I have been struggling. When I say struggling, I really do mean STRUGGLING! Mainly in the area of being resolute in decision-making that concerns my future. I have an unrest right now that let’s me know that God is about to make a big change and or a move in my life. I recognize this place. While it is a welcomed experience each time because it is exciting to know that change is coming, it is also some of the most frustrating times in my life.
Those that know me, know that I am serious about the things witch which I involve myself. I don’t like flakiness, and I try not to be flaky with the things that I do. I am just really learning and understanding that sometimes seasons for our work is shorter than we would want. It’s hard for me to conceptualize that service would be so short-lived especially when our society praises people who stay with things for decades upon decades.
I struggled with my decision to stay where I am professionally or venture out, and throughout this year God has been speaking about perseverance, sanctification, patience, and sovereign provision. For me, those are reasons for me to stay and wait right where I am.
Pastor Doug Sauder taught the message at church yesterday. He is one of the family pastors at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, and he is also the President of 4KIDS of South Florida. In other words, he is one of my bosses. I will say I was rebuked on Sunday and Pastor Doug didn’t even know that he was the tool used by God to do it. I cried like a baby all through service! Watch the service here: http://media.calvaryftl.org/player/index.cfm?fn=G5634#.UZpQhfpzR5Y.wordpress
Now, I work with 4KIDS so, it wasn’t the issue of foster care or the abuse of these children that burdened me yesterday. It was the weight and gravity of what’s before me and the fact that I was willing to just let go because I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable. It scared me when I remembered that I have to answer for all my actions one day, and I didn’t want to have to answer why I left when God perfectly said to be still and know that he is God! We have all heard the saying “God cares more about your character than your comfort.” I really hope God is pleased with my progress so far in my character because I am really uncomfortable. REALLY.
Anyway, Pastor Doug spoke of Nehemiah and how he was so grieved to hear about the walls being in shambles in Jerusalem. He had favor with the King for which he worked and he was granted everything he needed to go back home and make the vision of rebuilding the wall a reality.. I feel like I had a pretty cushy professional life when I worked at the University of Miami. After I become the Director of my program, my pay was awesome and I got to travel the world! I also took great vacations on my own for my birthday. Despite this, there was a yearning for something more and an emptiness that was growing in my spirit. I called out to God, my King, and he gave me favor. He gave me everything that I needed for this mission with 4KIDS. I surrendered my position and power to Him and He used it for something more pressing, much like Nehemiah. I didn’t realize that I was answering a specific call, nor did I know what I was really looking to do with 4KIDS. Social work was never on my radar. I didn’t really know much about 4KIDS before I came other than what was talked about at church when volunteers were needed.
When Pastor Doug got to Nehemiah 6:3, that was when the tears wouldn’t stop. Nehemiah 6:2-4 says:
Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. [emphasis mine]
I CAN’T GO DOWN…
Nehemiah was tested and tried by conspirators to try to distract him from his duty. I am sure sometimes he even wrestled with his own flesh to move on. He was doing something; he was being used to make the vision become a reality and he couldn’t leave it just yet. It was not time. Even though the wall was completed in 52 days, Nehemiah stayed on in Jerusalem doing works of the Lord for 12 years as governor. He completed what he went to do, but still did not feel that he was released from his duty there. There was still much to be done. The people needed a shepherd and God sent them Nehemiah. Nehemiah faithfully served in this role. I am sure at some point he said ” Lord, when will I go back?” In addition I am sure that God’s perfect peace overcame him after he stopped wrestling with the decision to stay.
I have been wrestling A LOT. I began to make preparations to step out on faith knowing that God will be with me wherever I go, but the step I am going to take has nothing to do with where I want to go. It gave me a lot of peace to prepare certain aspects of my life; however, I reached a wall and had to stop with a particular direction that I was craving to step into. This new direction has everything to do with my current ministry. I have not been released to move about the cabin, so to speak.
Sometimes we believe that we know the mission, vision, and strategic plan that is before us. Sometimes we become prideful and think we know when the job has been completed. Well, I will be the first to tell you that God is the foreman and he is the one who says when the job is done. I got a stern reminder of that recently, praise God for that!
Even though it would be easier to move in a different direction, the result of this path will be more fruitful than anything that I could ever do.
I CAN’T GO DOWN!
So I will stay the course and not come down until the work is done.