Friday, July 1, 2016

Thirteen Years

It's been a long, long time since I've written a blog post. I don't think anyone even checks here anymore. That's okay. Tonight, I'm writing for me.

Back in October Patrick and I began a new adventure with a group of friends to plant a church in Plant City. It is an adventure that I Never thought I would be on again. We tried to plant a church once, alone, in the Chicago area, with very little resources. It didn't go so well, because of, well Life! Anyway, this adventure has been a complete 180 from that experience. I love where God is taking this beautiful group of people. Things are so different, but so good. Back in October, I was working in the nursery during a Hangout to introduce new comers to City Pointe. During that meeting the people where encouraged to change their Facebook profile to reflect that they were church planters. When Patrick told me, I don't know why, but I just couldn't do it. Patrick changed his, but I never could change it. I had a sense of fear about it that I just couldn't understand or sort through. I couldn't change my profile.

Tonight, I changed my profile to reflect my new position at City Pointe. I've been asked to be the preschool ministry leader. As I was changing my profile I noticed that Facebook gives a timeline of your major life events. It's been thirteen years since I was officially in ministry. You see, that last position, thirteen years ago, that was a paid preschool minister position. I was fired from that job with no real explanation as to why. I was reassured that I was great with the children. I was told that I would never be a minister. I was asked to lie to the congregation and tell them that I had another position somewhere else. I refused to do that. I was not given the opportunity to tell the 75 children or their families goodbye. I left that church with my heart in shambles. My hopes and dreams where shattered. I was confused and hurt. Thirteen years ago. Of course I have been ministering in several ways since then, but not in a position like that one. My confidence in God's ability to use me, to work through me, to even Want me to minister has been wavering at best and most of the time non existent. Church after church Patrick and I have ministered in and church after church I have been rejected over and over in children's ministry. Yet, I can look back at every place we've been and count friendships, children (some now very grown up), and lives that were changed because I served God. I definitely don't know what I'm doing. God is using me anyway and He always has been.

There's still this voice in my head. The voice says I'm not worthy, that I'm unusable, that I'm a failure, that I'm never going to be a minister. This has been a heavy burden on my heart the last two weeks. And I come to this: the voice is correct. Satan uses a bit of truth in his attack. I am not worthy. I am not usable. I am a failure. I'm not going to be a minister. And then there comes my favorite words in all of scripture. But God . . . In Ephesians 2 we see that we are dead because of our sins. There is nothing we can do, we are dead. Then, everything turns on verse 4. But God . . . I was dead, but God loved me and the blood of His Son restores my life. I am not worthy, but God. I am not usable, but God. I am a failure, but God. I'm not going to be a minister, but God. My heart is heavy for the task ahead. My desire to see God glorified in this ministry, in this church, is burning like a fire. I know that I cannot do anything, but God will. I cannot wait to see where He leads. I am awed and excited and honestly fearful of what He is planning. I pray I am up to what He asks.

The last thirteen years have brought a lot of pain, sorrow, and depression. Some of that has hinged around my deep, deep desire to fulfill my calling of ministry. Some of that has been a result of that voice and my strange propensity for listening to it define me. Satan likes to do that, to define me in a way that will paralyze me. It's hard to remember he does that because he's scared of me. Tonight I read a quote: "Pay the enemy back for all that he's thrown at you by BECOMING the person he always feared you would be." Tonight, as I changed my Facebook profile, simple words, that honestly don't mean much except that I have a passion for teaching little people and their families about Jesus, I realized that thirteen years is long enough. It's time to allow God to change me into what Satan is afraid of me becoming. I will replace the voice with The Voice of Truth.

I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13