Whoa.....Nellie.....has it been a whirlwind around her the last two weeks. I can't believe it has been that long since I posted, but boy has God been working on me these last couple of weeks. Have you ever seen taffy as it is being stretched....that's what I told some girlfriends today I have been feeling like....here's the visual if you needed it. That's me.
Haven't we all felt like that at some point in our lives. The stretching. It isn't breaking or shattering like glass as it is being dropped (know that road well, too!). It is the twinges of walking new roads...expanding, extending, spreading forth. We all need to be broken and we all need to be stretched as we walk with God....for it is in these times that we rely on Him for everything. And the more we are broken, the more we are stretched...the more we are constantly aware of our need for Him: That our sufficiency is not of ourselves, it is from Him.
And this is where this verse comes in for me these last two weeks. It has been one I have referred to often...sometimes several times per day, repeating it back to God. That in the midst of the stretching, the newness, the sometimes uncomfortableness....if my mind is on Christ and not my circumstances...then I have perfect peace that only comes from God. The peace comes because I am trusting in God and the path He has laid before me. I may not understand, and often we don't, but I have peace and strength because I am looking to Him and not what I understand. I am laying myself down and telling Him that wherever He takes me, I will go.
God is my strength. And not strength for just today....everlasting strength He is. Never ending. The strength just keeps on going: He doesn't become tired or weak.
He is my peace. He is the calm water, even on a windy day.
He is trustworthy. He has my best interest at heart. Not what I think my best interest is.....His is always better. As I trust Him with every detail of my life, and the lives of those I love.....I am strengthened as I go through unfamiliar and sometimes difficult roads.
About a month ago, God called me very clearly into a new area of ministry. It is an area that for years, He has been preparing me for. After I had Ben, (our oldest).....God began working on my heart and kindling a fire in me for women and for mothers. At the time, some 12 years ago....I was a new mommy at the ripe age of 24. My husband and I were living in a new town, no church family, no other family close by, no money and a marriage that was just squeaking by. I didn't have a clue about being a Godly wife or mother.....I was a woman who constantly was looking inward at myself. Everything in my life then revolved around me.
Over the years, God began refining me. He began purifying all of the ugliness of me. (trust me when I say...there is a lot more in there!) As He worked in me and as I opened up more and more of my heart to hearing His voice and allowing Him to search all the dark corners of my heart.....I began to see life through new eyes....God's eyes. And as my vision began slowly.....and I do mean slowly....changing.....my heart began hurting for all of the other mothers and women out there struggling, as I had for so many years. I began seeing the fruit of a life laid down for Jesus Christ and I wanted to share that with every woman I could. I wanted to share God's love.
And then God gave us Joshua. And then God ushered Joshua home just before his 4 month birthday. And as I healed from that pain and brokenness.....God grew that seed in my heart even more for hurting and broken women.
Well, last year, God opened the door for a new Mom's Ministry in our church body. Last fall, God bore MOMS in CHRIST: A weekly teaching and small group ministry for moms with children of all ages. We met every Thursday morning at our church and God told me I was to teach. Teach, I never had. It's kind of funny, actually, because I never looked at myself as a teacher. I had been asked to speak occassionally at different functions, but the thought of teaching a Bible study each week was quite daunting. But you know what, over and over again God reminded me that again, my sufficiency is not of myself....it is ALL HIS. As He calls, He equips. It is His ministry. It is His Kingdom....none of it mine. The study was amazing. And I was stretched as each week I prepared a study in the midst of being a wife and homeschooling my children. And I had the honor and the privilege of being a part of these women's lives and allowing God to use me to teach them from His Word and watch as God, through His Spirit, did transforming work in each of these women.
We are kicking off our new year of MOMS in CHRIST tomorrow morning. This year we are studying through 24 women of the Bible. If you live in the Downingtown, PA area....and are a mommy to children of any age.....please come on over. We would love to have you join us. I teach each Thursday morning and then we break into small groups for 45 minutes of discussion time. I am awed once again, at God and how He has woven a tapestry of women together with different walks but all one heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
It has been a crazy couple of weeks as the MIC leadership have all met to pray and oversee all of the details of the childcare, the study and the logistics and God has poured out in so many ways. We have over 50 moms coming tomorrow. I am humbled and honored to be in the midst of God moving so mightily.
Well, as preparations have been underway for MIC, God began calling once again. This time, I am embarrassed to say, my flesh so got in the way and my idea of my self-sufficiency...as He was calling me forth in this area, I was scared...I had the desire for years...but when the time was before me....I let my own thoughts get in the way. I looked at all of my faults and insecurities...I am too young, Lord (LOL..in my head I think I am still 18 sometimes..but boy does the body remind me I'm not :)...I am inexperienced...I can't do it...."How God....there are only 24 hours in a day...remember....where will the time come from?" God needed to really smack me over the head with a two by four and remind me once again....that as my mind is on Him....there is peace. I needed to get out of the way. None of this was about me! He is my sufficiency. This ministry is all HIS and He will do the work in and through me...I just needed to lay me down at His feet.
He needed to remind me that I am His servant. One Saturday morning, God took me to 1 Chronicles 29:1 as King David is addressing the assembly regarding Solomon succeeding on the throne and David says,
"My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God."
(Thankfully we serve a loving and gentle God and a two by four wasn't needed, just the mightly, powerful Word of God!) Anyway, in early July, in the midst of my quiet time....God called me into women's ministry even more....as the Women's Ministry Coordinator of our church body. And after praying for over a month about it and going befoe God again and again, I accepted what He had laid before me.
And again, as He gently reminded me of His control and His plan and His will....and as I humbly submitted and repented of my fleshly response and my inward eyes......He guided me down a road of such uncertainty, but a road of faith and trusting in Him. In the flesh.....boy is there fear and trembling......but in the Spirit....as my mind is so fixed on Him and as I immerse myself in His Word and Truth.....I have had perfect peace. I am confident of the call in Christ. As I shared my calling with our church leadership and as they met to pray and discuss it, the decision was made about a month ago and I became our church's Women's Ministry Coordinator.
So, the last couple of weeks have been quite crazy around here. But I was telling my husband last night that even in the midst of so many things going on.....I am peaceful. I'm not weary. I'm not tired. I'm not discouraged. It hasn't been for the lack of Satan trying.....there has been plently of spiritual warfare ensuing. But God is bigger. Our God is bigger than Satan. He is bigger than us.....He is the King. We are His Workmanship. We are His servants. We are His sheep.....and all He desires for no one to be outside of His flock. He uses each of us in very specific ways to encourage, to teach, to exhort, to comfort, to minister to each other and those hurting around us......not one of us is more important that the other....not one of our gifts more important than another. We are one body in Christ some serving as hands, others as feet, others as eyes, others as ears.....all for the building up of His Kingdom.
I am humbled and honored to serve such a King. Whatever road God has you on today. Whatever area of ministry He is calling you to......even the Ministry of being a wife and a mother.....there really is no greater ministry......let God have His way with you. Give in to God's call and jump in with all of your body, soul and spirit. Seek Him. Seek His face. Seek His will for your life....don't look at what He has asked those around us to do....don't compare yourself to other Godly women.....just look to Jesus and ask Him....."Where do you want to take me today?" And as your mind if fixed on Him....you will have perfect peace and strength.
For those of you who have hung in there with me through this very long post.....I guess I am making up for a two+ week absence.....I want to leave you with this amazing song by Kim Hill. "More of You." God has used this song to speak so powerfully to my heart this summer. I have been blessed by it and I pray you are too. (you'll need to pause the playlist at the bottom of the page.)
In Christ's love-Stacy