Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Past Hurts, Past Healed

     Guilt is a horrible weight to carry, it's really refreshing to see it leave. We don't realize the power of it's grip until it vanishes. Sometimes God will bring unique experiences into your life to bring freedom. Tonight, I encountered just want I am talking about. About ten years ago, I was a youth/associate pastor of a church within a small hometown. On Easter Sunday, I started this ministry with great expectations, opportunities, and fear. Could I touch these kids? Would I make any impact? These questions are propably normal but I was determined to give it my all.
     Sadly, some people really never understand the sacrifices their pastors/leaders make. Yes, it's expected but it's not always easy. Before accepting this position, my husband and I just purchased our first house, had stable employment, and pregnant with our third child. Who would have expected God to open a door for ministry? It doesn't sound like the "perfect" time but it was God's time. Although the experience itself wasn't anything I expected, there were some very challenges situations. As the challenges came, I handle them with dignity, grace, much prayer, and discipline. Just as the youth was being unified, some circumstances changed unexpectedly.

     Without blinking an eye, I left "my kids" who I poured my heart and soul into. Since the day I resigned, I have carried a very heavy guilt-I failed God. All of the plans were different, life was changing complete direction, I wasn't sure if I made the right decision. Although God confirmed the direction, I still felt I deserted the youth. Have you ever wonder what God was doing? God is completely in control, His directions doesn't always make sense. It's just like the old hymn, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." Oh, I have followed God's instructions but trusting Him with the outcome, well that's a different story.
     As Christians, we don't alway get to see the fruit of our labor. We sometimes only get to plant a seed, we don't get to see it grow. Sometimes, God allows others to continue the work you started. We don't get to water it, furtilize it, or harvest the rewards. Regardless of who does the work, we have to trust God with the results even if we don't see it. So, the enemy gets an opportunity to drown your heart with regrets and guilt. It's hard to hear God's voice with a record of guilt playing, "If only I did this." Although the past doesn't always have cheerful memories, it has power lessons. Hopefully, I don't have to repeat them.

     The beauty of living for God, we are making an impact if we walk upright, lovingly, and truthful. No matter what, I choose to live my life for God with all I am. I can't force anyone to serve God but I can lead the way. As Paul said, "Follow me, as I follow Christ." We can't lead others if we don't follow Christ. It's only through Christ, we have truth. The truth doesn't need fancy advertizing, great programs, or loud music to get the people's attention. It simply needs to be followed. People are hungry for the truth, the real truth-Jesus Christ.
     Tonight, I received a phone call from one of "the kids" in my youth group. It was just refreshing to hear his voice, discuss our past, but to see the impact. During the conversation, he said, "I believe God brought you during that time just for me." "You will never know the impact you made on my life." If I touch one soul for the kingdom of God, I can touch the world. Sometimes, it's the smallest opportunites that bring the greatest impact. After the phone call, I felt a real release of guilt. A peace of heart, confirmation of my calling, and a smile to my face was God's medicine for me. What's so amazing to me is God's timing, I am completing the final stages of getting my ministerial license. God's directions don't always make sense but His timing is precious. God will always confirm His call through the Word, His Spirit, and others.  What I cherish tonight is His beautiful timing to reasure me, I am in His hands.
     So, the past has lessons to teach us, we have to let it go. It isn't the easiest lesson to learn but if we hold on to it, we can't grip the future with both hands. God has beautiful plans, a great future for me. If we want the best for our future: we have to seek the face of God, trust God with our life, and let go of the past.