I met Punki while I worked at Apple Valley Christian School. I was a substitute and she worked in the front office. What I remember most about her are three things, her love of Jesus, hilarious sense of humor, and a great disdain of white chocolate. I have to say, that I share her love of Jesus and a similar sense of humor, but to be honest, I still don’t understand why she detests white chocolate…however, that is a question best answered another time. Each day, when I would pass her office, I could hear her encouraging a student or another employee. On a couple instances, it was even me. She would listen intently, pray, and then give solid, Biblical principles. Always directing whoever it was that happened to be sitting across from her, right back to Jesus.
When I approached her about doing an article with me, she blessed me with great honesty and characteristic wit, as well as several topics that I think women Christian women need to prayerfully consider. I hope you enjoy getting to know her today, and regardless of your stand on white chocolate, you are encouraged by her words.
Here is a brief introduction in her own words:
”I am a Shepherd follower, Wife, Mother, Sheep feeder, Iced Latte Lover, Beach Bum, Cat cuddler, Ice Cream Connoisseur, Laundress, Traveler, Organized Mess, and Procrastinating Perfectionist. I am contradictory, moody, and Redeemed by Jesus Christ. I have been married to my wonderful husband Eric, for 28 years and we have one son, Luke, who will be 18 years old in a few weeks, and leaving for college in the Fall.”
When I asked her how she came to know Jesus, she answered;
“At a very early age, about 4 or 5 years old, I can remember cherishing my time alone, as I have gotten older and reflect back on those years, I can see that it was because I felt close to the Lord when I was alone. It was a time when I could hear Him more clearly, shutting out the busyness going on around me. I was comforted by my time with Him, and it opened the door to a lifetime of continuous and intimate dialogue with Him. When I was in Junior High my father explained to me that the only way to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and live with Him forever in Heaven was to acknowledge that I, like everyone else, have sinned, and I need to ask Jesus Christ to forgive me and cleanse me of that sin, because He took on my sin, and sacrificed Himself for me, by being crucified and dying on the cross to atone for my sins, and that He was raised from the dead and ascended to Heaven, where I will join Him some day. I made the decision to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and so the journey began.”
Punki is involved in many different ministries, but I specifically wanted her to share about her speaking engagements. I personally find it fascinating that some people are willing to get up, in front of a group of strangers, and be transparent, while at the same time being so confident in their message that they can actually get a point across. (clearly this is foreign to me) I asked her to tell me about how she became involved in this ministry. She told me;
“I have always been pretty comfortable speaking in public but more importantly I am passionate about God. He had saved me, and I knew it. I understood my need for Him, and that He was the purpose for my life. I found it easy to talk about Him, and it was actually difficult not to talk about Him. Early in my career in Retail Management, and then again in the Title Industry, I was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of, or for, the companies that I worked for. At the same time I was also steadily growing in my relationship with the Lord, by studying His Word, and spending time in prayer. As my knowledge and understanding of Him began to grow, so did my ability to help others understand Him as well. I had spoken at a few Bible studies, and that grew into invitations to speak at some Christian Women's events. As my pursuance of God grew, so did the opportunities to speak about Him to different Christian Women's groups.
Often times, women will ask me how they can start a career as a speaker. But the reality is, I didn't pursue being a speaker. I just followed my passion for God, and asked Him to use me in whatever capacity He wanted to. I just wanted to honor Him, and love His sheep. So as I grew in my knowledge and understanding of Him, and surrendered my ideas of what I thought my life should be like, for His plan for my life. He was the one who opened up the doors of opportunity to speak. I can see now that those years spent speaking on behalf of companies in the secular world were a training ground, and after much study of God's Word, he began to bring invitations to speak.
So, I would say, make the decision to use the gifts that the Lord has given you faithfully, right where you're at, right now. Whatever job you have; Mother, Store Clerk, Real Estate Agent, Housekeeper, Cook, Secretary, Administrator, Manager, whatever your vocation, use the gifts and the passion that He has given you, and use all of it in your current position to glorify Him, and to reflect His love to His sheep. That was my prayer every day, "Lord, use me. Use me to bring glory to You, and to help people to come to know You.". And He did. Whether I was in retail, or Real Estate Title, being a mother, wife, or friend, I wanted Him to use me for His purpose. If you are looking to feel fulfilled in life, and know what your purpose is, then surrender yourself to Him. There is no greater peace, and there's no greater purpose then living a life using your gifts to help others to know their Savior.”
I asked Punki to share how she manages her responsibilities and ministries;
“It doesn't mean that when you surrender your plans for His purpose that life will suddenly become easy. It definitely doesn't. I struggle with balancing all of the things that need my attention, whether it be my family, the house, preparing for a message, making dinner, taking care of elderly parents, being the mother of a teenager, ministry responsibilities, and so on. But I notice that if I neglect spending time with the Lord as my first priority, everything feels even more chaotic, and I don't have the resources to draw from to deal with the tasks at hand in a peaceful and organized way. Making Jesus the priority of my life has a way of helping everything else fall into place. “
I also think that an important part of staying balanced is saying, "No". As women we should not feel like we have to agree to everything that we are invited or expected to participate in, even if those things are "good things". We can only do so much, and if we let too many things gobble up our time, we and the people we love will be the ones who end up paying the price, and there is nothing "good" in that. I know that when I'm exhausted, worried, over-scheduled, over-committed, and over-loaded, I become irritable and short-tempered. Saying, "Yes" to everything, whether it's a good thing or not, is not worth the cost, to you or your family. When my schedule is more balanced, I am better able to love and take care of the people the Lord has entrusted me with, and ultimately I am better able to serve Him and His sheep in the best possible way. Peacefully. I want to be a reflection of His peace, not an implement of strife.”
What a great reminder that our purpose in life is to love God, bring Him glory, and further His kingdom. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto God... Punki’s formula for serving God is a good one to follow: Follow your passion for God, ask Him to use you, and be a good steward by using the gifts He has given you, wherever you happen to be. Thanks for joining us here today. I pray you were blessed!