Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Being a Minister, Love, Friendship, and Apricots

My husband and I are in love and we are best friends. It is easy for us to become insular and feel complete with just the two of us. As I began to think about the ramifications of this, the benefits of friendship got clearer in my mind. The truth is, I wondered how many people would come to my funeral if I died. I could only come up with eleven people and that sounded pitiful. I started going to a ladies Bible Study at my church to develop more relationships. When I went to seminary I made life-long friends. Being on staff at Saddleback opened the door for me to build wonderful relationships with other staff, but also allowed me to make friends in the congregation as we shared life together. When I cry it is over these people. It’s not like I am moving, but it’s not the same.

I have had remarkable kindnesses shown to me since I was laid off. A close friend who is terribly busy with her own work and ministry just picked up an armful of clothes to alter for me. Alterations are expensive and take time. For her to do that is a blessing.

The man who takes care of the graphics in our Traditions Venue read posts I wrote on Facebook about the apricot tree in our backyard. At church on Sunday he handed me a bag of apricots he bought for me. That gesture spoke volumes. What love we share!

Many members of my worship leader training class and members of the Worship Musicians Association gave me a get-together where we sang, played, and worshiped together. They expressed their appreciation to me. I think it gave them some closure, and assured them of how God is leading in this situation.

The reactions to Facebook posts and this blog have been remarkable. It is like a giant hug that comes from all over the world. Universally, they speak of the plans God has for me.

The Holy Spirit empowered me to make a difference in their lives. I sowed, by the grace of God, the Spirit watered, and the fruit is beautiful. When I first started at Saddleback I was not a true “people person.” Actually, I am an introvert. Given the choice of going out to a group party or staying home and reading, I would pick reading most of the time. I asked God to help me become a “people person.” I wanted to be aware of those around me and to pick up cues about their needs. Through my mentor and through feedback I received while I was getting my doctorate, I was more aware of my weaknesses as I related to others. I tried to respond positively and make changes to be used more effectively by God. Really, it was more about recognizing that it’s not about me, and that a minister serves others. Often, all I had to do was listen and offer a hug.

I love my husband with every fiber of my being. I am in awe that in the surplus of his unconditional love for me I became a minister. And that's worship in real life.

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited to see what God has planned for you. It seems to me like I am on the Sunday side of the Easter weekend and you are still back on Friday night sitting at the bottom of the cross praying 'Lord I just don't know where we went wrong...' I am convinced you did everything RIGHT! Once, a long time ago, I had a great job working at a christian school in their after school care. I did it so my first grade daughter could be raised in a totally christian environment. I was so happy! I could see myself cheerfully blessed working there until my three year old son finished school there too. Life was bliss. I got fire by a the accusations and trouble making of someone else working there. I was crushed. It was a long summer. Then, suddenly, I got a new job, a better job, paid more, had health benefits, my children could attend for free, better school. God blessed me with so much more. I couldn't imagine better for me. I was so happy. But God could and He did. I had some dark terrible days confused but the brilliant light on the other side was so much more. So I am waiting for you to make it on over here to Sunday. I am looking forward to the wonderful things you are yet to create for His sake that are going to bless us all so much. I thank God for what you are going through to bring you to what you are yet to do! God bless you! HE LOVES YOU sooooo much! Me too, Bambi - (I'm sorry I have no URL).