It’s early in the morning. I got up specifically to write this post out of a mix of obligation and inspiration (oblispiration?). Those are the times when you wake up and say to yourself, You should probably write this down.
Of course I had to check Twitter first and was encouraged to get off Twitter and back to the blog by Anne Lamott‘s 140-character plea to, Seize and steal time to write, however & wherever you can–it’s a debt of honor.
There is something about this compulsion to write. It’s so strange how God places this fervor in you to observe the world around you and then find words for what you see. It’s a bit of a madness. For instance, while J-M and the girls were planning what is to be a fun-filled long weekend, complete with beach days, BBQs and baseball, I was thinking to myself, I sure hope I get time to write. Where oh where was this drive in high school English?
And to those who checked in yesterday, I’m sorry I didn’t post on Day 40. My excuse is that Day 40 had to happen first before I “reported back.” But the truth is, my family hijacked my plans and took me out to have fun instead. I’m not complaining, just redirecting the blame.
So allow to me recap. I’ve been praying for direction consistently for 40 days. During those 40 days, I have not eaten after 2 p.m., except for Fridays and three
cheats celebration dinners. An undefined, but persistent desire to go deeper in ministry is what drove me to this fast, hoping to hear exactly what the “deeper in ministry” part was to look like.
I am happy to say that God was faithful and answered my prayers.
I didn’t write that sentence easily. I want to be sure I’m not conjuring up a “happy ending” to this fast, something to please me and you that this was worth the effort. Of course it was, in a kajillion ways, but I would not say God sent lightning bolts from the sky or a great heavenly finger to write on my kitchen wall. In any case, I don’t believe he speaks that way. If he had sent the finger, I might, in my sinfulness, ask him why then he hasn’t spoken up more about my Dad’s MS or a friend’s heartache or poverty and all the injustice in the world?
I believe God does speak clearly, consistently and powerfully. He speaks through scripture, his word, which is a plumb line for discerning his will in this life and the next.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature…. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
I encourage you to read the rest of that, about how we can increase our participation in that divine nature. Amazing, spine-tingling stuff.
A word should also be said here about handling scripture with reverence, in the company of believers, guided by the Holy Spirit. But in short, we have access to God’s answers for all our questions.
God also speaks through others and this has been my experience throughout this fast. I have been given tons of advice and encouragement – some conflicting! Again, I returned to scripture to measure the words I received. If they line up with what scripture says, I accept – and wholeheartedly. And God bless you for saying so!
Throughout the fast, God spoke clearly, like portions of food, replacing what I wasn’t physically eating. I received his word in bits and pieces. Every bite from him was full of spiritual nourishment established by the peace he gave me when I digested it.
For my questions, I received the answers either no/not yet or keep going.
Let me start with the no/not yet.
God has made it very clear to me that “deeper into ministry” does not mean bigger. I’d had some suggestions from people, that perhaps my role was being broadened from just working within my congregation to ministering on a larger scale with an outreach to others beyond our church. I don’t doubt that God can move in mysterious ways and use the things one does on a small scale to reach out to others in areas or ways you could never anticipate. But to change my focus at this time is out of the question.
First of all, I am very green – I have spent just one year leading the women of our church – this ministry alone extends my abilities to the max. Beyond this, is the focus of our ministry. Over the past year we’ve been purposeful about getting away from the common trappings of women’s ministry (fundraisers and friendly gossip, to name a couple). We’ve been diligent to make sure that our focus is to grow closer to Jesus and to each other. For the upcoming year, I believe we are to add to that by reaching out to others in our community. That means finding the lonely, the needy, the desperate who hide behind closed doors, in our own neighbourhood. I think it’s all this growing closer to Jesus business. We’ve found out that’s where he’s always heading and we want to go with him. This call is clear and so my personal pursuits cannot be any different. I’m staying local.
As for the keep going message:
I have received an overwhelming response to this blog in the past 40 days. No one would say that I write well – and neither would I – but what joy to hear from others that they have been moved, challenged, affected, or convicted by something I’ve written! I am not deceived – I may have a specific demographic who doesn’t mind the frivolous chit-chat mixed in with an exhortation, and a couple of typos for good measure. But the few who respond to it, who see Jesus in it? Well that means this madness isn’t for nothing. It’s for something.
To be clear, I do not wish to “be published” other than to click that button on the blog, but just to be faithful to write it all down.
I have the additional blessing of being paid to write. My position as Social Media Journalist (decoded: blogger) for the Free Methodist Church in Canada, although part-time, is a huge privilege. I want to fill the parameters I’ve been given to full capacity, “Telling our Stories” about God’s faithfulness within our churches.
Another part of the keep going message is my being available. I love that I have been able to offer my time for what would otherwise be considered interruptions. What a gift to know that when someone wants to go for coffee to chat, I can say yes, how about today! Or if someone wants to meet to pray, yes, how about right now! I have able to volunteer at a friend’s store for a few days over the past two weeks because she really needed the help. I have been able to do stand up for another friend’s impromptu wedding. If God can use me during this time of unemployment, I will not say no to that.
I will write more about this 40-day experience. For one, what about this problem of bringing home a regular wage? Just a quick preview on this – Mom’s wise words that if God calls you to something, he will certainly provide the means to fulfill your calling. We’ve known that well in our lives before, and I claim it now. You can be praying for J-M to be receptive to this also. His suggestion? To add a “Donate Now” button to this blog. Also to my t-shirt.
There has been so much jam-packed into the last 40 days. I’ve been looking through my journal, comments and e-mails from others received since May 22 when this all started. The picture is clear. God speaks through all of it.