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Dec17TueJanelle Colbourne was at a low point in her life. What could take away her pain? December 17, 2019 by Ken Ramstead
Janelle Colbourne sat on the edge of her bed, sobbing. She felt overwhelmed, unable to cope with what was happening in her life. “God, take this brokenness away from me,” she cried. “I can’t handle it on my own anymore.”
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Colbourne’s parents are Salvation Army officers and she grew up in the church. While she and her parents have lived in Ontario, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, she considers the latter province to be her home.
Colbourne became a senior soldier when she was 16.
“I’ve always known who Jesus was, and I could have been enrolled when I was 14, but I had taken that covenant seriously enough to want to fully understand its implications. I’m stubborn that way!” she smiles.
Her parents, Majors Rex and Darlene Colbourne, were supportive of her decision.
“They never pressured me to have a relationship with God or into becoming a soldier,” she says. “They encouraged me and loved me throughout my journey.”
“I realized that God wanted me to take that next step in my relationship with him.” Janelle ColbourneSo when the corps she was attending offered soldiership courses, Colbourne registered. But even while taking the courses, she was undecided—until one night.
Colbourne dreamt that she was standing on a lakefront dock, poised to dive into the water.
“I was hesitating, which didn’t make sense because I love the water and I’m a good swimmer,” she explains. “When I awoke the next morning, I realized the dream was about soldiership: Was I going to take this leap of faith and jump in head first?
“God wanted me to take that next step in my relationship with him.”
She did and did not regret it.
“It was the best decision I could have made.”
Stepping to Officership
When Colbourne’s parents were moved from St. John’s, N.L., to Gander, N.L., she chose not to move with them.
“I felt I was being called to Ontario,” she says.
With an aunt and uncle living in Windsor, Ont., Colbourne accepted a position as a housing support services caseworker at The Salvation Army Chatham-Kent Ministries in nearby Chatham, Ont. “I was feeling the call to come here,” she says, “and it’s been such a great learning experience.”
But she was at a low point in her life this past January.
“I felt alone and broken,” she says.
In early 2017, a grandfather passed away from lung cancer and a grandmother was also diagnosed with it later in the year. While her grandmother is now cancer-free, dealing with those health crises as well as a failed relationship took its toll.
“My personality is that of a nurturer,” she explains, “so I took on my grandparents’ pain and I struggled with anxiety.”
Things came to a head that January.
“I remember sitting on my bed and praying, ‘I’ve tried to live this life my way. I can’t continue anymore. Whatever it is you have for my life, I’m totally surrendering that to you. Just take it. I’m done.’ ”
It was then the idea of joining the candidates’ fellowship came to mind. “It hadn’t occurred to me before,” Colbourne says, “so I contacted my corps officer, Captain Steven Holland. I needed to pursue this.”
Colbourne attended an Officership Information Weekend at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg, which helped her accept God’s call to officership. “Every step of the process, I felt overwhelming peace and contentment. I knew that this was the calling that has been placed on my life.”
Called to Ministry
Colbourne is now in the second phase of the candidate’s process, awaiting psychological and medical appointments, with the aim of attending the College for Officer Training in the future.
“I feel that everyone is called to ministry, to spreading the gospel in his or her own way,” she believes. “But for me, I’ve grown up in the church, I’ve ministered in the church, I’ve worked at The Salvation Army, and I’ve been content with those phases of my life.
“I just feel that God’s calling me to another form of ministry, and he’s equipping me for that,” she says. “I’m so happy with where I am right now.”