Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Being His Church In Your World

This week's quote is:
"It is insufficient to proclaim that the Church of God has a mission in the world. Rather, the God of mission has a Church in the world."~ Tim Dearborn ~

Fifteen years ago, my world fell apart. I was a wife and mother; a Christian who was heavily involved in ministry with my husband at a small church in upstate New York.

Up until that point, I looked at myself as a “superwoman” of sorts – standing on the hillside, facing into the winds of adversity with hair and cape streaming. My armor protected and prevented me from acknowledging my inner pain and struggles.

I was the pastor’s wife – I wasn’t supposed to have needs or hurts, yet I desperately needed assurance of His love. So I handled it the only way I understood – to make Him love me more by crucifying the neediness inside me and giving my life for others.

Thank God, He looked beyond my willful resistance to the heart of the matter, my need to relinquish control of my life and trust Him. He began a healing work in my heart through a godly Christian counselor.

After several months of individual therapy, the counselor suggested I was ready to join a group of women who were also going through a similar time of recovery from childhood abuse issues. As I prepared to become a part of the group, he asked me what I could contribute to the group.

These types of groups work in a Christian setting because each member opens up and shares herself with the others, learning to embrace the love offered and to honestly mirror back to the others what she sees. Where I once sought to help others by ignoring my pain, I now learned to help by sharing it.

By sharing the deepest hurting parts of ourselves as a group, we learned we were not alone – each of us struggled with similar feelings. Secrets hidden in the darkest places of our hearts were illuminated and treated with compassion rather than criticism.

I learned to give that Christ-like compassion as well as to receive it. For the first time in my life, I understood the unconditional love and acceptance of Christ, through the love and acceptance of the women in the group.

Today’s quote reminded me of that time in my life – when I learned to give and receive Christ. The God who has a purpose and a plan for my life invested His healing love, time and energy into me so I could go out and be Him to the hurting people around me.

“The God of mission has a church in the world.” Thank You God for allowing me to be a representative of Yours in the world – honestly sharing Your message of unconditional love!

(new quotes will be posted here every Friday)

If you would like to join us on: Tuesday, March 20th

Visit "Laurel Wreath" to read her take on the quote and to leave your link along with the other participants.


MiPa said...

Thank you for sharing. "Giving and receiving" Christ is the crux of mission. Beautiful example of that. Blessings to you today.

Laurel Wreath said...

Bonnie this is beautiful. It is painful some of the things we endure, but I praise God he can turn the ugly things around and we can use them for His glory.

The Preacher's Wife said...

"Secrets hidden in the darkest places of our hearts were illuminated and treated with compassion rather than criticism."

I'm reminded of the Casting Crowns song, "Stained Glass Masquerade". If we are honest, can we trust people not to reject us? Can we trust ourselves not to reject others when they reveal the dark places in their heart? I would like to think so...Oh that the church would be a safe place to run.

I relate to your experience in many ways..thank you for being transparent..

Denise said...

Bless you for sharing your heart, and your thoughts.

Heidi said...

What an inspiring story. thank you for sharing.
You know, being a minister's wife is the one thing I would want to do least in life. I actually told my husband before we got married that he'd better tell me then if he had any thought of it because I didn't want to be a minister's wife!
It is a hard job and we (the congregation) put too much pressure on the spouse's of mininsters. God bless you.

Cyndi said...

I loved your honesty. It really touched my heart today. "The God who has a purpose and a plan for my life invested His healing love, time and energy into me so I could go out and be Him to the hurting people around me." That is the heart of missions, in my opinion. Letting the overflow of what He has done spill over onto others. It's so important to go to Him to be filled. I loved this post today!

Amydeanne said...

Great take on this post! I really appreciated your sharing!

Loni said...

Your post touched me greatly, and I enjoyed peeking around your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart in this post. So often we can put people of leadership, such as a pastor's wife, up on a pedestal, forgetting that they have needs just like anyone else. I was touched by your post.

Linda said...

You have written a powerful post Bonnie. It so obviously comes from a heart overflowing with the love of the Father. I think what you have said is so true, we are able to give to others because He so liberally gives to us. I love it that each writer adds a new perspective to this great quote. I love it that we all share the most important thing of all - our faith in Jesus Christ.

eph2810 said...

Bonnie, thank you for sharing those beautiful words. Yes, He has a place for us -- no matter where our mission is...

Blessings to you and yours...