Giving God a Voice in the Government
By Maddy Hunt
How important is our “yes” to God? Can it change lives and impact nations? Carolanne Bassett didn’t know the impact of her “yes.” She viewed herself as an unlikely candidate, both for political office and to be used for God’s glory to affect her nation. But when the 2014 CFNI graduate said “yes” to God’s call, it led to her becoming Senator and the President of the Senate for her country, Bermuda.
Carolanne’s first “yes” to God occurred when she was only 8 years old at the altar during a Billy Graham crusade. Her relationship with God faded through her teen years, and as an adult she was in and out of church. While going through difficult times, she still achieved success in her professional career, including her promotion as a senior executive in her company. Yet, she could feel that something was missing.
It took some time for her to come back to the church, but in the midst of that gray area she still felt Jesus’ peace. One Sunday morning, she woke up at 7 a.m. and heard a voice telling her, “Go to church.” Carolanne shares, “I found something when I walked in that building. I found that the Holy Spirit was waiting for me, and He started to minister to me. That’s been 12 years ago, and I’ve kept the course ever since.”
In 2003, 49-year-old Carolanne had plans to travel and settle down with her already-retired husband, Roddy, when she got an unexpected call from the Governor of Bermuda’s secretary saying, “The Governor would like to invite you to serve as an independent senator.” Carolanne’s immediate reply was, “I think you have the wrong person.”
At that time there was another woman named Carol Bassett, and they had occasionally received each other’s phone calls; Carolanne was sure this had happened again. Much to her surprise, the secretary assured her that this was no identity crisis. Arriving for her appointment at the Government House, Carolanne said that it took her 30 minutes to work up the courage to go inside. “During that half-hour I thought about every reason why I shouldn’t do it, because I really had not been interested in politics.” When she finally made it to her appointment, Carolanne politely but firmly turned the opportunity down. Her stated reason was simple. “I’m in the midst of some family issues, and I don’t want to open up the newspaper one day and see my family issues spread out in the newspaper.” The governor replied, “Senator Bassett, that’s exactly why I’m asking you — because you’ve been where a lot of families are.”
In the middle of telling the Governor “no,” Carolanne heard the Holy Spirit speak to her heart. He reminded her that she had just promised Him that she would do whatever He wanted her to do. Convicted, she agreed as an act of obedience. She has now been a senator for over 10 years.
In 2008, the President of the Senate retired and to Carolanne’s shock and surprise, she was nominated for the position. She agreed and was voted in. “I knew in an instant that like no other time in my life, I was exactly in the will of God, and His hand was on my life.” She has been President of the Senate since 2008, the first female Senate President in Bermuda and is in her second term as the Senate President.
POLITICS AS MINISTRY
Though walking in God’s will is rewarding, saying “yes” doesn’t come without its challenges. Even as the plan of God protects us, and we delight in walking out our purpose, we are often stretched by the circumstances that our “yes” puts us in.
Carolanne had not pursued a career in politics. As the President of the Senate, she found herself in a position of power and authority without knowing quite how to fulfill all that was required. The temptation to let arguments and disrespect slide into the senate meetings came as a challenge to her leadership. She found that when she didn’t address these issues, they escalated and changed the entire atmosphere of the Senate. However, taking her place of authority also changed the atmosphere, positively.
Carolanne has learned to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and not allow the fear of men to influence her actions. Instead of an atmosphere of self-promotion and contention, Carolanne uses her authority to set an atmosphere of respect and honor in the Senate, making a lasting contribution to the leadership of her nation. She believes that to be the most effective leader, you have to spend time in the presence of God. “We can get so busy doing that we lose the connection to the Holy Spirit. Those are the times I would go home or go to my church, lay on the altar and just weep because I felt like I had let Him down, and that I had not stood for righteousness.” This desire to do what God wants her to do has allowed God’s influence to pervade the Bermuda Senate and broaden her influence in her country. Her obedience has given God a powerful voice in her country’s government.
YES TO CFNI
Saying “yes” to an unexpected career in politics didn’t keep Carolanne from growing in her ministry and more fully understanding her calling. After learning about CFNI through a missions team that ministered in her church, Carolanne visited the Dallas school for herself. She was “blown away by feeling the Holy Spirit in the classes” and knew she wanted to be a part of what God was doing at CFNI.
As a young woman, Carolanne had laid aside her desire for higher education to shoulder the responsibility for her family. So, studying at CFNI was the culmination of a longtime dream. Though it wasn’t easy to balance being a Senator and a student in two different nations, Carolanne says she felt God’s grace and saw His hand in her situation. Amazingly, unusually long breaks between Senate sessions allowed her time to fly between home and her classes at CFNI in Dallas for the three years she attended.
Now an alumna of CFNI, Carolanne has solidified her understanding of her calling. Instead of waiting for God to give her a ministry, she understands that God has created a place for her to be an influence for His glory. As long as the opportunity to represent God’s voice in Bermuda still stands, Carolanne will serve in the Senate and be a shining light of how obedience — an unconditional “yes” — can change your world.Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe