We had a good day at church today although attendance was really down with the holidays in full swing. I have heard more people say, "we're going away this Christmas..." more than any other. Right now we have people gone to visit family for the holidays ALREADY which is unusual. Normally that just really kicks in the week of Christmas or the week after. But I have come to realize, it's not the number of worshippers that make a big difference in a service - it's the heart of the worshippers. Plus that, I don't get upset anymore when people leave for the holidays. I figure, if I was not a pastor and the holidays were not such a crucial time in the church, I'd probably go on vacation during the holidays too. So, I just work with it now rather than chafing against it. Honestly, I'm getting too tired to chafe over things anymore! :-) In so many more things I'm just going with the flow.
As far as today, Larry brought a message on the stress of the season and gave an altar call and today a lot of people came to the altar to release burdens that have been weighing them down. There were many people just crying and seeking the Lord at the altar and I saw very clearly that many are bearing the kind of burdens Larry talked about - family issues, financial pressure, unemployment, etc. Seeing the heart ot the people has given me a lot to pray about this week.
Well, haven't written about some topics lately that were previous ones here on the blog, but just in case you're wondering, for those who care...
1) Update: no, I still don't have a car. It's been seven months. I still don't know if I'm ready. Today I saw a silver Mustang driving home from church and as soon as it came off of the ramp on 75 in front of us, I felt a little pang in my heart. I think I saw three silver Mustang convertibles this past weekend, actually, as we were in our travels. I don't think I'm ready for another car still but I am okay without one. Yes, it's inconvenient (I borrowed Dustin's truck one day last week and just gave him gas $) but it is still not so inconvenient that I want to go out and buy a car. As I predicted the first week of June when this happened, it would take a while for my insides to heal over it, and I wasn't even in the accident... One thing that is challenging is that sometimes people will say, "oh, PD, you don't have a car yet?" like they are sad that for some reason I can't buy a car or whatever...and the truth is, we could be out there car shopping right now, but it still just isn't time. And nobody can really understand that unless they were me, having lived my life and knowing why I feel the way I do. (Unless you're just one of my really understanding friends like Ada)
2) I still miss Africa. It's been sixteen days since I've come back and I'm still adjusting. Life is still a new normal, especially since I came back to so many changes and challenges.
3) Yes, changes and challenges. I've had to pick up some additional things at the church I hadn't intended on, or had the particular 'calling' to do. Yet, I am continuing the lifestyle of being a specialist at being a generalist. What it amounts to is that Larry knows he can put me wherever he needs me to make something work. I am talking about necessities, not optional things. I get really tired just thinking about it so I have to be honest that I'm trying not to think about it too much! When I dwell on it too much it threatens to overwhelm me so I just try to stay in motion and forget about how hard it is sometimes. Today in his message Larry gave an illustration about a person holding a bottle of water up in the air and he said, "it's not so much about how much it weighs, but how long you have to hold it." And he talked about helping others "hold" their burdens, and stuff like that. And I thought to myself, "how in the world can I apply this to my life in certain things I'm facing right now?" The answer is, in some ways, I can't. It's a simple matter of walking through it and doing what must be done at the time. Years ago I was handling three people's jobs within the church. Somebody said, "I don't know how you did that without a nervous breakdown..." The answer to that is, it was very stressful. However, Larry said I was the only one he could trust in those jobs at the time and he needed me. Somehow I just did what had to be done at the time. This is no different. I'm just praying that I can release this sooner, rather than later. This morning in Sunday School I taught about the fact that "God can do anything but fail..." Well, that's true. And I do believe He does miracles. So I just have to believe that He can lift my burden in a shorter time rather than a longer one. Please pray about this with me.
4) Happiest moment of today: we were laying down taking a nap this afternoon after lunch and when we woke up, Larry says to me, "You're my favorite everything." I said "really?" He said, "yep...my favorite person...my favorite destination..." Hmmm...what a nice thing to hear. God makes what I do worth it, however hearing things like this from my husband makes a close second!
Even when I'm going through difficult changes, I'm reminded, I can do anything for a while.
5) God trusts me. When I face times of feeling overwhelmed by needful things I am reminded that God trusts me. Rather than resent my additional responsibilities I am continually brought back to the fact that it's a blessing to be a person that God can entrust things to. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 22:29 (and I believe this applies to both men and women, by the way...): "Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men." There have been many blessings I have gained in my life that would not have been brought about had I not been diligent in my work. The KJV said, "seest a man who is diligent in his business..." I have always made a point to be diligent in my business or work and dot all the i's, cross the t's, be on time, never fink out or not show up, or just up and quit. And despite my challenges at times, God has blessed me. when others sometimes get jealous, I think, "you have no idea the 'back story' I've had to go through to get this..." Anyway, I realize it's a catch 22. When you are diligent, you are entrusted with more which can be a challenge. But at least you have the satisfaction of knowing God can trust you!
I'm glad He can trust me. I will be faithful.