Follow and Shine


I couldn’t help thinking about dynamite in small packages after I heard Samantha Boutte’s story of what it was like to attend the firefighter training academy and I learned that when you are loaded with grit, determination, and a lot of devotion to God, there is not much that can get in your way. She never had dreams of being a firefighter, but when your prayers open another path and everything lines up completely, you can be pretty sure God has you there on purpose.

Fire academy training is demanding, and when you are the smallest person in your class, and one of two women, you must be ready to hold your own. Samantha prepared mentally by setting two goals. She would not be the last person to finish anything, and she would not show weakness. Samantha prayed and relied on God and adrenaline to get her through. The training was demanding, but the hardest part was being separated from her kids because everything she does is centered on caring for them, teaching them values, and being a role model. Samantha works with hazmat reports and safety issues, and she is training to be an EMT, someday she may be part of the suppression team.

She is on a mission to be the best person she can be, to do what God calls her to do, and to support this church with a willingness to work and give back to the community. Samantha told me she knows when leaving her house every day that she is representing more than just herself, she also represents her faith, her parents, her church, and her job.

I considered Samantha’s journey and how she never expected firefighting to be a part of her life, yet when she looked back, she could clearly see how everything fell into place. I thought about what Pastor Jon said last Sunday when he told us to live into our intended purpose and how God’s light is inside all of us and that light must come out. He explained how one person can’t shine the light for the entire world, but we can shine it wherever we find ourselves. Samantha prayed, listened, and followed the path to find her purpose and her place to shine, and with her determination and grit, sunglasses may be needed at the fire station.

By Michelle Holland