When the Ministry Interferes with Your Career

Seeing God's hands in our lives.

Tina Arnall is a nurse and the proud mother of two active little boys. She and her husband serve in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.

As I hung up the phone my mind reeled. We had just been asked if we could be considered to pastor the church in Crossville, Tennessee. I didn’t even know where that was.

I have always been eager to go where God wants, but this could NOT be God’s will for us! We had just bought a beautiful house, and I had been promoted to coordinator of day surgery at my hospital. I loved what I was doing. I loved our church. Every aspect of my life was perfect and, in my mind, couldn’t get any better.

I was sitting at my desk, alone in the room. I asked myself, “Am I being selfish?” So I bowed my head and prayed. I told God I was willing to do anything He wanted me to do, but I needed to know He was leading us. I prayed that if He was leading in this that He would change my mindset from a definite “No” to a “Yes” (that seemed a stretch, so I added even “Maybe”). To me, this would be a miracle.

Oddly, by the end of the day I was finding myself eager and even excited! I couldn’t describe the peace I felt about it. This shocked me so much that I told my husband. I said, “I believe we are going to take this call.” He said it wasn’t likely because another pastor was seriously interviewing with the church. When that pastor in line before us refused, I knew our impending move was certain.

This gave me resolve when my manager told me that I was going to be promoted to her position as manager. I knew I would love the experience, but I also knew God was calling us elsewhere.

My life was about to be rocked to the core. Just after we moved, we went on a trip to Venezuela. My husband’s twin brother, Jamie, took us to the airport, where we said hasty goodbyes. I remember thinking, “I wonder if he realizes this could be the last time he sees us?”

Our flight back from the mission trip was delayed, so we missed the November holiday of Thanksgiving that we usually spend with family. About a week later Jamie died in a plane crash. We had all grown up together and were extremely close—it was a time of deep grief. The church we had just moved to, as well as the church we had just left, lifted us up and helped us through a very hard time.

Our new church seemed to sense when we needed support. Looking back, I can see God at work through it all. I see God’s footprints trying to make it better any way He could. We cried with our church through the loss of my husband’s twin brother. They celebrated my husband’s ordination by giving us a beautiful painting of him and his brother. They were there to pray with us when I was facing a possible miscarriage (God worked a beautiful miracle in that situation when I was anointed!). They have also celebrated with us in the births of our two boys.

Interestingly, the job I hated to leave was completely changed when that hospital merged with another one. The nurse who took my place had a very hard time in the transition. What I had thought was so important for my career turned out to be far less valuable. It is a beautiful thing when we see God’s hand in our lives. I’m so glad we followed God’s leading! 


Special Quotes

“We are to be laborers together with the heavenly angels in presenting Jesus to the world. With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our cooperation; for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in wholehearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God’s love.” Desire of Ages, p. 297

“Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.” Desire of Ages, p. 356

 “In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 38