Friday, November 9, 2012

Knees to the Earth: Gratitude and a Call to Ministry

(On Saturday/Sunday, I will be 20 weeks pregnant.  Most of the terrifyingly scary stuff is behind us and while medical science cannot guarantee everything will be OK for the next 20 weeks, Favorite and I are resting in the fact that the God who sustained us to this point will continue the good work He began.  Our God is greater.  And stronger.  And higher.  Though I am a tad nervous for our ultrasound since I haven't seen Navajo on a screen in several weeks.)

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Nichole Nordeman, penned the words to "Gratitude"--a song that returns to my mind periodically and has played a large role in my prayer life in the years before Navajo's presence:

"Oh, the differences that often are between/What we want and what we really need/
So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace/Move our hearts to hear a single beat/
Between alibis and enemies tonight./Or maybe not, not today/
Peace might be another world away/And if that's the case.../
We'll give thanks to You/With gratitude/
For lessons learned in how to trust in You/
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream/In abundance or in need/
And if You never grant us peace/But Jesus, would You please...
Those words have haunted me--on one hand, a prayer for change.  On the other, the possibility that an unchanging God may choose to move in a direction counter to the one requested.  I cannot possibility explain how my heart struggled with the duality and singularity present in those lyrics.

While my heart hurt with the prospect, my head eventually accepted the notion that my continued prayer was acceptable, but not always answered.  I continually prayed for peace; God gradually moved me in the direction of Himself.  In that place of waiting, I could attest to His goodness honestly because I knew what it was to be sustained even when my heart longed for a different outcome.

Now that I've stepped through the looking glass, I wonder what to do with myself.  The landscape, certainly different than the one trekked previously, was/is unfamiliar.  So I set my feet on the only path I understood.

I began praying for three couples facing infertility.

In the last week, two of those couples have come to me to share their own Navajo stories.  Two more babies.  Two answers to prayer (due dates within 3 days of each other, no less).  Giddy, I shared the news with one of the expectant mothers.  She responded, "Maybe you've found your spiritual calling."

Whew.  I still loudly exhale at the gravity of that statement.  Mostly because I feel stuck in ministry limbo--the place where you know there's a specific place you should be serving, but you are unsure as to where that place exists, or even more daunting, if it exists.

In the past, I've served in several capacities:  Praise and Worship, Women's Ministry, newsletter, etc.  But for a quick reference guide, here's the current break-down:

Praise and Worship--I'm retired.  I love music, and I love to sing.  I'm not sure those are things I can separate from who I am.  But I'm not sure I want to stand on the platform every Sunday.  And I'm not sure I can separate the what is from the what was. 

Frankly, I'm comfortable without leading worship.  We have a great worship pastor who really puts his heart into what he's doing.  And since I've been in his position (mildly), I can tell you he has his work cut out for him.  Whatever we pay him?  It's not enough.

Women's Ministry--Bible study has always been my heart and soul, but like everything else in life, things change.  I still feel a fairly deep connection to study overall; however, I've found myself becoming a bit more guarded--intensely private, almost. 

It's impossible to facilitate a study without complete transparency.  In addition, my current church supports small group ministry (which is *sings* AWESOME) and a women's Bible study might impede involvement in that ministry.  (And since it's, well, the backbone of connections made in the church, that's counter-intuitive.)  So the only time available is during the summer when small group ministry is on hiatus.  Unfortunately, involvement during the summer is limited due to all the other demands on time.

Will I continue to be involved in that sort of ministry?  More than likely.  At least, that's my thought at this point in time.  But how to serve in the meantime?

And that question brings me back to prayer.

Her comment hasn't been the first indication that my ministry may very well be a call to bend my knees to seek God's face.  I'm just nervous at the prospect, and even more hesitant to determine how that ministry functions.  (Yes, I get that I pray.  But how to organize those prayers.  How to best pray for my church.  For our service to God and the community.  Those are the things that create pause.)

In the meantime, I wonder:  how do you focus your ministry, or find ways to serve your church?

It's a balancing act, and I'm curious how responsible other people keep their ducks in a row.

1 comment:

Katie said...

"...separate the what is from the what was."

Thank you for finding the right words for that. I haven't been able to. Mom and I often talk about how much we miss Bible study with that wonderful group of women. And there simply aren't words for how much I miss the days of singing with you and Sheena.

When I think of people I would want praying for me, your name would be at the top of that list.