Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Off the Shelf

My heart is full.  Two years ago, as I prepared to speak at Misawa's Spring Retreat on the Holy Habits of Secrecy, Silence, Solitude and Surrender, God began to move on my heart.  The retreat was a beautiful time with friends and God.  I knew the prep work God did in my heart before the retreat. I knew the things he called me to surrender at the retreat.  By the end of the summer He had impressed clearly on me that I was to practice those words He'd given me to share.  I did not know where He planned to take me. 

Via Google Images
I am the clay.

He is the potter. 

He was leading me deeper into the Secret Place with Him. I surrendered Chocolate - I thought that was greatly silly. I see now it was the first thing. 

God impressed deep in my spirit that I needed to learn more about silence and solitude. 

For the first time in over two decades, I took a break from teaching. I was silent for two years....the WILD (Women In Leadership Development) trainings that summer were the last time I taught, gave a devo, or spoke at a retreat. It hurt. I didn't understand it. I grieved...and in the silence and solitude I began to hear the voice of Jesus in new ways. 

I surrendered teaching. 

I surrendered local leadership positions.

I knew God told me to be faithful to my PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) regional commitment...but in Feb 2013 that position abruptly ended when the Army Chief of Chaplains reorganized PWOC. I surrendered. 

I had more time now, it would be natural to begin teaching...but God.

 It wasn't time. I needed to let Him form what He desired in my life. 
Via Google Images

I was on a shelf - in an oven - and He was applying glazes, maturing gifts, leading me to new areas of freedom. I stayed on the shelf - in the oven. 

We moved, it would be natural to jump into leadership at a new location. It seemed a natural time to end my year of rest... I prayed. I nearly begged. He was silent on the issue.

 A dear friend reminded me to obey the last word God spoke, until I KNEW it was time to do something different.

Two years.

Two years of a teacher not publicly teaching.

Two years of a leader not leading.

Two years on the shelf.

And in those two years He worked.

I worked. I learned. I grew.

It was sometimes painful. It was always good.

I learned about self-care.

Via Google Images
I learned to obey when it made no sense.

I grieved the death of a loved Father in Law and the graduation of Jr.  I KNOW some of you cannot conceive how I would feel an empty nest with four children at home - get over it. I did. I'm sure I will feel it deeper in 9 years.

I learned to walk in freedom over food addiction.

He healed deep places in my heart and soul.

He led me to new areas of ministry - mentor groups.

He led me to new areas of service while I sat on the shelf - children's ministry -  I taught in new ways.

And now....

Five months ago the whisper to discipleship became a roar. EVERYWHERE  I turned I saw the responsibility of the church not to simply make "converts," but to make "followers of Jesus."   I suspected I would begin teaching again. Soon?

Maybe a devo - but I wasn't asked and didn't feel a green light to volunteer.

Maybe I'd teach an RE class - again I wasn't asked and didn't sense the go ahead to volunteer.

Others, who knew the journey I've walked, began to share they sensed my season on the shelf nearing an end.

I asked for prayer as the opportunities abounded.  I was careful to listen.

He began the familiar vision download.

I knew it would happen....

And then I heard the, "Go...."

Today, I came off the shelf. I didn't plan it that way. I don't think Michael planned it that way. It just  happened. Today I stood in the front of a chapel and was installed to lead a new ministry team for the upcoming year of women's ministry at Beale AFB. I stood...and I marveled that He chose to take me off the shelf....and it WAS clear when it was time - just as my dear friend had said it would be. I thought of the  teams I've served with in the past decades...local teams, regional teams, international teams.... such profoundly sweet memories.
The moment I officially came off the shelf

I planned to sit this year out. I planned to be a mentor if asked. I planned to coast until retirement and our new season of ministry. God planned for me to serve one more year in leadership while we are in the military. I am in awe of the team He is building - and I realized afresh the dear treasure every one of those women I've served with in the past years have been. Each one was used of God to shape me....locally, regionally and internationally.

Not only was I installed as President of PWOC...I was asked to teach the Family Bible study tonight. My husband needed me to stand in. I knew the time was right. I stood before the group of teens, women and men;  and  taught. For the first time in two years.

 Gal 4:1-6....God's word spoke powerfully to me. I was rusty. I was scared. I was emotional on the inside, as I realized I was coming off the shelf. God was smiling. I stepped out and obeyed to lead when I wanted to sit....and He gave me back the joy of teaching. was the first time I've taught adult men.

Fascinating questions!

I'm learning to walk out the lessons of the past two years in this new season. I'm sure there will be more to learn. 

I am determined to take the new areas of healing and freedom into this new season. 

As many know, this is our final year of ministry in the military. I sense this season of ending is the beginning of the new season God is calling us to.
Via Christine Caine's Facebook Page

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Anonymous said...

SIS: PTL for all you learned and PTL for you listening. Know God is going to use you in some interesting ways. God Bless You and know tha
dad/I are prayhing for you and mMike etc.

Renee said...

I didn't realize retirement was Summer 2015; how exciting. We are enjoying retirement.... well the only thing that changed is Scott no longer wears a uniform and he moved offices across the parking lot

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing! I can VERY MUCH relate. Seems like we are on a similar timeline together without realizing it! Though I knew something in my soul was strangely connecting with you! lol God just called me to co-lead a pastoral counseling group today after being "out of it" for One year and Eight months. Yes, scared and excited! I will be praying for you as I hope you will for me! AND it would be really cool if we meet together in ministry in the future back on the other side of the world!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful, Mom! So are you!:). So proud of you:)
Bre D

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Renee - retirement will be Oct 2015.It's very unlikely we'll continue to live near a base after retirement. We are thinking of MT or Japan and neither have a ton of bases. LOL

Pberg - do I know you in real life? Are we online friends? Do you have a blog? Yes, I'll be praying for you.

Laura said...

Beautiful, De'Etta.