When my husband decided to join the military, God immediately laid it upon my heart to minister to military wives. I wasn't quite sure how as I am used to being the only girl in a group of boys. In Quantico, my house was usually filled with single Marines that I fed so that they would have some semblence of home cooking. I am not as "girly" as some so sometimes it can be hard for me to relate to women on topics of clothes and hair and so forth...its not that I don't care or don't want to be involved, it is just not that important to me, I'd rather be playing a sport or doing something active...so, when God laid it on my heart such a group, I was a bit confused.
I have been blessed these past couple of months to be a part of something extraordinary. God gave me the courage to start a bible study for military wives after realizing how hard it was to get involved in our church small groups, when it was over 30 minutes away. It began with just 9 women and has since grown to almost 40. In addition, a book club has been started as an offshoot from it. It has been truly a testament to God and His amazing power in bringing people together who may have otherwise never met.
It has also been a HUGE time of growth for me personally and spiritually. I've learned so much in such a short time, it has been amazing. God has used it to challenge me, to force me to go deeper in my own faith, and to keep going in times when I want to give up. He has taught me many a lesson through this time and this opportunity of leadership. I want to share some of the things I have learned about ministry, leadership, and answering the call God places on you...
1.) Ministry is TOUGH!! Who would have thought that having a pure motivation to bring women together for connection, fellowship and to learn about God would be so hard? It requires a lot of stamina, more than I have at times, at which point I just have to pray to God to fill me back up. For those who are in full time ministry, my hat is off to you!!
2.) There WILL be opposition when you try to answer God's call. No matter how pure your heart, how good your intentions, there will be moments when opposition come and attempt to derail your efforts. Sometimes, it can be the overheard grumbling about how you do things as a leader. Sometimes, it can come in a more overt form. Sometimes, things can go wrong despite best intentions. There is and will always be something that tries to get in the way as you work towards fulfilling God's purpose. I imagine myself skating down the road sometimes and Satan in a truck ahead of me, throwing stuff out of the back of the truck: balls, hockey sticks, anything to try to trip me up. Occasionally, I have fallen, scraped a knee pretty bad, but God picked me back up, dusted me off, and sent me back down the road.
3.) You cannot please everyone...well, this lesson He has been trying to teach me for oh so long, but I still don't get it. I really think there is a way to do it...still trying to figure it out though. Well, the truth is anytime you bring different personalities, different ideas, different ways of thinking together, there will be times when people aren't completely satisfied. I have tried to learn to not take it so personally, but like I said, God is still working on me on this one...
4.) Leadership is really just being a servant. Being a leader means being the absolute least. It means humbling yourself to the point of giving up as much of yourself as you possible can. It is hard to let go of the "me" and "I want" at times, but you HAVE to in order to truly help people.
5.) Don't sweat the details...It has been amazing to see how God has worked on the littlest of details at times, things I was ready to have a panic attack over. If you can learn to trust Him in everything, He will always provide the answers to the smallest of questions.
6.) God sets people in your path for a specific reason. This is what utterly amazes me. The women He brought together have distinct talents and gifts that He has used for specific purposes in my own life and the lives of those here. It is by no accident that I crossed paths with these women, they each have given me something, changed me in a way. Sometimes, even challenged me in a way to be better.
7.) When you set your heart on blessing others, you will end up being blessed more so than you can bless. My whole heart has always had a desire to help others and serve them...when I was in college, I thought it would be manifested through the legal profession. After college, I thought it would happen through teaching. Now, I feel like it will happen through ministry. In all those times, I have consistently found the more I tried to help: through volunteering, through ministering, etc., the more I just get blessed in return. It is amazing how that happens sometimes!
I'll share some more lessons later one perhaps...I probably should have thought this through more!
Here's to lessons learned...
Until next time-