"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, November 12, 2009

#100 and a Little Reflection

Well, here it is: my one-hundreth post. It has taken me right at a year and a half to get to this place. Honestly, I really didn't know if blogging would be something I would enjoy or not -- or even be able to do on a consistent basis. And like I said in my first entry, I couldn't imagine anybody reading it other than my own mother. But nonetheless, here I am.

I heard it said tonight on TV (NCIS to be exact) that blogging is a personal journal. Not sure how "personal" it can be when there are potentionally thousands of readers out there who can click on it at random. We've certainly come a long way from the old lock and key diaries that we hid between the mattress and box springs. But as I look back on my entries, it is indeed personal. It tells some of my journey over the last 18 months. Some entries more personal than others.

So as I thought about this 100th entry, I couldn't help but remember certain individuals from my past who have been instrumental in my personal faith journey. My spiritual guides, if you will. All pastors in their own right; men cloaked by God. So in honor of #100, here's my short list.

Dr. Billy Key. When I was a wee tot, Brother Billy would stand with his arms open wide at the front of the sanctuary and invite "all who would come" to receive Jesus. Because I was so young, my parents would literally hold me back each Sunday, until one day Brother Billy just plain told them, "If she wants to come, let her come." And they did. Thank you, Brother Billy, for opening your arms each Sunday morning at the end of the service and welcoming little children. Those few feet from the 2nd row to the altar was actually one huge step in my faith journey.

My daddy. He isn't an ordained minister, but he could have been. In fact, I use to travel with him on occasion when he did some lay preaching around south Georgia, so it's perfectly within my right to include him in this list. In fact, I couldn't tell my story without him. When I hit the age of accountability and sin became real to me, it was to my earthly daddy's lap I went and confessed every wrong I had ever done. (I've often said I sure was glad it happened when I was 10 and not 20!) I think God knew I needed flesh that night and so He let my dad sit in as proxy. Thanks, Daddy, for having a lap big enough to hold me and a heart large enough to forgive me. You made coming to my heavenly Father easy.

The Rev. Jim McIlrath. Jim invested in me as my youth pastor. He was educated enough to be called a minister; young enough to still be crazy. Jim called me Nance, still does, and he made me feel accepted in a climate where it was difficult for a young (over-weight) teenage girl to fit in. I knew I was always safe with him. Thanks, Jim, for picking me up and carrying me across the wet floor in the basement. It meant more than you'll ever know.

The Rev. Bill Kierce. Bill came to Vidalia to preach several revivals, and it was he who introduced me to the power of the Holy Spirit. Up until then, my spiritual walk had been anything but victorious. But Bill preached one night on forgiveness and the next evening on the baptism of the Spirit. A wall fell for me that warm April night in 1986. Thanks, Bill, for introducing me to this portion of the Godhead. My life was never the same again.

The Rev. Mark Nysewander. Several years later, Mark also came and preached a couple of revivals for us at Grace UMC. It was at the altar one night that Mark spoke over my musical ability, praying anointing on my hands. From that moment on, I felt something was different -- though unexplainable. Thanks, Mark, for being "out there," and for stirring the gifting in me by the laying on of hands.

The Rev. Bill Strickland. If anyone has ever held a crown over my head and encouraged me to grow into it, Bill has. For years, he has answered my endless questions with more questions making me search out answers and solutions for myself, and in the meantime, teaching me I don't have to have all the answers. He has expounded Scripture to me, has taught me the necessity of prayer, the virtue of patience and the power of corporate worship, and he was the first to help me see the holy in the ordinary. Thank you, Bill, for holding that crown above me. Your impact is beyond measure.

Dr. Leonard Sweet. While sitting in a pizza joint last year, this is the man who encouraged me to begin blogging in the first place -- and thus, here I am. But more than that, Len has expanded my thinking about ministry and about incarnating Christ in the world. God also uses him to edify me in a particular personal ministry in ways that no other has. Thanks, Len, for accepting this obnoxious lunch date and incarnating Jesus in my life. His love is shed abroad in you mightily.

Of course, there are more; so many more who do not wear the title of Reverend or pastor but who have made a huge impact on my spiritual life. My husband, for one. God is constantly tightening my spiritual braces and bringing me into alignment through him. My first women's Bible study leader, a particular Sunday School teacher, fellow choir directors, dear friends through the years, and the list goes on. Maybe that can be the topic of another post some day. But for now, these are among the top when it comes to milestones in my personal faith journey. We all have them, including you. Let's not forget to thank God for them, for it is through them, we have been shaped.

Just an ordinary moment...


Len Sweet said...

What an honor to be among your "cloud," since you're now part of my "could of witnesses" that bless me with beauty, truth and goodness. Thx! for the shout-out and love-in.

Still in One Peace,


J.P. Thompson a.k.a. XTRA said...

Blogging to me is personal as well as a way of expressing one's opinion on the issues around us...For me society has a number of issues to contend with and we should do so positively and constructively...

Others write books, sing songs or even make movies...we the few use blogging to share ideas, beliefs, and opinion...let us blog responsibly.


Debbie said...

May the Lord continue to use you, Nancy, His instrument and cup bearer...praise God for you and your fruit!