Posts Tagged ‘vocation’

By Nancy Mairs.

Laura Hedrick. Photo by Susan Brown.

Just as the Israelites of the Old Testament often put stones down on a specific spot as a remembrance of God’s provision for them, Laura Hedrick has very specific markers of encounters she has had with God as she has traveled along her journey of faith.

One of the first markers occurred during her high school years, on the platform of a small Baptist church. A friend invited Laura to a youth program and as she listened to the pastor’s invitation to have a personal relationship with Christ, Laura distinctly remembers calling on God. “It was right on the stairs of the platform of that church that I told God that if He wanted to have a relationship with me, then I wanted one with Him.”

Later, Laura attended a mission conference and, as a young person who took her relationship with God seriously, she assumed that to serve Him she would become a missionary – a commitment that she fully intended to carry out. In college she majored in math and pursued a degree in teaching. “I remember thinking that women missionaries were either nurses or teachers, and I knew I couldn’t work in the medical field, so I chose teaching.”

It was during the summer between her junior and senior years of college that the next marker in her journey of faith occurred. “I decided that I would work at Camp Alkulana in order to prepare for being a missionary. It was here that God showed me that I was not a people-person and that I just wasn’t cut out for the mission work that I had so faithfully been preparing for.”

After graduation, Laura found a job teaching math, knowing that she had to resolve her desire to serve God now that it was clear that the mission field was not His calling for her. “One day I was sitting in the train station waiting to pick up my father, and while waiting, I began praying and asking God about the direction for my life. I had recently heard about a new program called system analysis and programming. I prayed about that new program and I heard God speak to me in the most direct way. He was almost laughing as He responded to my prayer, ‘Child, I gave you an analytical mind… so use it.’” There she had the third marker in her faith journey.

Laura moved to Richmond and began working for the Department of Taxation – a career that continued for 35 years. “It was absolutely the best fit for my gifts, and it’s where I found my energy serving God.” In fact, she found that she could serve God without becoming the traditional missionary she had planned on earlier in her life. “I began to see that God was using me as an encourager with my co-workers at the Department of Taxation and found that I was recommending Jesus as a resource for those that I met through my job.”

Laura met her husband, Norman, at First Baptist. They were married and several years later, adopted their daughter, Jennifer. On the afternoon after the Hendricks had dedicated Jennifer, Laura realized once again that God was stirring in her heart. “I remember realizing that I had to yield Jennifer to Him and entrust her to God.” Laura did so and another distinct marker in faith journey was established.

Today Laura’s love of fabric and her gift of sewing have grown into a ministry for homeless individuals that find their way to First Baptist. She has found that making sleeping bags to keep these folks warm during the cold winter months is a practical way of reaching out with the love of Jesus. Through the help of the GAs, Acteens, Senior Adults, and the fourth grade Sunday school class, about 100 homeless individuals receive a sleeping bag each year. Laura is always on the lookout for anyone who has material they are not using and is willing to donate to the ministry, or someone to help make the bags. On Wednesday nights the room where the bags are made is a whirl of activity – material being measured, needles being threaded, and more importantly, friendships developing among Laura and the other First Baptist volunteers.

Throughout her walk of faith, Laura’s journey has had twists and turns, and unexpected shifts in the direction she was pursuing. But God has provided her with the guidance and affirmation she needed. And through it all, she has learned that, “God doesn’t waste anything … all of the ways that He has worked in my life have been used to fulfill His purpose. I feel strongly that God gives each of us gifts and He expects us to them. He designs each of us differently because He has different things for us to do.”

And there are different markers for each journey.

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