6,495 days and counting
by Major Stephanie Senn
Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a teacher. I loved working with children. In the early years, my dream manifested as I volunteered in the corps nursery and taught children’s Sunday school as soon as I was old enough. When I was a teenager, I realized God was equipping me for so much more.
After experiencing my call to officership during a youth councils weekend, I began to worry I would have to give up my dream of teaching children in order to accept God’s call on my life. In those moments, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I didn’t have to give up what I loved to do when answering my call to become an officer. Being a Salvation Army officer meant I could invest not only in the lives of children but in their whole family. I get to be present not only in people’s everyday moments but also during some of their most significant moments as well.
As an officer I have been welcomed into spaces often reserved for family members. I have held new babies, and I have sat with families as their loved ones have taken their last breath. I have joined in personal moments as I have participated in their wedding day, dedicated their babies and enrolled their children as junior soldiers. I have grieved with those experiencing pain and loss, and I have celebrated with those who have responded to God’s call on their lives. I have seen what can happen when people who come to The Salvation Army with no hope and no resources are loved and welcomed into God’s family. I could be a great Salvation Army officer but without love for others, my ministry would be nothing at all.
Through all of my days on this journey, I have been guided by the words of the Apostle Paul: “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NLT)
I have given my all to the Lord in service, but what I have gained is much greater.