In the mundane.....
I hear so many women talking about their ministry. As I look back, I am sure that I have never heard men speak of ministry the way women do.
Interesting to me. I have walked beside so many women during my Christian journey and it's almost an obsession or an idol, to some.
Me too, been there. In fact, I was serving pretty hard on the leadership team, years ago. I even had my own "ministry". Yep. I had a vision and a mission.
I was admired by the leadership team and everyone wanted to know how they could help me. But something wasn't quite right. My heart. It was my heart that wasn't quite right.
I was striving to find my place in the church. It was no different than my trying to find my place in the world. I wasn't at peace because I didn't feel like I did enough.
Even though I was busy, I had a ministry, I was a busy mom, had friends, good husband, was focused, I prayed, I went to all of the meetings....I was doing it all right. Wasn't I?
But did I have love? Oh. Yikes. Should we go there? Yes. Let's do. If I do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2. I loved. I loved hard. Love your neighbor as yourself. You mean it's ok to love myself? Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF. I didn’t love me, how can I love my neighbors unless I love me? How do I love me?
I pulled out. Packed up all of my "stuff" and went home. I went home and went into the rest that God was calling my family into.
I remember right before that. I went into my quiet place and I remember feeling busy in my heart. I was really struggling with guilt and feeling inadequate.
Crying out to God: What's my purpose? Why I am struggling so much? And then...aha!
He whispered to me...."because you think that you have to be doing something to be valuable and for Me to love you. You don't believe 100% that there is absolutely NOTHING for you to do. I have done everything. It is finished."
I knew at that moment that I needed to put everything down. I didn't need to hear another sermon about God's love. I didn't need another person praying for me, deliverance; I didn't need another person telling me what they think I should do. I needed to hear from God! I needed to go back to the basics. So I did.....
During this very long sabbatical: I struggled. I struggled a lot at first but eventually I didn't. It took a very long time for me to understand this: Nothing can separate me from His love. (I haven't arrived yet) I am still growing here. Who isn't?
But...it was during this time that I began to realize that there's nothing that I can do to measure up. I mean, I did nothing.
I didn't go to church. (WHAT? You forsook the gathering together of God's people?) Why yes. I did. Because I was obedient to that, I heard from God more clearly than I ever had before and I grew in leaps and bounds.
There was real struggle. I questioned whether or not we were doing the right thing. I was lonely. I felt like I was on an island.
God did bring me into fellowship with the right people for "such a time as this". He protected me and knew that it would take very special people to walk with me during this time.
I learned about grace, mercy, freedom, love and compassion during this time. I learned more about myself than ever before. I learned about what I love and don't love. I learned to accept myself. I had fun. And I was doing....nothing.
You mean you weren't in ministry? I didn't say that. I am a mother and a wife.
That is the ministry that God has called me to. The ministry of being myself and learning how to walk with Jesus. Loving God and loving my neighbor...that's the ministry that God has called me to. Loving people, right where they are.
I don't have a title, a cool name for a particular ministry that I conjured up in my own mind just because I feel that I am supposed to have this grand position in the church. Nope. My ministry is in the mundane.
It's in keeping my mouth shut when I am offended. It's in encouraging my husband to be the best that he can be, it's in being content, staying with my children a little bit longer when I really just want a glass of wine and good book.
The ministry that God has called me to is to listen to the Spirit's still small voice, to offer a hand to my suffering neighbor, to be kind, to submit to my husband. This is my ministry. I am glad that I responded to the call.
I am glad that I responded to God's call to rest. At the time. I had great ideas. I was going to change the world. I wanted to be a motivational speaker; I was going to save the world. I wanted to write a great book. Now? Now I want to be in the trenches with the hurting. I don't need to be heard. I don't need to be seen.
I know that that book is still in me but for now...I have oodles of journals. I am confident that if I never do anything that the world or the church considers fancy, I am still loved and accepted by the One that matters.
He meets me at the kitchen sink. He meets me while I am loving my husband. He meets my when I pray for my family and friends. He meets me when I am preparing food for my little family. He meets me at the library when I offer a kind word to a stranger. He meets me when my girlfriends and I just need to be girls. He meets me when I am tired and I need to sleep in. He never fails me, He never leaves me, and He is crazy about me...even in the mundane.