thoughts on ministry.

a lot has been on my mind today. I think because we have a week off of school, so now I find myself sitting around a clean house wondering what to do with my time. TV has become boring (maybe because I’ve seen all the shows I want to watch). I think of tons of projects to do around the house, but then realize that costs money. I would take Payton out to do something fun, but she’s too young to go play at the park. I really do want to take her to the zoo, but that just doesn’t seem fun to do by ourselves. So I’ve been making lists of things I’d like to do when she is older, or when we have the extra money.  I think after naptime we might run up to the library, depending on what kind of mood my little diva is in.

All this “down time” has led me to think a lot about life. It’s so weird to see where I am at now compared to where I thought I would be. I’m so blessed to be where I am, and I am learning to enjoy where I am. But there is a fine balance between being content and being complacent.  Being content is defined as satisfied with what one is or has. Complacent is defined as self-satisfied and unconcerned. I am content in the sense that I am satisfied with what I have, but I long to go to the next level. I don’t want to be stagnant, and I don’t want to be complacent in the sense that I am unconcerned with my place in life. When I’m talking about this situation I’m not just talking about what we have as far as material things, this is more specifically a struggle for me spiritually speaking. I grew up in church. I was always firey and passionate about my relationship with Jesus. I realized that I was a sinner in need of a savior. And somehow the greatness of that message got lost. I became the good girl. I did everything right. Not that I thought I could be saved by works, because I knew that was the case. But somehow I justified myself as “pretty good” and “relatively holy” compared to my peers. My relationship with Jesus was always the driving force for my goals in life. I wanted to be great. I went to Teen Mania, devoting my life to ministry for two years. We had passionate prayer times. Mandated fasting days. We were working to reach a generation dying to know what real love was. Every moment of that was real for me. I believed whole heartedly I was making a difference. I know that I was. But it was on such a grand scale that when I left Teen Mania unexpectedly in June of 2007 and was faced with “normal” life, it was like I didn’t know what to do. Kinda like when you have a huge project and you don’t know where to start. I knew I could make a difference in my church and my family. I had a group of beautiful young girls I was mentoring, and that was one of the best times of ministry I can remember happening in the last 3 years. Then it turned into something so bittersweet when I moved here to Missouri, I knew I was supposed to be with Chris but I didn’t want to leave those girls.

When I moved here to missouri it was such a change for me. I had independence. But I also had this new marriage to develop. I was still trying to figure out what this relationship with Jesus looked like in normal life, then my life changed completely. It took a long time for me to really figure out who I was and who I wanted to become. Basically our whole first year of marriage. I finally felt secure in myself and in my marriage and we got involved in youth ministry at church. I eventually took over the drama team and was mentoring a younger group of girls. While that was a great experience, it was also draining. Eventually we left that church and went to another. We were looking forward to a time of refreshing, but just 2 short months of attending that church and we were thrown into a leadership role over the kids ministry. While it wasn’t something Chris or I felt called to do it was something there was a need for in the church so we thought we would help out and committed to six months there. Fast forward to a year and half later and we were still working in kids, and horribly burnt out. We were hardly ever in service and struggling because of it. Looking back I can say that I know we were made stronger in that situation… but it was rough. The church we were serving closed down, which was bitter sweet for us. I miss the relationships we had there, but it was a relief to get that responsibility off our shoulders. In the midst of all of that we had a beautiful baby girl, which changed the dynamics of Chris and I’s relationship. At first it drew us together, it increased our intimacy greatly… but a few months in and we were struggling a bit. We worked through some rough patches and are doing great together, but I still feel like something is lacking. It is hard for me not being a part of some type of ministry. I was so used to giving, and I often received just as much. But after close to two years serving in an area neither of us felt called to or had a passion for (or, to tell the truth, even really enjoyed) I find myself lost. It feels like I don’t even know what I want to do anymore. Sure, my long term goal is to finish my schooling for Psychology and be apart of some kind of counseling, but that is a long way away. What do I do in the now? Here’s my answer to that…

Right now God has entrusted me to raise this precious little one to walk with him and to be a pillar of support and encouragement for my husband. Sometimes I feel so inadequate. Sometimes I don’t feel like it is much of a ministry at all. How can God be glorified in all the diaper changes and spit up? What about doing the laundry and dishes? And those solitary prayers? Somehow this seems a bit different from drama ministry and altar calls I’m used to. I have to admit, this is by far the most humbling type of ministry I’ve done. No applause at the end of the day. No fancy stage lights. Lots of tears and prayers for patience. Looking back over the last 5 months in pictures you can definitely see how she has grown and changed… but what you can’t see in the pictures is how she has changed me. and the most beautiful part about it? i know she will continue to teach me even more. sure, she might pick up a thing or two from me along the way 😉 and no, there might not be any curtain calls, but I know my reward will come… i see them here and there… a smile, a laugh or a big cuddle…. and the biggest reward of all will be watching her live a great life because of the empowerment of Christ in her life. What a precious thought. Not only is being a mom a huge ministry, being a Godly wife can be challenging at times too. Learning to communicate. Remembering to encourage. Praying and supporting him. Yes, he is very good at showing his gratitude, and for that I am very thankful because it does make the hard days easier. But there are some days where I struggle. Mostly with my own insecurities and feeling like i’m not good enough for him. But being with him makes me a better person. And I realize I have more influence over him than I know. Even though it can feel like I lean on him a lot, I know he leans on me two. Its a beautiful balance of give and take. And when I don’t feel like I measure up, I’m thankful for God’s grace (EMPOWERMENT) to live the life of ministry as a mom and a wife.

recap.

mmmm where to start? its been over 2 weeks since i last wrote a blog… not to say i haven’t sat down and tried, i usually get distracted too easily though. seems as if there is a permanent “to do” list floating around in my brain and before i can mark off one thing i jump to another. so much seems to be going on in my life right now, let’s see… last monday i went back to work after 12 beautiful weeks of maternity leave. that was rough. last monday morning was probably one of the hardest times i’ve gone through. i’m so thankful that chris’ family is watching payton for this short season that i will be back at work, but it doesn’t make it any easier to spend time away from my baby girl. with going back to work it seems like housework piles up so much faster! (as i write this there is a mound of laundry waiting to be put away and a sink full of dishes that i am purposely neglecting…) i’ve been waking up earlier so i can take a shower before payton gets up, then i have to get her ready to go, make sure chris and i have lunch, make coffee and get myself dressed and out the door in time to be at work by 8am. i get off work at 5 and by the time i come home i have a hard time finding the desire to cook, which is also devestating to my weight loss efforts… while i haven’t lost weight this week, i haven’t gained either. i still need to find more time to exercise and be more conscious of my eating. finding balance is hard to do. as if that isn’t enough… i start my first 2 college classes on monday! i’m super excited, but a little nervous seeing as it has been 5 years since i’ve last done any kind of official “schooling”. i hope i haven’t over extended myself.

while all of this can be overwhelming at times, i have such a great peace and a positive outlook on the future. i feel like i finally have a goal and vision to work towards, which is helping me stay motivated in all areas (so far). I have been putting a much higher priority on spending time in prayer and worship, it does leave me feeling so refreshed. i feel so very blessed to have everything God has blessed me with… a wonderful husband, a precious daughter, a beautiful house and so much more. everytime i’m tempted to get worked up about something (usually rather unimportant) i remind myself of how blessed i am. God has ALWAYS been faithful and there is no reason for him to stop now. he provides just what i need just when i need it. whether it is an encouraging word from a friend or coming through in a time of need, he is always right on time.

so theres a short recap on life in the norman fam. hopefully i will find some time soon to update more regularly. much love to my millions of fans in cyber space. ha.

The journey

It’s funny how God begins to stir your heart in the smallest ways. A comment from a friend, a song on the radio, a picture, a sunset… You experience something that jolts your spirit. Sometimes it fills you with peace or joy and other times it whets your appetite for something bigger. A mixture of triggers in my life over the past weeks and months and even years have ignited some longing in me to rediscover what I thought I had known for so long. I thought I had my “vision” figured out. Lately I’ve come to realize I never really took the time to evaluate my passions, desires and giftings to discover exactly what my purpose is in the body of Christ. My whole life I have always been generically passionate. That alone made me desireable in several positions in ministry. I realized for the majority of my life I have been simply “filling the need” rather than finding my niche. I went wherever help was needed. I did things with excellence. And I developed genuine passions for some areas in which I served. But right now, I don’t know where I fit. So, I have begun a journey. I have begun spending more time with the Lord. Reviewing old journals. Figuring out what really makes me feel alive. And I want you to join me on this journey. If there is an area that you have seen me serve in and be passionate about, please remind me! I need all the input and encouragement I can get. I’m looking forward to learning more about myself and Gods heart on this journey and I would love to share that with you as well. Much love 🙂