But then I look at my garden and the chalky red clay that is everywhere else in the yard. And I look at the gorgeous blooms the hollyhocks are starting to shoot forth, and the little basil seedlings that are popping up everywhere, and think of the handfuls of strawberries and bowl fulls of peas I'm bringing in each evening. And if God can make a garden in this washed out, nutrient deprived soil then He can use this burnt out, tired old church to do some good in this community as well. But it took a lot of Miracle Grow and compost and supplemental bags of soil from Lowes to make it suitable for plants! Which has made me think a lot and pray a lot about what kind of Miracle Grow God is going to put into this church. We need something. At this point I don't even know what to pray for.
But I realized watching the PBS special that
1. At first I was jealous of the director of that ministry. He gets to write and direct plays, has a Ph.D in drama (Whaaaaaat? Dude if I ever get a doctorate its TOTALLY in that!) is financially successful and has lots of awards and acclaims. But his wife died of Ovarian cancer last year. And she's the one he started all of this with and now he has to go forward alone. And while he was smiling at the camera, I know he goes home to a home all by himself and is sad and lonely. I don't feel pity for him, I just became thankful for myself. I was thankful he had a happy marriage while she was alive and I was happy that I have a happy marriage. And while I'm not rolling in the dough, God's given us ENOUGH without struggle. Which is more than I've ever had before.
2. I realized that, despite it being a hard ministry; despite it being a job that feels like 5 jobs but no one recognizes as a job and I get called a 'kept woman' by various people; despite the lack of consideration from coworkers or fellow Christians; despite the fact that its with kids from hard families who use up anything good until its sucked dry of all goodness and then scream for more; despite all the hardship and ugliness... guess what. I GET TO BE IN MINISTRY!!!! Its a needed ministry, its a HARD ministry, and its planting seeds for the future in a place that most people don't even know exists. And I get to do it.
Thats a dream come true for me. I've always wanted to be in a ministry that reached the hard to reach. I saw 'remember the Titans' and I wanted to be Denzel Washington's character: a mean ol' cuss who won the respect of kids and dragged them from the gutter and inspired them to BE somebody.
Last week I had all the kids write notes of encouragement to each other and they gave me one too. One of the kids wrote, "Mz Rachel, you're sometimes mean. But I know you're mean because you are trying to teach us and help us do better. And you're really pretty and a great mentor."
(stupid janitor threw all the cards away so I don't have it anymore!!)
I read that note and almost cried. I get called 'mean' all the time. But that was the first time anyone recognized why. Everyone knows tough love is rough on the person recieving it. No one acknowledges tough love is reeeeally tough on the person giving the tough love. Its easier to be walked all over.
I love Laura Story's song 'Blessing' and I put it here so you could listen to it too. Sometimes blessings are good and sweet and gorgeous like basil or anemone's or strawberries. Sometimes they come through hardship and toil like roses and thistle blooms or onions. Or like thunderstorms that give rain but are still loud and scary and noisy. Either way they are still blessings, and its important to be thankful for them - yes not just in spite of but BECAUSE OF the packages they come in.
I don't know if any of this is making sense, but its what I'm pondering and going through right now so I thought I'd share. I hope it helps you along your journey.