I’ll stop being dramatic now.
To continue on with the Surrender theme, I’ll pick up where I left off. Seacoast Greensboro. The Lord truly had brought us to a place to connect, worship, and grow. There are no words to express how amazing it was, and still is. There is an energy there; a momentum. I can almost feel God’s hand moving things into place. I’m thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful community.
I had growing relationships! Wonder of wonders, people were becoming friends! Now hardly a year later, they are so dear to me I cannot fathom life without them. Women who have lifted me up in prayer, encouraged growth in me, and given me a godly example of “wifehood.” A Pastor who has encouraged Daniel and I in leadership and service, teachers who have consistently challenged us with the Word. Families that we love and would do anything for... it’s just what a church family should be.
I continued to struggle with my career. I didn’t feel like I was doing any good in the world. I knew, in the pit of my soul, there was something I was missing. Only now, hope was the root of it all. I was experiencing God’s leading in my life, I was certain. I kept praying that the Lord would release me from my job. That something else would come along. I remember, and I’m sure she does, sobbing at my friend’s house during a Bible study because I didn’t know if I could face it the next day with no hope of leaving. I didn’t see an end, and I was losing hope.
Soon after, the Lord brought Philippians 1:6 to my attention from a devotional I love. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” So, I changed my prayer. I prayed that the Lord would not release me until I had learned my lesson. Until He had used this situation to refine in me what needed to be refined, I didn’t want to be released. I wanted to stay. I nailed my attitude to the cross. And repeated out loud and often, “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4)
Things started to look up. I laughed again at work. I came home and enjoyed my leisure time rather than dreading the next workday. I made others laugh in the office. Life looked better.
Then Carrie, my friend at whose house I sobbed, asked me to go out to Panera with her. We sat together and chatted for a while, and she told me she had something to tell me. She said she was ready to move away from being the Children’s Ministry Director. That she wanted me to do it. I don’t know what she experienced at that moment, but lives zoomed before my eyes. All those precious children at our church, whom I can no more explain things to than orbit the moon. What if I say something dumb to them? What if I can’t get anyone to volunteer? What if I have to spend all my Sundays filling in for people who can’t make it? Then I’ll never get to sing again... and worshipping absolutely fills my soul, I can’t live without that. So, basically, I panicked. Worst case scenarios flew through my brain. I do that. But that was not letting “He that is in me” conquer. So, I tried to get back to the subject at hand. I asked Carrie why and what she wanted to move on to. The passion for women and families was evident in her words and her eyes (we’re kindred spirits that way). So, I agreed to pray about it.
About a month later, I had decided not to do it. I understood her reasons, we had worked out that I would not have to stop being on the praise team, and that it would be mostly administrative, recruiting and encouragement. Not so much teaching, as that scares me to death. But I was going to step it up and take two Sundays a month to work in kid’s ministry, rather than one. That was my decision.
Well, driving to work one day, I felt a bit of a niggle in the back of my mind. The niggle was a question. Why wouldn’t you take this position? Well, I’m very ill-equipped. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m not a good teacher, I’ll never encourage anyone enough. I’m not good at asking others to do something. There is bound to be someone out there better than me. Someone older. Someone more mature. Someone who doesn’t still find fart noises funny. (I’m just being honest here, folks.) Another niggle: What have you been praying for? A chance to make a difference. A chance to really be used by God. For someone to recognize some potential in me.
At that moment, driving down Latham Road on my way to work I almost drove through a stop-sign. It was like God had said, “Well....” Never have I ‘heard’ God’s voice before like that.
It was exactly what I had prayed for. 100%. “Greater than He that is in me than he that is in the world.” Had I not been repeating that? If I believed that, and if I believed Romans 8:37, that we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” and I didn’t act on this, I was a fool. I would be missing God’s leading. I really felt that He was in the car with me that day, giving me assurance, giving me peace about this decision. So, I said aloud, “Okay!” (Yes, in the car by myself... I’m sure many people have laughed at me while driving. I tend to pretend that no one can see me while I’m in the car...) Then I laughed a bit, and cried a bit.
(Quick aside-you should read Romans 8... I need to memorize it, it’s awesome. Matter of fact, go now http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=8&version=31)
I don’t know what God wants to use me for in this position. I don’t know if its to humble me further, or use me to organize some really incredible volunteers to help kids accept and become more like Christ, or any combination of thousands of things. But I can say, with all honesty, I am humbled, honored and delighted to be serving alongside the best volunteers and in the best church.
God has completely changed my life. Given me something to work for, and can I also tell you this? I really enjoy my day job now! :-) I just needed a bit of a refresher and a kick in the tush.
Now, to connect back to Calvin & Hobbes. Unconditional surrender. That’s what it took. I finally submitted my stubborn self to accepting the Lord’s plan. Proverbs 19:21 came to life again, and I trusted it. The Lord has my best in mind, He has the entire picture in mind, not just the minutia – which I had been stuck on. I have no clue what ‘the best’ is, but I’m so glad I have faith in my God who does.
So, Hobbes, yes. I am ready for unconditional surrender. All that I had armed myself with was vanity and pride. I’m so glad I got a wake-up call.