Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Twitter made me do it ...

To add insult to "irony" ... I started this blog several weeks ago, and just now had a chance to get back to it. Sigh.

Last Friday night I caught up with several wonderful friends over dinner. We don't get to see each other a lot, but when we do, it is great fun. I was reminded by one of these lovely women that it has been a LONG time since my last blog.

Then today, Twitter mysteriously reposted my blog from February, which she saw and commented on.

And here I sit, writing a new post.

It is funny that February's post was the one Twitter chose to re-emphasize. Part of the reason for my blog-sphere silence has been a turning inward (and upward) to give careful consideration to questions I raised in that very post.

In doing so, I've conferred with close confidants and family but tried not to blast my every thought and feeling to this cyber-audience.

I think part of me felt like if I said these things out loud, in black and white, it would make it all real and unable to take back.

So, I had to make sure my head and heart (and those of my husband and children who are affected by my decisions) were on the same page.

The fact of the matter is, I feel I'm being called by God to ministry.

There it is, in black and white. The weight of those words is still simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

It started some time ago, with whispers I easily swept under the rug and dismissed when my church life got challenging.

"Well, I could never deal with all this political business, guess I was wrong!"

Then there was a new church, in much closer proximity to my home. There were new ministries to be involved in, new people to connect with.

And I found myself once again throwing myself head-first into confirmation ministry as a small group leader. One of 20 leaders meeting weekly in small groups of four students/two leader cohorts to delve into this confirmation business and digest the big stuff presented by our fearless leader in large group. The content of this "Head to Heart" curriculum not only worked in the hearts of my "girls", but in mine as well.

As I was giving the weekly blessing, marking each group member on the forehead with the sign of the cross, I found myself speaking the baptismal blessing:

"Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever."

We were studying baptism, so it was no surprise this was the blessing provided that week.

What surprised me was my deep, visceral connection to these words, and the overwhelming desire I had to speak them again, and again.

This nudge was not so much a whisper, but more of a shove that sent me stumbling.

Weeks later I found myself serving as assisting minister for the first time, leading the congregation in singing the liturgy and assisting with communion.

It was not the nerve-wracking experience I'd anticipated. Instead I found it focused, worshipful.

And another nudge weeks later as the pastor spoke the words of institution ... "Sonja, you should be doing that."

Which brings me to my February blog. Overwhelmed and scared, it all came tumbling out.

God and I hashed out those concerns through the counsel of close friends and careful discernment of our family's future with my incredible husband.

My biggest question to God was, "WHY NOW!??" I'm home, committed to my children: Lucas (4), Nicolas (3) and Analise (1), and most days barely keeping my head above water. How in the WORLD could I consider making time for school (even a distance learning program) and still have time to care for and love my family the way my husband and I have worked so hard to make a reality.

And then my husband asked me a simple question ... "Why can't you just do more where you are right now?"

My first reaction was shock.

Can't you see, I am being called to baptise, to repeat Jesus' words in the breaking of the bread - work of an ordained pastor?

Shock. Disappointment.

And as I considered this impasse, the words of a wise friend came to mind, "All you can do is start walking, and if the doors open, it is God's will."

When I stopped staring angrily at this closed door, my eyes opened to the myriad opportunities to engage in ministry right here, right now.

Needs that can be met.

Connections to make.

People to care for.

That's the door God's opening today.

So it's time to start walking.