Where HE Leads

When the Storms Come

   It has been 2 years and 3 months since I gave my life to Christ.  2 years since I began as Worship Leader at my church. 9 months since I was voted Church Secretary.  3 months since I started teaching Sunday School. 6 weeks since I started leading a  kids program on Wednesday nights.  4 weeks since I wanted to quit it all and never step foot into a church again.
   I may have mentioned before that I am one of those all or nothing people. I give all I have, to the point of burning myself out. Which is exactly what happened. The first few months that I led the Praise and Worship at my church were bitter sweet. I was/am terrified to stand up in front of people and talk. So it was difficult for me to be up on stage, all alone, everybody looking at me, then try to open my mouth and sing... I was a bundle of nerves every single week, but as soon as I stepped off the platform and back to my pew, I was exhilarated. I knew that I was doing what I was supposed to.. and I wasn't the first person with stage fright that God had called to stand up front. After several months, maybe nearly a year I asked the pastor if  I could bring a few other singers on board to form a Praise Team. It was so awesome. Having the ladies stand with me up there and sing eased a lot of the nerves, and I loved every minute of it.

   Ministry isn't for the half-hearted.  Some members of the worship team  were constantly not showing up. Sometimes they would call (Usually after practice had started) and let me know they were sick, or tired from work. Sometimes I found out that that the reasons weren't true and I guess I started to resent that they didn't seem to be as committed as I was.  And it made me so angry, because I was driving 45 minutes one way to be there, on the only day I didn't have work to do. I felt like they didn't think my time was as important as theirs, my family wasn't as important as theirs, even that my job wasn't as important as theirs ( because I work from home ) If anyone had the right to complain about being tired, or not having enough time, surely it should have been me. I have 5 children, who I home-school for 6 hours a day. On top of a full time job which ties me to my desk 7 hours a day.  I have a house to clean, meals to prepare, groceries to buy, just like everybody else. PLUS, I have an hour and a half commute round trip just to get to church and back home.   I had to be the first one there to get everything ready, and the last one to leave to lock up the church.  This easily took 8 hours a day on Saturdays. My husband and I decided to start staying in a hotel close to the church on Saturday nights so that we weren't  trying to bathe and feed the kids dinner at 9 o'clock.  So now it is not only costing all of my free time, but about 600 dollars a month to lead this Worship Team.

   I tried to put all of the negativity,  feelings of  resentment, hurt and "It's not fair!!!!" behind me. I tried to just focus on me and my relationship with God, and what I was called to do. Then the bottom just fell out. My feelings got so hurt because some things had been said, some directly to me, and some to others, which had gotten back to me. I felt betrayed, I felt attacked, I felt alone. The thought of facing it was unbearable. Having to sit in the same room with people that I thought loved me as a sister in Christ, people that had lashed out and wouldn't even pull me aside and tell me what I had done to offend them.  I did something that the old me would have done.. when it gets hard, just quit.  I resigned as Worship Leader, completely stepped back from the Praise Team and honestly never wanted to walk into that church again.

   The fall out happened right before Christmas, I spent New Years with my family, I confided in my parents and sister ( Who also attend the same church ), and told them that I was ready to move on, that I didn't feel the slightest desire to put anymore time or effort into what was turning out to be the source of  frustration, hurt, as well as blood pressure and ulcer problems.  While my family did encourage me to focus on God, and the real reason I was at the church, and not to let anyone veer me off of that course,  I did feel like they would go with me if I left.

   Then I started realizing exactly what was happening. The enemy was using this to ensure that our little church wouldn't accomplish our mission: “To be a fellowship of maturing Christians worshiping God as we minister to others while reaching out to bring all people into life changing relationships with Christ.” The devil wanted me to get hurt and leave, and take half of the board members, the treasurer, Sunday School teacher, Sunday Evening Leader, Men's leader, Women's Leader and new Children's leaders with me, along with most likely more than half of the church's income.  I don't know what is scarier to me, the fact that I almost did it, or that I allowed the way someone else treated me to define the way I felt about my calling.  If the enemy can cause tension and hurt feelings within a body of believers, they are not as likely to keep their focus on God, they are going to start talking  about each other, resenting each other, and avoiding each other.

   It was no coincidence that I picked up a devotional at church Sunday that I never read, I had a gut feeling that I should just pick it up. I got home and laid it on the coffee table and did not think about it again until the next morning, when I opened the little book to that day's page and read this.

Make It Go Away James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (James 1:2—3)

 MY STOMACH FEELS like there is a boy  scout inside practicing his knot techniques to earn his next badge. My husband and I have experienced recent changes in our church. The changes will cause a shift in some of the close relationships we've built over the past five years. We don't know if we will go along with the new changes or seek new areas to serve. The changes involve confrontation, uncomfortable social situations, and the risk of being misunderstood all of which make me want to run into my closet and never come out.
At times like this, I pray and ask God to make it all better, "Lord, could You smooth this over? Could You make it go away? Can You make me comfortable again?" Then I realize that I should be thanking Him instead of asking to be delivered from this trial. Trials are what He uses to grow our faith and develop us into mature Christians, rather than baby Christians.
God is capable of delivering us from our trials and making our lives storm free. But if He did, we would never experience His mighty power. We would never know what true faith is. We would never know what it's like to persevere and see Him come through for us. Worst of all, our lives would point to our glory instead of His.

Teri Palmer

You can read more from this little book here Light from the Word

   I am still hurting and frustrated, but I am following some wise advice; Pray that God will heal my heart and attitude and pray for those who hurt me. Pray that God will bless them, pray that they would be drawn nearer to Him and that our relationships with each other would be restored.

   So where do I go from here, what is next? I am sticking it out, trusting that my God knows what He is doing, believing that there is good to come of this trial. While I will not be returning to the Praise Team, other ministries have presented themselves to me. I intend to pour myself into this new area of ministry in the same way that I did with the Worship.  This time I am committed to keeping my focus on God, and what He thinks about me.

You may enjoy a song I have come to love in the last several weeks

God Bless <3