This week in our on-line gap Bible Study, we are studying Mary Magdalene who followed Jesus, ministering to Him from her own resources. Jesus has taught us that whatever we do to even the least, we are doing for Him and His glory. One of our suggested topics this week was to write about how we give back to ministry in our homes, churches, communities, online, etc and what gifts we feel God has given us to use for His kingdom and if we feel a tugging to step out of our comfort zones and say yes to something more.
I loved this topic this week because for me after working for years and years, trying to always keep my Christian perspective and watching people
For many, many years I have felt God nudging me to lead women but my pride, or lack of it, kept pulling me back. Not me, not me it’s too hard. I dabbled with it – took women around the state and even out of state to Beth Moore conferences or weekend retreats where she would be one of the speakers – let her speak, not me – I am not qualified. I bought some CDs and had women over to the house for women’s lunches/brunches and played the CDs – not me – I cannot teach.
Almost two years ago I I said Yes to my Lord and retired. I know it was a word from Him because normally I would have given a year’s notice for a hard to fill job, but early one November He whispered to me and I listened and I retired just a little over a month later because I felt my Mom needed me.
A few months later I wanted to join a Bible study and those at church were in the evening so I surfed and God led me to Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies. My first was “I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer”. I had joined the OBS and was awe-stricken with so much honor and respect for these ladies at Proverbs 31 and Melissa Taylor’s on-line Bible study. If only I could be like them – just a little like them would be nice. I wanted to be a Proverbs 31 Lady but thought to myself – who me? Never. I continued through the study, and sometime near the end I was asked about being a leader. Wow I don’t think I have been that happy since my children were born, but I was afraid. How in the world would I lead women? I certainly am not qualified. I said I’ll pray about it and let you know. I prayed for a few days and talked to my family who all were thrilled, and encouraged me, and eventually God spoke to me and I dove in and I said YES!
I am so glad I said Yes humbling myself by giving up that pride of thinking I couldn’t teach so that He could become greater through me. I know now without Him I can not do it alone. I know when I am leading I may only be an audience of one. I learned through that experience that God can and will enable the unequipped if we will exalt Him and let Him do it through us.
As I grew more and more through those studies walking along beside some very precious women of God, I began to choose my one word for 2013. God placed on my heart my “one word” for this year – not a New Year’s resolution but one word and that word was Less as I reflected on being less of me and more of Him. At that time we were int he study, Greater and just a few days later I read God’s confirmation of my one word – “Jesus must become greater: I must become less.”
I see Mary Magdalene a lot like that and a wonderful role model for all of us. I’ve looked at the Proverbs 31 Lady and wanted to be like her, but as we studied Mary this week, I think she is another good example of a woman to desire to be more like. Christa Hutchins shared today that to her “the hallmark of Mary Magdalene was her capacity to love by supporting His ministry, serving Him, standing by Him through the toughest times, refusing to abandon even to the bitter end, and ministering to Him even after His death”. I had to pause to think about that. Am I there yet? NO I am not. Am I loving others through serving Him, standing up for them in good times and bad? I do know that God has brought me further the last two years of my life than ever before and I believe it is because I want to serve Him.
Last September 2012, I took a second plunge in saying “YES”. One I was also very scared and timid to do, but again I felt God nudging me to go out and minister to my immediate community. We had lived here for many years but had attended church and a Christian school and our jobs all 45 minutes away. We really only knew our immediate neighbors and I just felt God calling me to get out and serve Him here. I decided I would substitute teach, meet new women and children at school and be a light – so off I went to train where I listened as they begged for teachers to work with the “special needs” children. I sit there and said no way, Jose’ could I do that. I’ll stick with reading, writing and arithmetic A few weeks later the automated phone call came for my first teaching job. Excited I left and called my husband on the way to school. I said I hope it is not a math class. I walked into the school office and they said you are in CBI today. My heart SUNK! I wanted to CRY! What could I say? I wanted to RUN out – forget about ministering to my community. But with God I said “YES” and I walked down that hall and walked in that class and my life was forever changed.
Have you ever worked with a “special needs” child? I came home that day wanting to cry because of my stinking thinking. I was so humbled, so over-joyed and exhausted. Last year and most of this one so far I have been in “special needs”. I love those teachers and those kids and I do cry – cry for joy that God chose me to work with them. Humbled each time I watch one of them learn something new and it stick. Every time I teach a simple color or number or something in our PE or computer class or get a child to eat with a spoon, or throw a ball, play a game, work a puzzle, I am thrilled – absolutely thrilled – that my God would take someone like me to help a child grow in Him. And I am thrilled that He knew that Colt, my grandson would need some special needs this year. God planted me early to grow and be prepared for this season of my life.
As Pastor Furtick said last year in our study of Greater, “The only path to greater heights in the things of God is to get lower. The lower you get, the higher God can take you”. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. Less of me, MORE of Him. My one word. LESS!
As I have studied about Mary this week and her obedience, I wonder where God is calling me next. I wonder if I can have that same obedience like Mary in Luke 23 who rested on the Sabbath in obedience with the commandments. At that moment she was mourning, confused, and angry at what had happened to Jesus. Do we find ourselves obedient during these times? I find that sometimes I DO NOT trust God when it does not make sense. Sometimes my obedience is delayed – I usually come around but not like Mary did. In Luke 23:55-56 …… we are called to take advantage of the opportunities given us, doing what we can do and not worrying about what we cannot do. Are we missing moments with the Lord because we are worrying about what we cannot do? How many moments did I miss for so many years thinking I could not lead/teach women.
In Mark 16:1 it read “Amongst all the overwhelming problems and obstacles, the women faced them and went on out with love, and gratitude for Jesus and leaving the big obstacles to God.” What are my obstacles in the coming year? I am not sure, but God knows. This year it was losing Mom and then having our precious grandson born with a horrible skin disease called EB. Was God preparing me for these obstacles? I have no doubt. He placed me with some precious women to love on me and He placed me with some beautiful children to teach me. Moving on to 2014 with love and gratitude and preparing for what is ahead. Some of what is ahead I know and that is ministering to my daughter-in-law as I help her with her home and Colt in the coming weeks, subbing in other areas (this week a lab and it was frightening because it was ALL subjects and we do not know who is coming in next) but I did it and last week I looked in our church bulletin an opening for a women’s director – just for a moment I paused – but I know without a doubt I am where God wants me today – ministering at school and to my family and my OBS ladies.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be more like Mary Magdalene. Mary said in John 20:18 “I have seen the Lord!” Have you seen the Lord? Are you missing moments with Him?