Finding Sandy – Reflections on a spiritual journey

In 2003, the movie “Finding Nemo” was a big hit with children and adults, too. It was the fanciful story of a timid clownfish who set out to find his son who had been captured in a fishing net and taken to Sydney, Australia. I thought of the title in reflecting on the journey of the past six months as a search committee, with myself as chair, sought a new executive director for National Woman’s Missionary Union.

Sandra_Wisdom-Martin croppedWhile the work of the committee will forever be confidential, I can now reflect on the spiritual journey and would share a few thoughts related to “Finding Sandy.” I am thrilled at the calling of Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, as our new leader. She brings a wealth of experience, having also served in Arkansas as a state WMU staff member and as WMU director in Illinois. Sandy is beloved in every place she has served and is known as an able administrator, wonderful public speaker, and visionary leader. She has been affirmed by WMU and state convention leaders alike.

The search for Sandy was, above all, a spiritual journey. We began our work with Bible study on the selection of leaders in both the Old and New Testaments. (In a future blog, I will share a synopsis of our Bible study on selecting leaders.) We prayed often during our meetings. One of our team members regularly sent the rest of us prayer prompts–scriptures and other material to guide us in praying. We fasted periodically as we came to points of decision, seeking to know the Lord’s will above all.

Scripture affirms that “the Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (2 Chronicles 15:2 HCSB). In the process of seeking Sandy, we first and foremost sought the Lord. Long before we asked for names of candidates, we sought the Lord.

There was a process which included a candidate profile, prayer, receiving and reviewing resumes, prayer, interviewing, prayer, and other steps. Above all, we prayed and God answered. Indeed, we can testify that when we seek the Lord, we always find Him.

We asked the WMU family to join us in prayer each day at 3:20 p.m. as we prayed and believed Ephesians 3:20-21 for our search: “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us–to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

God is faithful. He indeed has done more than we could ask or imagine in every detail of “finding Sandy.” He has worked out details small and large. There are so many details that came together that I can hardly recount them. Meeting dates were one detail. For our first meeting, I gave the committee only one date–and they all were able to come. When it came time for the full board to meeting, we gave them only one date and they were able to come! If you’ve ever tried to work out calendars with a group of people on short notice, you know what a challenge it can be. These were miracles!

For each member of the search committee, the process was deeply spiritual. While we employed good business practices in screening, interviewing, etc., we were, above all, seeking the one that the Lord had chosen for us. God was faithful. We sought Him first, and in finding Him we also found Sandy.

The life lesson for me is to remember that “the Lord is with you when you are with Him.” No matter what we face, what decision we need to make, what direction we are seeking, what problem needs to be solved, the place to begin is by seeking the Lord.

Please be in prayer for Sandy as she is wrapping things up in Texas and preparing to transition to her new role with National WMU. Pray for our outgoing exec, Wanda Lee, as she concludes her work and prepares to make the transition with Sandy. Pray for Sandy’s family as they move. Pray for the national WMU staff as they prepare to welcome a new leader. And pray for outcomes to be felt around the world because of Sandy’s leadership with WMU. When WMU does our work well, more people are engaged in praying, giving, and doing missions–and those are outcomes that have eternal impact for the Kingdom of God.

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12 thoughts on “Finding Sandy – Reflections on a spiritual journey

  1. Thanks Joy for leading the committee and us in finding Sandy! Blessings, Sharon

  2. I worked with Sandy for two years back in the 1990s when I was a US-2 missionary at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. She was always a joy to work with and loved by people of all ages. I will never forget the great week I had watching her lead GA camp one summer. God led you a wonderful woman with a heart for missions to lead WMU to even better days.

  3. Your words were so welcome. I felt so surely that Sandy was the right person for this position and have been praying to that end. I served on the search committee that brought Dellana to WMU and I remember the prayers, thought, and study of God’s work went into that decision.My grateful thanks to you and the committee. We have a winner in Sandy.

    • After I got back from Birmingham, I had a true compulsion from the Lord that I needed to write this blog. So glad that it has been meaningful to you as you truly understand the responsibility assigned to the Search Committee. Thanks for your prior work. We have a great heritage and each leader builds on the work of those who went before. Joy

  4. Love this! Thank you for your obedience! I have met Sandy, and have to say that I know the Lord will do great things through her leadership. We will be saddened to see her leave the Texas office, but excited to have her leading us at the national level. Congrats Sandy! And congrats WMU. God is so good!!

    • We know that WMU of Texas will miss Sandy and we thank you for sharing her with us! Praying for Texas WMU and National WMU in the transitions ahead. I am excited to see what God will do through Sandy’s leadership. Joy

  5. We praise the Lord for your faithful search and finding the true and right person to fill that tremendous job of leading our WMU now and the years ahead. We are so thankful for all of the search committee, your dedication to seeking the Lord through His Word and guidance. As a retired missionary, the WMU had one of the greatest impacts and helps in our service for their promotion of missionary prayers, giving and serving along with us. We are so thankful for all of you! Keep up this fantastic work of serving our Lord and spreading the mighty work of missions!

    • Thanks for the good word. We in WMU love missionaries and appreciate your prayers for WMU even as we pray for you. Please keep Sandy and her family in your prayers as they make the needed transitions as a family. Joy

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