Monday, July 21, 2014

God's Calling to Ministry is Not Based on My Abilities.

I love to teach.  I LOVE to teach.  Truly, I love to teach.


Of late I have fretted and fumed each time I have offered to teach.  Especially when faced with being the "older" woman to newly-wed, hope-filled brides.

I DO love to teach.  Especially God's word to the pre-prepared soil of the hearts of tween girls.  And love it, I do, when I learn so much more than I'm going to teach.

Because for me teaching is all about the preparation.


I have struggled of late to try and change my demographics.  You know, I AM older now.  (Don't laugh!  Sure YOU knew I was old, but my heart remains slightly older than a tween.  Wish my body knew that.)

I tried to teach the young women's study, but it was a fiasco.  I couldn't get myself behind me, away from me, out of the way, so that God's Self, His Spirit, His leading could fill me and use me.

So I gave up.  Don't judge me.  It's not that I gave up, caved in, ducked under the covers and never poked my head out again.

If I had, we wouldn't be here now.

No, I gave up trying to "mature" my Spiritual gifts along with my age.

(I downloaded my camera pics and found over 100 mostly taken by Drew!  She's my little artist.  And these were all in July!  Yes, we needed jackets in that last pic!  In JULY!)

You see, I've been working with the tween girls for . . . about . . . well now, its been over 30 years now!  Yikes!  I was called late to God's salvation.  I wasn't a youth when I was hauled (no lovingly slow and easy adoption here), I was HAULED kicking and screaming into God's family.

So that means, 30 plus 20-something, makes me, okay, I can say it.  I'm 58.

I figured I was getting too old to do the middle school thing. It hurts to run now and throw a ball?  No way.   I KNOW I am too old to keep up with the youth.   Especially when it comes to Ultimate Frisbee in the dark with blinkie necklaces and lit-up discs.  (That was SO ultimately fun!  Sorry for knocking down the 6th grader that ran into me!)  Did you hear they want to make Ultimate Frisbee into an Olympic Sport? Yeah!

But I digress.

I thought that I was too old, too mature, too from the we-didn't-even-have-remote-controlled-TVs age group.  It's hard to relate to these techno wizards who are socially connected 24/7.

Too old.  Maybe.

But God's calling to ministry is not based on my ability.  I'll repeat that, not for you, but for me!  God's calling to ministry is not based on MY ability.  (Funny that until I wrote that I hadn't really thought of it before.  Thank you, Father.)

Shortly after becoming a Christian I found myself teaching Sunday school to Kindergartners.  Then a need arose to lead the 6th grade girls and I jumped at the chance.  They know how to read, right?

And what joy I found in allowing God to use me to teach His truths to these up-and-coming adults!

Third times a charm, so I'll repeat myself.  God's calling to ministry is not based on MY ability.  And I thank Him for that truth.

I gave up trying to "grow up" in ministry.  He is not calling me to lead women's ministry.  And I've learned that there is no better place to be than in the center of God's will for you!  And His will for me is to teach and love on middle school kids.

How about you?  Did God call you to rock babies in the nursery on Sundays?  If He did, don't feel guilty that you enjoy it so much.  I confess that I totally dislike it.  Okay, I'll say it honestly.  I HATE working in the nursery.  So, please, please, please continue to love on those wee ones, and rejoice there.

Maybe He called you to mercies and with mercy to cook, really well.  And you LOVE doing it!  Keep at it!  (Yes, another pet peeve on mine, though I do volunteer for funeral food.)

Maybe, just maybe, you haven't found that perfect place to serve yet.  I urge you to keep trying.  Try all of the opportunities at your church.  And pray.

James 1:5 reads "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all (wo)men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (her)."

If you need some further reading, outside of your Bible, I recommend Radical by David Platt and Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I never would have thought it.  No way.  That I could have something so intensely personal in me that is shown to also be in Jacob, aka Israel.


I have been musing over how to write about the past year.  About what I learned when so much was taken from me.

And then this Sunday the sermon was on Jacob.  And I thought, wow, I know what that feels like.

Now don't jump to conclusions.  I am a truth-teller to a fault.  Just watch me squirm when you ask about your new blouse or hair cut that I'm not to hip on.  They say I wear my feelings on my ...face.  (What happened to my sleeve where I can hide them under a jacket?)

Jacob's name means deceiver.  And that he was.  From fooling the doctor when he acted like he would be born before his twin Esau, to robbing Esau of a blessing from dad (a blessing not worth deception), Jacob became his name.

But when it came to reuniting with Esau after a few decades of separation, he was so scared that he couldn't sleep.  He hatched a plan to give Esau much of what he had:  cattle and herds, family members, etc.

Yet it wasn't until he wrestled with God and refused to let go of God until God blessed him (a blessing worth having), only when he had basically given up everything and finally himself, was he blessed by God.

Okay, now that I've written that, a poor recital of a great sermon, it sounds lame.  But here goes nothing.

I too THOUGHT I had given up everything to God.  First, my health (fibromyalgia).  Then my mom, my ministry, my friends, my ... My, My, My.  (Possession might be 9/10 of the law, but not in a so-called godly life!)

I had not yet given ALL to God.  I thought giving all up to God meant I gave up earthly things like shopping, and parties, gossiping and coffees out.  These losses would make more room for ministry, like working with the youth of my church.  

I didn't know that God wanted it ALL, even the "righteous" things.

Being laid up for 6 weeks, pretty much alone, and feeling very sorry for myself, I finally realized I needed to give it A-L-L up.  I had to turn to Him alone.

"God will orchestrate details of your journey until He has led  you to the place where you come only to Him to be blessed" - Pastor Tom Rempel, Faith Bible Church.  Jacob wanted his earthly father's blessing.  Then his father-in-laws blessing of a wife.  It took him nearly all his life to finally turn to God.

And this:  "If when you wrestle with God about what He should do with you, you will never walk the same again" (Ibid.)

That last part is literally where I am right now--limping.  My foot surgery went well, but recovery can take up to a year.  So I'm still limping.

And my soul-surgery will probably take a life-time to recover from.  Things have been stirred up in my life.  I'm no longer the jump-on-the-band-wagon volunteer-for-every-ministry girl I used to be.  I am learning to be content, to wait on God, to know that He IS enough for me.

For "when you wrestle with God you suddenly discover that when you lose, ultimately you win" (Ibid.)

The Bible seems full of such backward thinking.  You know what I mean.  To be strong you must be weak.  To be first, you must be last.  And to gain everything you must first lose all that you thought was a gain.

Like Paul I am trying to

"... count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (from Philippians 3:8-9.

The things I think I have "lost" truly are of no value when compared to God.  I would therefore rather let go of all of them, refuse to accept any more of them, so that I might be completely in the center of His will for me.  For there is no better place to be than in the center of God's will for you.