Friday, February 29, 2008

Processing. . .researching. . .discernment and more

I feel the need to blog. . .mostly just to process. . .I love what Pastor Jon says about "Living in the Tension" but I hate living in the tension! Why? Because I like things black and white. Either GOOD or BAD. . .I hate the middle of the road. . I hate trying to constantly figure things out. I like things nice and tidy and that just isn't how the world is! That's not what parenting is like, that's not what marriage is like, that's not what relationships are like and that surely isn't what ministry is like! So, that's why I desperately need my Jesus! I need Him to speak to my heart exactly what I'm called to. . .before I go there though, I'll tell you one more thing I don't like!

I DON'T LIKE RESEARCH! It seems that's all I've done lately. I have a number of organizations that I've been looking into. However, I'm a visionary. I want to get passionate about a project and run with it. I don't like to hear about a project and try to get in depth with that organization and try to figure out if they are corrupt or not! I've been emailing back and forth with this one lady (head of an organization) Man, she is answering every question I ask. . but, I don't like it still! For one, I THRIVE on relationship! This type of my ask a specific question. . basically drilling them like they are a bunch of possible crooks / criminals and they answer does not form relationship! In fact, I so realized this while I was typing that I clicked over to my email and emailed her asking personal questions! ha ha! The truth is, to really be able to recommend an organization and DO my research, I have to do it with a bit of a cynical eye which is not my cup of tea. I want to just believe what everyone tells me. . .I know that's not realistic and I've certainly learned that the hard way, but I don't like it. It hurts my heart truthfully. . .

Ok, enough complaining! I told you that I process while writing! The truth is that I know I want to get "out of a situation what God planned" not just "get through it"! So, what I'm realizing is that that good part of research is that is slows me down. Now, I am not a super patient person. I want to decide and then hit the ground RUNNING! However, the necessity to research has made me take things very slowly. The other part of that is that I have the time to truly stop and ask the Lord, "Are you calling me to this?" I want to be in the CENTER of God's will. . not just doing "good" things, but doing what God has laid out for me to do. So, you can pray that I seek God and He speaks loud and clear. AND, that He confirms what He says over and over so that I know without a shadow of a doubt.

He's already started to do that in one little way. . call this my "aha moment in Scripture" like Missy talks about. I was reading in Galatians (thanks Jamie Z). In Galatians 2, Paul finally goes before the Apostles. Sure they disagree on how to "do" Christianity in a lot of ways. Especially since Paul's calling is to the Gentiles. Here's the coolest line, vs. 9-10 ". . .(they) gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they pronounced the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. ALL THEY ASKED WAS THAT WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO REMEMBER THE POOR, THE VERY THING THAT I WAS EAGER TO DO." Ok, that may not seem huge to you.. . .but, it was to me. They disagreed about a lot, but the foundations of these churches were 2 things, JESUS and the POOR!

God used that to confirm in me that these plans "for the poor" were of His Heart. . .of course, He followed that right up with scriptures on works vs. faith. He talks about "faith without works is dead" and "we are saved through faith". . .now, I know this is an age old debate, but it's one that I truly struggle with b/c I'm the "good girl". . .I look good on the outside and "do" good things, which means I constantly need to be examining my heart. Here's my prayer now, "I want the works. . .the wells for Liberians, the birth kits for Ugandans and whatever else the Lord may lay on my heart to be an outpouring of my faith! I want my works to be revelatory of my faith. "That they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven". . .

So. . . .I know that God is using this time in my life. Time to be slow and research, time to speak and to prepare my heart for any work He has laid out. Pastor Jon also always says, "the process is just as important as the product" No matter what plan God has for me, the process of changing my heart to be more like His is WAY more important! Continue to pray that I be changed and use this time wisely. Not moving any faster than the Lord.

Also. . on a little bit of a side note, but totally intertwined and definitely enough to be a whole post in and of itself. . .pray for my ministry at church. I have lost my childcare, so I am no longer spending a whole day working there. I am still in charge of small groups and events, but feel like I'm slacking on the job. I know God is changing my life right now and how He is directing my time, but I want to do this well. I feel on one hand that I should just find someone to give it over to who could really do it well. . .feel that I'm letting down our church or pastor b/c we aren't moving forward in these areas and at the very same time and wondering if God wants me to just keep plugging along. We can "stay afloat" in these areas with me working at home. . .if I'm diligent with my nap and evening time. I just want to know what's God's best so I don't feel like I'm cheating anyone. . .does that make sense? I've kind of poured my heart out here. . so please don't go telling Jon that I'm quitting or something. . .just trying to figure out how it all works together in sync! I just need super clear direction from our Lord! I'm SO glad that I get to go to the God who created the universe for advice!


loving my life said...

I'll keep you in my prayers and I know that you will have it all fall right into place. WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT! Hang in there in the interim.. He is faithful and good!

Scott said...

Have you read Alfred Edersheim? He is an 18th century scholar. I am currently reading his History of the Old Testament. Really gives you a deeper insight into the lives of the patriarchs. It helps me to see that God used them despite their shortcomings, God's covenant with the family and with His children never falls short. We may be too fearful and too selfish to grab it, but it is always there. God has a plan and we as His children are part of it. Should we be obedient or should we be rebellious? Aren't those the very things we are teaching our children? It is very simple and it is very black and white...whenever it seems that it is not, stop and look at what is actually happening. More times than not we are trying to do our will, not His. When you feel tired and confused that is the time to stop and be still and listen for God.

Missy said...

Sometimes it's hard to be able to tell the difference in all the voices: God's, your own, other people's. I recently heard it compared to a new friend who you don't readily recognize their voice when they call you on the phone the first time or two. But, as your relationship grows, you recognize them immediately without them having to identify themselves. It's the same with God, the better we get to know him, the quicker we are able to distinguish his voice from all the others.

Praying for wisdom for you.
Love you,

Amber Shimel said...

On a much smaller scale (i.e. smaller ministry, less children), I feel the same struggle about my new ministry at church and my new job. It's so hard for stay at home moms, because you want to be the best at everything, and doing one thing is always taking time away from something else. I really feel like it's a "living in the tension" thing to be constantly balancing all of that. All that to say, I'll be praying for discernment and wisdom for you, and myself.

P.S. Loving the recent plethora of posts! :-)

Julie said...

Brandi, I really appreciate you sharing what God is teaching you about ministry to the poor. It is something I have been wrestling with a lot lately, especially as in my situation it involves going way out of my comfort zone. My husband is so passionate - ready to move into the inner city of America or the slums of Africa in a heartbeat, but I am struggling with fear and doubt.

Alward Family said...

I know what you mean about wanting to just trust someone or an organization but not being able to without doing thorough due's so sad.

Goodluck with all of your research!


Lisa said...

I was mopping the floor and God laid you on my heart. As I was praying for you this post kept coming to my mind. First, I love your transparency! Second, I understand the struggle of juggling it all. I was so stressed with doing it all that I wasn't very fun to be around. Now that I'm just a stay at home momma I struggle with that not being enough, or that I should be doing more. God continues to bring me back to His plan and that this is just a season of life for me and although some days are really LONG it truly is just a blink of the eye. I know God has blessed you with amazing gifts and talents with leadership and doing small groups and events. I've read your blog and read enough comments from people that know you IRL to see this. He didn't give you these to not use but maybe He's asking you to pull back for a season? I truly believe you are an amazing woman and He will strengthen you to whatever He calls you to! Whether it be to continue on with your job at church or to go another way or just to rest. Just know that I am praying for you and I just love ya!

jaz said...

Sheesh! You've been prolific!! I love it!!! ...but alas, I'm way behind, and I'm just now seeing that you've been talking about me! ;0) ...posting too many pics at once (who, ME???), inspiring you to go to Galatians (what had you so curious, HMMMM???) ;0)
Love ya!
-Jamie :0)