Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Showing up

You know what I hate?  When I mean to write something and I get sidetracked and then a few days pass and I have lost the momentum of the feeling and am now trying to recreate it.... so that is this post.

Last week I was meeting my girlfriend Traci for coffee.  Excited to see her and try a different little coffee place I set out.  I had been having this feeling....the one I get where I know I have been praying and asking God to show up, not necesarrily for me but just to show up.  I prayed this all the way over to meet her, and then when I saw her and we hugged and started chatting I kind of forgot about it.  We got our coffee and muffins and sat down in the front window to bask in the sun.  It's been so cold I didn't mind that the sun felt like it was scorching me.

Traci and the dear woman deep in talk
We were getting caught up and I was giving her every tidbit of my ridiculously fun getaway to South Carolina.  Once we were done reliving my days and nights I asked her how she had really the kids were, and I told her how the night previous I had watched Parenthood and how the son in the show who was autistic had an episode while away at a school function.  Traci has a son with Aspergers and it's not an easy road.  Family isn't always helpful, and as much as I try and be there for her and listen and help, I don't really know what she is going through.  She was telling me about a class trip she chaperoned, how he felt alienated and we both agreed kids are worse than adults and that it's just not fair that people treat him like that.  Suddenly a lady came over to her and bent down, she asked does your son have Aspergers?  Traci said yes, and he's only nine.  The woman indicated her son had it as well, he was now 24 and a graduate student in technical school.  She had overheard our conversation about his treatment by other kids and even teachers, she just looked at Traci and said, "I promise you, it gets better"  She pulled up a chair and they started talking, her son, as luck would have it had the same name as Traci's son and she as well had a younger daughter who was fiercely protective of her brother.

They spent the better part of the next hour chatting, I just listened because this woman was EXACTLY what Traci needed.  She spoke of the academic struggles they went through with teachers who punished her son when what he needed was specialized therapies.  How their family moved at one point for her husbands job and they found a fantastic program for kids with Aspergers but what was the most tremendous gift to Traci was that here was a woman who knew how she felt, had lived her struggles and no matter how many times I tell her it's going to be ok, this woman, could assure her better than I ever could.  She was a wealth of knowledge and hope, and she even talked to me about going back to college to finish up my degree.  

She apologized for monopolizing our time, but it was no bother at all.  When God does show up He knows exactly when you need him and leaving my friend that day her heart was less heavy and she had hope for the rest of the day.  To me it was an enlightening experience to just sit and listen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Micro can mean big...

Ministry.  That is a big word.  One I usually associate with a big group of people.  Or maybe to describe someone who leads a congregation.  Certainly not me.

What about Micro-ministry?  I first heard that word a few months ago. I was driving across the state by myself,  listening to a program that was talking about just that.  The woman was describing different people in her life who did things that may have not seemed like anything special..or even anything close to being considered a ministry however they touched many lives and in that instant the people were able to even just for a moment talk to them about God.  She talked about the cake lady who every day made at least one or two in the even that it was someones birthday, someone was in the hospital, someone was sick... or the gum lady who at church always has a purse full and the kids knew it and with the sticks she doled out she gave them snippets of love and Jesus.

I know people like this...

Mr. Barney...the man at church who drives bus and takes kids to our local roller rink for a Christian skate night, and tells them about Jesus.. That is his ministry

The woman I met at a craft show last fall....she had a beautiful hand painted purse and when I asked her about it she said she buys them at Goodwill and then paints them and when someone comments she gives it to them (presumably they are women) and she tells them that she loves them and so does God and prays with them.

The man at Mott (I assume he is a professor?) who twice now I have passed in the hall, sitting and talking to a student and have heard him say that God has plans for them, and do they attend church.

So what could my ministry be?  Do I have one?  Let's just say evangelism is not my strong suit.  I cannot imagine going up to someone and asking them if they know Jesus.  If someone asks me  What I can do?  There are people I know who know their calling, not just pastors but people who use their gifts in a way that exudes Jesus.  I really don't know if God has given me any signs or if he has I haven't heard him.  One thing I can do is invite people to my church.  I have done that for the past year, some have come once or twice, some are now regular attenders and some I am still working on.  I can find people in my life who I think need Jesus and encouragement and ask them to come with me.

The one other thing that I feel God has put in my heart is a missions trip.  At one time in my life the idea of traveling to another country to serve people who were not here in my own neighborhood, county or state seemed ludicrous to me,  Why would I need to help those in a foreign country when people here need help?  The more  I thought about it and the more exposure I had to people who had gone I realized that they are the ones who need our help more than people here.  More times than not their government gives them no assistance, no help.  What we do can make a huge impact on their lives.  So now I am feeling I need..,.I have to go somewhere.  Hopefully to Swaziland next year with my church.

So maybe I do have a version of a micro-ministry...a micro-micro ministry???