A Journey of Faith

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gardening Somethings

I walked into my garden today. It’s like my own little world, with its paths and its walls of green. Looking at the sheer volume of work that needed to be done could very well overwhelm anyone, and often threatens to do just that. But I have learned something about my garden. If I resist the urge to look at the garden as a whole, and avoid the temptation to think I have to pull every.single.weed… right NOW, I can enjoy my time in my little world. Instead of thinking of the garden as a one-time project that has to be finished all at once, I see it as a series of jobs. Today the tomatoes, tomorrow the beans and peas, later in the week the potatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash. As I was pulling each tiny blade of grass from around my beans today it occurred to me that caring for my garden is a lot like being a disciple of Jesus. Just like every weed I pull from the earth to give my plants the best shot at being fruitful… every time I give something up to GOD it gives me a better shot at being fruitful.

I worked on weeding my tomatoes first, getting two rows cleaned up and looking nice, then I moved on to the beans and peas. As I was sitting there I turned and pulled a particularly large weed from the row behind me. I started to scold myself for not staying on task, but then I realized that even thought I wasn’t sticking to one row I was still working on something. And as long as I was working on something I would still be making progress. It made me think of the way my faith has grown in the last few years. It seems that I am always working on something. Whether it’s gaining the confidence to speak in church about my faith, or finding the courage and words to pray out loud, or whether it’s learning to be still and listen to His call on my life… there has been so much to work on. And there is more yet to do. It’s like my garden. Every day I look at it and see the changes. There are weeds here that weren’t here yesterday, those plants are bigger than they were. This plant has more flowers than that one, and this one here is suffering from some plant disease.  Every day I look at my life and see the changes there too. Where I used to be a quiet presence in the pew every week, now I am taking a more active role in my church life. I am serving Him through serving my church… and it has made my faith so much more real.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

In His Hands

This was on the cover of the bulletin at church today. I love the idea of resting in GOD's hand. I love the idea of His powerful hand holding onto us when we are weary and the burdens of life get to us. What a treasure to be able to rest in His strength and comfort and be held close to Him.
Thank You Lord for holding onto us and giving us rest. Thank You for taking our burdens and giving us the promise of Your strength to help us carry the burdens of life. I love You, Amen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Making it Official (again...)

               I had the privilege this week to attend the annual conference for our church. Four days of workshops, worship, holy conferencing, and fellowship, at a college about an hour and a half from our home. It was an awesome experience. First, it was like a huge family reunion, with people seeing fellow clergy and laity... some that they only see once a year... hugging them and chatting excitedly. Since I have been more involved in the church, and especially since I started my journey into ministry, I am recognizing more and more people.
               I attended workshops on stewardship, praise music in worship, Bible study/laity information sessions, and an orientation for anyone who hadn't been to conference before. I worshiped with two lovely ladies from my church (and about a thousand others!!!), listened to resolutions, reports and debates about amendments to our church's constitution, and had a lovely (and wonderfully lengthy) conversation with a four year old American Asian little boy (we discovered that we both speak some Mandarin Chinese and sang songs together and talked a little in Chinese). It was a busy and filling four days.
             I was very touched by the way that everyone was so focused on doing what needs to be done to bring people to GOD. As with any large group there were many different ideas, I know I certainly don't believe the same things as some of the people there. But the bottom line for all there was that GOD's love is what is important. That every single human being on the planet should have the opportunity to know and grow close to GOD...no matter what they look like, sound like or dress like. No matter where they are from or what mistakes or choices they have made. There was such a feeling of "We know His love, and we are excited to share that with the everyone we can, so that they will know it too." and of being Jesus' hands and feet in the world. It's one of the things I love about our denomination... the desire to do something with their faith. And the commitment to love the world like Jesus does.
              But the part that touched me the most happened last night, and it only lasted maybe ten minutes.
             I have been working on this process for about 10 months now, starting with meeting with my District Superintendent (who incidentally is the one who helped my pastor discern GOD's calling on her life!), then going before the PPRC, getting a mentor, doing the Ministry Inquiry Program, and having my church conference (and of course school, but that is a whole separate thing from the church process). So, really, I am official as far as being on the path to becoming a pastor. But last night at the end of the ordination ceremony the bishop invited anyone who was ready to answer a call from GOD on their life to go into ministry to come to the front and be prayed for and give their information. I was nervous (did I mention that there were about a thousand people there!!!) but I did it!!! Pastor came up and prayed with me, as did a pastor we had a few years ago, the DS and his wife came up and hugged me too. There were people hugging and praying and rejoicing, and I was shaking and crying and laughing and just feeling an amazing sense of peace and joy and love and completeness. It was such a powerful, emotional moment... I am so thankful that I decided to do it. I am so thankful that I will be a part of that community... what an amazing gift!! Somehow it felt right to 'announce' to that community that yes, I was ready and willing to make that commitment to serving our Lord and Savior with all that I am.

Amen and Amen!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

In the Silence

In the Silence

in the silence thoughts
crash and tumble.
in the silence they become songs
waiting to be sung.
songs about joy and happiness
fear and despair.
in the silence thoughts become stories
to be told.
stories about trial and triumph
winning and losing.
in the silence thoughts become dreams
that dance before us
come, live, be.
in the silence there is no distraction
from illness and struggle.
or from hearing
His whispers to our hearts.
in the silence
we learn who we are
where we have been
where we are going.

if we, too, are silent