Saturday, May 10, 2014

Encouraged and affirmed in calling...

Over the past several months I have been encouraged and affirmed in my calling through different people, events, and situations.   Through it all, I see God's hand gently guiding and reminding me to keep moving forward, to keep listening, and to 'keep on keeping on'. 

I am going to share two experiences in this post.

Riley and I had been able to go to the April Emmaus Gathering because it was during Spring break and we didn't need to worry about our daughter staying up late on a school night, though she opted out of joining us.  I enjoy the Gatherings.  Food, table fellowship, worship, Holy communion.  It turned out there were no other clergy present besides the one leading, Ben Matherly.  The other two guys who had planned to be there had situations come up and couldn't make it.  Ben approached me toward the end of the meal and asked if I would assist him with communion.  Of course!  Though I'm not ordained yet (Certified Candidate with a year left of studies), I am now considered clergy in the Emmaus community because I went through the application and review process.  I was excited and nervous at the same time.  I don't often get to serve communion.  What if I didn't remember the words correctly.  When it was time for me to go up, Ben called me up.  When it was time for me to do my part, I did it.  Honestly, I couldn't tell you exactly what I said.  I attempted to listen to God's leading and provide the context for us gathered as community, coming to the table and put it in the context of what Jesus did and said.  To myself, it sounded as if I had some of the verbs in the past and in the present, all mixed up.  Later, I reflected and double checked the Scripture and decided that since Christ is past, present, and future, then maybe that was okay.  Ben and I shared the elements with the community gathered that evening and it was a blessing to do so.  I am always blessed and humbled to be part of such a powerful and meaningful sacrament.  Not only was the experience encouraging and affirming to me, but there were several people afterwards who spoke with me or wrote me about it and those were also encouraging and affirming.

Another experience that encouraged and affirmed me is very different in nature and occurred prior to the one above.  You have read about Will, the four year old "pushing 5" who struggled after the water accident.  Being with Will encouraged and affirmed me in calling throughout the time he was in the hospital.  But, there is one experience in particular I will share right now.  After learning of Will's accident Sunday evening, I was able to go down Monday morning to see Will and to be with his Dad, Tony.  Knowing Tony likes coffee, I contacted Tony prior to going down there to see what I could bring him and any others who were there.  He was the only one that needed anything at the time, so I headed to the hospital with Starbucks and in prayer.  When I arrived, I briefly got to see Joy, Will's grandmother, outside of Will's room.  She was heading out.  In Will's room, I immediately felt peace and what I would say was the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Tony and Kacey, Will's Mom, were there.  It was a blessing to see Kacey and to be able to support her.  I showed Tony the cross that I had used the night before to pray for Will.  It's a cross I received at the end of the Academy journey and I often use it to pray for people.  For the first time I had anointed the cross Sunday evening as my husband and I prayed over the head portions and lungs for Will.  Standing at Will's bed Monday morning, looking over him, I felt led to pray for him and anoint him for healing then and there.  I asked Tony for permission to do so, and he granted it.  I can't tell you what I prayed.  I only know that I felt led by the Holy Spirit and tried to listen as I prayed for my little friend with such a big heart.  Some may say that I wasted my time in praying for healing because healing didn't come.  I can hear that, but I would have to 'agree to disagree'.  Healing comes in different ways.  I didn't know what "healing" would mean for Will.  All I knew was that I felt led to anoint him for healing and to pray for him.  When I finished praying for him, when we finished praying for him, I looked up and Tony had taken a picture.  My first reaction was embarrassment, but then I realized it wasn't about me.  Yet, even though it wasn't about me, I still felt encouraged and affirmed in my calling.  It was humbling and meaningful to have this opportunity to be with Will and the family during this time.  Kacey called me as I was on my way to tutoring that morning and that also encouraged me and affirmed me in my calling. 

Cross from Academy
Picture taken by Tony Smith; used with permission

These are just two of the many experiences that have occurred over the past several months that have encouraged and affirmed me in my calling.  As they continue to rumble in my heart, mind, and soul, you may read about others later. 
To all of those who are walking with me on this journey, whether in person, on-line, via phone calls, email, through this blog, or in prayer.... thank you.  Thank you for being the support, the iron that sharpens iron, etc. 
As I've said before, I will say again, I am very blessed to be in community.  I am grateful that I can learn, grow, fall, fail, get back up, keep moving forward, walk alongside, be carried, etc.  That is what community is... a place where we can be ourselves, live into who we are and support one another.
How are you being encouraged and affirmed in your calling in your community?
Continuing forward on this awesome adventurous journey,

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