I've been stuck..... to the floor... in the mud.... fill in the blank. Just stuck. I could say I don't know how it happened or how to get out but that would mean I didn't really think about it. Truth is, I do know. It happened 2 years ago next month and I thank the good Lord for helping me identify this mucky stuckness so I can begin the process of getting out.
You see, I am a planner, organizer, put-in-orderer. I like things just so and God has given me a knack for not just seeing things as they are, but seeing them as they could be. It has been a particularly blessed gift with God's call for us into missions work as church plant support helping ministries get off the ground. Planning events, ordering the universe of a small ministry and giving it a slight spin then watching it take off has been such an amazing experience. Seeing people, whether parishioners or ministry leaders and even a few pastors, reach beyond where they are to find where they are meant to be has also been a humbling experience.
Then we moved here.
Within 6 months of moving to this city, the models we had used all over the country... in fact, even around the globe as far as Africa, suddenly crumbled to the ground like a Popsicle stick house in a strong wind.... noise and all. Right smack dab in the middle of planning a big (for the church) event the wind blasted in and we saw and experienced things we had only heard stories about.
It was messy. It was painful. Our whole family was hurt more deeply than I knew was possible from people we call siblings in the faith.
We were paralyzed.
We stayed paralyzed for a few months, trying to understand. Why would God call us from fruitful work to work which just blew up and fell apart? It made no sense. We probably over-evaluated our personal and spiritual lives... trying to see where we went wrong. But nothing we did was any different than every other support situation we had served in. Everything we did was just as we had been trained to do.... and more importantly, just as we were certain we were Led to do.
Two years of healing. I forgave them within the month. But I didn't forget the hurt. I learned a lot about forgiveness in that time and the biggest thing I learned: wounds take time to heal even when forgiveness has been whole-heartedly issued. I still sting sometimes when I stumble across updates which compound the injustice... but I am not angry, I am not grudging. If truth be told, however, I am still scared.
Scared to get involved too deeply. Scared of being hurt and betrayed so intimately. I have gotten use to my life, my way, my terms, my pace..... you get the picture. Anything that upsets this delicate, self-obsessed balance of MY life created as a defense mechanism: sends me into near panic mode. I get frazzled, frantic and scared. Scared I won't do it right. Scared I will be ridiculed and torn down. Scared the wind will blow and Popsicle sticks will fall. MY life My way is safe. I want to keep it that way.
So what was I thinking when I offered to coordinate homeschool graduation because no one else had stepped up? I know what I was thinking: maybe 10 families, all gathered nice and cozy at some intimate venue, we play music, show some pictures (while all us moms cry and grab for tissues), hand our proud charge a pretty paper printed at our computers stipulating that all their hard work for so many years has earned them this simple paper. Caps and gowns donned our darling graduates spin the tassel and off they sale into life after graduation.
I can just see Reality cackling a snide laugh, then, with it's stern face and horned glasses resting precariously on the edge of it's nose, barking at me: WAKE UP!
My fear has paralyzed me and I am struggling to do more than hold a meeting (almost 3 weeks ago now), post notes from said meeting, and shoot a few emails on venue. I'm paralyzed because 10-20+ families and as much as 800 attendees are counting on little ol' me to make this a smashing success. I'm paralyzed because every bone in my missionary body says this is to extravagant for us... for any Christian... and how do I communicate the need for trimming without offending? Homeschool moms are fiercely independent and opinionated... I know I'm one of them!!! But we are also passionate and loving individuals and the moms I have met so far I pray to call friends beyond cap and gown.
So, my knee jerk? Grumble. Yup, grumble. So I kick an imaginary rock and grumble and grown and complain and contemplate backing out. I can't do this, I cry to my husband through the phone as he sits on lunch break at work. His strong but gentle voice calms me as he reminds me: if God calls us to something He can and will help us through it. He reminds me I need to pray more over it, Trust more over it and just.jump.in.and.DO.IT.
Then, as I have been studying the sermon on the mount, Jesus' voice cut into my heart yesterday:
"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
- Matthew 5:13-16
During my cross reference I find Paul spring boarding off this passage to tell the believers in Philip this:
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish
I don't want my saltiness to become un-salty.... I don't want to be thrown out and trampled. I don't want to put my light under a basket; our lives are meant to point people to God and IN THAT.... I do not want to grumble and question the One who is trying to work in and through me. No, I want to be blameless and innocent in order to point others to the Lord. How many times have a quoted Philippians 2:14 to my kids during chores or schoolwork? How many bad examples have I set lately? I'm too embarrassed and ashamed to count.
holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
One month, maybe two, is ok to heal. We all need to recover sometimes. But TWO YEARS to fall into a rut of self-support, afraid to get hurt or put myself out.... that is not ok. People are messy, yes. Life is messy, yes. But Christ is perfect. When we pour ourselves out while holding fast to the word of life, we can be proud that EVERYTHING done in His will, in His way, in His timing is not in vain. As a matter of fact, it cleans up some of that messiness in all of us... in life... when we surrender to His call if we are only willing to see and accept that we are all still working out our salvation (v12 not included)
I feel invigorated with the purpose of the Lord. I am reminded how graduation is an opportunity for testimony since it is a Christian-run event with a worship session at the beginning, prayer and so on. How can I NOT want to throw myself completely and uncomplainingly into that?! And how can I not want to get to know these awesome ladies of the faith better? Backing out or fumbling would do nothing to further the Message of Christ, nothing to shine a light and, certainly, nothing to show good fellowship.
So here I go. I'm taking the plunge and if the wind blows.... I will just pray harder and trust more!
I pray, whatever winds are or may blow your way, that you are finding strength to trust God's work and will through you and step forward to fulfill His purpose. If you are stuck like I have been, it just takes putting one foot in front of the other with your eyes on Jesus.