This week has been one of those weeks that has taken every drop of energy that I have. From worrying about my husband’s new job, to thinking about if we have enough money to feed us all, to parenting and guiding my five little fireworks who are growing and changing by the day.
I’ve been heavily rooted in prayer this week. I’m a regular pray-er, morning prayer is done locked in the toilet for a bit of peace and quiet, night time before bed, and throughout the day when I feel like I want to or need to talk to God. But this week has been different, prayer has been a cry out for help, a questioning of why things are so difficult, why do certain things happen and God is apparently silent.
But is he silent? The truth is I don’t know. But in the midst of chaos this week, Jesus has stood next to me in the kitchen whilst I stir my cup of tea for too long with worry. He was sitting next to me on the sofa after I felt cross with myself for losing my temper with the children. He was there in the night when I couldn’t sleep. How do I know this? I know this because there is no rock bottom when Jesus is involved. When you are in the pit he gives you a firm place to put your feet so you will not side down any further. My feet were firmly rooted in prayer and I did not slide down.
I had a realisation on Saturday night that I would have to stand in front of a congregation of people and assist at the communion the next day. How on earth can I stand there after feeling like I am the worst sinner out there, how can I stand there and lead with energy when I have none. How do you minister to people when you yourself have had a terrible week?
These thoughts were heavily on my mind as I pulled up to the church. But from somewhere, deep inside me a bubble of energy began to grow. And the more I thought about Jesus and how I had come today to repent, to worship, and to adore, that bubble grew. I thought back to my favourite gospel story the feeding of the five thousand. My favourite message from that story is that nothing is wasted. This reminder of Jesus taking our gifts and experiences and transforming them into something amazing, and that all of our experiences aren’t wasted filled me with hope and joy. My stressful week isn’t wasted in my exploration of ministry, if anything it showed to me that I do and will rely on Jesus in times of stress. I stood at the front filled with energy and thankfulness that I could be in this position serving our Lord and the people in the pews with all my flaws and my questionable singing!
My imperfectness also keeps me grounded with everyone else. I am passionate about being in touch with the real world, a place where people talk about how they can get to the end of the week with only ten pounds in their purse. I’m blessed that I can share a conversation with my neighbour who popped round telling me that she had been living on tinned soup for dinner. I myself have only had a few cooked dinners this week so I could empathise and completely understand. I can listen when parents are having a tough time with their children and they are exhausted. In the midst of all of this I can feel God and see him trying to help us all.
These testing times are God breathed and it is a time where I can be mature in my faith and not see it crumble away. I took advice and comfort from Hebrews 12, “So think about him. Then you won’t get tired. You won’t lose hope”
A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. And let us keep on running the race marked out for us. Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the one who started this journey of faith. And he is the one who completes the journey of faith. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He made it through these attacks by sinners. So think about him. Then you won’t get tired. You won’t lose hope. Hebrews 12:1-3