Shadow Of Victory

Friday, 12 February 2010

Friday 12th February F is for Funerals

F is for Funerals....or as we know in our church its usually a celebration of the persons life and a time to give thanks for who they remember and be together with many who share memories of the one who has died. Today I was once again honoured to be able to serve a family from within our community as they said goodbye to RB.

I was standing in a drizzly kind of rain in the cold watching members of RBs brass band arrive complete with all their amazing instruments...some I didn't even know the name of and then parking the many friends and family who came together for this time.I reflected that it was the 5th Funeral/Thanksgiving we had had in a few months and my heart seemed full of grief and sadness as I greeted so many people...I also know that at some point very soon we may have another similar occasion as a family I know is saying goodbye to K..a much loved wife..mummy and friend to so many.

I love serving like this as it gives me time to pray specifically for those who are experiencing grief and sadness whilst I stand there ...folk may look and wonder what on earth I am doing as they may see my lips move and at times I am pretending to talk on the radios when in fact I am talking to the God !!

In fact I love to serve in the car park...many people who know me think I am daft...and have wondered why I do what I do...and what on earth I get out of it...I know there are times in every volunteer area where we just get on and do it and not actually get anything "out of it" but it is rare that I get to the end of a car parking session and don't come away buzzing and feeling I have given my all.(and with the size of our car park there are many times when I have literally given my all !!)

I am actually reflecting a lot about my car parking at the moment for personal reasons...and it has given me time to think about the "why"...what is it about being there to welcome people that makes me come alive ...what is it that has kept me going through the wind..rain..snow...stress...panic....rudeness...tiredness....what is it that keeps me getting up my work life...changing commitments..taking unpaid leave from work to serve at conferences....serving at weddings and funerals of people who I don't really know well as regularly on Sundays.

I am not going to start patting myself on the back and saying "well done good and faithful servant" or expect other people to keep on saying thank you
(and people do )...The main reason I have done this for almost three years is simply because God has called me to it.I have always known it was a calling from God as it is SO not my natural habitat...I am an indoors person..I am an up front person..I would much prefer a microphone than a radio/walkie talkie.....and a platform rather than a car park....But somehow or other God put something of His heart in me to be someone who is there to welcome others into the community known as Kerith Community Church and especially to welcome at those events that may draw those who don't yet know Jesus. My Vision Statement for Car Parking has always been..

Car Parking isnt about CARS..its about PEOPLE

And yet...Despite a deep sense of Gods calling....I know I cant go on....I have beaten myself up so many times in the last few weeks as I have struggled with so many confusing emotions. I am not going to share too deeply here as it is an ongoing work of God in my life that I need some time to work through. I feel a complete wreck and failure and disappointed with myself and at the same time I feel complete relief that I have made this decision. I didn't come to it lightly or without much thought..prayer and talking it through. Those who are close to me will know just how much I have wrestled with this decision and how many times I have pressed on...and on...Even as I served today I could feel such deep sadness that I wont be doing it much longer and then confusingly great relief and peace knowing I wouldn't be doing it much longer. Confused yet?? I have been too..!!

Over the 26 years I have been a Christian and served in just about every area of community life and initiated several Deaf Ministry and Kerith Kids I have always struggled with laying things to leave behind an ongoing ministry...I have always thought it was an admittance of failure to stop doing something especially when it was going well....and at times when there is no clear leadership handover. Until I read a book called Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels...I struggled to know exactly who/what kind of leader I am.....Bill is one of my heroes...he leads the Willow Creek Campus in Chicago and I had the immense privilege of going there last summer for their Leadership Summit...I even stood about 2 feet away from him for a few minutes in the coffee shop (!)...but he writes about Leadership with such great insight and this has helped me to grow and mature....and I have found myself once again dipping into his books over the last few weeks looking for insight into my confusion.

So...F is for Funerals... and I guess "endings"...and it is with huge sadness that I realise that there will come.... very "ending" to my leading the car parking team ministry........I may not hang up the yellow jacket this is still an ongoing decision I am wrestling with but certainly leading the gang of yellow men and women is coming to a close in next few weeks. The teams have been amazing..I have felt great joy serving alongside each and everyone of them..not least my gorgeous hubby who has served alongside me so many times when he isn't also inside serving the audio desk.

Let me leave you with this scripture which has been one of my life verses for years

1 Corinthians ch 15 verse 58 says this.....Therefore my dear brothers,stand firm. Let nothing move you.Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

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