I wanted to share a couple of things that God did, how He has been working, and what He is planning for us. God is so good and He loves us more than we will ever know. He hears every prayer we pray even the short, insignificant ones that we don’t even remember. And He wants to be part of our lives! He loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to stay where we are…He wants to grow, challenge and prepare us for the next assignment.
A little history… or the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. If you don’t know who Paul Harvey is, ‘Wiki’ him. This summer generally during church, I felt God asking me over and over to get involved with women. Woman are scary…I had brothers…lots of them. Men are easy. Conflict, easy… a punch suffices… then its okay. Women, not so easy, but anyway… He asked me to submit myself to Gail, our Woman’s Ministry Director, and to offer my spiritual gift of teaching for His kingdom. I was thinking, I can teach a Wednesday night woman’s bible study. This would be alright. No problem. So, I talked with Gail briefly on Sunday, iron hot-commitment fresh and we set up a time to meet.
On Thursday a few days later, I got a message at work, during the middle of the day, and it was Gail. She said, “Call immediately”. My first thought was… she works at the church with my husband… something has happened… maybe he’s ill or worse. I called right away and she told me there had been a car accident, not involving my husband though, but members of the WOW Sunday school class and that Shirley Murphy, the teacher, had been at the hospital all week. Gail asked me if I would teach for her. I’m a nurse. I work in the hospital. I have worked in the hospital for 20+ years. I know what it is like to stand-by families when their world is falling apart. In my own life, I have been that person in the waiting room feeling powerless, waiting for a good word and that everything is going to be okay, when you know deep down inside that it isn’t and that this event is a major life crisis that could change you forever. I felt Shirley’s’ pain. Of course, I would help. No question. Then the thought came to me, “Wow God… that was fast!” No time to think or talk myself out of the promise I had made to You, on Sunday, just 3 days ago. “Ok, here I am, send me”.
…That Sunday when I taught the WOW ladies, I was surprised to learn that many people had been asked to teach and no one could. So for me, this fact again was providential… a confirmation… my commitment was part of Gods’ plan. Wow, I got it right this time. Confession… chink in the armor… I doubt! Do you? Are you like me… do you talk yourself out of God’s plan?
When Gail and I did meet, she told me she wanted me to teach a Sunday school class. A Sunday school class is not a short-term commitment like a Wednesday night study would be. The sacrifice is long-term, requires continual study, and changing worship services, which was not my plan… But once again, I said, “Ok, here am I, send me”.
One more story is important for you to know. After meeting with Gail, while walking my dog, Kizzy I was praying and asking God what direction He wanted us to have for our Sunday school class. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at that moment, thinking about the task ahead, wondering what I could offer, and why He had asked me to do it. You know… doubt thoughts… And as I walked, God began telling me that we as women work and as we age past our 20’s, 30’, 40’s, you get my drift… we master competence in the work. As successful Mom’s, housewives, career gals, we morph into leaders. We have influence. Influence is a very wonderful thing, BTW. God told me that He wants us, me included, to develop and hone our spiritual leadership skills and become successful, accomplished spiritual leaders who replicate themselves. He wants us to use our spiritual influence to strategically target relationships to mentor other women in the Lord. God wants to re-make, to mold us, into His new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now, all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
So the focus for Tapestry of Grace is this… God wants us to become spiritual leaders. He wants us to be spiritual leaders for Him. He wants to mold and equip us to lead effectively for His kingdom. He wants leaders who truly believe He will do what He says and to follow His agenda not our own… To become and live as servant leaders.
So what about Paul Harvey… what is the “rest of the story”? Well, the Sunday school literature that I choose was not available. The curriculum that was available is called, MasterWork: Essential messages from God’s servants. But in fine print at the very bottom of the book, it states, Lessons from Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby. “Now, you know… The rest of the story”.