October 1, 2013

Rev. Debra Hobbs Mason's Story...

This week on the First Thoughts Blog, we will be sharing some of the stories of FUMCR staff members and what led them to ministry.  For some it was a gentle nudging, for others it was one memorable moment, friend or colleague.  Join us as we explore a call to ministry!

This submission is by Rev. Debra Hobbs Mason, the Executive Associate Pastor for FUMCR.

I began to discern a call into the ministry in the fall of 1989. The only thing I was really clear about at the time was that I wanted my life to matter; I wanted to make a difference.  I was 26, single and grieving the loss of both of my parents in the previous 2 years. I was working in a job I didn’t love and trying to keep things stable for my brother who was finishing college.

Having grown up in the church, it was my natural second home. It was the place I felt loved, accepted, cared for and challenged at the same time. It didn’t really dawn on me that it was a place I could work. I came from a family full of United Methodist ministers – 5 who were active when I was growing up!  But, none of them were women.

My home church, St. Stephen UMC in Mesquite, TX was the only church in 1988 to actually request a female minister. Cathy came and changed my life forever. My Dad was the one who suggested I get to know her and frankly at 26, I thought that was weird. He’d always been close to our pastors because he was the choir director, so it was very natural for him. I don’t know what I thought lady preachers looked like, but her platinum blonde hair, red finger nails and high heeled shoes were a surprise. She was beautiful, inside and out.

She was by my side when my Dad died. She’s the one I talked to when I wondered what it might mean to be a pastoral counselor. She told me about seminary, prayed with me, helped me navigate the ministry process and laid hands on me at ordination. She also co-performed our wedding when Marc and I married.

I entered seminary thinking I’d ask for an appointment beyond the local church as a counselor. God had other plans. I realized early on that my heart was in the local church, just as it always had been. As I studied, learned more about my faith and began to serve as a youth choir director and associate pastor, I found that God was equipping me every step of the way. I just took one step and then the other marveling all time that God was really calling me.

I never dreamed I’d be up in front of thousands of people every weekend, that people would have any interest in what I think or what I have to say, or that I would be welcomed into the most intimate times of people’s lives. The hardest days and the highest, holiest days are a blessing.  Each of them teaches me something about God, other people and myself and they all matter! I wouldn’t trade my call and my path in ministry for anything. 

A photo of me in 1996 after participating in a Baptism Service for a young family. 

No comments:

Post a Comment