I've heard it said many times before...one of the best ways to receive emotional healing is through serving. Now, I'm not talking about masking feelings or hiding from emotions that need to be dealt with. I simply mean serving even while healing, which can often bring a greater depth and meaning to the healing process.
I know, because I'm there.
This past Sunday, I began serving as a Connect Group leader (a/k/a Sunday School teacher) at my church. I have the privilege of teaching a wonderful group of ladies each Sunday morning. I was actually planning to be the assistant teacher for this class last spring and met these women for the first time the week before Chris died. But, May 4 changed everything.
I had to temporarily pull away from ministry of any kind. I was in no condition to minister, but I needed ministering to on many levels. I am also a speaker, and shockingly I was able to share even if only for two 3-5 minute segments this past July...just two months after my husband went to Heaven. Even then, God spoke through me, because I wasn't ready for ministry.
I look back at some of the blog posts I've written these last (nearly) 7 months, and I know those words had to be from Him...I hardly remember writing them.
But, this past September, I began sensing a change. I knew God was preparing me for ministry again. I began to doubt Him. I knew He gave me a story to share, and I need to be a good steward of that story, but does He really think I'm ready to serve again?
He was relentless. He wouldn't stop pursuing me. He clearly spoke to my heart that I was acting like Jonah and trying to escape his plans for me. Seriously? OK...I gave in.
What is it Lord? What do I need to do?
Leave your Connect Group at church and return to the ladies group, as a participant. I'll guide your every step.
Not that! Please...don't make me leave my comfort zone. This was my class with Chris. This is the class that has supported me every step of the way since May 4. I'm afraid I'll be a burden to the ladies. Let me just stay where I'm at.
I'm not asking you to teach (yet)...just obey me and return to that class. I'll take care of the rest.
And, I reluctantly (yes, I admit the reluctance) obeyed. I told my Connect Group friends "goodbye" and begged them to not forget me. You'd think I was moving to Tibet or something. I was just going a few doors down the hall. But, it was hard. Or so I thought...
As soon as I walked into the door that first time back in mid-October, I felt an overwhelming peace wash over me. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. And, so I sat under the teaching of my friend, Lorie, for several weeks before the call came.
One of our pastors called me in early November to let me know that Lorie would be stepping down from her teaching position to ready her family for an out-of-state move. Would I pray about taking over the class?
And...there it was. I knew the answer already, but I agreed to pray anyway. The very next week, I called Pastor Bill up and said "yes". I knew it was all part of God's greater plan. If I said no, I would be disobeying Him. I couldn't do that. I shared my Jonah story with him, and we both laughed at how God so clearly reveals Himself to us sometimes - even when we refuse to believe Him.
And so...this past Sunday was my first day teaching the class. It felt SO good to be in the servant seat again. It felt so good to be giving instead of always receiving. And, in doing so...I believe I climbed up another rung on the healing ladder!
To God be all the Glory!