Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Season of Doubt

Have you ever had those days, seasons, where you have a really hard time understanding what the Lord has in store for you? That is where the Preacher and I have been for about a month.

Several years ago our home began to feel a bit to big for our family after the Preacher's mother passed away. Then last year our son, the Soldier, joined the military and our home felt like a cavern. It felt so big and so empty! 

This year the Preacher and I decided to officially put our house on the market to sell....and it sold. At first we were very excited because it sold faster than we had anticipated. But that excitement soon turned into stress. 

When we first began to pack we had no idea where we were going to live. We were looking at a few houses here in our town but nothing really seemed to be what we wanted. We looked at a 2 story, 94 year old house that the previous owners had remodeled, but it still needed some work. I liked it and I think I started to obsess over it mainly because I was afraid there was nothing else out there. But the Preacher didn't like it. So we were back to house hunting again.

Each day we prayed, Lord help us to find the home that You want us to have, but each day, I have to admit, there was lip biting, headaches, and a little bit of crying. Each night there were dreams that never seemed to end where we were looking and looking at houses, and then waking up at 4:00 am and trying desperately to get back to sleep only to dream again of house hunting.

This was one of those seasons where we could not get a clear understanding of God's will for us and where he wanted us to be.

Our son was talking to me one day and he asked how the house hunt was going. He asked if there was a house available in a certain neighborhood. I told him no, there just wasn't anything. The very next day I went to see a friend and she told me that there was a house coming up on the market soon and it was in the neighborhood that our son was asking about. We got very excited but was trying not to get to excited. After all we didn't want to get excited only to have our excitement turn to sorrow.

Well, after a week or so of waiting and hoping and praying, we saw the house and put an offer in! They accepted it almost immediately!

I think this has been one of the most stressful months of our married lives. Because of how things have worked out, we truly believe that this house is from God. We believe this is where he wants us to be.

Why do we have to doubt? Why is trusting in the Lord so hard sometimes? 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Love from the Preacher and I 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't Do It For You...Do It For God

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with someone who was discouraged by a person who was the head of a certain ministry. They had noticed that the character of the ministry leader was not what they expected.

After we talked, I began to think a lot about this subject, and it's funny how God works in my life when He knows I'm contemplating something. I received this advertisement in my email. When I saw it, the caption caught my eye — "Don't go to Seminary for yourself. Go for THEM." I immediately remembered the conversation I had with this person.
Then just a few days later I saw this post on a Facebook group that I follow. I think the Lord was trying to tell me something.
"On humility in sharing your work...I just really want to encourage you to really check your heart on this one. If you are truly at a place in your heart where sharing your work would cause you to become prideful, then by all means, be obedient to the Lord in holding off in sharing until you have completely surrendered that pride to the Lord, but if you are not at risk for becoming prideful in sharing your work...both art and words, PLEASE do not let satan trick you into thinking humility means not sharing the things that the Lord has helped you to create or learn!! Jesus set the example of humility and He showed extraordinary grace in giving and sharing so that others could come to the knowledge of the Good News!!!" —Breken Berning, Journaling Bible Community
I think when you are leading or in charge of a ministry, whether that be a small ministry through your church or a large ministry that you yourself are trying to build, you sometimes can walk a fine line between pride - serving yourself, and humility - serving others.

I have been around a few people who work in different ministries, and to tell you the truth, there are some who I really didn't like being around. 
For example, the Preacher used to work as a Youth Pastor and served on a few committees that put together large youth conventions. One year we had the budget to bring in a big name band for our convention. During the concert, several of our youth and I worked the band's merchandise table. I was very excited because they happened to be my favorite band at that time. We were to help sell t-shirts and their cassette tapes (showing my age). During the band's break they came back to the table to sign autographs and meet the kids. I wish they never had come back because in that 15 minutes I saw who they really were. They were very rude to us who were helping them and afterward you could tell that they thought the meet and greet time with the kids was just a huge inconvenience. From that time on I was not a fan. I could tell that their pride had taken over and ministering to their fans was not what they were all about.

I have seen individuals who had led lives that the Lord had saved them from and then became ministry leaders who talked with people to help them from going down the same path. But as their ministry grew so did their ego. Whenever you talked with them about their ministry they didn't talk about how many lives were being saved but how many 'gigs' they had coming up and how many books had been sold.

I too have to watch myself. When I post something to the Journaling Bible Community on Facebook it is exciting to see how many people like my post. I am glad people like what I have done in my Journaling Bible but I have to remember I share because I hope it helps someone not because I'm some great artist (which I'm not by any means) but because it causes them to see some truth in the Word.

So to conclude my ramblings, remember the words that Breken Berning said in her post, "check your heart". If you feel you're becoming a little prideful it may be good to step back and re-look at what you're trying to accomplish.   
"If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever." — I Peter 4:11
Love from the Preacher and I