For as long as I can remember, I understood the concept of being called of God. I knew my mother was called to preach. I understood my maternal Grandfather had been called to travel and start churches. My maternal Grandmother (pictured above) received the Holy Spirit at Azusa Street in 1906 and subsequently received a call to evangelize.
The first personal calling I remember was the urge to be baptized. It was June, and we had an evangelist at our little country church. On Sunday afternoon we were going to the river after morning service for baptisms. I wanted to be baptized too.
My Mom pulled me aside one afternoon. "Phylis, I want to be sure you're doing this for the right reasons, not just because some of the older girls are being baptized."
I stumbled over the concept of sin and repentance, but I knew about The Call. "Mom, I just feel this pull toward serving God. I know I want to follow Jesus always. I know I want to minister, and this is the next step."
She took the time to explain repentance and remission of sins. Most of it I didn't get for several years, but my mother gave her consent for my baptism. I still remember the feeling that day.
There was a cool breeze blowing, riffling through those 50's hairdos as we gathered on the banks of Beaver Dam Creek singing familiar hymns. Old oak trees provided ample shade and protection from the midday sun as one by one we stepped into the briskly flowing water. Little clouds of silt drifted over my feet as I waded into waist deep water. Pensively waiting my turn to be lowered into the water, my heart pounded because I knew I didn't understand exactly what was happening. I just knew that within me my spirit was responding to a Higher Call. As I came back up out of the water, my spirit soared with a lightness and joy that I little understood. No dove appeared; no voice from heaven spoke as at the baptism of Jesus. But for me the sun shined brighter. The water flowed more purely, and the breeze refreshed my body as His spirit refreshed my soul. And His Call was heard in my eleven-year-old heart.