Stepping Into My Second Calling

By on January 7, 2018

by Debby Hudson

To be fair, I need to tell you Henry first told me he felt God’s calling to full-time ministry when I was pregnant with our second child.

We were sitting across the table from each other at a diner. It was 1980. Our daughter was 15 months old and our second child was due in 4 months.

I looked across the table and told him I didn’t think I could do that at this time in our lives. I didn’t want our children in daycare hours on end while we were at the mercy of someone else’s schedule, first through two years of seminary and then in full-time ministry. I had wonderful, godly in-laws. Henry talked to his mom who told him she agreed with me about the timing.

Henry and I met and married in South Florida in the late ‘70’s. We had two children in quick succession and planted ourselves deeply into the community. Henry was self-employed and worked hard to allow me to be home with the children. We were faithful to church activities and found a wonderful peer group there. Life was very good.

As our children got older, a few people began to joke with Henry about going into the ministry. I guess he would have been voted “Most Likely To…” I began to ask him if I was holding him back. He always said no. Until the spring of ’93.

He came home from a men’s retreat and told me he felt God calling him again. For something I can only assume was the Holy Spirit, my response wasn’t fearful or objectionable. It wasn’t so much a calling to ministry I felt, but a calling as a wife. Not one in a complementarian way but as ministers in The Salvation Army, husband and wife are both ordained. I felt a strong leading from God to accept Henry’s call as a call on our life together.

When I was a stay-at-home mom I did a lot of volunteer work, taxied the kids to activities, and made a lot of cross-stitch projects as a hobby. I came across this design shortly before we stepped into our new chapter together. I hang it in every office I’ve had. The words spur me to gratitude every time I look at them. I give thanks for the blessings of life-long friendships, wise spiritual leaders, the ability to provide a solid foundation for our children, the experience of home ownership and living in the “real world”. I don’t look back with regret. As the signs in the picture proclaim, my former life is No Longer An Option.

It’s been nearly 25 years since our lives were uprooted and disrupted by God’s call to “follow me”. I’m not one to live in the past but I’ve looked back a few times. Mostly in recalling friendships that were built during the early years of family life and knowing how blessed we were with that rich foundation. Even in times of challenge and wondering what was God thinking, there have been no regrets.

The Salvation Army has moved us to five different cities and two states. They have had us in traditional church settings, tasked to start college student ministries and the unexpected surprise of appointing us to work with men in the recovery community setting. Catherine Booth, Wife of our founder, said, “If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.”

All of us have areas in our life over which we need to post a ‘DON’T LOOK BACK’ sign.  God is calling us forward. I’ve learned that he is patient in his timing, and gracious in his leading. There may be something to which you’re being called right now. You won’t be able to follow him if you’re looking back. You can only follow him by watching his lead and stepping into your future.



Debby Hudson and her husband are ordained ministers working with men in a residential recovery program. Walking the beaches of South Florida restores their souls. Debby finds herself in many creative pursuits. She and her husband have two wonderful children and one granddaughter princess, none of whom they get to see often enough. Follow Debby on her blog:; Twitter: @debby_hudson; or Facebook:


Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash



January 8, 2018 @ 18:50


Debby, as a young mom I find these reflections so encouraging! I can so easily get tunnel vision right now and I love remembering that God’s calling isn’t about seasons but something so much deeper. I know I’m called to be a mom – and that won’t change – but that a mom of little girls will change. How will God’s calling remain steady?


January 8, 2018 @ 23:39


Annie, after our ordination, a few of my friends looked at me with surprise. Not Henry, just me. I’ve come to view God’s calling in a broader sense and I think you will too. I think you already have.

Alice Walters

January 10, 2018 @ 12:04


Dear Debby, thank you for sharing your story so candidly. Don’t you love how God knows His children inside and out? Sometimes He has to break up some rocks and dirt clods before He can plant the seeds of His work. Blessings on you and Henry as you bravely follow the Lord’s path for you.


January 10, 2018 @ 12:13


Yes, Alice, God’s timing, and continual work should be nor surprise anymore but it is and in the best of ways. Thank you.


January 10, 2018 @ 12:36


I love hearing your story, Debby, and need a sign like that too. God is good and allows us to be part of His purpose, and I am glad you said yes!


January 10, 2018 @ 21:26


Thank you, Sarah. It’s nothing short of amazing that God allows us to be part of his purpose. All of us.

Joanne Viola

January 10, 2018 @ 14:11


Debby, thank you for sharing your story! I think what stood out to me in all you shared is this – when we follow the Lord, we live with no regrets. Over the last year, I have said to my husband just that, “I want to live so that I have no regrets.” We can only do that as we trust and obey Him as he leads. Thank you for sharing today!


January 10, 2018 @ 21:27


Even in the frustrating and confusing times, Joanne, no regrets. It’s definitely God. 🙂

Michele Morin

January 10, 2018 @ 14:11


Oh, Debby, so often I’m challenged by your words about the ways in which you serve others, and I love the way Catherine described this as “disturbing the present.” It’s so easy to get all comfy in the present and to hang up a do not disturb sign over our lives. I like the “sign” you made much better.


January 10, 2018 @ 21:34


Comfort is a big temptation in our lives, Michele. I like comfy clothes and comfort food and all the feel-good things too. But we all share in carrying his cross. We don’t do it alone. Your voice helps me carry my tiny portion of the load. In Him, we boast. xx


January 10, 2018 @ 16:53


I enjoyed reading more of your story, Debby, and your willingness to go where God is calling. I always love reading about the ministry he has called you into because your passion for that shines through. I like the cross stitch and the reminder to look to the future and be open to where God is calling us.


January 10, 2018 @ 21:35


Even though pressing forward is our aim, it seems it’s when we take a look back that we see how things fit together in God’s plan. Thank you for your continued encouragement Lesley.

Valerie Sisco

January 10, 2018 @ 19:17


I loved reading about what circumstances made you who you are! Your honesty about your reluctance to take on a new calling at first and how God slowly moved your heart to where you’re serving now is inspiring. I love how God calls us on such individual journeys throughout our lives as we work out his purposes!


January 10, 2018 @ 21:38


Me too, Valerie. I enjoy hearing the unique ways God has equipped and designed us to play our part in His purpose. It’s always inspiring.

Debbie Williams

January 11, 2018 @ 12:03


Loved this story Debby. It’s nice getting to know more about the Salvation Army, especially the part about ordained couples.

It’s hard sometimes getting to where He is calling us. I love serving in women’s ministry with on-line Bible studies.



January 11, 2018 @ 12:13


You have a vital ministry, Debbie. It’s funny when we were in traditional church ministry, women’s ministry wasn’t my favorite. I think God knew that all along and now here we are with a residential program for me. His calling always takes us where he wants us. Thank you for following his leading in your life.

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