Monday, November 15, 2010

Ahhh Contentment ~ my journey as Scarlet O'Hara

I love the feeling that for one of the few times in my life I know that I am where God wants me to be and doing what He wants me to be doing..While I grew up in a pastor's home and have been in church my entire life and even went to a Christian college, I feel closer to God at this point in my life than any other that I can remember. There is something to be said about God putting us in our lowest place to bring us closer to him. I have been reflecting a lot the past few days on the last 2 years. I have spent a lot of those 2 years complaining and questioning God as to why my life ended up in the place I found myself. At times it was just so hard to grasp how I came to be in my late 30's, single, living with my parents with no job, no friends - -nothing but a bedroom. I just couldn't, no matter how hard I tried, fathom how it would end or even grasp the concept that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. When I 1st lost my job and we moved, I was excited because I thought I would end up spending a lot of time with my cousin, Kathy. But then I found out just the opposite was true. I started going to FBC Bushnell on Sundays. On my 1st Sunday there I noticed this youth guy who I figured was single. He was cute but I of course never approached him. I went to church once in a while but not on a regular basis. I spent a lot of time on the internet playing games or on online dating sites...I did meet a couple of guys - one reconciled with an exfiancee and they are now married, the other one and I are just friends but God did use me to help him during his time of divorce. I participated in all the free eharmony weekends...In October 2009 on one of these weekends I was matched up with a guy from Bushnell who is my age and a youth minister, let's just call him Rhett Butler...I thought that he may have been the student minister at FBC Bushnell but wasn't sure....Anyhoo, I got off internet dating after the free weekend and never heard from him (little did I know he didn't even read his matches) The Sunday before Thanksgiving we went to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and ended up joining a couple of weeks later. The pastor is single and young and I became attracted, we'll call him Ashley Wilkes. He kept talking about his friend at the Christian Bookstore in town that I had never met and so finally just to shut him up I went in. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the guy from 1st Baptist...We chatted for a while after I told him what church I went to and then I asked him was he on eharmony and lo and behold it had been him I was matched up with. We became friends on facebook and I would go into the store whenever just to chat or to get cds. I always felt bad that I was taking up his time or keeping him from his work and while I was very attracted to him, I had this stupid crush thing on the pastor, and Rhett knew it. So, for months I convinced myself that Ashley was wonderful and possibly THE one....I laughed at all his jokes and I just thought he was it! Then I woke up and realized that no he wasn't. I think my heart realized it a lonnnggg time before my head did. My main problem with him is he always says such mean spirited, almost evil things about Rhett behind his back and I never knew if that was because he was trying to be funny or he really was interested in me and he didn't want me and Rhett to get together or he was selfishly trying to keep me at the church. [Rhett went to a different one] So, it finally got to the point where I had had it and I stopped laughing at his stupidity and he has started noticing. Anyhoo, Rhett got in a place where he needed some help and me being without a job volunteered. That was 3 wks ago and I realized this past week how God has been orchestrating things. In his infinite awesomeness God knew 2 yrs ago that Rhett would be needing me now. And all the twists and turns have brought me to this place. All the ?'s about why haven't I found a job yet are answered with because God knew that he would need me. It is so heart warming being in the store with him.. It is so peaceful and whether we are talking or helping customers or just sitting here waiting on someone to come by or working on returns or an order I know that this is the place where God would have me serve him at this point in my life and there is no other place I would rather be. Would I like our partnership to have a more permanent basis - -yes but I am waiting on God for that. He brought me this far I know he will continue the journey...a journey that may have to take different paths than I ever thought and may lead Rhett & I to places of service we never thought we would be but if those places bring the same sense of contentment and peace that I have about serving God thru helping in the store then I welcome them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Serving under Fire!

Why do you serve the Lord? Why do you get up every Sunday morning when millions of others are still in bed and do what you do? For me it is breath and it is life to be in service to the Lord. I was raised knowing the importance of service in my local church. The importance of offering all that I am & all that I have at my disposal to God in regular service for the sake of worship and for the furtherance of his kingdom. But lately through nothing that I can see that I have done my service has come under attack and I feel that I must walk on eggshells at church. I am not allowed the opportunity to go to church to worship and to be renewed. How can I do what God has called me and equipped me to do when I am in constant fear of being admonished? I am at a cross roads in ministry and at a point where I am conflicted by what to do. Do I resign and find another church or do I stick it out for the sake of the choir yet not be fed or worship myself? I am at the point to where I hate for the pastor to say he has to talk to me or to email me or to call me because I know that I am going to be reprimanded for something. I have been told where I can and can't sit during services because I am distracting when I get up for the invitation. This is so stupid because I am sitting where countless other worship leaders I have know in my life have sat in their respective churches. I have asked several times for a key but have been told he doesn't trust me with a key or that he wants me to have to depend on him for a key yet Russ leaves me alone at his store with $$$ in the register to run it and completely trusts me. I have had church keys for years at churches I was just a member of much bigger than this one. I even had a key to a church in Alabama that I just worked part-time in the daycare at. Yet the church I am a member of, worship leader of, and serve at won't let me have one. The last music person had one and oh wait he was also paid. I don't mind not being paid because I am of the conviction that if I am in a position in my home church I shouldn't expect to be paid to serve. However, I should receive the respect that someone in the position who is paid gets. I mean I do all the work the former music people did so it would be nice to be respected. I get reprimanded for standing up for myself when people complain about the music and the pianist yet when others attack me for the same thing my own pastor sits there and doesn't stand up for me and those on my committee the music committee stand there and throw me under the bus. I am tired of leaving church in tears. I am tired of trying to make our worship experience meaningful and exciting and wonderful for everyone only to have it constantly backfire on me. I never wanted this job to begin with. All I have ever wanted to do is play the piano at church and sing a solo now and then. Yet I was raised to know that if there is a ministry need at church and I have the talents, skills, education, whatever to meet that need then I should and that is what I have been trying to do. The sad thing is Philip has no clue what a mess things are in and how unkosher things are at the church. The church has no idea what they are doing as far as setting themselves up for a mess. They are content because they are not asked to do much and know that if they don't do things they'll get done anyway because the pastor and his parents will do them. This is such a bad situation for all parties because #1 the church members are not learning how to serve and do the various things in the church so if they ever need to they will not have the ability to do so. Secondly, he will not be the pastor here forever and he is creating a huge mess for the next pastor(s) to have to deal with. Third, there are many just problematic situations taking place...a)the pastor and one or both of his parents are on EVERY committee of the church, they do all the purchasing for the church, he handles the bulletins each week, b) the church treasurer does not attend church on Sunday mornings because they work at a flea market and then she leaves for several months in the summer to go back up north & on Wednesday nights she stays in the office and works on the treasurer stuff so she is only in 1 service a week, c) a lot of people are joining the church but never walk the aisle to do so...he just talks to them and then at the end of the service he mentions them but then there is no follow up or discipleship of them. I have seen situations like this before in 2 other churches - @ Eastside Baptist where the pastor and his father-in-law could sign a check together and @ Gibsonia where there was a lot of questionable activity going on with the pastor and it breaks my heart to see it again. The church members are great and I love them but I fear the church is going to die with out changes. We are not reaching younger people and I wonder if they really want to. Lord, show me what to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1