Listening to the Whisper

I love sharing The Big God Story with children.  I relish the opportunity when I get to help children learn of God’s love and His plan that He is continuing to work out.  I love helping children understand something they’ve maybe always known, but now see it in a new way.  Or take a concept and explore it deeper with them.

Kids kind of get that “a-ha” moment, just a slight shift in focus when things become clearer.  Then sometimes, as I’m preparing a lesson, the Holy Spirit is teaching me something in a fresh new way.

Recently I was getting ready to share about the prophet Elijah.  I honestly don’t remember learning of him as a child.  I think the church I grew up in was Old Testament poor.  I have since learned about Elijah and have often been with preschoolers when share about him.  We usually focus on the offering the prophets of Baal placed out.  They danced and chanted and prayed, but no god showed up.

Then Elijah offered up a sacrifice, first drenching all of it in water to prove a point.  After praying to the one true God “The fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38)  Boom.  That fast.  God sure can act quick.

This lesson didn’t stop there though.  It continued on with Elijah having to escape for his life.  After killing the prophets of Baal, well, Baal wanted Elijah dead.  So he ran and hid on Mt Horeb.  This is the part I love.  This is what I needed to hear that day when I was with the kids.  Granted, I had read the lesson through several times and made all of my preparations.  But it’s so different being on our little stage in front of kids and presenting it to them.  It affected me differently.  God affected me differently.

You see, when Elijah was hiding on Mt Horeb, he was tired and lonely.  He had done all that God asked of him, yet here he was in a dark cave all alone. God showed himself in a great wind, in splitting rocks of an earthquake, and fire that came around the mountain in a huge display.  Lots of chaos was around Elijah.

But God was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire; He was in a still, small whisper that gently blew across Elijah.

This is where I’ve found myself lately.  I feel like I’m in the dark on Mt Horeb, crying out, “God, I’m lonely and feel lost.  I’m trying to do what you’ve called me to do, yet here I am”.  There’s so much around me, but God isn’t in the activities and the stuff consuming my day and kaleidoscoping around me.  He’s there in the whisper.  The soft still voice.

“Nancy, I AM.  I AM here, I AM with you, I AM working all of this out according to my perfect plan, I AM holding you in this, I AM who I AM and you are going to be fine.  So be still, hear my whisper, hear my voice, and know that I AM God.”

A-ha.  You’ve got me again.   I’m sitting still and listening to the whisper.


Originally posted on Truministry


A New Thing

This has been a busy season of life. Busy in a new way for me. It’s exciting. Overwhelming. A little bit lonely. Sometimes hard. And I know that it’s worth it.

I have known for a long time that God has been calling me to pastoral ministry. Yes, I’ve served in ministry for almost ten years now. I’ve grown immensely during this time. I’ve had people say that as a woman I would never be a pastor. I’ve had others tell me I’m doing just fine, why would I pursue that. Or I’ve been told to wait until my kids are older, there’s no rush.

Yet, they are not the ones who have called me to ministry. And they are not the audience I seek to please. Yes, I long to walk alongside these people and point them to the risen one. Because that’s who I serve. And that’s whom I choose to follow.

So I have followed His leading, one step at a time. The seeds have been planted for a long time. Last August they were watered. And since then I’ve been guided, nurtured and cared for through each step. This last fall I submitted an application for a Ministry License in my denomination. I’ve also enrolled in a series of classes that I am earning seminary credit for and will transfer to a seminary as I pursue a masters degree.

This week I had my interview for the Ministry License. I reread much of the reference material early in the week and spent time in prayer. The committee reviewed my application and lengthy paper I wrote a few months ago. I shared my faith story with them. The four people on the committee asked several questions. We had a great discussion then they dismissed me to confer in private. When I was invited to return they immediately said they want to recommend me for a Ministry License. Effective immediately. God is good. I am now a licensed pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

As I drove home, I reflected on the last ten years. God has been so faithful and so evident. Ten years ago I was in a dissolving marriage marked by mental health issues and domestic violence. I was raising three kids on my own without child support and earning $850 a month. Sometimes the heat worked in our house that was in foreclosure for the fourth time. Often it didn’t. And I trusted God. I trusted that He had a plan and a purpose for me. I trusted that He was walking alongside me and holding me up with His mighty right hand. I knew that He did not make me of a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.

I continue to trust Him.

I continue to follow.

I continue to know He is right here with me.

I know He is faithful.

I am so grateful for the staff and ministry team at Pine Lake Covenant Church. I am so grateful for the families I get to serve and who in turn lift me up in prayer. I am grateful for the amazing friends who have stuck beside me, who have encouraged me in my writing and classes, who have given advice, listened in my struggles, brought laughter to my face, helped with study breaks, and offered editing skills. All of you fill me with such joy and I appreciate you deeply.

I know this is just a first step. There are many many more to come. And life continues to be incredibly full with my teenagers, ministry, speaking schedule, and class work. Ten years ago could I have imagined this? Maybe. Today I’m being faithful in this one step and I leave the future to God. I trust that He will continue to fill me with breath, sustain my heart, order my days, guide my steps, and bring me joy.


Oh, My Heart

food-pot-kitchen-cooking-mediumSome days in the life of a family are just hard. It may not be a major catastrophe or difficult illness in the family, but rather just all of those little things that overwhelm and wear you out. Those days may leave you with little patience and perhaps the tendency to overreact or lash out in harsh words.

This evening in our house has been one of those hard moment days. Plans weren’t solidified, but we’re all feeling nothing is going right. I was out of town for several days. Sarah was at a friend’s, Jacob was given the opportunity to stay on his own. His chores were undone, causing me frustration. Even though I’ve been on a retreat I see the 108 page application I need to start on. Grandma is on her way to stay for a few days too. I think we’re all tired, out of our routine, and feeling worn out.

My afternoon was readjusted, so I thought I had time to go to the gym, get in some much needed brain exhaustion via cycling. Then I was diverted to pick up duty after practice. I don’t mind carpooling, I was just trying to get it done before the rpm class started. And then traffic. Just through our town. Sarah could sense my tension. I tried to ask about homework and school. I could see the anxiety on her face. And then the tears came. She felt behind in Japanese class and like she was a burden for me adjusting my plans to drive her around. She doesn’t want to feel bad, but she just does. Then moments before home, the real words came out. “I just miss my daddy. Why isn’t he here?!” Oh, my heart. I asked what she needed in this moment; a hug was her quiet reply.

So we pulled into our tiny townhouse parking space, others outside around us, and I got her out of the car and just held her. Right there, in the middle of the neighborhood. Through the sobbing she quietly asked me to pray for her. Oh, my heart. I had been silently praying over her and now, of course, I let the heart of God pour through me. What a joy to have my daughter seek comfort in my arms and ask for me to pray over her. In that moment, with the Holy Spirit comforting us, that’s all we needed. Family.

Our evening continued to be a mess of bumbling fools. Jacob arguing, because he’s always right. His chore of bathrooms, to him, means squirting some blue stuff in the toilet. The end. I was helping Sarah with some homework while I had onions caramelizing on the stove. Of course I got the burners mixed up and turned them up too high while I turned my attention to Sarah. So they are now burned little black things that filled the house with smoke. Jacob says they made the house smell like cat pee. Yay us. Then he was getting his pizza out of the oven (it’s an ASD thing—every night recently) and it slipped off the backside of the rack. Yes, it ran down the backside of the oven. Awesome. Ov Glove to the rescue. And my house that was clean this morning is covered in mail and school projects, tennis shoes and coats, bits of dinner and groceries yet to be put away.

These moments and situations can wear a person out. Especially a single mama like me. But we covered the day in prayer. And I trust that the Holy Spirit is giving us grace in these moments. So there were more hugs. No harsh words where there could have been a lot. No wounded feelings, where we could have really hurt each other. Instead, now there’s laughter, teenage burping, and a dance party is about to go down. Because this family dances just because we can. And we laugh, because it’s good medicine for our souls. And the burping…it’s a teenage thing. These may be hard days, but I know the years are slipping away too quickly. So I’ll take the tears, prayers, laughter, and dance parties with my growing babies any day. Oh, my heart.