"Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and day a drift at sea." 2 Corinthians 11:25
The Apostle Paul experience severe persecution and hardships for his faith in Christ; although he once persecuted the church. As a believer, I pray I am able to stand strong as the Apostle Paul when my faith has been tested. Not only was Paul's conversion miraculous; the testimony of honoring Christ was truly shown in his life. How do we know? Well, Paul wrote a very good portion of the New Testament. What an amazing and powerful work of the Holy Spirit! Yet, may we never forget God's working in our lives; a powerful work to bring glory to God.
Nevertheless, I can't seem to get this metaphor out of my head spoken from a spiritual mentor in my life. "Tina, your heart has been shattered." "It's been shipwrecked by the shore." "What are you going to do with it?" "Are you just going to sit by the shoreline?" "Or do you want to re-build the boat and begin again?" Since graduating from college, it hasn't been smooth sailing. Honestly, I didn't expect it to be, I wasn't naive about the call of God upon my life. My precious Savior wasn't spared disappointment, ridicule, was spit upon, and crucified. So, I expected persecution, people misunderstand the role of women in church, and my life being carefully watched. Yet, I was willing to give my life; Christ called me to preach. It has been my drive to honor Christ with my life; one day to lay a crown of worship at His feet.
Matthew 10:24 says, "The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master."
I have never been beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, or spent a night a drift at sea. Yet, my heart has taken a severe beating, I am truly shocked of the wreckage. I am overwhelmed with the aftermath of the damage of my heart; my faith is the weakest in my life. Sadly, as leaders we are not allowed to show our hearts, our weakness, or our struggles with our faith. It's difficult to keep offering Biblical Counsel or the Word to watch someone ignore your warnings or assistance. Understand, it's Biblical to live a life of approach but I am afraid the spirit of "being perfect" has robbed our leaders. It's robbed leaders of truly being truthful or to seek accountability, joy of serving Christ or others, and brought utter loneliness. At this moment, the wreckage has left me completely speechless, I can't speak. I can't move. It's difficult to breath. My heart is shattered in a million pieces about to drift out into the sea. Who will gather it? Who will help me pick-up the pieces?
A vessel only has two fold purpose: to be poured out and re-filled. It's truly the heart of a minister who longs to serve. It's investing in the broken lives of people who need Jesus. It's an investment of your time, money, and your complete heart. Also, if your married and have children, it's important to nourish and protect those relationships. Nevertheless, the call of God doesn't escape your families sacrifice. Oh, it's a balancing act for sure; it was instilled very quickly while in Bible College. Yet, what do you do when the vessel is broken? I understood the cost-my personal cost. Yet, what has broken my heart has been the damage to my family. As a wife and mother, I have carefully and prayerfully watched where my family is spiritually. It's more important than ministry; it's a calling from God as well. With mounting past disappointments in ministry, a recent tragic event upon one of my children, another child who has backslid-den and the fire of God slowly leaving my husband's heart. I am pausing to reflect, pray, and waiting on God to move within there hearts. The waves have taken a beating; I am shattered on the shore. Do I doubt God's promises or His Word? Never! Yet, I keep looking with my heart, "Lord, what did I do wrong?" "Where did I miss your guidance or direction?
Am I able to risk the salvation of my household? Am I willing to allow the call of God to divide my marriage? Oh, the tug of war within my heart! To honor my husband or follow the call of the Beloved, the one I love most. My beloved who I cherish above all and desire to please the most. What about when I give an account for my life; it creates a deep fear within my heart to disappointed God. Yet, this tug of war is leaving me joyless, frustrated, and completely tired. At the moment, I can hold to what I know to be true. Nothing gives me more joy than to serve the Lord, I love it. To be a co-laborer with Christ at the altar, it's my favorite place to be. Also, to share the Word with those who are hungry to hear it. It's a personal call to follow Christ, where He leads I will follow. Our walk of faith will never mirror someone else's; it will be different for each of us.
Yet, the wreckage is leaving a question if I will re-build the boat or will I remain at the shore? No one truly understands the strength, prayer, and belief it took to make it to shore. Elijah went into the cave because of fear; God didn't call him there. (I Kings 19:11-13) Yet, I understand why he sought refuge there. What brought the great prophet out? It wasn't the earthquake, the mighty wind, or the fire. Only the voice and presence of God drew him out to the entrance of the cave. It was the soft, beautiful, and loving voice of God. That's what I am waiting for, hunger for, and refuse to move until He speaks. A smoldering wick He will not snuff out.......although I am close. Yet, I must allow God to mend the pieces; a work I so desperately need.