A sweet someone asked me this question the other day, “Do you miss ministry?”
Now I’ll admit I probably gave some really awesome answer like, “Um, yeah…I miss some stuff.”
When you are over-medicated and under-rested and have four kids swirling with you in all things back to school, “stuff” is just all you are going to get. There is simply no time for eloquence. Or brain cells.
But then I had a thought.
One of one in about a 72-hour time period. One that edged on something kind of important. One that I am going to try my best to share.
Now please hear me when I say this is not, “Sara is so awesome and enlightened that she shall impart on you some great and vast wisdom.”
Anyone who has read anything on this blog or has spent more than two seconds with me knows I am a hot mess and then some.
I. JUST. AM.
But what it is, is a something that in my mess, I’m learning the hard way. It’s a piece of a girl who had to fall hard and every day for the last four years. It’s all that happens when you faceplant and you are forced to make life about loving the person in front of you.
Do I miss ministry?
Yeah, some stuff, I do.
For the last four years, I have gotten up, faced my physical stuff, whatever that looks like—doctor’s appointments, tests, physical therapy, surgery, medication, labs, blah, blah, blah. I’ve taken the energy I have and given it all to my four little loves and the one big one. And in this place, I’ve only been able to choose to love the person in front of me.
Sometimes, it’s the darling little man at the gas station who reminds me of my dad. Sometimes, it’s the lady at the lab check-in. Or sometimes, it’s the dear soul who confesses she stole money from the American Heart Association and that “They sure weren’t too happy about that.”
Bless. The. Hearts.
It has also been in the last four years that I have been loved in the most mundane, person-in-front-you ways.
Girls cleaning my toilets. (Ain’t nothing more humbling than someone cleaning up your, well, you know.) Girls changing my baby’s diapers. (All the while rejoicing they aren’t mine.) Girl after girl, person after person doing things that only heaven notices.
It’s not sexy. Or newsworthy. Or sometimes, even very fun.
But it’s SO real.
And I’m pretty sure when I look at Jesus, when I take the time to see who He sees, when I forget about me and focus on Him, even in those days where I was so about the task of ministry, it was and is supposed to be all about loving who He sets before me.
Now hear me when I say this too, I think we as Jesus-followers are really pretty good at organized ministry. In fact, it’s where we excel. But I wonder as I look at my own little world and shortcomings, if we might be losing at loving the person right in front of us.
It’s easy to do in our check-lists and agendas and business. It’s easy to do when you’re a mom and there’s things to accomplish and people to get places. It’s easy to jump over someone after someone after someone when your eye is on the end game.
It’s. Just. So. Easy.
And it’s that easiness, that holy smack, if you will, that gave me a reason to do something a little out of the ordinary. Yesterday, I counted just how many people were placed in front of me. These were people I actually spoke to in a day where all I did was go to a lab draw and take my younger two girls to a well-check. Not terribly impressive.
17 people at the blood draw.
24 people at the well-check.
4 little loves.
1 big one.
1 little old man at the gas station. ( I just can’t help it. I adore him.)
That is almost FIFTY people, y’all.
Fifty people He placed in front of me to love. In one little, not-so-impressive day. Do you know what that means in a year if 30 of them are people I will likely not see again?
10,950 people in need of love. Placed right in front of me. And when I think about that?
My. Heart. Hurts.
Because I know I have missed so many…
Person after person after person. All because I forget to choose to love the 10,950 people He hand-delivers to me in a year. With that in my face, I cannot feel comfortable with staying the same Sara or even defining ministry in the same way.
So Jesus, here’s the deal…
Before my agenda, before my plan, before my check-list. Help me stop, help me see, help me throw the plan out the dang window. I want to get this right. I want to make it count. And I want to love who You want me to love.
My babies. My hubs. A complete stranger.
Because it matters. Because it’s needed. Because You never miss the person right in front of You.
And mostly because in all my messy, simple and mundane…
You never miss me.