Once upon a time, I was a consistent blogger, hoping to be that again in the near future. Sorry for the delay in posting this summer as our ministries increased and time got away from me week after week. While this was disappointing to me, the things God accomplished during this time has been immense and exciting.
Throughout the month of August I was able to spend some time with friends, family, and ministry partners to share about the work of the Lord in the city and through this time God blessed in many ways and that got me to thinking about this new blog post. I believe the word “blessing” can have many meanings. Simply put a blessing is a gift from God. In our culture, I believe we have an unwritten list that contain the blessings of the Lord and these things are uttered over and over again as ways God blesses. Things like: a nice house, marriage, children, a full time job, relationships, safety and protection, etc… Don’t get me wrong, I think these things are great blessings from the Lord but what if I don’t have those things? What if God hasn’t blessed me from this “list”. A couple years ago, I had a friend tell me how discouraged she was by all the ways God was blessing those around her and how she didn’t have any of these things happening for her. Often, I feel the same way, I would love to be married and have children and many times when I look at my life and wonder why I don’t have these things I can feel very un-blessed. Shortly after I had this conversation with my friend, I started analyzing our definition of blessings. The conclusion I came to was this list out there is dangerous. When we try to prescribe for others what blessings should look like we immediately alienate many around us. What God chooses to bless you with may look very different than what He chooses to bless me with. Please continue to see those things in your life as blessings but don’t limit your understanding of blessings to a small list defined by others or culture. Look at the life God has given and realize so much of it, even if not obviously so, is a blessing!
I often feel very blessed! This past month has been one of those times! I’d like to share with you some things in my own life I feel God is blessing me with right now!
1. My trip home proved to be a blessing in many ways and one of those ways was through building ministry partnerships. Each time I am able to share about my ministry and what God is doing, I am overwhelmed by the support of others. I don’t just mean financially (although that’s helpful), but prayerfully, emotionally, and encouragingly. Knowing people pray for my life and ministry strengthens me in so many ways! Hearing encouraging words makes hard days more doable!
2. Although this may seem weird to 99% of us, I find raising my ministry support through fundraising to be a blessing. Is it hard? Yes. Is it discouraging/scary? Sometimes yes. But honestly its the most humbling and satisfying way God has ever provided for me. For years I assumed my working hard was what paid the bills, I would show up at a job and I would work hard and then clock out having earned my living for that day. Although that was true, it was also all along God providing for my needs through the means of that restaurant or store. Now, I work hard in NYC and the means of which my livelihood is earned is through other churches and believers who are excited about what God is doing in NYC.
3. I am also truly blessed by churches who are a part of my ministry. While home I spent time at Seymour FBC and Stevens Street Baptist Church, sharing in their services. I can’t fully put into words the encouragement I feel through churches like these two and the others that are a part of my ministry. Knowing that the people of the Lord in these congregations are regularly praying for this new church here is a blessing I’m not sure I will ever truly understand!
4. I am truly blessed with an amazing family. Like I said earlier, I lack the blessing of a husband and children but God always fills that void with family. I don’t just mean my blood family, although they are amazing and without them my life would be incomplete, God has allowed so many people in my life to be family to me. People in Nashville, people in Knoxville, people in NYC! This life was meant to be lived in relationship and I am blessed by the relationships I have near and far!
5. This one is strange, especially if you had a conversation with me last week, but I am blessed by uncertainty. This is an area where I struggle a lot. What will happen in the future, what if this, what if that, what is my next step, etc. This plague of uncertainty makes me crazy. It makes me scared, anxious, but most importantly it makes me reliant. Uncertainty forces me to rely on the Lord. This is truly the best place to be and I am blessed that He keeps me here.
6. Another area I think I often take for granted is the gifts and skills God gives me. What a blessing to be able to use my mind, hands, feet, and passion to serve the Lord and the community in which I live. I count it a true blessing to be able to teach, write, build relationships, provide opportunities for others to serve, etc. These are areas of strengthen for me and I am grateful for them!
I could go on but I’m leaving #7 blank for you to fill in, I would love for you to all to comment below and share one thing God has blessed you with. This list could be a constant reminder and encouragement to others that God is good and His care for his people is enough.
Speaking of uncertainty, this week I learned that some of my major funding will be cut. Pray with me that God will give me wisdom on how to proceed in replacing this support.
Pray for continued relationship building in the city.
Pray for NCC as we kick off our fall small groups.