Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Encouraged to return

OK - to catch up:
  • My webserver's up and running. I'm debating if I want to install a blog engine there or just keep it here... That means my podcasts are available - look to your right -->
  • I've resurrected Clay's Ramblings - but now it's for secular thoughts like local politics.
  • I'm finding my place in God's world. And sometimes it ain't pretty...


Skip the depressing junk and read the happy stuff

Now that you're caught up, here's the scoop. I've been getting fairly discouraged. I work hard, and I get my kudos, but kudos aren't what I'm looking for. I like to see results. Without results, I tend to want to quit. When I quit (see my series on fear), I don't go back. And much of the LORD's work shows little or no result in this lifetime. That makes it difficult to keep going.

About the only place I feel encouraged about my work on a regular basis is doing the behind-the-scenes A/V work at Bering Drive Church of Christ (Sunday Church). Most of the congregation doesn't even know about the work I do, and I'm happy about that. Like I said, I'm not looking for a pat on the back. But I can see the difference in the work I do and that makes me feel good about it. It's instantaneous. It's satisfying.

So, I've found it hard to continue writing. Not that I haven't heard about how it's making people out there in blog-land think, I'm not getting the results I want. Now, how selfish is that? i mean - if I'm doing the LORD's work, then I need to get the results He wants, right? There's mistake number one.

I'm also involved in some work through various churches. Again, I'm not looking for kudos, but something concrete that demonstrates that my work is actually doing something. I volunteered for a very short while at an inner-city church. Between the drive and lack o' results, I quit. They said I was doing a good job, but I just didn't feel it.

I also volunteer with a prison ministry through "Wednesday Church". Every Thursday night, I venture over to Central Unit in Sugar Land, Texas, and sit for two hours with the prisoner to whom I have been assigned. Doug's a good guy. He's got 23 years remaining on a 25 year sentence for a crime committed 9 years ago. He knows the LORD and is on fire for Him in a way you have to see to believe. I have a lot of trouble seeing where I'm helping in his life.

As you may know from former entries, I'm also a Stay-At-Homeschool-Dad. I work all day, every day, with two kids who don't want to learn about anything except SpiderMan and the Men In Black. I tell them one thing, they do the other. I see no immediate results. The "light bulb" moments are few and far between. It's so frustrating, I'm considering abandoning homeschooling.

Finally, my writing and podcasts. I want someone to discover me, say, "Wow! We need to sign a book deal!" But nobody has. Those are the results I wanted to see, and they haven't materialized. (Yeah, I know every young kid that attends a baseball game has the same desire when they catch a foul ball...) It's been so bad I haven't even bothered to read anyone else's blog. I guess you could erase all those entries to the right. But don't do it yet! It's not their fault!

OK - so now you know why I've been discouraged. Why, then, did I even bother to sit down and write? Well, I'll tell ya! See, today, the LORD has taken extra time out of His busy schedule to open my blind eyes to the work I've been doing. He's shown me some of the results.

Every time my kids are involved in something outside the house, the people in charge of the event tell me how well behaved my children are. It's amazing. Those two terrors are angels in the presence of others. There's results. My oldest is learning multiplication. She can recite her tables to other people outside the house, but not in lessons. So, there are results. And, as my wife is always reminding me, there are results to be seen in 10-15 years when they move into the world.

This morning, I was invited to a VIPs (Volunteers in Prisons) breakfast. It was an appreciation breakfast, complete with recently released offenders. All three of the offenders present praised God for the work the volunteers did at the prison. The young lady offender is now a volunteer mentor at Carol Vance Unit, a faith-based prison in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. More on that in another post - it's exciting! The two male offenders also have expressed a burning desire to become mentors within the prisons. My mentor in the mentoring program (?) let me know this morning that he received a letter from one of Doug's cellmates thanking him for bringing me into the mentoring program. He shared how much my presence has impacted Doug's life over the last six weeks. <sniff!>

The speaker at the breakfast was First Colony's own Ronnie Norman. He's really got a gift for telling it like it is. This morning, he spoke about the Widow's Mite - those two small copper coins that were dropped in the offering pot. He said, "It doesn't look like you're doing very much, and you may never see the results. But every person out there who wears white every day thanks you for the work you do." So, I may be out there working, and never see what happens. Heck, some of the seed may land on rocky, thorny soil or even be eaten by birds. But at least I'm trying to sow.

While at the breakfast, one of the men who knows my testimony introduced me to the leader of First Colony's Celebrate Recovery Program. He suggested I visit the program and offer proof that God really will help people recover from alcoholism, sexual addiction and emotional disorders if you'll just let Him! I gave a brief version of my testimony and he said it was very powerful. <boohoo>

Wow



So, when I get home, thinking about all that's been happening, my kids put in a movie (Aristocats) and my wife takes a nap. I get on the 'net and say, "Wow. I haven't read any blogs in a long time. I haven't really written anything serious in Healing Power in a long time, either!" I start reading.

I thumb through the blogs I really wanted to read (The Journeying Mother hasn't updated hers...) and posted a comment on The Palmer Perspective and moved on. One, again, showed me results in my writing. Joy in the Journey, specifically the entry entitled "Meet" said that my writing is changing lives. And that's the result the LORD wants.

So, thank you Doug. Thank you Gene. Thank you Ronnie. And, most of all this morning, thank you Joy. You have shown me that I need to stop worrying about the results I see, and just keep on plugging. After all, that's what the LORD wants me to do.

Prayer -


Almighty Heavenly Father, remind us all today of why we're here. There is so much we cannot see, so much we are unaware of. Like Elisha's servant in 2 Kings 6, open our eyes so that we may see. Or, better yet, help us to find the faith to believe without seeing, for as Christ said to Thomas in John 20, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Father, we all suffer discouragement when we work for you, for Satan blinds us. Grant us your peace in all our endeavours, that we will hear you say "Well done, good and faithful servant". Thank you for the privelege of serving you. Thank you for the promise of inheritance of your Kingdom.

We pray this in Christ's Holy Name,
Amen!

3 Comments:

  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger Simpsongirl said…

    I always appreciate your blogs. This one I can really relate to. So many times, I am looking for the end result immediately. We are not so good at delayed gratification. I am reminded while reading your post of the old song "Thank You for Giving to the Lord" (not sure of the real title). Some of the fruits of our labor we may not know until Christ returns. Until then, we need to encourage each other with these words from Ephesians:

    "...the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

    Thanks for your blog! Thanks for your tech work at(Sunday church)!
    Oh, and I'm updated now. :-)

     
  • At 9:13 AM, Blogger Joy in the Journey said…

    My Dearest Clay~~

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. I want DESPERATELY to see the fruit in people's lives because of MY efforts.

    While at a different church yesterday, the pastor mentioned a dying man accepting Jesus into his heart two day's before his death. Was two days enough to see the fruit in this man's life? Of course not.

    This story gave me hope--that some fruit has a short "gestation" period between pollination and the harvest. Other fruit has a much longer period. Why do I always seem to pick the ministries that have the long gestation periods? Mark that down on my list of questions to ask God over eternity.

    Maybe I'm the only one He can give the task to because He knows I'll pray my knees out over it.

    Maybe I'm the only one because I have the specific set of gifts and talents He gave to accomplish the next step in His wild will.

    Maybe I'm the only one because I've had such a sordid past, I can relate and understand and build relationships over the situation.

    Maybe I'm the only one just because He loves me--no more, no less.

    I know you've read these following verses before. My prayer is that you find refreshment and strength from praying over them again. . .

    "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

    Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

    Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

    Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism."

    Colossians 3:18-25

     
  • At 4:20 PM, Blogger NChitwood said…

    Clay, i don't even know what to say after reading this blog. wow! you hit the nail on the head for me with this thought. i have really struggled with this too lately. i've struggled so bad that i've actually quit activities such as leading bible study and teaching sunday school because i felt like "what's the point". how selfish of me!! you really opened my eyes. i need to stay focused on the why (why i do these things) and not on the where (where are the results). such a great point! thanks so much. going to get back up and start riding again....because of YOU. :)

     

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