Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tomorrow is the Day! (Feedback Appreciated)

G&T starts his new job on Wednesday. He is excited and nervous. Please keep him in your prayers as you go throughout your day.

As for me, I will be preaching at my home church on March 25. It has been suggested that I might share some of the stories of healing I have seen at the hospital. A few of these healings have been physical. Others have been more along spiritual and emotional lines. I would probably use the story of Jesus healing the man on the mat by forgiving his sins for a scripture basis. Anyone have an opinion on this?

On another front, I had decided to give up panicking over money, future.... for my Lenten discipline. Then of course one of the main sources of panic has been resolved. So now I need a new discipline and Lent is almost a week gone. I think I'm going to pray about my work at the hospital more. I pray in my work all the time, but not as much about it. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

News, News, News

Okay, here's the great news- Gifted & Talented has been offered a job that he will enjoy! It will draw on several of his interests and offers him a chance to let his light shine a little. Hint the job has to do with lights. He starts on February 28. So thank you for all your prayers and support during this difficult time. In all our worry and stress, we never felt we lacked for friendship, love, or support. Indeed, we knew we were blessed.

I've had a few "aha moments" in the last couple of weeks, but just didn't get time to blog them. So keep reading if you want to see what I've learned in all this. Since I'm posting them all at once, you can read straight down and get the right chronology.

Acts of Faith: Crying Out in Our Misery

After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them. Exodus 2:23-25

Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and performed the signs in the sight of the people. The people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had given heed to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. Exodus 4:30-31

As we have journeyed through the wilderness of unemployment and wondering what our future might look like, I have learned something about acts of faith.

I tried to be at peace, trusting God's faithfulness to us, knowing that God would take care of us. But honestly, I see people at the hospital who it seems God may have abandoned. People without homes. People without transportation. People without money for health care who let their illnesses get far too serious before they seek medical help. I know it's society and not God who has abandoned them. Still, it was hard to see this everyday and keep hope.

At home, the crack our foundation (the house not our marriage) was worsening everyday. I worried about that. I worried about both of us being without jobs after August. I worried about everything, and then I beat myself up for worrying rather than having faith.

Then, I was reading Exodus (see above). The Israelites didn't really know the God who heard their cry, but they knew their ancestors had believed. They cried out and God heard. Many of the Psalms are written by someone who cried out to God from their misery. I learned that crying out in one's misery can be an act of faith.

So, I decided that I too must cry out to God in my misery. I had to lay all my fear and worry out honestly. It was the only act of faith I was capable of at the time. As I journaled my prayer, pouring out my heart, the phone rang. It was a call regarding a possibility for my future ministry. I'm not kidding. As I finally came before God in my true state, before I finished, the phone rang. I believed the Lord had given heed to my cry.

I still don't know what my ministry will look like, but I know God hears my cry.

Emerging from the Cocoon

Last Saturday, I realized that for over a week I had only been to work, home and maybe one other place. Then I got sick and spent Sunday and Monday in bed. On Monday, I was well enough to write my final evaluation for Unit 2 (of 4) of my CPE program. Thank goodness for laptops!

On Tuesday, we presented our final evaluations and finished mid-afternoon. As I was leaving in the warm sunshine, I felt as if I had emerged from a long period of darkness into beautiful daylight.

My heart was lighter. I was actually smiling spontaneously. Whatever had changed within, I felt like rejoicing.

Ash Wednesday

I assisted with the imposition of ashes to hospital patients and staff all day long on Wednesday, but I did not have ashes imposed on my forehead. I knew that I would be worshiping at my church that evening, and I waited until I could be the recipient rather than the carrier of God's grace.

Work at the hospital has kept me from my church for the last two Sundays. As the service began, it felt so good to just sit back and soak in the atmosphere.

As the service progressed, the readings and prayer of repentance became more than words. They spoke to and from my heart. The violin and guitar duet played The Lord's Prayer, and tears rolled down my face. I could truly pray, "Thy will be done." I confessed my weak faith and asked God's forgiveness. When the ashes were placed on my forehead, I knew I had experienced grace.

Acts of Faith: Taking a Bath

After the Ash Wednesday Service, I went home and took a bath. Now for many of you this would seem routine, but for me it was an act of faith. I was doing something normal, no something special as a treat for myself. I could lay in the tub and read a novel, warming the water twice over. I could do something other than worry for the first time in a long time. The peace I had so longed for had come.

On Thursday, Gifted & Talented received the job offer.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ministry Moments

Okay, the title of this blog is Ministry Moments and Other Mid-Life Musings. Lately it's been more my life musings and less ministry moments. So here goes.

In the last 72 hours I have cared for five families dealing with death or imminent death of a loved one. All of these are too early deaths, unexpected deaths. Each family dealt with their loss in a different way and required a different approach to pastoral care. However, they all had one common link- the ministry of presence. That I was there, that someone cared, made a difference.

When you think you can't make a difference, just be there.

No News

I really don't have much to report, but I haven't blogged in a few days and I want to keep up the habit. So here's the non-news and prayer requests.

There is no news on the job front. We are all a little discouraged. Prayers for encouragement and peace will be appreciated.

manBoy made his class choices. I'm grieving that he is giving up band, but if his heart isn't fully in it he will be miserable. He made his decision Saturday, and was still at peace with it this morning. So, prayers of thanksgiving for that.

I have a meeting tomorrow Feb. 6 to explore a far away possibility. Please pray for discernment.

House repairs on hold until foundation company comes on Feb. 15th.

Lord Jesus, fill us with your peace. Amen.