever and wherever He called me to serve.
My life mission is to share my faith in Jesus with others and equip them to faithfully and joyfully live their God-given calling as a child of God in His Kingdom. I’ve been able to live that out in a variety of ways. Some of that has been in vocational ministry, but for 19 years of my professional life, it was in the business world. During those years, I specifically asked the Lord to show me how I could minister to the people He brought into my circle of influence. He is the one who empowered me to minister in those places. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 NLT
Where has God placed you? Are you trusting Him to empower you? As a woman, I am so thankful for the many examples in scripture of God-driven women in a season of time that was male-dominated, from Sarah, Esther, and Deborah in the Old Testament to Mary, Pricilla, and Lydia in the New Testament. Jesus turned things upside down in His day where the celebrated were healthy and wealthy Jewish men, but Jesus actively developed relationships with ALL… the sick and the well, the rich and the poor, the Jew and the Gentile, the male and the female! This was a radical shift for women to be acknowledged and invited to join God in ministry. One of my favorite New Testament true stories is in John 7 when Jesus interacts with the woman at the well. The empowering words He speaks to her are life-transforming! John 7:38 says, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Jesus was speaking about the Holy Spirit that would be given to ALL who believe. Women were not left out of this. Women are empowered by the Holy Spirit to use the gifts they have been given for God’s glory.
Ask God to open your eyes to see the opportunities of ministry that are in front of you daily in this season of your life. Then walk in obedience with confidence in God to faithfully take action in that calling. Also, if you sense a stirring from the Lord calling you into something different, have an open heart and mind for Him to move in a way you may have never expected. Always remember that JESUS is our focus. He is the one who does the ministering through willing servants. “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT We are the vessels He chooses to use for His Glory. Join me in seeking ministry opportunities wherever God leads your feet every day and being empowered by Him to shine His light.
Dawn Stanford is a lover of JESUS, people, coffee, coconut, and NAPS! Extroverted, joyful, and driven. She has been married to her Mr. Wonderful, Rodney for almost 27 years, they have two daughters Rebecca (21) and Rachel Joy (18), and two cats Milo & Pablo. Dawn lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
She grew up in a military family and considers herself a “denominational mutt”. Over
the past 25 plus years, Dawn has had a variety of professional experience in the areas of
ministry, recruiting, sales and leadership development.
Dawn has a B.S. in Psychology from John Brown University, is Life Coach Certified, and is currently finishing up a master’s program in Christian Spiritual Formation & Leadership through Friends University.
After 19 years in the business world, God brought Dawn back to vocational ministry in 2020 as the Community & Women’s Pastor at New Heights Church in Fayetteville, AR. Dawn’s passion and mission is to equip others to faithfully & joyfully live their God-given calling.