Any Sunday I get to go to church, is a restful, Lovely Sunday. Today was no exception.
As I settled in my seat mere seconds before service started, I noticed a visitor on the front row (I go to a very small church where we all pretty much know each other). This new comer was young, likely high school, and I could tell from behind had a hearing aid. My heart swelled when I saw my Aunt signing to him during announcements.
I love sign language, and I wish I knew it better.
During worship, I watched this young man, tears coming to my eyes as he was signing along with the words on screen. I’m sure he could feel the beat of the music, that place was popping.
His sincere act of worship moved me. Past the place of quiet complacency I had been resting in, to a place of real connection. Honestly, to me, there is something enticingly beautiful about seeing sign language used in any situation; but, somehow, to me, it takes on an almost ethereal quality when used in a worship setting.
It is how a connection is made between the person, God, and (sometimes) others.
Similar to how a worship leader uses singing or a pastor uses a sermon. How a writer uses a page of devotional or poetry or a dancer uses his/her body.
And, it brought to mind a book called Flourish by Staci Frenes. She came about a week ago and led a woman’s night at our church around this same work. What an inspiring woman bearing her beautiful soul.
This book, which can be found on amazon, is about using your unique creative gifts in service of the Kingdom. All of us have some gifting, one area of life where we can develop, grow, and turn back out to the world. She speaks of her own gifts of music and song-writing; as well as gifts of many others: photography, film, web design, writing, speaking, cooking, dress-making, gardening, and on and on.
Really, according to scripture, any natural (talent) or supernatural gift (gifts of the spirit), is given to us for the worship of God (1 Cor 12:1, 4-7; Eph 4:7, 11-16). Each unique gift and way we are wired to use it is another way we reflect Him, created in His Image (Genesis 1:26).
I moved this morning from that worship time to High School ministry with “my kids” – mentoring, teaching, encouraging. When I do these things, my soul comes alive, much as it does when I sit in a therapy room with clients, or write, or create visual art.
It is in this High School ministry or in the therapy room where my “deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” (Frederick Buechner). My art, my writing, my speaking, my listening –all used in purposeful, beautiful, and healing ways.
Right now, I serve on a team. The single woman serving alongside Cousin & Cousin’s husband. And, I love it. Though I don’t exactly know the future of the ministry, we are all there for our students, and for each other.
Some Sundays, I look at them, though, and feel that familiar stab of longing.
I want an ezer (Genesis 2:18) to do ministry with, to bounce ideas off of, to worship alongside. My heart longs for that so deeply.
Yet, I serve. I find ways to use my gifts, and I remind myself of Paul’s words: that an unmarried person can be concerned with the Lord’s work (1 Cor 7:32). [Too bad I’m very self-focused much of the time…]
Most of the time, right now, it’s a relief to know it’s just God and me. At this time, I am able to choose how to serve Him without having to worry about anyone else.
But, honestly, I’m ready. For that amazing person who will serve beside me. Who will be following God, and acting as a positive leader. It is something my heart longs for.
Yet, I also wrestle with the fact that, perhaps, I will remain single. It seems to have suited me thus far in life, and perhaps I just will not meet that man who wants to serve along side me. It is kind of a sad realization that it’s a possibility. It is a possibility I must learn to rest in, to be comfortable in.
I know that this time in my life, of preparation and growth, has taught me to rest in His love, using my gifts to serve Him as He calls me to. To walk the path He has opened up in front of me, regardless of who is with me or not with me.
I am reminded by Staci, that my unique gifts are to be used now, not in some distant future when someone may or may not be at my side.
And, no matter what, I can rest in the fact that God’s love for me is great. And, simply because He is, My gifts are to bring Glory to Him.