I’ve been quiet lately. Not because I don’t want to talk with you, but because sometimes it’s wise to step back and be quiet. In this quiet season, I have looked around at the world and the church, and it continues to feel messy.
But do you know what?
I can’t help but notice that the early church was a little messy at times too. Personalities emerged. Conflict took place. Persecution from without, and uncertainty about how to best navigate that. Yet miracles still took place. Ministry still went on. The things Jesus told them could happen did.
The one thing I am reminding myself is that ministry is messy, but it’s also miraculous.
Even when there are conflicting voices and personalities that are B.I.G. and agendas that cause confusion, there is massive hope. When we look at the early church, we see that God did an incredible work in spite of their humanity. I believe they show us three things that can help when ministry is messy.
It doesn’t take much to break my focus. I have to be tuned in not to be distracted on a good day. Yet the early church kept their focus on Jesus and his teaching always — not the unruly crowd, not the naysayers, not the mountains they had to climb, and not the circumstances in front of them.
By doing they, they knew where they were going and why. You and I are invited to do the same.
We need each other. We really do.
We’re living through a historic pandemic and it’s caused us to have to work harder at staying connected. We are also in a season of division, which makes most of us want to shut it all down. Yet if we do that, we miss out on the strength that comes from standing shoulder to shoulder.
I need you. You need her. We need each other. We are invited to creatively and intentionally reach out — not just to gain strength but to offer it.
3. Move forward
The early church had plans. They didn’t always unfold as they wanted. In one story, imprisonment seemed to stop those plans. So, what did they do? They threw their hands up in the air and praised God, and the earth shook and the chains fell away, and prisoners who were listening wondered what in the world was going on and their ears were attentive to the message they were singing. The plan to teach in the synagogue didn’t take place, but ministry was birthed right in the midst of that hardship.
Maybe you had plans and they aren’t unfolding as you hoped. Perhaps you got blindsided by something you didn’t see coming. Don’t underestimate the powerful ministry that will still take place — right where you are.
Ministry is messy but it’s also miraculous.
When things get murky, remember this. Speak it out loud. Then focus. Find connection. Take one small step. That’s faith and that’s beautiful, my friend.
Lord, thank you for my sister who is reading this today. Thank you for messy ministry. Somehow you use ordinary people to love the world. What a privilege to be a part of that, amen.
Just for you
🎙️ More Than Small Talk podcast — Holley, Jennifer, and I talk with counselor and founder of Cultivate Atlanta, Mazi Robinson, about those things that get in the way of receiving love, and what we can do about that. It is one of my favorite conversations and I hope you’ll tune in. Episode #147 — Receiving Love.
☙ Need connection? Join Suzie and other women in a smaller, more intimate Facebook group. We read the Bible together every day. We join in four TogetHER studies throughout the year. We connect, laugh, pray with each other, and discover how to live free in our faith, family, and feelings. Join us!
☙ This resource will help you live in joy that cannot be stolen from you. Read Suzie’s book, JoyKeeper: 6 Truths that Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy — Joy is more than a feeling. It’s a knowing.
I don’t always read the “fine print” at the bottom beyond your signature, but God led me to today and I was struck immediately by His intentionality. Seeing the link to your podcast with Mazi Robinson grabbed my heart instantly and allowed me to envision a much needed bridge across a long, lonely divide. Having moved to Atlanta from NWA just 2 months ago, I’m struggling to find a church that feels like “home” and I’ve yet to make any meaningful connections. I’m desperately missing my grown son, who chose to stay in AR, and aching to feel close to my other precious family members that are there.
I’ve already Googled Mazi and I’m hoping to attend her next Cultivate Gathering here, whenever that may be. I can’t wait to listen to the podcast and learn even more about her and her ministry.
Thank you so much for YOUR ministry, Suzie! It means more to me than you realize, and today reminded me that God sees me, knows me intimately, and cares deeply for my heart’s needs!!
I am contacting you because me and my children really need a miracle from God. We are living g in a hotel in Richmond BC Canada. We lost our house and I don’t have the finances to pay for another one . My daughter is sleeping on the floor and I cannot cook. I have a fridge and microwave and stove top. It’s horrible and I feel so overwhelmed. It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada this weekend and I cannot even give my children a nice dinner. I have been praying but I need others to pray that a financial miraclewill come and then a house. It’s awful living like this. My kids are doing online school. Please pray for my situation. My name is Elizabeth Jones. I have been a widow for 13 years. I raised 10 children alone. I need help and prayer please