Friday, October 22, 2010

Acceptance

So, I'm about 5 months into my new job. And Wednesday night I was overwhelmed by it. Not so much in the details of the job - i.e., the stuff that needs to get done to make a ministry even happen. I've pretty much got that down now. But I was overwhelmed in the "people side" of all.

I had a lot thrown at me last night from different people and I realized something that's been happened to me since I got here - but it was happening in pieces and I didn't put them all together until this morning, as I was talking with the senior pastor. What's happening... is that everyone is trying to get me on "their" side.

Doesn't seem like such a bad thing. But over and over again as people come to me with ideas and stories and thoughts and feelings, I've realized a couple of very important things: the person who did this job before me made a lot of enemies. And that's not me; it's just not in my nature. So it's almost as if they are reacting to her leadership - they are used to her polarizing issues. I think they are saying to themselves, "I want to get her on my side." The senior pastor experienced a lot of that when he first got here a couple of years ago. He said a lot of people made appointments with him simply to tell him "who to watch out for" So, this is where the ugly side of ministry makes me want to quit. But instead I should be angry with at Satan for urging us keep on indulging in the brokenness and sin in the world.

That said, while there have been many moments of "I soooo don't know what to do in this situation and I feel completely unqualified to deal with this," I also get a lot of affirmation and acceptance from the volunteers I work with (and the senior pastor, who affectionally told me today I was "kicking ass"). I realize a lot of this affirmation is because of the broken relationships the previous person created and it's happened because I'm doing my darndest to repair what was broken.

Last night I was facilitating a bible study where one of the women (not from our church) said, "My husband is supposed to be the one with the last word, not me." (In context, she was telling us about her "role" in the marriage.) She's baptist. And my heart hurt for her that she is being taught that. She isn't being affirmed in who she is and that makes me sick to my stomach. I am so blessed to have a boss/pastor who tells me that I am kicking ass. Who can tell when I'm having a rough time, who seeks out my insight on issues. It is in this place where I am accepted, which I'm pretty sure is what God wants for us all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Transformation

I realized something today.

I'm not even remotely the same person I was two years ago.

Oh, there are some similarities. I still love movies and music, coffee and chocolate. I still play guitar and love the fall colors. I still laugh at the same stupid jokes and like the same kind of jewelry. But the bitterness, hurt and pain once inside me is gone. And I realized it while listening to this song:



So, yeah. Tears.

I was so afraid this transformation, which I kinda felt as it was happening, would not be permenant. That once I left the bubble of seminary I would go back to the way I was. In a way I assumed that would happen. And maybe it's too early to tell, but I find myself, even when under the most incredible stress and amidst a huge frustration that the bitterness doesn't come.

I'm sorry, but that's HUGE.

So I started thinking about when it happened. When had God done this to me? Was it when I left a job that frustrated me, was it the in the act of following God's call, was it all the crap I worked through in counseling, was it how He gave me real church family that loved me and accepted me so much? Was it all of them combined?

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.


The line that always gets me in verse one is "When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory"

That is my life. I just noticed that my afflictions were conquered by the One I was made to glorify. He smacked my afflictions in the face and said "No more." He restored me in the most beautiful way. It was in my mentor's office week after week as I poured my heart out to her. It was in my education classes, where I sat up front and asked question after question. It was in the writing of papers on my geneology of grace, my family's genogram, an exegetical paper on a passage in Joshua and my thesis. It was in late-night conversations with dear friends and roommates. God's glory eclipsed my afflictions. His glory was bigger than them all... and I am in repair.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way He loves us,
whoa how He loves us, whoa how He loves us


Heaven met me. It was sloppy and beautiful, messy and wonderful. But it happened and I am ever so grateful. I am new, different, transformed. His grace is sufficient and I am overwhelmed.