As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. - 1 Peter 4:10-11
As the CBS year winds down, I'm taking a moment to reflect on these two years. I can honestly say that I never once considered or wanted to be the TD, and would have very happily spent many more years in the children's program. But they asked me to step into the role, on short notice, with limited training at first, to replace the much-beloved, incredibly awesome, Christian-woman-that-everyone-wants-to-be-when-they-grow-up, woman who started the class and led it every year since, Carol Lutz. I prayed, talked to Steve, and prayed some more, begging for a "no." But the no was a no go. I remember struggling and crying over two major issues that week of decision:
- I didn't want to leave the kids program where I had served for 10 years and LOVED working with the 2- and 3-year-olds.
- If I became the TD, that meant that Carol wouldn't be MY leader anymore, and I wasn't ready to quit learning from her teachings and example.
But God kept prompting, and I finally looked at the whole thing and knew I needed to step up. To be honest, if there was ever a person who was accustomed to floundering around like an idiot, utterly unprepared for the role they had, it was me. That's been how I do just about everything. Besides, God used plenty of people in the Bible who didn't feel up to the task they were given, and He never abandoned them through it all. Moses and Joshua didn't seem so excited about the job set before them, but they waded on in, knowing God would be with them all the way.
I wish the Bible had given us a little more of a glimpse into the times those saints maybe dragged themselves from one week to the next, barely able to keep it together. Or when they stood in front of God's people, feeling so inadequate to deliver God's message they wanted to crawl and hide instead of speak His words. Or the moments of self-condemnation when their failings piled up in walls so high around them that they had to climb all day to get out of the prison they created. I know that "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" - Romans 8:37. But there are no verses that say we will FEEL like conquerors all the time, because sometimes we won't. (Even though in Christ, we still ARE.) I wasted too much time these past two years listening to my feelings, instead of the truth of His Word.
On the positive side, it is a gift to be "forced" to swim around in God's Word for several hours a day to write those teachings. And it's a gift when God puts gentle, consistent pressure on places in your heart and life that need to change. I quickly learned that any lesson I wanted to teach the class, God had to teach me first, usually with an abundance of object lessons at home. Nothing like trying to assemble a lesson on patience, while God is showing you your own impatience with your daughter's lack of prioritizing homework. Especially when part of your impatience is due to your own scrambling to finish a teaching at the last minute. Gulp.
So I'm feeling grateful to have learned to trust in the unfailing power of His Word to reach His people and do its work, no matter how badly I may have mishandled or overcomplicated the message. I'm incredibly thankful for the 11 years I've spent in CBS and for all I've learned there. I am blessed beyond measure to have worked with amazing people on our servants team, on our leaders council, and for all the dear friends I have met over the years through the ministry of CBS. I am so grateful for God's provision of Carol and Leslie for leading our class for 25+ years, and for our precious Area Director, Norma, who helped smooth this year's transition.
The verse above encourages us to serve in those areas where we are gifted, in God's strength, in order that He may be glorified. Serving as TD never really fit me (for 2 years, I've felt like I was keeping the seat warm until a real TD showed up), but there's a blessing just in being obedient when you know God's asked you to show up and serve. There are a lot of things I wish I'd done differently, but there are a few things that went well. God gets all the glory for whatever went right or when a message hit the mark.
For now, I'm excited to think about what He has for me in the year ahead. Next week, I'm blessed beyond measure to be able to travel to England for 10 days with my dear friend and favorite author, Julie Klassen, as her research assistant and driver. After that, there are 3 more months on my half-time job as MBA program director at University of Northwestern - St. Paul. It looks like I'm done at CBS for at least a year, so I have an opportunity to find another Bible study. Or maybe God has another paying job for me at Northwestern or elsewhere. Or maybe I can focus on something completely new and different. For now, I'm ready to take it a day at a time and wait for Him to show me the next step.
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you. - Psalm 32:8