I had the privilege to speak this last week, part of a class that was preparing for possible ordination.* We all gave presentations, and some of us shared in the devotional times.
It is something I have hesitated to talk about, partly because it might be misunderstood by some. And it is not about "becoming someone" as it has been a very long journey of listening to God's gentle leading in my life.
I don't want to write about all the reasons why, but wanted to share some lessons I've been learning along the way.
This week I shared that we all are called. And it is true. There are seasons in our lives, I believe, that God, the Creator prepares us for and tasks we are called to.
As a teen I was vibrant and excited to share my faith. To make a difference.
As a young mom I was passionate about raising my children. And I'm still passionate about them. I wanted to get it right, be the best mom, always wanting them to know how much I loved them. It was a high calling, and still is!
I was called to be a foster mom - a season that for me was rich and satisfying. And then to work with women, and there has been a season to work with the bereaved, even as I was bereaved.
I love the calling to be a grandmother, a faithful friend, a loving wife...
I talked this week about how one of my precious friends has been called to pray for people like me, people involved in ministry, in bringing care to others. What a high calling this is - to be called to pray for and bless others.
I spoke this week of two underlying emotions as I have been preparing for this stage of ministry. One is of incredible gratefulness. Gratefulness to God who has carried me, loved me, been faithful to me, Who has prepared me for every stage of my life. Sometimes the school of suffering has not been easy but it has given me my best lessons.
There is also gratefulness for others - for those who believe in me, those who teach and guide me, care for me, support me, pray for me. If we look around, we will find those in our lives who care about us, our cheering sections!
I was filled with gratitude as I thought of each one.
The other emotion that I experienced this week as I presented my paper was one of terror!!
Sometimes when we embark on a new journey fear wants to become a partner. We fear what others think, we fear stumbling. And as I sat with these thoughts, I remembered the ancient story of Moses.
If you read in the second book in the Bible, in the book of Exodus, God calls out to Moses in the form of a burning bush. It is quite the story. And it becomes a place of holy ground. God is calling Moses, and Moses is not at all convinced God has the right man.
Moses is around the age of 80 in this story, and I though aha! I'm not so old after all!!! And he is reluctant, and doesn't think he can do what God has called him too. He pleads with God, more than once, to reconsider.
And what struck me the most was the beautiful assurance God gives Moses... that God would be with him, and that God would equip him for the task ahead. (Although I'm rather glad God doesn't use snakes and leprosy in the convincing business anymore... if you haven't read the story check it out!!)
I found great comfort in this story. For I have long believed and have experienced the fact that if God calls you to something, there will be provision for the task.
So whatever we are called to, we have a God who provides. A God who assures us of His presence.
God with us, in every stage of life, as we say Yes to the One who created us and equips us for living.
* with the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada.