Proven Ministries. I first learned of Proven Ministries in fall 2021. My husband and I had encountered a challenging parenting situation and spoke to our pastor about it. One of our pastor’s children had gotten involved in learning about Proven Women. From this mention, I visited the website and had a couple of conversations with folks on staff. In the ways only God can move, I was invited to contribute to the Proven Ministries’ blog.
Not about me
Several months ago, I cried out to God for direction. My heart longed to serve women and families, and to share the gospel, but I didn’t know how or where or in what way. During a time of dedicated prayer, the Lord impressed on me His desire for me to get involved in the fight against sexual sin. Specifically, the Holy Spirit burdened my heart with a desperation to help women, children and and parents wrestling with sexual sin and its impact on their lives and their families.
Have you ever read Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King? I highly recommend it. I’ve done the Bible study three times in small groups and am now listening to the book again on Audible. Throughout the Bible, God demonstrates that He is at work around us. When we live a God-centered work we can more easily see the work He does around us and his purposes. “The pattern in Scripture is that we submit ourselves to God and we wait until God shows us what He is about to do, or we watch to see what God is doing around us and join Him” (Blackaby, 125). God takes the initiative to reveal His work and His purpose. Then, God invites us to join Him in His work.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually follow this pattern. My tendency is to create my own ways of serving and ask God if I’m on the right path or ask for His blessings. This approach never produces fruit. We shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus said, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Serving the Lord in our ways, following our own plans is not serving the Lord. Look at the Pharisees. Look at Paul before his conversion. These men believed they were serving God, when in fact they were serving their own desires in the name of God.
God is patient
Thankfully, God is rich in mercy. While striding along the route I wanted to take, God reminded me to seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). He reintroduced me to the Experiencing God Bible study. I waffled between my way and God’s way, praying for guidance and wisdom. Prayer and being still before God is the only way to follow Him! God’s pattern emerged when I listened and waited. The Lord revealed where He was working: Proven Ministries. The Lord took initiative and burdened my heart with his purpose and plan. Then, He invited me to join this work. Praise the Lord for His perfect ways!
God called me to Proven Ministries and I am so grateful. If you’re curious, here’s a little about me. I surrendered my life to Christ at thirteen . I was on fire for God the first few years of my new walk with Christ. Insecurity and pride took over and I started on a path of sexual sin at seventeen that continued for over a decade. More on that in a moment.
My husband and I married in 2000. We have four children, ages 16-21, three boys and a girl. Writing is my favorite past time and I’m currently editing my first novel. To pay the bills, I work from home as an instructional designer. By August this year, I will (finally) finish my Master’s degree in Christian ministry with an emphasis on discipleship.
Testimony of grace
Sexual sin entered my life much earlier than seventeen. The first pornographic image I recall is one that hung on the wall of my parents’ bedroom. I remember it most vividly in my eight-year-old mind. At ten, a group of boys invited me to play with them. Their “playtime” involved showing me stacks of pornographic magazines they had found and asking me a lot of questions. To this day, I remember the unease I felt, and how desperately I want to run out of there.
Other sins shackled me over the years. The list is too long to recount and my goal is not to emphasize my sin or how the sins of others impacted my life. My hope is, through whatever means God allows, to share the comfort I received from Him with whomever I can, when and wherever I can. Maybe you are one of those people.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Let us never forget we are new creations in Christ; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17). All believers can rejoice, again I say rejoice (Philippians 4:4), because while we were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We are blameless before God because of Christ’s sacrifice and His victory over sin and death. God has healed my hurts, removed my sins, and made me whole. He does the same for all who surrender to Him (Romans 10:9).
Called to be proven
God calls all of us to the PROVEN way of life:
- Passionate for God
- Repentant in Spirit
- Open and honest
- Victorious in living
- Eternal in perspective
- Networked with other godly people
How do we do we live this life? How do we fulfill the call to be PROVEN, especially when we secretly struggle with our sexual integrity?
Over the next six weeks, we encourage you to read and share our blog. Drawing from Holy Sexuality and the Gospel by Christopher Yuan and God’s Word (foremost!) we will explore each PROVEN point within the context of “holy sexuality.”
Subscribe today to join us in learning how to be PROVEN and stand up for sexual integrity. You will receive the blog post in your email box and can change your subscription any time.
By Joanna VanDeWater