Monday, October 30, 2006

My Isaac

The ladies' Bible study at church has been studying The Patriarchs by Beth Moore, and I have always been captivated by the story of Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22). One thing that Beth said in the study was that "our hardest tests involve our dearest loves." I know that is so true, yet I was unable to put my finger on what was my dearest love that the Lord was testing me over. And today I discovered what it is.

I got a card in the mail advertising the Children Desiring God Conference coming up next April (we use their curriculum and it is GREAT!). Silly me, I eagerly opened the card an
d read about the cost and workshops available and dreamed "maybe Johanna and Mandy and I could all go together!" before I caught myself. The next thing I knew, I had burst into tears, walking home from the post office. You see, I will be moving away in a couple months, and of course it is so silly to dream that the children's ministry team I work with would be doing that together because I will not be in children's ministry anymore!

My ministry -- the kids at my church, in my classes, in my small group, the children of my friends -- is my Isaac. I do not say my ministry is my idol -- no, it is a precious gift that He has given to me just as He promised. This is what God is asking me to offer to Him. To sacrifice it boldly on the altar of my life. To give it up freely, gladly glorifying Him in the process. Tears are streaming down my face as I type this, a sign that the trip up Mount Moriah is not yet compl
ete! I cried all afternoon, really really wept like I have not done for a long time. I was thinking about the girls I minister with and how blessed I am that we are so likeminded.

Mandy, Johanna and Janice -- I appreciate you! You are such a wonderful team! I know you will be able to flourish without me because God is your focus, not the kids, and God is growing you all in a deeper relationship with Him. (I unfortunately have no pictures with Johanna or Janice, but this is not the best one of me and Mandy!)

Kids -- I LOVE you!! I have the best students in the world -- from the 4 year olds who love to show me that they brought their "sword" (little reminder, Steph!), to the 1st and 2nd graders in my Sunday School class (here is a picture of our African class party yesterday -- it's me with Zalira and Akeyla -- their Swahili names), to the older kids who are great leaders in our small groups on Wednesday nights (for instance Rachel who is more Christ centered at 11 than I was at 18).

It is by no means easy for me to leave this thriving ministry. But I take comfort, indeed, great joy in the verse from Hebrews 11:19 "Abraham considered that God was able even to raise Isaac from the dead". Christ sustains me with the faith to look ahead at the ministry He will have for me in the future! And so I fearfully obey and make my sacrifice, and look to the day when He will raise a ministry for me again someday.


Anonymous said...

oh, Gretch, I feel for you and love you, girl! Loving God, through loving kids is simply is not? Your passion for Him makes me realize how much I need to grow in my humility in serving Him. thanks for the passionate post!!

PS - do you live close to Licolnshire?

Gretchen said...

No, I don't think Lincolnshire is near here. I have not heard of it.

Tell Melissa I said Hi!

Steph said...

We will MISS you - my little one is intense on bringing his Bible now, and I love that that early seed has been planted by a friend I share so many memories with. I know our paths are in different places right now but I am so thankful for our Maranatha years and the engagment time we got to share in! Can you believe we've both been married for five years now...although sometimes I can't believe it has ONLY been five years!LOL Love you friend!

Setrn said...

miss gretchen, you have no idea how much you will be misses! THanks for what you have done for my girls!

Setrn said...

Oh, Gret, I love the picture of my girls. I am SO grateful that they have had so much time with you this year. They need the great influence. THanks for your supportive comments on my blog. I know that even when you move, we will be able to keep in touch this way.

Donette said...

Gretchen, I will be praying for you as you move. I know change can be terrifying and exhilerating at the same time! I'm sure God will give you a place to serve in Louisville and you will flourish there!

Anonymous said...

I was able to connect to your blog from G-Knee's. I attended MBBC through 1997. While reading your blog, I have come to the understanding that you and your husband will be headed to Southern Seminary in January. Is this correct? The reason I am asking is because I have a good friend whose husband just started there in September. I know that they could use another couple to just chat with. Let me know

Amy Saunders Hager

Anonymous said...

Hey Gretchen! Thanks for saying hi! You encouraged me with the whole homeschooling thing. It is neat to see all of the different ways that you are reaching out to kids. I am enjoying reading your posts!