A few months ago James started "slugging" (army crawling). At that point my life-with-four-children-ages-six-and-under kicked into a whole new gear. Now they are all mobile and at least half of them are awake from 5am until 8pm. I have not found any time to keep a blog. Or respond to email. Or eat breakfast.
I have desperately tried to maintain some semblance of a prayer life, though only in bits and snatches many days. One of the recurring topics between the Lord and I has been that idea about single mothers. I'd really come to a place of almost perfect certainty that not only was He calling for action on it, but that He was calling for action right now. So I tried. I made phone calls and had meetings. The response was great. Things were moving. I was....nervous. Overwhelmed. Stressed. Unsure. Not quite at peace. For me, that's never really a great sign. The Lord speaks to me in peace. That's the only voice I recognize as His. So I had to hit the pause button and pray through it all again.
What I finally came to realize was that the "Servants of Dignity" was a great idea. It was needed. It was an inspiration from God. And it was not my project. At least not any more.
I think He wanted me simply to write about it and communicate it to someone else. I don't think He meant for me to go further with it than that. I felt a teeny bit sad about that - and a LOT relieved.
Recently I read my daughters a children's book by Max Lucado, Your Special Gift. (The book is not nearly as touchy-feely as the title.....) In a series of colorful pages some trippy little puppets try to help a poor family get through hard times, but each puppet tries to meet the need that seems most pressing, rather than trying to meet the need that he or she is best equipped to meet. For example, the town baker tries to fix the family's broken vehicle, instead of supplying them with food. The theme of the book is "use your best gift most".
Starting up a ministry is not my best gift. I wouldn't have a clue what I was doing. I have a huge place in my heart for the unborn and for women in/after crisis pregnancies....but I have absolutely no practical experience in helping either other than offering prayer and material goods.
After praying about my real gifts, I concluded that one of the most fruitful ways I have served the Lord is through close interpersonal ministry with youth, particularly high school and college-aged girls. That area was my first love and it has been the stuff of every job and ministry in which I've been involved for the past thirteen years. I had literally no sooner finished discerning this "refocusing" of my energies when I was asked (out of the blue) to be involved with the youth ministry program at my parish. Specifically, I've been invited to get involved with the girls' group. He astonishes me.
In short, Jesus has redirected me to the common denominator of all of what I have loved best over the past thirteen years, whether leading retreats for all-girls high schools, teaching theology in an all-girls high school, or running my beloved "girls group" in New Zealand. Ministry To Girls. That's my best gift. I'm supposed to use it most.
But there was one other little reminder He whispered in my ear. He hinted that I should get back to writing. I tried to offer Him some fantastic excuses: my four boisterous children, my tutoring, the demands of homeschooling my daughters, the frequent shame and embarrassment I feel when rereading (or just remembering) things I've written for public consumption, and so forth. But over and again He presses into my heart that Christians are losing this culture largely because of the victories hell is winning in the written word. The culture of death (and of darkness, despair and depravity) thrives and grows almost solely off the written word: because of the books written, political speeches made, songs sung, movie scripts brought to life, news stories reported - all of these avenues are essentially the same: ideas put into words so as to shape hearts, thoughts and behavior. By the written word this culture is slipping fast from our fingers and by the written word only shall we reclaim it. The Word redeemed the world and our words must fight alongside His. We pray desperately in the face of this cultural free fall and He responds by inspiring ordinary people to ordinary actions. No matter how pathetic and awkward our efforts, He's asking each of us to contribute our humble gift to the battle. It's a battle for the dignity of every single human person. God, help us.
Jesus, I trust in You!