So what's up in Women's Ministry and Counseling Ministry you may ask??? Well, maybe you aren't asking, but I am feeling the need to kick up my blogging a notch or two, and post more often from my own heart and not just other people's stuff. I've said that before, I know. ;) But I do want to blog more, so here goes!
I have been asked to describe what I do on a typical day, so here goes.....
A Day in the Life of Ministry to Women and Family:
6:00 a.m....down the stairs to have a quiet time and dedicate my day to The Lord. If I fail to do that, I am destined for a selfish day!
then it's the whirlwind of getting my girls up and ready for school. Off we go at 8:20.
8:40....to my office at the church. Most days the first task is to turn on the heater!! Brr, it is a cold building! Then I settle in to my desk for the tasks ahead of me. First task: go through my list of women at my church and Bible study, and pray for them as God leads. If I fail to do that, I am again destined to a selfish day!
Second task: complete my own Bible Study homework!
The rest of my office time consists of: counseling or mentoring sessions (anywhere from 2-4 daily); study time to prepare for upcoming counseling sessions; computer time to write notes from counseling sessions; various Women's Ministry tasks that need to be done - depending what is on the calendar currently (ie, retreat, fellowship events, showers, etc); fielding many emails and phone calls daily from women with various needs, questions, asking for help, wanting input, etc! And then there are meetings to go to; resources to research and preview; visits with women who stop by the office; plans to work on for upcoming events and studies; Bible study sessions to prepare for; coffee and lunch dates with women I try to squeeze in frequently; oversight of the various women's ministries to stay on top of things we are currently doing; meetings with the team leaders; speaking and writing to study and prepare for; visits to those in need - ill, housebound, etc; networking with local counselors or women's leaders; research current counseling and ministry trends; raise up other leaders for various ministries by assessing women's gifts; follow-up with prior counselees; and MORE that I can't think of at the moment. OH, and office tasks like ordering resources, computer maintenance, making copies, and basically being my own secretary!! Tired just from reading all that?? Me, too. But it is in my weakness that He is strong, thankfully! To say that I keep busy is an understatement, and perhaps you can see why I say that I am in FULL TIME ministry. I never have enough hours in a day to get it all done, but my priority is ALWAYS people, so those needs come first. The rest gets done as I am able, and the Lord always plans my schedule in such a way that I honestly do not feel overwhelmed. Busy, but not overwhelmed. His burden is light, and I am so thankful for that.
at 2:30, off I go to pick up my girls and spend the rest of my day as wife and mom and all that entails. Some evenings, if we have 'down' time, out comes some ministry work - I just can't help it!! - usually on my computer or some reading or studying....typically after the girls are in bed or while they are doing homework. The rest of the time I purpose to give the family undivided attention! They are, after all, my first and priority ministry!
I have also been asked what are the positives, and negatives of being in this ministry. Here goes:
**some lonliness at times. I am often now seen as a 'position', not just a woman in a church family. I have been left out of invitations, some friendships have changed, and sometimes I am criticized and complained about. Not often, but when it happens - ouch.
**time is sacrificed. There is no doing this thing part-time. I've tried, but you can't dictate when a crisis comes, or when a woman can meet due to work schedules, or when the phone rings! I may be at the office regular hours, but ministry is a full-time lifestyle, 24/7.
**insecurities. I struggle with this from time to time, and it is where the enemy shoots his darts whenever I am fully engaged in fruitful ministry. It comes in many forms, never pretty.
**ENDLESS positives! I can't even put them all here! They FAR outweigh the negatives, so much so that I rarely dwell on those negatives, praise God.
**to be a witness to the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of one of my sisters in Christ is hard to describe. To be in a counseling session and KNOW it is the Holy Spirit truly being the counselor, and to feel that I am just sitting back as a witness to it - WOW! I have been privileged to see many transformed lives, and it doesn't get any better than that.
**to have a venue for reaching women who also don't need counseling, but need ministering to through Women's Ministries activities is also a huge privilege to be a part of.
** to KNOW that I am called to this is a comfort. I could not do it otherwise - it's too hard! To know that I am not on my own, WHEW!! It is Christ IN me, not me. It is a fearsome thing to have this responsibility with the wellbeing of women, and if it weren't for the Lord, I'd never do it because I'd botch it up badly! Thank you, Lord, for making me your vessel and nothing more.
It's not your average life. I don't earn a paycheck, but instead I am paid in blessings.... and I don't get to share the specifics of the work of God in lives I am a part of (because it is confidential). Much of it is behind-the-scenes, and I wouldn't want it otherwise. All I want is to do the will of the Father, period. And for now, that means I draw strength from Him daily to minsiter to women and family!!!!
The best part of all of it is this: not a day goes by that I don't absolutely NEED to draw on wisdom and strength from God's Word, and to point others to do the same. It has given me a love for His Word that is indescribable.....so I will let it speak for itself: "For the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12. Amen.
I am editing this post lest I mislead you in to thinking it is ok to be too busy! God has not called me, or you, to that. I really am not 'too busy', just busy doing His work!, although reading the above could lead you to think I am out of balance! I pace myself, and always put my family first. I ask them to partner with me in ministry by allowing me out for an evening Bible Study or rare evening counseling appointment, and they bless me by supporting that from time to time. Typical days, after school hours, I am a homemaker first and formost and we have many laid-back hours together (I am not a high energy person and am content to snuggle on a couch many hours while we read, talk, watch movies, etc!).
God only gives us what we can carry - if we are overwhelmed, then likely something on our plate is NOT from Him. I have learned to discern what to say 'yes' to, and what to say 'no' to for the most part. I urge you to check your plate and see if it is full of things given to you by Him, or by you. Remind ME of that now and then, too, ok??!