Confession #2: Some Days I Want to Quit

Our boys recently learned to ride their bikes without training wheels. Our oldest, Uno, who is 7, took off after only a few spills very successfully. Our second, Dos, who is 6 years old has excelled in many areas over his brilliant big brother recently. We were expecting Dos to leave Uno in the dust and take off with gusto. Boy, were we wrong!

Dos struggled with maintaining his balance, his wobbly arms had him going in circles and toppling into the pavement repeatedly. He cried and looked at his palms, I encouraged him to get back up and going. His face reflected fear and uncertainty but he would pick up the fallen bicycle and try again. He was obviously discouraged and I pictured God encouraging me in the same way.

The Ministry Papa helping our son, Dos, learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

The Ministry Papa helping our son, Dos, learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

I went and helped him for 10 minutes as he fell and would look up at me with his sad eyes. I would pick up the bike for him and wait for him to straddle the seat and try again. I eventually went about my other business as he continued to try. Then, Dos was done, he was ready to quit and I let him. Enough was enough for that day. I knew he was not going to master his skills in a day so he wheeled his bike into the garage. I felt for him and knew the enjoyment he had while riding his bicycle with training wheels was in the past. He was growing up a bit that day. Two weeks later he is still struggling to be steady and fast and he still crashes often. I believe it is only a matter of time before he is sailing happily down the sidewalks of our neighborhood.

Sometimes I feel like my son, so weary from trying things and failing. Tired of falling and having to regroup and straddle the life God has called me to again… God knows my heart and knows I want to quit but He encourages me to get back up. Sometimes I really wish He would just let me lay there and get run over by a car, surely it wouldn’t hurt as bad as the failure and the hurts of this life.

The days I want to quit ministry are usually the times where our ministry is so busy that we have no time to sit down, spend quality time with our children, or even rest. It’s the times when people are down your throat about factors in ministry that are beyond your control or critical of the things I have invested time and heart in; the times I have neglected my family to finish the task. Some days, my weariness in well-doing and conflict make me want to pack a few bags, drive off in our mini-van, wave sayonara, and move to a life that does not involve so much heartache and frustration. I just don’t have the guts to really do it… Quitting is not really an option, it’s only a temptation.

The times I have quit in the past have really come back to bite me in the you know where… and God has quickly given me His chastisement. I hate to hurt, so back to God’s path I go, like the little plow donkey with its blinders on. Asking for forgiveness and choosing to repent. No more looking around into the world for what I need to fulfill the longings in my heart, I must choose to put my blinders on and look at His path for the life of our family.

So, I stay where God has called our family. I stay in the Lord’s work. And I stay for the sake of His testimony through my life.

We are thankful for the vacation weeks that we have, but honestly, sometimes with our busy church schedule, it just does not seem like enough. I get tired of pedaling and moving forward, and my bike crashes. Our church has a pretty busy schedule, busier than some, not as busy as others I realize… then again, I don’t know if it is the combination of having 4 young children, homeschooling, ministry responsibilities, and just life or my inability to be able to manage them all properly.

I admit, the emotional female creature that I am, my bike crashes a lot. But God always stands beside me and encourages me. He reminds me of Proverbs 24:16, “for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” I get up and get going because deep down I do not want to be a quitter. In my strength though, that is exactly what I am…

I think of how wonderful God’s grace is to give me enough love to help me, patience enough to stand the bike up for me, the strength to walk and run beside me in all that He has called us to do. The long-suffering to know that I will probably just fall down in a few moments, the love to dust me off and kiss my hurts. The kindness in His eyes when I look at Him crying and the gentle comfort He provides as He speaks to me through His Word.

The only thing that really keeps me from quitting is God.

Without the Holy Spirit speaking to me before I pack my bags and wave sayonara, I would have ditched this gig a long time ago. He is my reason for living, His beautiful and perfect Son gave me eternal life, I must not quit, I must go on, for His sake. He lives, so that I may have life more abundantly. He called me, I must remain faithful.

So, there you go… you now know that naturally I am a quitter, but God is my greatest cheerleader in this bicycle ride of life so that I can live and do His will. Although some days I want to quit, He is my reason for living and for staying.

Thank you Lord for never giving up on me!

25 Things About Ministry I Didn’t Learn in Bible College

I was reading a book about 25 things a pastor did not learn in seminary… but the book was good in many ways but lacked in many ways regarding likeness in faith and practice and  Biblical ministry philosophy. So, I’m not going to do a book review as planned, but share with you all a list of 25 things I didn’t learn in Bible College! Some of these things are funny, some serious, just read and maybe you’ll find some similarities between us.

25 Things About Ministry I Didn’t Learn in Bible College

  1. How to make church flower arrangements. I learned floral work from my grandmother that worked as a florist for 15 years.
  2. How to talk to women and teen girls about immodesty. Uh… Awkward.
  3. How to entertain your children when you spend hours at the church.
  4. How to be a supportive Sunday School helper. For me it’s easy to teach, but much harder to sit back and let someone else be the leader without taking the reins away from them.
  5. How to plan 20 different activities for the preschool through Kindergarten age group when you’re teaching Sunday School or Junior Church. These kids get bored fast and the class always goes faster than planned! I’ll have no boredom on my watch.
  6. The how-to’s of delegation.
  7. Saying “no” nicely.
  8. Secretary skills. This was something I learned when I was hired as a church secretary.
  9. Developing a working visitation ministry. Also something I learned to do as a church secretary.
  10. When it is the right time to “sit on the ministry bench” for certain times of your children’s lives. Being pregnant, having a newborn, having a toddler, our son’s asthma, have all been reasons I have had to stop performing in certain areas of ministry.
  11. How to be an aggressive planner and organizer. College is a learning process, but planning for home, meals, ministry activities, and self can be a little overwhelming when you transition to single life planning to family ministry planning.
  12. The time and effort involved in organizing and leading a children’s Christmas play. I only helped do this once, and it was a lot of work for the lady that put our Christmas play all together.
  13. The quick turnover rate there is among visitors and members within a church.
  14. What to do when nursery workers consistently skip their duties.
  15. The importance and how-to of maintaining ministry friendships.
  16. Loving and respecting your pastor even with all of his faults.
  17. Maintaining the unique dynamic between yourself and fellow staff families.
  18. The value of sticky tack!
  19. Great meals for lunch and evening on Sunday. This is so hard because you leave in the morning, eat lunch, take a nap/rest, get up and go back to the church early for choir or other responsibilities, then service, then home again. Where do you fit in the evening meal?
  20. That church work allows you to work in so many areas of ministry. Every church need is a ministry of some sort.
  21. How to use a roaster. Okay, so no previous experience for me with this one…
  22. The know-how of setting up a church anniversary celebration. Is it like a banquet or a birthday party? or a little something in between? Other ladies have taught me how to celebrate God’s gift of the church and it’s important yearly anniversary.
  23. How to deal with the weirdos! Eek! They’re in every church. You know it’s true… you’re thinking of someone in your church right now, aren’t you? Ha ha! Here’s some good advice, smile and back up slowly and look for your exit and bolt! No really, I’m only kidding.
  24. That all day on some Sundays you may be so busy serving in nursery, preparing for a meal, or taking care of the needs of others that you will be unable to be a part of the church service.
  25. And last but not least; The blessings that would come from serving God with every day and moment of our lives!

Obviously Bible College can not replace good old experience. I did learn some wonderful things and was very thankful for the specific classes that were geared toward women’s ministry where I went to school. I have files of notes and helps on many other areas that have been useful to me. And many of these things I did not learn will, Lord willing, become future articles and how-to instructions that I will be able to share with you all in the future.

I hope you have a happy day!