niño


niño (this is not a picture of me)

Originally uploaded by subcomandanta

I worry, because I am a minister who needs a savior so badly, that I am a stumbling block for some people.

I have been asked by people not talk so openly about my struggles. I have been criticized for the way I dress, (to sloppy, tuck your shirt in), the length of my hair, my sleeping habits, my work habits, I spend too much time in the office, I don’t spend enough time in the office, and even my weight (because it revealed obvious sin in my life). Not to mention my struggles with actual sin, and the human condition.

It doesn’t make me mad I actually understand it. For most church goers the life of a minister is a lofty idea they hope someday to attain. We ministers feed this attitude because we walk around hoping no one finds out the truth. Not reaching out to others in our congregation when we need help created this problem. Don’t be too upset with us, I work at a church of about 700 people: nobody wants to disappoint that many people.

Here is my confession; I am not very dynamic, nor do I network very well. I am not so impressive and handsome that people are drawn to me, nor to the LORD because of me. Yet I try very hard to be that person, but only because I would hate to keep someone in the church from knowing God because of something as silly as the material my pants are made of. I know I fail at being that all the time, but I will always keep trying for their sake. After all I am Christ’s ambassador, not my own person.

So why put myself through all of this? I am a minister because I need Jesus more than anyone I have ever met. I’m desperate, and needy, and lost. I was the kid who was so unlovable I was abandoned by my mother, ignored by father, and brutally beat by the woman who raised me. I was dirty, and poor beyond reason, and I know in my heart that I deserved that and so much more.

One day I met God, and He loved, and He didn’t care how good I was, or how clean I was, or that I was poor. He loved me, and it gave me so much peace, suddenly all of the suffering didn’t matter. Someone finally loved me, and it changed my life forever.

When I saw God, when I got just a glimpse of his mercy, what choice did I have? You can’t be shown as much grace as I have been shown and not devote your entire self to Him. I know I can never pay Him back for the grace He has given me. Yet every fiber in my being is compelled to give Him anything, everything I can, because He is so good. I admit I am embarrassed how lacking the best I have to give Him is. But if all I have to give the King is crumbs then I need to give those to Him, because I know in my heart of hearts that with out His grace, my life is not okay. I am not okay.

Conversation (a repost)


Sinking

Originally uploaded by Dawn Endico

Jesus said that his yoke was easy and his burden was light. This has not been my experience. Here recently I feel as though I might be crushed under the weight of that yoke.

I have trust issues: I wonder if I will ever completely submit to God’s will.
My confession is that I don’t always believe that God is looking out for my best interest. In my more selfish moments it is easy for me to believe that He is more concerned about His will for my life than He is for me.

I have this dream that God is building me, that He is literally attaching my arms and legs. While He is doing it, we are having this conversation.

GOD: Rocky I have this incredible plan for your life. You will be a great minister, you will be wise. You will be able to point a lost hurting world to Me, and they will remember that I am always with them. It will be awesome, someday.

Rocky: It sounds great. But you said, “Someday”, what does that mean?

GOD: It means that I have to destroy everything about you.

Rocky: Everything?

God: Everything.

Rocky: You can’t use me like I am, the way that you are making me?

GOD: No, no I can’t. I am building you this way to crush you, Rocky. The best thing about you will be your brokenness. Your suffering is the only thing that I will be able to use. You will be like an ugly wooden spoon, functional but without glory. You will serve a single purpose, you will struggle and people will glory in me because you won’t give up. In that way you will be my trophy, something that I can use to show the world how magnificent I am.

Rocky: But what about what I want?

God: Rocky, (He looks me in the eyes with patience) don’t worry about that. Someday you will find everything in this world so unbearable and pointless that you will decide that all you want is me, and eventually ( if you don’t give up) you will find peace in that. Remember even Christ learned obedience through suffering.

Rocky: Will I ever not struggle?

God: Only if you can ever stop wanting things or stop expecting things, or stop believing that you deserve things that you do not. If you can get to the point where you can say that what I want is more important than your life, then you will be okay.

Rocky: I don’t like that. It makes you seem harsh, and uncaring.

God: The clay cannot tell the potter what it wants to be Rocky. It is harsh. You know contrary to popular belief I am not just hugs and kisses all the time. I am also a God of wrath. But even in My wrath you will know that I am good.

I just stare at Him as He finishes putting me together. I am not sure if I am more scared, or angry. Just before He sends me to earth He says, “Rocky, this is going to hurt, but it won’t last forever.”

So here I am: learning obedience through suffering, and purging desire through myown brokenness.
Its not easy, it really hard sometimes. He was right though, I can still see His goodness, even in His wrath. Mercy and judgment, as it turns out, are two sides of the same coin.