The vote was unanimous. I wasn't expecting that. I figured a few of the people on the committee would approve me, but I was fully expecting that I would be told that while they recognized my call and supported me, that I had a lot of work to do before they were willing to approve me. But they all voted yes. wow. WOW. I am going to be a pastor. I am going to serve GOD.
It is sobering.
Not in a scary, what am I thinking, way. But in a wow, all these people are behind me, and what a huge privilege and responsibility. In a 'there's no turning back', only forward way.
Am I up for the challenge?
I lay awake last night, replaying the meeting. I was sure at the time that my answers sounded weak and unintelligent. That I didn't really answer some of them, and that the ones I did were just too vague. When they brought me back in and the chairman started by saying the vote was unanimous... and then paused (how is it that that little pause... probably only in reality a second or two... seemed to stretch on for an hour???) I was bracing myself to hear that I had a lot to work on, and would I please come back in a year or so to ask for approval again. I even had ready what I would say... something along the lines of 'thank you, and I will work on these things, and I will see you in a year' or something like that. When he said that they had voted to approve me, I almost cried. These ten people all agreed that I am pastor material. I guess it surprised me because I am still trying to figure out how it is that so many people see it in me, when I still don't. I just figure GOD has His work cut out for Him, making me strong and giving me the skills and knowledge I need to do what HE wants me to do.
I was asked what I look forward to most as a pastor. I answered service. The other parts are exciting too. I like the planning parts, and the learning... there is so much I don't know that I want to. I am learning more about how the church works and feel more comfortable with the idea of being in the role of administrator. But when I think of serving a church, it's the serving... the showing up and getting stuff done, the going out and being the hands and feet of JESUS, the hands on working of being HIS disciple, that is what I am looking forward to, what fills my heart.
The only other question that stuck with me was when I was asked how it is with my soul. That one made me pause. I struggled for a minute how to answer it. There were a number of people on the committee that know what I have gone thru the past 14 months, well, they know a part of it. So I know why she asked that, but I wasn't prepared to answer in a way that didn't share too much. What I wanted to say was that I know what Paul meant when he said that he had learned to be content no matter what the circumstances. That I knew, because of the struggles I went thru, that no matter what is going on around me or even in me, GOD has me so tight in the palm of HIS hand that I am safe. That even if I don't have the spiritual or mental or physical strength to survive, HE will hold onto me until I do. Until I remember that HE is offering all the strength I need, I just have to humble myself and accept it. I wanted to say that my soul recognizes all the fingerprints GOD has left for me to find in my life this year, and that those fingerprints have been uplifting, and convicting, and healing, and humbling. That I am constantly amazed at how much my GOD loves me, that HE would take the time to send me 'love notes' in the form of a devotion, or a sermon, or a comment from a friend (or stranger for that matter!)or even something as little as a title of a well placed book. That how can I not be 'well in my soul' when I have a GOD who sees my trials and gives me glimpses of HIS love and grace and mercy (and how can I not be amazed knowing that those glimpses are just a tiny piece of HIS power and grace!). And that I am blown away at how often HE comes to me in the middle of pain and darkness to remind me that I am HIS beloved child and HE has an amazing plan for me. I wanted to say all that, but I didn't, couldn't. I was afraid if I tried to articulate it I wouldn't do the thoughts justice.There is so much more I could have said, but how do you put into words what HIS love has done in your heart and soul, it is just too big and too powerful to assign words to it. I don't think I could.
So now I have approval from PPRC. Now I have to get the approval of the church. I am nervous about that, probably more nervous than I was about last night. But I am also calm about it. Terrified but not worried. I know that it will happen when GOD wants it to, that my timing isn't the important thing. I have decided to just take it one step at a time, not to think beyond the next step unless I have to.