I am taking a different approach to our Bible study of Lysa Terkeurst book "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WOMEN WALK IN FAITH" by reflecting on my weekend as it goes with the two chapters we read for this week.....
This past weekend was to be a very busy weekend. I was scheduled to attend a simulcast of Beth Moore's conference and then leave on Sunday after church for a spiritual retreat for faith community nurses. It didn't work out as planned.
On the Friday of Beth's conference, the five other women from my church who were going started to back out. Everyone was so busy. I was in the shower getting ready for the event feeling guilty for going in the first place...you see, it was my husbands birthday and though he said he didn't care about me being gone, I was feeling bad not celebrating it with him. I was praying in that shower and I said "God, if I get one more call I'm taking it means you want me to stay home with my husband". Twenty minutes later the call came. My heart was just sick to be missing Beth Moore but I had such peace all the same. I share the evening with my birthday boy.
The retreat I was scheduled to go to was a multi-denominational conference for Faith Community Nurse (parish nurse) coordinators. I didn't pack for this retreat in St. Louis until after church Sunday. I'm not usually a procrastinator. I wasn't wanting to go but the conference was funded for me as a coordinator of this type of program so I needed to go. I drove down listening to some old tapes from the P31 tape ministry (they ended that a couple of years ago...what a shame as it has been such a blessing to me). I spent the drive time in prayer, preparing my heart to hear and my eyes to see God. My heart and attitude started to change in not wanting to be there.
God more than rewarded me at this conference, considering the loss I felt missing Beth's. Though I missed my husband and family so much, God was everywhere. Over and over He gave me confirmation in the career changes my husband and I are making. My spirit was again stirred to confront my passions and to live within them as that is where He will use me the most. I didn't walk out of a session without having my heart stirred or my dreams confirmed.
The keynote speaker would read at the beginning of each of her sessions from a little book called "Simply Surrender" a book containing the written thoughts of a French Carmelite nun, Therese of Lisieux (1873-1879). I'm afraid I am not very familiar with the catholic church history and their saints as I am with their religious practice but there was something about this young girl that amazed me as I listened to her reflective thoughts written so long ago.
This young girl desired to be a saint but knew in her own merit she could not measure up to this. But she also had enough faith to know that God would not inspire a wish that could not be pursued. At her very young age she realized it was in trusting in Him and Him alone that what God laid on her heart could be reality in her life. It did became reality for her, however, not until after her life ended at the age of 24. The catholic church later made her a saint after finding her writings which reflected her spiritual heart, her spiritual maturity and deep but child-like love for God. Does not the bible reference this type of love as honoring to God?
Do we dare seek to be saint in this age? Isn't that only associated with history? I had to ask myself why do I not see my spirituality in that way, to desire to be a saint. Will I fall short? Oh you bet! On my own merit, I have already fallen off the "to be considered" list. But on God's merit, He has the power to take me above and beyond my own simple visions for my life. He stirred my heart this weekend and as with this young nun, I can only live through His power and by His grace. I must walk this path of radical obedience if I want to fulfill the dream and passion He has laid on my heart.
New doors of opportunity are opening for me to live in this passion God has given me. At the conference I was able to sit, pray, and reflect on my ministry goals and the realization came to me that these were my life goals. From the life of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of nursing, (we walk through her life at this retreat) I have been inspired towards these goals:
1. To be like Christ (does this not require us to reach for that saint status?)
2. To fulfill my sense of calling from God
3. To integrate the study of theology more into my spiritual disciplines.
4. To be open to others to connect by showing a genuine interest in others, to listen
5. To model spiritual discipline
6. To surround myself with spiritual people and to collaborate with them in ministry
7. To be more familiar with other faith traditions
8. To empower others towards a life with Christ
9. To communicate God's message
10. To advocate for others spiritually
Too many goals? Maybe. But if I am going to thrive to reach to be more than I can even imagine, even aspire to be a saint, I think these goals might help me get there! It's believing and embracing God's plan for my life as Lysa talked about in Chapter 8&9 of this book. This summer has been amazing as I look at how God is moving in my life as I walk in faith. ..seeking to hear and see Him in all things...choosing to honor Him with today and tomorrow.
In Him~Pamela (MrsJoeB)
Don't forget my "give-a-way"!! It's posted below!!