Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wal-Mart and Ministry

Day 4
Last week, on the day I had committed to doing this crazy write-for-31-days-thing,  our weekly bible study met. We had begun Beth Moore’s Children of the Day over 1 and 2 Thessalonians the week before and we were about to settle into watching the Session 2 video. As I said yesterday, I again felt an overwhelming urge to speak that couldn’t be pushed away. I told the ladies gathered each of them was meant to be there to hear whatever message Beth was bringing us this night and that every tiny thing we do during our day and night is purposed by God. I didn’t go into specifics about how I knew this to be true right then, but I wanted them to know it. I also told them I had decided to start a new blog and it involved them somehow. I didn’t know specifics, but I needed them to know it.
So I settle into the carpet next to a gigantic pile of legos and the video begins. It just so happened Beth began talking about our ministry. When I say “our ministry” I’m talking to you, reader of this blog post. One of the main a-ha’s I’ve discovered for myself is that I thought a “ministry” had to be official. It needed a stage and a microphone, or a book deal. God’s been trying to redefine this for me for YEARS now and I stubbornly shooed His promptings away. 

For instance, one of the most powerful Living Proof Live’s our group of girls went to in Little Rock a few years ago was themed “Fulfill Your Ministry.” Beth and her crew even turned it into its own stand-alone mini-study you can buy! It was amazing, I learned a ton, but I kept pushing away the whisper that would say things like, “Stop your teaching job and let’s do this new thing,” or “Clear your schedule so we will have time” you get the drift. It took about two years later for someone to tell me out loud something similar.

You know how someone might say, “I’m not one to name drop,” and then the person name drops? Yeah, that’s me right now. Bear with me, please.

So last year a sweet, well-meaning friend in charge of seating arrangements for the annual Loving Choices banquet tells me, as I’m big and pregnant, “We didn’t have room for you at our table so I knew you wouldn’t care and I placed you at the “head” table where we had some open seats.” Sure, I didn’t care, but I didn’t know I’d be sitting next to the (at the time) CEO of Wal-Mart Mike Duke and his wife. What in the world would we talk about? The salad dressing?? As we made our introductions, the key note speaker,was sipping on hot tea because of a sore throat. I remember watching her and wondering how she was going to speak in front of the crowd of around 1000 people. We chatted about our families for a few minutes and then she went up on stage and never let on that her throat was sore and told her amazing story without a hint of stage fright. The story was amazing. Her mother went through with an abortion while pregnant with her and a few weeks later realized she was still pregnant! It was then too late to abort and this speaker lady was supposed to have tons of health problems from the attempt, but instead she was perfectly healthy and she has gone on to become an international speaker!

Wow, off topic…okay so now back to Mike. (No, we aren’t on a first name basis, I’m just pretending.) So it’s obvious to everyone I’m pregnant at the time and it’s such a God-amazing-story of how sweet Ethan came to be and much more interesting than talking about the salad dressing, I decide to  share a small version of my story of beauty from ashes. Mike tells me I should share my story with others and I tell him I do when I can, but I’m so nervous to be in front of groups of people. He says, “You may be meant to be speaking one on one or in small groups of people. You can make as big an impact that way as well. Please pass the ranch.” Okay, maybe he didn’t ask for the ranch, but what he did do was make me rethink the pressing feelings I was having about sharing my story. Each of our stories are worth telling because they are written by God after all, we just need the confidence to sip our tea and SPEAK. He planted a seed by that comment he made that I’m sure he doesn’t remember making. I then asked about him and he mentioned he’s usually in China during the banquet each year and was thrilled to be there that night. Can you imagine? :)

So it’s been a year since that conversation and since then I started embracing what he meant. I am MUCH more comfortable sharing with people in a smaller setting, getting to know the people I’m talking with, and using our relationship as the catalyst for explaining how amazing Jesus is…but what’s so AMAZING is He has been equipping me all along to show others how they…YOU…have your own ministry. It doesn’t have to have its own twitter account to be called a “ministry.” Many of you are ministering daily to little ones running around your ankles as you read this! Others of you minister as you give an encouraging word to the check-out lady at Wal-mart. (Always back to Wal-mart, right? This is Northwest Arkansas after all…)

All of this to say that in the video we watched that night it confirmed completely what God had been telling me for years,  it’s time for a NEW thing. Quit using excuses: “I’m not eloquent enough.” “I need to learn more of the bible first.” “I don’t have it all figured out so how I can help anyone?” It’s time to quit letting fear and insecurity intimidate us into staying quiet about our own stories written by God. It’s time to start sharing with others. God is showing us our ministry is all around us right now. I'm still waiting on God to show us how this new thing He's doing will come together, but I know it involves any of you that are feeling a similar tug of spreading the love of God in our community. Some of you are saying, that means me? 
Yes, it does sweet sister loved by God; we are in this race together! Tie up your laces!

Ps The annual fundraising banquet for Loving Choices is next month, November 11, 2014, and the speaker is Pam Tebow! It’s always an inspirational event and there is food. : )  Click here for more information

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