We are a small church in a poor area and we're struggling.
A woman came in this morning, responded to a smile, joined us. She was anxious afterwards, needed a cigarette. She's just got out of custody and she's getting back to a life. She knows God and says he's led her into a ministry to lost, broken people. And that He's brought her to us today. That she's a way for us to reach out, to touch people who don't usually go to church.
Where is this leading?
Perhaps she's come to tell her story and find her place. Maybe this is just one Sunday morning and by next week things will be different and we'll never see her again. We've met people who promise things and disappear, before.
But she might just be God's answer to our prayers. We've prayed that God will use us, that people will come into his kingdom here, that we'll be light in the darkness. We've prayed desperate prayers. The prayers of a small and limping church. We've prayed that He'll be known and glorified.
Maybe that insignificant oddness of her arrival is God's miracle for us. His answer in the midst of struggle. How can we know?
Some of us already expect disappointment, some of us are eager to hope. Humanity mingles both. Can cynicism neutralise a miracle, or can fearless hope bring it into being? Perhaps. These questions will only be answered later.
Tonight I am in thrall to the idea that God's answer to our pleas will be someone we could not have imagined.
Last year, I picked a word for 2011, and joined with a group of people who blogged about their words for 2011.
Commit, was the word I chose, and I have managed to do some things that needed to get done. I handed in my case reports in February and they both passed. I sat my clinical exams in October and passed one of them. I've been training since 2004, and 2011 was definitely a year of getting important things done. This is good, and definitely a result of that decision to commit to and complete some key tasks. I recently spent three months working on the mid north coast of NSW and ticked that off my list, too.
Other things have had less attention, though. I am starting to realise that being a psychiatrist is not a part-time thing. That I need to be careful that I give enough importance to the central things in my life - my family, my church and community. The internet and blogging are interesting, but not essential. That makes me sad because interracting with people and ideas on-line is fun and a little addictive. But I also realise how few real connections I have made beyond reading other people's opinions and experiences.
Recently, blogging has become me sitting in front of the computer wondering what to say. I suspect I may be overthinking it, but I've decided to try doing things a little differently. Just how that will work out I am not sure yet. I would be sad to stop blogging, so (although this sounds a little angsty) I am not currently writing My Final Post or anything like that.
Frankly, I'm not really sure why I started blogging. I don't have friends who blog and I have not got a strong network of friends online. But I do enjoy the comments I receive and there's a few blogs that I love to read. I'll hang around while I have the occasional thing to say. I was reading an old post the other night and came across a comment from a lovely friend of mine who said that I had encouraged her. It made me realise that I have lost a little of that purpose recently. Perhaps that's just what I need to recover.
Anyway, I am in a similar paradox to where I started tonight - am I hopeful enough to believe that writing here can be encouraging despite its oddities? or am I so cynical about my insignificance that I feel unable to see any value in continuing? I am, at heart, a hopeful person.
So... There is not one word for 2012. Not for me.
One Word 2011 - Commit, has served me faithfully (thanks Alese)
2012 will bring lots of words, that's what I'm looking forward to. Hoping for.
If you have read all the way to the end of this rambling post, you truly are my friend. Bless you.