Monday, March 31, 2014

Did I really just turn 50?

I don’t know if it’s because I just turned 50 recently.  I don’t know if it’s because my father in law who I was so close to,  passed away far too early and far too quickly.  Or maybe it is because of betrayals that I have felt so deeply or the shrinking church instead of the growing church or my growing body instead of a shrinking one.  But somewhere along the line,  I feel rattled.  I feel shaken.  Like the ground under my feet is not solid and I am trying to catch my balance. 

The other day I sat staring at my computer screen for a long time.  I was supposed to write a resume.  What was I supposed to write? 
Dear Whomever it May Concern,  I don’t know how to do anything.  I am not good with Microsoft Word.  I don’t really know anything about the computer.  I haven't done a cash register in years.   I epically fail at any type of directions.  I don’t learn fast and when I do I am certainly not guaranteed to have learned it forever because I may forget tomorrow.   You will need to provide me with lots and lots of paper and pens because I have to write absolutely everything down.  And I can’t for the life of me even know why you would hire me because there are so many out there who could learn so much faster and better than me.  But you could hire me because I really need a job.  And when everyone else around me was going to college and university to learn SOMETHING,  I was having children and raising them.  And when all the others started watching their children grow up so that they could start or continue their careers,  I had more children.  And in between that,  all I have ever done is ministry.  All I have ever done is tell people about Jesus and tell people about how to tell people about Jesus.  That’s been my life.  It's been my single passion.  But please,  oh please, oh please PICK ME!”  Not a very good resume is it?

Before you start feeling sorry for me and for my self esteem,  I really really do know that anyone who hires me will not regret it. The truth is,  I have traveled the world - or a lot of it at least - speaking to churches and praying for individuals and linking arms with communities.  I have walked through muddy waters with people.  I have counselled those with crumbling marriages, abusive situations, those going through tremendous loss and grief.  I have walked with people as they watched their world falling apart around them.  Any employer would be privileged to have me as their employee.  I am conscientious, committed and caring.  I have amazing integrity and I would take a bullet for those that I care about or am entrusted to.  There are a million reasons to hire me and a thousand reasons why any person will be happy they did.  However,  I just don’t have that on a paper of any kind.

  And I am not good at selling myself.  Simply because I haven’t had to up to this point.  I have just lived life.  I am much better at PROVING to someone what an asset I am to the world - or to their world.  I have always been relatively comfortable in my own skin and confident with who I am.  But lately I have found myself completely out of a comfort zone that I have safely built around myself. 

My whole married life,  I have supported my husband in what he has done in the ministry.  And I have been raising my children. And while I have not regretted or resented this,  I am terrified of the next step.

But now I look around me and I realize,  it’s time.  It’s time to turn the pages of my life.  It’s time for the next chapter.   In reality,  I am petrified of the unknown.  I hate change.  And although I have experienced it a lot - I also don’t like it a lot.  I am experiencing a lot of change in these days.   My church is changing.  My personal life is changing.  My work life is changing.  Everything around me is changing and I don’t feel ready.  But I know that I am because God says that I am. 

I am reminded of a man named Moses who ran into the desert after killing someone.    He was tending his sheep when God came to him in the form of a burning bush and told him to do something that was really hard.   Really really hard.  God wanted him to go back to the place that he ran from, face the man that was trying to kill him and tell Pharaoh  to let his people have freedom.  Pretty crazy.  And Moses told God that he couldn’t possibly do it.  What was God’s response to him? It wasn’t  “Moses,   you can do it.  You have got this.  You have got the goods - the talent, the integrity,  the bravery.”  No,  this is what he said,  “But I will be with you.”

There was another man in the Bible and his name was Gideon.  God told Gideon to form an army and go after the Midianites. Gideon said,  " But God, My clan is the weakest and I am the least in my household."  From the outside with the natural mind, it seemed that Gideon was a really wrong choice.  It seemed crazy.  But do you know what God said?  He said, “But I will be with you.”

You see,  when it comes right down to it,  I don’t think that God needs me to have talent or strength or  credentials or the piece of paper in hand saying that I can do all of these things.   He  just wants me to be willing to step into the next adventure of my life.  He wants me to be willing to do the things he asks me  to do; to answer his call.  He will take care of the rest.

  If God is with me,  I can do really hard things.  If God is with me,  even if it looks silly and impossible and crazy and wild,  I can do it.  If God is with me it - whatever IT is -  will be okay.

When my body is weak at the loss and grief I feel,  I hear God whisper,  “But I will be with you.”  As I stumble into a business with resume in my trembling hands,  I hear God whisper,  “But I will be with you.”  And when my heart gets overwhelmed  with loneliness  I hear God whisper,  “But I will be with you.”

 All I need to be is willing to do my best and as I stare out into the dark empty chasm of the unknown,  I can jump because I hear God whispering,  “But I will be with you.”