Small Steps (Beyond Our Walls)

Yesterday, I spoke of how I was taking a small step out of my comfort zone this weekend by participating in and facilitating an hour of a 24-hour prayer vigil. I did this without realizing that the title of today’s prayer vigil was Taking Small Steps. When I looked at the devotion booklet this morning, I was not sure I had anything else to say about this topic. I did though. I had a lot to say and a story to tell.

Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin.”

Several months ago, I had the idea to start a newsletter at my church. I thought this would be great. I would be using my talents for God, and I would be helping a place I had grown to love. It took me awhile though to be brave enough to even offer my talents. I was afraid of failure. Finally, I did, and the people I talked to thought it was a great idea. I was told I needed to speak with a specific person about it, and I sent the person an email. A few days later, I received a reply saying the person was not available to meet with me right now and wouldn’t be available for a month or so. Whoa! That answer deflated me quickly, and I gave up on the idea just as quickly. I assumed the other people I had spoken with had not been as enthusiastic as I thought. I was hurt, badly hurt, but I stuffed the hurt down because my family was dealing with the reality of my husband being unemployed.

Shortly after this, my church introduced its capital campaign, and the last couple of months have been spent hearing messages of what we were trying to do and messages of stewardship. All of which, by the way, I agree with. I just didn’t feel like I was a part of things because my family wasn’t going to be able to participate in a big way.

It’s been five weeks since my husband started working again and twenty-three days since we started our forty days of prayer. It’s been a learning experience for me, and I’ve realized I’m ok with the way things turned out now. I wasn’t ready to work on a newsletter. There were people more talented than me in the art of communication. I needed to learn some things about me and my writing. I needed to dig things out of my past and deal with them. I needed to learn how to write consistently and honestly. I needed to be honest when an overheard conversation about raising money triggered me with images from my past. I needed to take the small steps of healing from my past so I could move forward.

Everything I’ve written here today has been stored in the recesses of my heart. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to share it, but, after what happened on Wednesday, I realized I needed to share. I overheard a conversation about raising money and how the pressure needed to be kept up instead of loosened. I’m not sure what the context was. It might have been that God was working in the hearts of people who needed to take a more active role in giving money and using their gifts. It might have been that people were caught up with the idea of raising money for their glory instead of God’s glory. I don’t know. But, the conversation triggered me and elements of my past came to the forefront. Heartbreaking experiences of when money was used to beat my family down and to withhold love because we didn’t have as much as other people. If you’ve never had that kind of experience in a church, consider yourself very lucky.

Anyway, I teared up and barely spoke for the rest of the night. I have had this on my mind for the last two days and wasn’t sure what to do about it. God brought this to my mind, and I took the small step of writing about it. I’m not sure I would have done that if I had done what I first thought God was leading me to all those months ago. (starting a newsletter)

I want to make one thing clear before I finish. Because of the way our society is now, money is necessary to support God’s work. Not only to pay the people who are working in our churches, but to pay for all the materials we expect to have. I understand this and support it. We just need to make sure we are raising money for God’s glory and not our own.

I am thankful that God has given me the gift of writing and pray He helps me take the small steps necessary to improve my craft and use it for His glory. I pray the same for all of you.

God’s blessings on all of you today!

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