by Martha Krienke, Alliance Life managing editor
Alliance: You’ve filled many roles: a nurse, C&MA pastor’s wife, mom, and college professor. In which one have you felt most aligned with who you believe God created you to be?
Marti: Each role was an outworking of God’s calling in that season of my life. As I matured in that time, I was prepared for the next step of His calling.
Since teaching is a major motivational gift for me, I most come alive when sharing the gospel and discipling others. I also love to teach nationals overseas—perhaps since I grew up as a third-culture kid (TCK) and still have that missionary calling.
Alliance: When did you receive a missionary calling?
Marti: I felt called to be a missionary nurse when I was eight years old. Through my teenage years, I expected my life to become much like my parents who served with The Alliance among the Dani tribe of Papua New Guinea.
I’m still shocked at times that my life has turned out so differently.
Alliance: What happened?
Marti: In 1973, my husband and I were in the last half of our two years of home service for The Alliance as missionary candidates, pastoring a small church in northern Minnesota. He was unfaithful, resigned from the church, and eventually divorced me.
The pain drove me into a deeper relationship with Jesus. He became my Husband who filled the emptiness.
Alliance: Did you give up on becoming a missionary?
Marti: When my parents came home on furlough, I moved to the Twin Cities to live near them. Eventually, I met Larry Anderson who ministered to single parents at his church. After we married, we worked together in that ministry for 10 years.
Both of us felt called to missions and knocked on a number of organizational doors, finally joining Youth with a Mission. (The Alliance didn’t take divorced people as full-time missionaries back then.) So I fulfilled my calling but in a different way than expected, reaching many “tribes” in different countries as well as teaching at a community college in Colorado Springs.
Alliance: What’s your advice to someone whose calling hasn’t come to fruition, whether from a leader’s decision, a moral failure, a personal failure, etc.?
Marti: It’s so important to look to the Lord and not become bitter. Wait, ask questions, and listen. I had to keep forgiving the ones who had blocked my hope. The Lord can lift us up and change our perspective to see that His work is bigger than our small frame of reference.
Sometimes God allows a leader over us to close ministry doors so our roots go deeper in Him. David and Joseph in the Old Testament are prime examples of this. Every thwarting of their calling pushed them deeper in faith development and leadership. And the Apostle Paul suffered so much rejection and suffering, but his epistles from prison are what we memorize when we need comfort!
Someday the book of our lives will be opened at the judgement seat of Christ, and we’ll see what purposes God had for our lives at particular seasons and how we cooperated with Him or refused Him. I’m still trying to listen and obey in this season.
Get Marti’s book, Finding My Tribe (Advantage Inspirational, 2015).