May 07, 2011

Blessings & Balance

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  It was sunny and warm, even though those "in the know" predicted thunderstorms.  It was absolutely gorgeous and just perfect for a drive down through the Laurel Highlands to Markleysburg and the camp of the Allegheny Region Churches of God with my good friends Bennie and Christine.  Christine is also my pastor.

This weekend is the Region's yearly conference (business meetings) when all the pastors and representatives from each church gather to hear annual reports, share information, hear speakers from the national body, and build each other up.

Yesterday was the first time I've been back in at least 8 years, maybe even 9 or 10 years.  The last time I went I was the chairperson of the region's Youth & Family Life Commission.  By the following year we had left our church and any other Churches of God were too far away for us to attend so that ended my contact.

I have to admit I was nervous about going yesterday and seeing all those "old" faces.  I've always harbored the thought that at least some of them probably thought Tim and I bailed out in tough times and should have stuck it out.  I've thought that at times, but then I remind myself how emotionally shattered we were and I know we did the right thing for us at the time.

As it turned out, there weren't that many old faces there.  Oh, most of the pastors were the same, but there had been an almost complete changing of the guard among the lay leaders.  I didn't know them and they didn't know me.  We were only there for the afternoon sessions and the giving of annual licenses last evening (Christine's license was granted for another year), so we didn't have to sit through much in the way of boring business meetings.  Yea!  We were able to visit with others and enjoy the times of worship and the beautiful mountain setting of the camp.

The highlight of the day for me was getting to spend time with a couple that I got to know on the two mission trips I led for the national conference to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico and Arizona.  The couple were the missionaries out there for 13 years.  They are back in the area now and pastoring a church about an hour from here.  I can't tell you how tickled I am to find that out.

Anyway, it was a good day...full of blessings...and much to think about.


Now on to the writing challenge.

Day 5 prompt:  Something in life that gives you balance.

That's easy.  My faith in God and then, of course, all that comes with my Christian friends.  This was brought home to me last night on the drive home from church camp.

The Regional Director spoke at one point about how last year he sent everyone home with a lump of clay to remind them that God has to shape us into the vessel He wants.  This year he smashed a clay pot on the floor and held up one of the shards.  He was sending us home with a shard so we'd remember that sometimes God had to break us so he could rebuild us into something better.  And then he asked for anyone who felt like God was tugging on them to do something, but maybe they didn't quite know what or how to do it, to come up to the front and all the pastors were going to pray for them.  At first no one went, then someone got up and others followed.  I stayed rooted to my seat, bawling....not really knowing why this was affecting me so much.  I'd been crying since the pot smashed on the floor.

Later, talking to the missionary friends I mentioned above, the wife said something that shot through me like a lightening bolt.  She was talking about the move from New Mexico back to Pennsylvania and about how hard the transition was and she looked at me and said "You know, not one person reached out to us.  It was so hard and it would have meant so much if just one person had done that.  We're good churches, but we don't take care of our own."  That was soooo one of those times that God was sending me a clear message.

You see, ever since I've been back in the church I've had this niggling thought in the back of my mind that we need a ministry to help people who have been wounded by their fellow Christians.  I mentioned this incident and my feeling I should be doing something about it....though I have no idea on Earth what that might be....on the drive home.  My dear friends were quick to point out that they think I'm on the right track since they've heard me talk about the subject often.  I told them I was confused, had no idea what I could do.  They helped me focus and find a starting point.....pray and ask God to lead me to the wounded.  When I see that there is a true need then we can begin to figure out what to do, though they gave me some thoughts on that.

I don't know what I'd do without my friends to straighten me out because my head was spinning and felt about to explode until I talked with them.

1 comment:

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

It's hard to wait from direction from God, isn't it?


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