When I began in ministry and began this blog, I had no experience in founding a corporation or directing a biblical counseling ministry. Although I was a young mom with the equivalent of an Associates’s Degree in Bible, a few years of being the director of a women’s ministry, a certified biblical counselor, and unofficial co-leader of a small biblical counseling ministry in my church. I didn’t know a thing about how to do what I intended to do. Perhaps that is similar to where you find yourself today. You sense the call, you have the drive and desire, but you are scared. So frightened you will be misunderstood by church leadership, afraid you won’t succeed, wondering how it will all flesh out.

I thought I might encourage you today by taking a trip back in time and sharing my thought processes from when I began Biblical Counseling for Women and Reigning Grace Counseling Center. At the time, an old Amy Grant song, “All I Ever Have to Be,”[1] was meaningful to me as I wrestled with what I believed God had called me to do. Some of the lyrics are embedded within today’s post because they articulated well how I was processing what was before me.

February 2008

When the weight of all my dreams is resting heavy on my head…
Tonight the weight is heavier than it was a few hours ago. The things that have been placed before me are challenging yet not new. I have done this before, and God has been faithful to surround me with people who fill my deficits in all areas. And yet, the weight is heavy because the responsibility is great. I know to mess this up affects more than me; it affects those I serve by His grace. The weight is made of understanding the challenges of unity, the challenges of change, the challenges of cooperation, the challenges of leadership.

And the thoughtful words of help and hope have all been nicely said…
There is plenty of encouragement to go forward with this plan, assurances that I am the woman for the job; I have the right idea and message to put forth.

But I’m still hurtin’ wondering if I’ll ever be the one I think I am…I think I am…
Ministry is scary territory for me. There is a personal risk because people can be so difficult and cruel. After all, we are all still sinners. Serving sinners like myself, I know there is the opportunity for criticism and rancor, disagreement and divisiveness, and even viciousness and hatred. And everything rides and falls on leadership. How will I be received? I am who I am- very imperfect and flawed.

Then You gently re-remind me that You’ve made me from the first…
God is in charge of my spiritual growth; He is in charge of “what” I am (loved, chosen, adopted, etc.). Psalm 139 details for me how intimately He knows me and how He created me to be exactly who I am, and He has brought me to this time and place and this point of spiritual growth and maturity. He is “intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (v3)”For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (vs. 13-14)

And the more I try to be the best the more I get the worst
I cannot hurry Him along in the process of my sanctification. It is not up to me how quickly I am sanctified. I am complete in Him positionally – and the changes He intends to effect in me will be accomplished in His timing. I have seen the results when I take matters into my own hands, i.e., trying to produce the Fruit of the Spirit, trying to be “better,” trying to force the changes by my own will… How could I suppose to conjure up what can only be wrought by the Spirit of God in my sinful flesh? I am revealing incredible pride when I attempt self-sanctification.

And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are- who You are!
I see this with crystal clarity! I am aware that within my heart is the blackest, darkest pit of sin, and only Christ brings any “goodness” to my being. You, Lord Jesus Christ, are the Goodness. You are the Light in my darkness. You take me, change me, from what my idolatrous heart wants me to be, to some representation of You! It is all You Lord; it is all You…

And all I ever have to be is what You’ve made me

Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan

Oh Lord, I struggle here! I desire to be one who can serve, one who will be accepted and loved by all. A most unreasonable desire I know. You have not made me fuzzy and cuddly, You have made me differently- factual and tough. I cannot be anything less than who I have been made to be. To even want to be different from how God has created me in personality or personhood, I am telling God that He has not done a good enough job putting me together. Should I presume to tell God He somehow has made an error in my construction?

I am a strong woman with strong opinions, and my strong opinions are based on what the Word of God tells me about me. The book of Ephesians tells me what I need to know about myself, what I once was (Chapter 2), and who I am now because of what was done for me before I even existed (Chapter 1). Finally, it tells me how to live (Chapter 4) and fight (Chapter 6).

Then why (you may be asking) do I struggle here? Because I know that I do not always please everyone, and not everyone appreciates how God has put me together. Because like everyone, I long to be loved.

As You daily re-create me help me always keep in mind that I only have to do what I can find.
What I have found now is to take up the next challenge and go forward in faith. I did not create this idea; I am following the lead of my Savior. He has given me desire and ability. I trust that He will surround me with faithful people who will answer the same call. I am not to take over the world or conquer a tribe for Christ; I am to minister to those who He has placed in my path and my sphere of influence. I will trust Him for the rest.

And all I ever have to be – All I have to be

All I ever have to be is what You’ve made in me

Lord, if the days grow dark and dim and the way is unclear, please lead me forward. Help me to follow Your lead and to discern Your will for this endeavor. Give me wisdom and the ability to understand those who think differently than I do. Give me the endurance to withstand what is ahead and the love I will need to overcome the inevitable differences that will surface. Take my heart and conform it to Yourself. I remain Your servant Lord, make me Your humble servant.

[1] Songwriters: Gary Winthur Chapman, All I Ever Have To Be lyrics © New Spring Publishing Inc.