Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Me and You Alone God...

"You hold my every moment, You calm my raging sea, You walk with me through fire, and heal all my disease. I trust in You. I trust in You. I believe You're my Healer. I believe You are all I need. I believe You are more than enough for me. Jesus You're all I need." These words to a new song called "Healer" have been ringing in my ears for months now. Today, I heard it over and over again and just couldn't get enough of it.

I might get in trouble for sharing what's really on my heart. However, I want the reader to understand, that in ministry, none of us are perfect. I know you may know that, but honestly, what are some people's mentality? They put us up on a pedestal where we don't belong. I feel like I'm in an AA meeting where I have to say, "Hi, my name is Mary Katherine, I am a worship leader, and I have struggles." Who would have thought?

You think about David and his Psalms. What did the Psalmist do? He poured His heart out to God regarding his struggles. Yes, I like to write funny stories, have a good time, and love to laugh yet, there are difficult things I battle with deep inside me too that not many people see.

Not that I am going to share every struggle to this public audience no matter who you are and how close you are to me, but I would like to put away this lie that people in ministry have it all together. Let's just be honest...we don't! I said it! Sometimes, there are relationship problems regarding people you came to minister to in a city close to 7 years ago where you had no idea who these people were and how important they would be in your life.

You find yourself connecting with different people at so many different levels. Some people will connect to you in an intimate way more than others. Over the years, God changes your life through these people and the trials you face with them. People will come and people will go.

There are also some days, where it's hard to smile when you really don't feel like it. Yet, there are some days, you just gotta suck it up and trust God. In leadership, you don't have the luxury to just give up.

It's like a race. You fall, you get skinned up, and get back up. You have to be reminded that you are still in the race and it's not over yet. For most leaders in ministry, this pattern continues in seasons over and over again. Some people give up and just walk away. Others stick it out until the end. My hope is that I will be faithful till the end, but there are some who don't make it.

Recently, I have just been struggling. Battles have been coming my way and sometimes, they just seem too overwhelming. I have also realized that this journey of struggle has to be with me and God. At times, I seem to be fighting it though wanting people to understand and walk through the fire with me. It seems too much to face to go it alone and let Him into the deepest part of the pain in my heart. Yet, some journeys have to be with just you and Him. Some people call this a "Wilderness Experience." I don't know if you can relate.

In the wilderness, even day to day things, if I let the circumstances get to me, can become too much to handle. Sometimes I even think, "A break down is coming soon, I just know it!" Then, out of nowhere, there is another reminder of who I am and who He is in me and I end up surviving the trial. I even get the picture that my favorite Coach and Father is there to help me finish this race.

It's an image where I have fallen on my face flat to the asphault and then, God reaches for my hand. I barely grasp it, and He pulls me up. Except, He doesn't just pick me up, He holds my arm and runs with me! It's powerful to me and He always seems to show this picture at the perfect time just when I feel like I'm about to give up.

This is a race where there will be trials, there will be struggles, but we are gonna make it. We may even feel alone, but He is with us. One day, the words: "We shall overcome" will ring through our streets, in our homes, and we will actually believe it. We just have to keep our eyes fixed on the prize of the greatest man who ever lived and keep pressing onward. If we are in Jesus, we are more than conquerors...that's a promise.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Maybe This World Does Not Revolve Around Me...

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong? Take, for example, yesterday? So I was in the Publix grocery store getting some lunch during my lunch break thinking about my day, the tasks that needed to be done, and how I had to get back soon to make sure this and that and this and that got accomplished (you know the drill).

As I was walking out of the store, I noticed that the sky looked quite ominous and thought to myself, "I would hate to get stuck in this storm." I finally got to my car right before the floodgates of Heaven were unleashed, stuck my keys in the ignition, turned it, and you guessed it, it didn't turn on! Now that put a "damper" on my day, no pun intended.

What you may not know is this was not the first, not the second, but the THIRD time in a matter of 3 months that my car had been acting up. I was thinking,
"When it rains, it pours." I was also thinking, "What the heck? I just got a new starter!" Fortunately, I had some very good friends to help me with my pickle of a situation.

I was quickly rescued but I needed to figure out what to do in the mean time. "Should I call Triple A, get someone to help bang on the starter, or jump start the car?" You know those thoughts that run through your head in times of car troubles.

When I finally arrived back at the church and called Triple A, I was quite distraught and very frustrated that this was the 3rd time happening to me. I was thinking, "God, of ALL the times that this could be happening, why now? Woe is me, woe is me!"

Let's have a really good pity party shall we? You can provide the cheese to go with my wonderful whining and dining! Yes, I was feeling very sorry for myself, when all of a sudden, a man and his wife were standing right in front of me looking as if they were REALLY needing help.

A few moments later, after I got out of my narcissistic cloud, I realized that they were homeless and needed a place to stay for themelves and their 2 children who had been living in their van for 8 weeks. The children were about to be taken from them because of their circumstance. The husband had a brain tumor, was on dialysis, and their house burned down in an electrical fire. Now, how much of the story was actually true, I don't know.

However, he had all of the proof that his situation was real and very serious. He even had medical documents and proof that his children were in their van. I talked with them for quite awhile and I couldn't help but have compassion on them. Especially the man who was longing to provide for his family but couldn't. As he began to cry, tears started welling up in my own eyes. One of the statements I will always remember him saying was: "We're just so tired."

I thought, "What do I know about hardship or being tired?" My problems just didn't compare to this difficult circumstance. We did as much as we could to help them and they went about their way. They did come to church that night, which I was so glad to see. However, I couldn't stop thinking about them. What was going to happen to their family? Would their children be okay?

Their faces were etched in my memory for life. What else could I have done for them? I didn't want to put a bandage on the wound, but I wanted to solve the problem. Could I have done more than just pray for them? There had to be more and there had to be an answer.

Anyway, it was just a moment in life where I took a good look at my own heart to see that my simple little trials that I have been facing could be so much worse. I should be thankful for all that God has given me. If I would just take the focus off of myself for a minute, what could I do? Could I let His Light shine instead of living a life of introspection? The Spirit of the living God lives within me. All I have to do is let Him out, and let Him have His way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Simple Things of Life...

Well, they are just more fun! You know the simple things in life. Tonight, I just hung out with 3 little girls, a mom, her baby, and a good friend. I had so much fun! I got sucked into playing a card game known as "Phase 10" and while I usually don't like playing games, I quite enjoyed this game! I couldn't believe myself! I got so competitive with a 7 and a 9 year old! I honestly couldn't believe my own behavior.

Anyway, driving home tonight, I realized that the late night hanging out till 3:00 in the morning with "singles" my age or the 20 somethings never really has appealed to me. You know the big groups of people where you hang out till hours and hours in the late night?

My generation usually is known for this, but I just can't do it! Just give me a few people who I am really close to and give me a few hours of eating and chilling out. As long as I can get to bed by 11:00 p.m., it's way more attractive. I don't know if it's my age or if it's just how I'm wired, but I tend to gravitate to all the married people and their families. Oh well, to each his own...

A Little Randomness is Good for the Soul...

So I've discovered a little getaway I like to go to on Thursdays that helps keep me sane. It's so quiet and tranquil. Today, I found myself sitting in the pool by myself just staring at the lake. Only two other people were there which was nice. One man was just reading his book keeping to himself and an older Jewish lady was taking a nap. Now, the atmosphere reminded me of a Seventies South Florida style of architecture. Most of you who live here know what I am talking about. I really like this place because usually, the only people who live there are older people who are retired and enjoy resting a lot! It motivates me to do the same!

Anyway, I was just staring at the lake contemplating the next chapter of life to write about as I usually do when I'm alone. All of a sudden from one of the homes nearby came the sound of old, bluegrass, country music that sounded what I think to be Hank Williams? No, not Hank Williams, Jr.
, Hank Williams. THE Hank Williams. Yeah, it was pretty classic country music. Now, I am thinking to myself, "Whoah, I love this stuff! I haven't heard this music in awhile!" Then I continued sitting there for a few minutes checking to see if anyone was hearing what I was hearing.

No one seemed to notice, so I just sat there, and smiled! I was laughing to myself actually. I thought, "Who listens to this stuff down here?" I felt taken back to the days in Alabama where that kind of music is usually common in most backyards or on trips to the lake, however, I felt like it was really out of place! As random as it was, I wanted to ta
ke in the moment as much as I could.

Have you ever done that? Wished you had a video camera to record the odd events in life so you could forever remember them? In addition to all of the music in the atmosphere serenading us as we laid out by the pool, I felt like I was in another decade but not quite sure if it was the 50's, 60's, or 70's. Perhaps, my bathing suit didn't help much as I was wearing a bright pink suit that looked like something Audrey Hepburn would have worn. Did I mention it had polka dots? I must admit,
I did feel a little awkward.

Of course, this was not my bathing suit, but due to my forgetfulness, I had to borrow it from a friend who will remain anonymous. Not the first choice for me, but for her, yeah, of course. Anyway, I am losing my direction of thoughts! Oh, yes, so all that to say it was quite an odd day. This moment in history ended with me walking out to a little ditty from Toby Keith called "How Do You Like Me Now
." Which, by the way, was classic if you know anything about this song. If you don't, I do, and that's all that matters in this particular circumstance and regarding my life at the moment. It was just funny and almost like a movie.

In closing, my goal of having a a good dose of relaxation and tranquility for the day was accomplished. I recommend it to anyone, but don't just soak up the sun, soak in the moment.

The end.