Ten years ago...
Ten years ago, when my son entered high school, I had a wake up call. My life had been immersed in my son and his activities since the day he was born. Motherhood had actually turned out even better than I’d anticipated – fulfilling and exciting – (most of the time) - like an exhilarating roller coaster ride with bumps and turns, ups and downs but a truly worthwhile ride, replete with many golden moments. I’d revelled in it.
Now, my son was turning 13 and the realisation hit me. It was time I found a life of my own. I did the Math. 12 wasn’t too far away from 21. My little son was growing up. Fast. If I continued living life as I did then – a full time Mum wrapped up in her child – I’d have nothing to live for once my son had grown up. Yes, it was time to build a new life.
First port of call – look for a job. While waiting for that job to come around, I discovered that our church had advertised a volunteer post at CareLink Ministries. CareLink is the community arm of our church. I felt God’s nudge to put my hand up. I expected there would be lots of others applying for the position and wondered if I stood a chance. Guess what! When I approached Vicki, the CareLink Director, I found I was the sole person interested in the position. And she said ‘Yes’ at once. I was in.
Thus began an exciting new season of my life. I loved my Thursdays at CareLink. Being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who came to our doors was very meaningful. I found fulfillment in listening to them, crying with them, praying with them, ministering to them. I eagerly anticipated my Thursdays. Three years later God led me to begin a support group through CareLink. That too was extremely rewarding as I met with many courageous Mums travelling a hard road. I was deeply blessed.
Ten years have passed. I still enjoy my Thursdays. But something new has occurred. Exciting new doors swung open for me and I have just walked through them. This past week, my time at CareLink changed from being a volunteer to becoming the CareLink Director. At last the job I was waiting for has turned up. As I look back over the past 10 years, I am deeply grateful to God. Here are a few of the many lessons I have learnt during this season:
God leads me – all I need to do is to be open to Him.
Be faithful in small things. God will then entrust me with larger responsibilities.
Be humble. I still have a long way to go.
Listen to others. Look to their interests.
Trust God. He who leads me will help me as I depend on Him.
God is always faithful. He’s proved it to me over and over again.
Be a life long learner. Learn from God. Learn from the Word. Learn from others.
Offer my gifts to God. There is no greater joy than in being used of Him.
Love. Love God. Love others. That is the doorway to life.
Be joyful. Life is short. Dance to its music … now!
Last Thursday, as I walked in through the CareLink doors – I felt like a little girl taken to the seaside - enjoying every minute of those salty breezes, swirling seas, soft white sand and shrieking seagulls. I had inspiring surroundings, people I loved, work to do. I’d previously expected CareLink to be a stop gap while I waited for the perfect job to come around. Instead, CareLink was the perfect job. Only I had needed to be patient.
Meanwhile God had been training me for the job. All the hardships in my life these 10 years have helped me understand life, understand myself and understand others better. A good way of preparing to minister to others. The tough times have also thrown me into His arms. Through those difficult seasons I’ve experienced His love more wholly and drunk deeply of His amazing grace. The past few weeks when physical illness and pain have bothered me have also been a preparation. How else could I understand the pain of others – except by experiencing it firsthand myself. Yes, God had been getting me ready.
I can’t explain the deep joy I experienced during my first two days on the job. Connecting with the volunteers, making plans, seeking God, settling into my new role, ministering and praying with those who needed it. Yes, a dream come true. Best of all was the heartfelt contentment of being in His will and doing what He has called me to do.
Have you been waiting long for your dreams to be fulfilled? Waiting is often hard isn’t it? Sometimes God’s answers take 10 years to reach fruition. Sometimes even longer. But the years are never wasted. They are often a training ground – a time of learning – a season of growth, even a place of belonging. Sometimes it’s best not to look too far ahead. Because life’s best moments are when we live in the present – enjoying the ‘now’.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58