When JD Walt, the dean of the chapel, asked me three weeks ago to give my testimony during holiness emphasis week, I told him I have no credentials and am not a professional speaker, but that I can talk, and I’m very vulnerable. He said that’s exactly what he wanted, that he was looking for authentic Christianity. I said, well, I am certainly authentic! 🙂
I hope you’re laughing!
At any rate, I knew exactly what I needed to say, but crafting it was painful. I wrestled with God, pondered, prayed, prayed, prayed some more, and basically agonized over how to say what I knew I was called to say. And this last week has been increasingly stressful. I believe it’s significant that this came right at the “starting gate” of the semester, and that much of the ministry He has for us here will come out of that chapel service.
The gist of it was:
“I’m a poster child for holiness…. All that being good and stuff. Made me judgmental and angry. No compassion, or mercy. And God had to change that, because I was of no use to Him that way. No one would ever be able to tell me of struggles. Then came a family crisis. Shattered pride. Wrestling with God, whose mercy I couldn’t begin to understand. And then grace and mercy were no longer theological concepts, but reality in my life, and I became a WORSHIPPER. That it was incredibly painful, but very much worth it for what God did in my life.” We took communion, and dismissed with Ps. 103. It was difficult, but good.
After I had time to process it with friends over lunch, the laughter returned. I told them I feel like I have my life back, and my laugh back, now that that’s behind me. Now we’ll just wait to see what God does with it. Your continued prayers will be greatly appreciated.
Last Sunday we went back up to northern KY to one of the little churches we pastored. Then both churches met in the afternoon for games, covered dish, worship service, and hay ride. We left before the hayride, because Wesley’s allergies have been giving him fits. Wesley took his guitar (of course–need I mention that?), and we led singing in some old favorite gospel songs as well as some of the new worship songs. It was wonderful to see these “old” friends, many of whom truly don’t seem to have aged at all in the last 27 years, and to be able to try to express to them how much we love them and how we will always cherish the many ways they cared for us while we were their parsonage family. I cried (of course–need I mention that?)
Our Singapore friends, the Goh’s, are moving to an apartment in Elizabeth House here on campus Friday, so we’re going to get out the pickup again and help. Then Friday afternoon we’re leaving for an overnight stop in northern KY before heading on up to Dayton, IN, for the lone Dayspring on our calendar this fall. This one is at the home church of our daughter-in-law, Holly. We’ve held two previous Daysprings there. When we were preparing to clear our calendar for this fall, Holly said, “Please? They love you there, and they’ve already started preparations!” What can we say? Seriously, we’re looking forward to this week in this wonderful, alive church. Our prayer, as always, is that God will use us for His glory, and that His purposes for this time will be accomplished.