Sometimes I get real quiet. The words stop coming and I stop writing. Usually it takes me by surprise, and I’m left to sort through the walls inside me that block the words.
I pray a lot when the words stop. I reconnect with God, make sure I’m spending time with Him, listening more and asking less. Just being with Him. When I refocus on Him I find my footing again, especially when life has become overwhelming.
I bring it back to basics, make a list of what’s on the plate, see what I can take off the plate right away, what will be leaving the plate soon, and what is on for the long haul.
It’s the long haul items that were getting to me. And they were pushing writing off the plate, and I never like to see that happen. Writing grounds me, helps me make sense of life, makes me feel alive when I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
I wanted to do the bulk of writing for 4 books this year. Then publish them over the next few years. The outlines for the books came to me on the March break this year, in the wee hours of the morning when sleep eluded me, sitting on the comfy couch in the cozy cottage of our friends. I loved it – the idea of 4 more books, and writing about so many of my passions. I set to work right away, forgetting to ask God about the timing.
He had just given me such fresh and clear vision about GOing in Northern Ontario. He had let me know that OBEYing would be a big part of GOing, and that I would need supernatural doses of faith and trust. Faith that He could use me to do what He was asking, and trust that He would keep me on track if I strayed from the path He was laying out before me.
Writing will always get my vote on how to spend my time, so I plowed ahead full steam with the writing of more books, trying to fit in the GOing around the writing.
I have since come to realize it is supposed to be the other way around. I can write the books, but it may take much longer, I should focus on one at a time, and there are other things I need to be doing that will come first most days. When I realized this I had a mess of emotions and my own will to sorth through. Underneath it all, I hadn’t the first clue about GOing.
And all this church planting business that keeps growing and developing around us? No, I was just helping Josh with that. That was his thing, his job, and I was just along for the ride. Or so I thought.
God took me back to the moment he called ME to ministry, and to the awareness that I’ve always had a missionary heart, and to all the events that have brought us clearly north. Then He reminded me of the exact moment He asked me to be Josh’s help-mate in life, before we even started dating, and the struggle I had with my own will 16 years ago.
You see, with my past and my failures I didn’t think I’d be much of a helper for Josh, a man called to full-time ministry in the local church. I had no plans for marriage and my mind was set on the international mission field. God was asking me to be a pastor’s wife, and a mother to any children that would come. This scared me more than I’ve ever cared to admit. Underneath it all, I know it was My Joshua that God was asking me to join with in this life, and boy did I like the sound of that. I had to put my trust in God for the rest.
The rest has looked nothing like I thought it would, and being a wife and mother has been the biggest blessing to me. Inernational mission was even part of Josh’s job description at our church in Northern Ontario, and for the last few years I’ve been able to join in on that. More dreams come true. And the opportunities to finish my B.A. and write and publish books are even more dreams come true.
I think I was starting to believe it was my turn in the spotlight. And to do somethingI loved as well – writing books. Once again God showed me I was struggling against His will and once again it was time to lay my wll at the foot of the cross and ask God what He wanted me to do. (Sidenote: my mum keeps reminding me that my 1st sentence was “My own self” – apparently I’m still working on that stubborn, independent streak!).
God showed me that writing was not the main focus, but in fact it was the GOing – the church planting, the volunteering with children, and possibly the mission trips.
I just want y’all to know that we are all called to GO. I’ts right there in Matthew 28:19. There’s no way around it and why would we want to miss out anyways? Really, honestly, such blessing awaits for us and for the kingdom of God. My GOing will look much different from yours, but the call is given to all of us. All of us have family, friends, coworkers, neighbours, and acquaintances to GO to. That part is universal. Then sometimes it can get more specific, like the invitation extended to Josh and I to plant churches in Northern Ontario. Like the invitation to lead a young adults group that became a university church plant. Like the invitation to be part of local summer children’s camps every year and volunteering at the boy’s school. Those are our specific circles – yours will most likely look much different, but huge blessing waits if you can recognize which circles God’s calling you to specifically. Jut ask Him – I can assure you He’s waiting to let you know!
My first thoughts when God showed me our “specifics”? I can’t do that!
And then I camped on that for quite a long time. I would inch out into it, fail at something, and draw back even further. All the while not being much of a help-mate to Josh. I have learned much about being a help-mate. I am not inferior, I do not have a lesser role, and I am , in fact, very needed and essential to this whole GOing business. We are equals, each with our own set of skills and passions we bring to the table. Josh makes the big decisions, but we are learning to make those together so that I can fully buy into all we’re doing. If we have a disagreement (which used to happen ALOT in the GOing) we are learning how to sort through all the emotions, fear, and confusion and get to the God stuff. What does God want? Sometimes it is clear, sometimes God leaves us to use the brains He gave us and grow up a little more.
Then we muddle through and often make mistakes, and regroup and keep going. Stopping is not an option. I think that is the greatest truth I’ve learned. GOing is the complete opposite of stopping. Not happening.
Just a couple of weeks ago I was at the SEND 2015 conference in Nashville – a gathering of more than 13,000 people interested in church planting. It was truly awesome to say the least. David Crowder, Casting Crowns, and Passion Band were there. Louie Giglio, David Platt, and Jennie Allen were there. Ya, so good. SO GOOD.
Louie spoke about how GO is the first 2 letters of the word GOSPEL. And this was the word on my rock, clear as a bell, a reminder to me.
A couple of speakers mentioned my life verse, and I was reminded that any other worries of finances, or balance in family/ministry life or health issues could be left with God to sort out how He sees fit. And one speaker talked of Risk – a similar message to the one spoken at Josh’s graduation ceremony at Wheaton a few years ago, when we were just staring the church planting journey.
All these key reminders helped me know that we are on the right track, that I can trust God is in all of it, that we need to keep going. Not me lagging behind, struggling to keep up, but running the race beside Josh, towards the prize that is Christ.
So the words return, with a different focus, a different timing, a renewed vision.
I can’t tell you when the next post will come, but over the years I’ve come to realize that the words never go away completely, I just can’t always control them as I’d like to.
Thanks for letting me share them with you as we GO.