Inadequate for the Role

It is not often that I feel totally inadequate for the role God has placed us in these last months--pastoring a large (for us, considering the two other churches we've pastored were small, country churches with no more than 20 souls attending on a big event Sunday) church in Mexico City, in a language in which I lack complete confidence. But when I glance across the crowded sanctuary and see women weeping in brokenness, knowing that I haven't a clue what to say to them in Spanish, I feel completely inadequate.

Yesterday was one such occasion. I stood there and prayed as I watched her, tears sliding down my own cheeks because I knew the only thing I could offer her was a hug. Yes, there are times when this is enough. When the touch of someone who cares is more than enough to express the love of Jesus to a hurting soul. But it still doesn't take away my longing to be able to give real words of comfort.

I can speak Spanish, yes. I have studied many different tenses. But my own insecurities and laziness have greatly held me back from seeing improvement. I know this is something I need God's help with--I can't overcome this on my own. It is my goal to return to Mexico after our Homeland Ministry Assignment with a much better grip on the language. I know I'm going to have to work really hard, studying every day, and seeking out opportunities to simply speak.

I know those feelings of inadequacy will always strike when I least expect them. But my goal, my prayer, is that they are fewer and aren't as restricting. I want to be able to share a message of love in Spanish with my Mexican sisters when they are hurting and clearly in need of one. Please pray with me for God to help me in this process.

And pray with me that He will continue to prompt me to do what I already can do--let His love shine through a hug.


The Back Cover Teaser

While waiting for my editor to get back with the things I need to fix, I can't upload the manuscript to CreateSpace. So, this evening I worked on everything else I could so that the process goes faster. With some help from a missionary friend, I'll have the book cover finished tomorrow. I also wrote up a description for the back cover.

Emma Darcy had the perfect life--a blissful marriage, doting husband, and two adorable young sons. Then on the night of her 10th high school reunion, tragedy strikes. In a heartbeat, she's a widow left to raise her sons alone, all while facing an unexpected pregnancy and the return of a man from her past. As the months go by, her heart becomes increasingly hardened by anger--anger at the men responsible for her husband's death, and for God for allowing it.

Dr. Justin Bennet doesn't want to blow his second chance with the woman he walked away from years ago. But after the death of her husband, it doesn't seem like she'll be ready to fall in love again any time soon. If ever.

Will Emma's bitterness drive them apart for good, or will she finally find healing in forgiveness?


God's Strength is Sufficient

Today, the missionary team was invited to join one of the church planting teams as they did door-to-door evangelism in a neighboring community we're trying to saturate with the Gospel. When I say "invited", we really didn't have a choice. And at first, I was absolutely terrified at the idea. I mean, street evangelism in English is not my strong suit (I must prefer the less uncomfortable method of friendship evangelism). Throw in Spanish, and it really did feel impossible.

For two straight days, I was in a panic about this. Finally, it was agreed that I would be permitted to simply share my testimony in Spanish, something I've done, and my partners would make the actual Gospel presentation. I did feel better about this, but I was still pretty nervous. After all, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

Our group of Mexican church planters and missionaries met together for prayer and then relocated to the area we would be working in. Before we left, our field director's wife, Helen, handed me a devotional and encouraged me to read today's passage.

I stood there, tears streaming down my face. It is from "Jesus Calling" (by Sarah Young), a devotional book with a daily reading from the Bible, yet from the perspective of Jesus speaking to us. Here's the reading:

"Walk by faith, not by sight. As you take steps of faith, depending on Me, I will show you how much I can do for you. If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you. When I gave you My Spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength. (Emphasis mine.) That's why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless. By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength. (2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 5:25)"

Was that not the most perfect reading for today?

I was partnered with Diana and Margaret, and we had the opportunity to talk to five women. Three of the women listened to everything we said and were interested in hearing more (we wrote down their contact information). The first woman we talked to had recently experienced a house fire and was in the middle of the cleanup process. She took a little booklet of the Gospel of John with Margaret's telephone number on the back. The fifth woman, however, was a very strong Jehovah's Witness and was not interested in anything we had to say. Indeed, after about 10 minutes of back and forth discussion (which Diana and Margaret handled superbly), we ended up leaving.

Between all of us, there were 5 decisions for Christ and over 10 new contacts made---quite a blessing from God and an answered prayer for open hearts. Despite the fact that I completely forgot everything I'd planned to say in my testimony, I did share with two of the ladies. God really helped me by taking away the fear. Yes, I was still nervous, but even that went away after awhile.

This is not something I ever would've volunteered to do on my own. Only because it was part of my job did I even have this experience. And if I hadn't, I would've missed out on the tremendous blessing I received by stepping out in faith and leaving my comfort zone.

What might God be calling you to do that is outside of your comfort zone? How might he want to use you in a situation where you are forced to rely not on your own strength but His?