Thursday, April 23, 2015

Transitions

Hello blogging world. It has been a long time again, but I have some time over the next two weeks.  As I have said before, blogging for me is kinda like journaling for others. It just has a cooler more masculine feel to say blog instead of journal...anyway...

It's been over seven and a half months since I left my first and only full time pastoral position.

Seven and a half months.

I know that doesn't sound too long. I know that it shouldn't feel so long, but it does.

Seven and a half months of feeling...well...useless.

I realized that is what I have been feeling just yesterday while listening to Jan Karon's newest book, Somewhere Safe with Someone Good, on the CD's I rented from Cracker Barrel. I have read/listened to quite a few of her Mitford books and find that I like Father Tim a good bit. But I was surprised to hear him (Jane Karon really) express what has been in my heart as clearly as I heard it yesterday.

Useless.

It really is an ugly word. Nothing about it communicates value or worth. It just sits there. Pitiful. Painful. Useless.

As I mulled all this over today while doing some yard work for my dad, the Spirit's voice was quick to jump into the conversation. I really didn't want Him to jump in...I was just fine enjoying my wallowing. But He is the Lord and when He wants to jump in He just does so...*sigh*

So, I began to listen.

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Useless, my son? In what way?

Are you useless as you disciple a group of ladies every Monday night and they tell you frequently how much they appreciate it and how much they are growing?

Are you useless as you disciple four other people individually each week? Are you useless as you watch them grow each and every week and see them becoming more of who I made them to be?

Are you useless when you receive a surprise and much needed check in the mail just to say thank you for devoting that time each week?

Are you useless when you receive an anonymous extra gift to support you and your family's ministry from the church you attend?

And speaking of that church, are you useless when you preach once a month? Are you useless when you teach the youth Sunday school and see them think about things they hadn't thought about before?

Are you useless when you are becoming more consistent and stronger in longstanding areas of weakness in your marriage? Are you useless as I draw you and your bride closer together than you have ever been?

Are you useless when you invest your time with each of your children and all of them in ways that most dads never have the time or chance to?

Are you useless when you help your parents out with things they can not do physically any more during this season?

Are you useless as you plan and work out your strengths and giftings while not being sidetracked by the many duties of a pastor?

Tell me, son, how exactly are you useless?
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And thus I was rebuked. And so, I am trying...trying to focus on how He is using me here and now instead of on what I think I should be doing. I am trying to grow in patience as He works out the next phase of ministry for me and my family. I am trying to trust. Trying to trust that He knows the plans He has for me and that my lot is to wait in grateful expectation.

I have found that waiting is hard. Waiting is harder when you are living with you parents. It is harder when you have a wife you want to provide for. It is harder when you have children that you want to give their own space to. It is harder when you want to shepherd a people again.

Waiting is just hard.

Yet, I wait.

    Teach me your way, O LORD,
        and lead me on a level path
        because of my enemies.
    Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
        for false witnesses have risen against me,
        and they breathe out violence.
   
    I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
        in the land of the living!
    Wait for the LORD;
        be strong, and let your heart take courage;
        wait for the LORD!


(Psalm 27:11-14 ESV)