When I began work here at Downham Market a wise friend told me that after one year I would see a few changes and sense God at work- years two and three would cause me to question and to wonder why I had chosen to accept the post here and in year four I might see the beginnings of something new.And so with that in mind alongside yesterdays celebrations I bring you Friday 5 Looking back, looking forward..
1. Share a moment/ time of real encouragement in your journey of faith.
There have been many. Here is a strange one. I had been struggling with my calling to the pastorate for some time. Many times I was ready to quit, seeing no hope that anything would change or that I'd ever find a church (within driving distance of my husband's workplace) that was willing to give a woman preacher a chance. I was completely and utterly discouraged, feeling I had missed God's voice and taken a wrong turn and that's all there was to it. Around that time I took a short vacation to visit my sister in another state, and I went with her to her church, a place I'd never been. At the end of the service, the pastor said to me, "Are you a minister?" I replied "Yes, did my sister tell you?" "No" the pastor replied (she was new to the church) "but I have been noticing you since you came in and just knew you were a minister, and I'm to tell you not to give up." Do you think he had my attention? I later asked my sister who confirmed that she'd only just met him and had never had a conversation about me. I also discovered his wife was a minister and they were co-pastors of the church.
2. Do you have a current vision / dream for your work/ family/ministry?
Yes. I have many. I don't want to share them right at the moment though, because I am in the middle of trying to discern which are God and which are me.
3.Money is no object and so you will.....
Travel! Part will be for fun. I'll visit Europe and traipse around old buildings and historical sites and castles and theatres and lovely spots. Oooh, England, Scotland, Ireland, then Italy and Spain....Then maybe Australia to see my friend Bronwen, then maybe Peru....who knows. But since money is no object I will go LOTS of places. Not all travel will be for fun. Most will be for ministry. I'll do short-term teaching in many of our Assemblies of God pastor's school in various locations like Africa, India and South America. I will give money to all the ministries I long to give to, and lots of it. I'll do things that make a difference for individuals, right now, and I'll plan for the future so that I will give gifts that keep giving.
4. How do you see your way through the disappointments? What keeps you going?
When I was a child my mother had a rather tacky wall hanging that read,
Only one life,
'Twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ
It wasn't beautiful poetry, but it stuck--the idea that this life was temporary and I could spend my time on transitory things or I could try to focus on eternal realities and invest in people. People last forever. When I want to quit and do something easier, I remind myself that I was meant to do something that has eternal realities. I also just keep going. Some days a person just has to put one foot in front of the other and do what is right, because it is right and that's it.
5. How important are your roots?
I wish they were important. I grew up in California and the rest of the family, both sides, was in Texas. We loved them dearly, but we rarely saw them. In my 30 plus years of marriage I have lived all over the place, and that tended to make me pretty detached from "home" and family. I envy those around me who have lots of family close by, but I never did. I don't much care where I live as long as my husband is there with me and I can see my children (and now Trinity) fairly often. As for church roots....the Baptists kinda disowned me...and the Assemblies might if they really knew me....so.....enough of that!
6. Bonus= what would you like to add ?
I try to keep the "looking back" mostly to looking back to recall the times God has been faithful. Other things in my past are not so pleasant and would also tend to make me fearful, discouraged, dependent and lonely. So I'm with St. Paul in saying I "press on" to gain the prize at the end of race the where the Savior waits for me.