Reminders in Ministry
Sometimes in life, you are reminded of why you do what you do.
Yesterday brought this type of blessing for me. If you are involved in a ministry or organization that aims to serve people, you know well the risk you take by putting everything you have out there, leaving it subject to compliment and criticism. When you have the occasion to receive criticism, it can cause a certain level of discouragement. I often fall victim to those feelings of discouragement, as I am not historically known for having “thick skin”. But I think that God allows us to experience critique so we will better and more genuinely appreciate the encouraging words.
At the end of each Mass, I am somewhat “trapped” at the piano packing up my stuff and will usually be approached by a few people who want to chat, thank me for the music or complain about something they weren’t satisfied with. The latter is what always makes me a little apprehensive and eager to make a quick exit, if possible. (I used to make a quick exit for the doughnuts until they stopped buying Krispy Kreme. Sad day.) Yesterday, however, I could not have been more thankful to be “trapped” at the piano.
The first thing I noticed about this sweet woman I had seen before at church, was the huge smile on her face. She greeted me and asked me when my baby is due (the 30-week pregnant tummy is always an effective conversation starter). She proceeded to thank me for the music in a way I’ve truly never been thanked before. She told me she came to our church two years ago, heard me sing and has come back every week since. She even made the decision to formally join the church…wow…truly amazing! It was what she said next, though, that impacted me the most. She said she is battling brain cancer and comes to church, listens to the singing and just cries. Whoa…
Now, I don’t want anyone to read this and think that she’s saying the only reason she’s coming to church is to hear me sing and that I’m taking pride in that. No way…this is the most humbling thing I’ve ever heard from someone…because I know that God has been working in her heart to draw her into the church and closer to him in several ways, and what I had to offer was just a part of that process. The humbling and amazing part for me, is that God has been able to use me in whatever state I’m in (which, let’s be honest, on Sunday morning is a frazzled mom trying to watch her kids and direct choirs at the same time) to help bring emotional healing to someone who is going through a trial of such magnitude that I can’t even imagine what it must be like. She may claim that I have blessed her in some way, but it is truly her, her words and that beautiful smile in the face of such tribulation that have blessed me!
So as I continue to reflect upon and take in the reality of that brief encounter yesterday, I come before the Lord, humbled and thankful for the reminder of WHY I do what I do. I choose to work in ministry because of life-changing events like this…the stories I have the honor to hear about and the stories I never know about. May my mission and prayer continue to be: That I may, in my humanly flawed and imperfect way, always use the gifts and the inspiration God has blessed me with to help lead others closer and deeper into a relationship with Him. Philippians 2:1-4