About the same time that I started my jaunt on the “no-please-don’t-make-me” calling to join worship team for a season at our new church (But Lord, I Don’t Want To), I also decided to join one of the new women’s Bible studies called “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King. Yep, this changed my life.
How? Well one of the ways was by helping me remove God from the neat little “box” that I usually had Him in. I finally was able to understand that He was so unique that He could actually speak to each of His children in different ways at different times. Go figure!
Anyway, the 12-week study was life-changing, and the group of gals that were in my study became so near and dear to me.
After the 12 weeks were completed, the women’s ministry had a big blow-up ministry event where the 2 separate “Experiencing God” groups got together to share testimonies. The leader of our group asked me if I’d be willing to share because of my enthusiasm.
So a few of us gals shared how the study changed our lives, and then at the end of the get-together the women’s ministry head shared some exciting news. She had felt led to start a 1-year mentoring group with a small group of ladies, and I was one of those whom God had laid on her heart. She explained that the goal of the group was that each woman involved would find her niche in women’s ministry.
Yahoo – this was a dream come true!
We were to meet once a month as a group, but throughout the month we were to study an in-depth book, whether it was on spiritual disciplines, prayer, leadership, etc. There was no getting out of our assignments – if you didn’t have the time to put into this mentorship, then you weren’t to be in it. During our group times we all went around and pulled apart each chapter of the book we had read and discussed what it meant to us in our walks with Jesus.
Plus every other month each gal involved would have a special one-on-one time with just the ministry leader to really fine-tune where we were in our spiritual walks.
Well I absolutely loved studying all the books, and took pages upon pages of notes. Lord – I want to learn everything I can about You! But I was really keyed when it came time for my first one-on-one meeting with the ministry lead. What would she say of my progress?
My first meeting with her came at a local coffee shop. She started off the meeting by asking about Jeffrey, as she knew of all the struggles we were having with him at school. (More to come on this later.) I was as honest as I could be in telling her of all the difficulties we’d been having, and how frustrating it was for Gary and myself to constantly keep an eye on everything all the time.
She listened to me intently, and then she looked me in the eyes and said, “You know, Linda, I don’t think you really trust God at all with Jeffrey. You keep saying you do, yet I don’t believe you’ve truly relinquished him to the Lord to allow Him to do with Jeffrey what He wants to do.”
I was devastated, and started to cry right there in the coffee shop. How DARE she say that to me! I had been hoping for encouragement in my walk with the Lord, yet here she was telling me that I did not trust God…
But she was not yet done. Without even blinking an eye at my pitiful expression, she continued: “You don’t have to believe me, but go home, get on your knees, and ask God for yourself.”
Oh, you just bet I will!!!
As I drove home I found my emotions ranging from anger to distress. Why did she have to hurt me like that? She doesn’t know what it’s like to raise a child with disabilities! On and on I went. I was tempted to not even DO what she had told me to – THAT would show her!
Yet when I got home, I thought, Well, I probably should do it; at least then I can have some peace and tell her that I had done what she had asked.
So I laid my stuff on the floor, got down on my knees in the living room, and asked: Is it true, Lord? Do I not trust You with Jeffrey?
Then I felt it – not like a physical voice – but rather a quiet nudging: “No, you don’t…”
I broke and began to weep once again – but this time I started confessing my sin and asking God to help me trust Him more each and every day.
And today? I can honestly say that I am so thankful that this lady had the guts to love me enough to confront me and share what God had laid upon her heart about me, even though it must have been so difficult to do.