Ministry is hard.
It is what it is. There's no way around it. It's difficult. Feelings of inadequacy abound. What ifs and coulda woulda shouldas run around my brain like Olympic athletes. And always, always, I focus on the one negative instead of the 99 positives.
Always I wish I had more life experience to help me love and serve our congregation.
Always, always, it's personal.
Today, as I studied and prayed and drew near to the Lord I found myself in tears praying for the ones we've lost--those who haven't felt we've done our job, for one reason or another. And I cried out, "It's hard to be 29!"
No sooner had the words left my mouth that I knew it wouldn't matter if I was 45 or 62 or 91, ministry will always be difficult. I will never be enough. I am just a little girl who accepted the Lord as her personal Savior, grew up, and asked Him what He wanted her to do with her life. And always he says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
The failures and the shortcomings are hard. And there are many. And I take them all very, very personally. But whether you are effected by our ministry or not, I need you to know that I'm trying. I need you to know that there is nothing more important to me--nothing in all this world--than ministering and shepherding and loving the sheep that have been entrusted to me. I need you to know that I'm learning to be a woman of God.
The Lord is doing some amazing things in our church. I rejoice and praise Him for growing ministries and lives being changed. When I think on these things, I feel joyful. But I need you to know that, though this parable is more about soul's perishing and not really anything about failing someone, it rings true for me in my current position. "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost." (Matt. 18:12-14)
And if he does not find it?
There is sorrow. Even in the middle of all the joy. Even when so many good things are happening. I need you to know that.
Ministry is hard.