Miriam Webster defines cusp as: 1. point, apex: as a : a point of transition (as from one historical period to the next) : turning point; also : edge, verge . This word has been running around in my heart and head stirring up questions begging for answers.
In my spirit I sense that we’re on the cusp, the edge, a major transition, a turning point…as a nation, as the church, as a ministry and for me personally. Nothing is static, everything is changing. There are no ‘sure things’ out there anymore, well, except for death and taxes (smile). I don’t know if this resonates with your spirit, but I believe it does for most.
Transition and change aren’t always bad. In fact, if we never transition or change we would all still be infants or toddlers or teenagers (aargh! This is not a pretty thought!) But, on the other hand change, transition isn’t always good and is often painful and full of fear and disaster. This is especially true if we are trying to hear the voice of God and follow His plan for our lives. What a disaster life can be if we as followers of Christ walk out of the will of God.
So, with hope that it will be of encouragement, I feel the need to be transparent and share my journey these past few months. As the executive director of Hope Street I am responsible for all aspects of the ministry… recruitment, training, vision casting, communicating, praying, serving our participants, legal/board issues, finances, encouraging and leading our volunteers, etc., etc. …the “buck stops here” is ever on my mind and in my spirit. I generally work 50 hours a week…sometimes more…and make hundreds of decisions each month in an effort to keep the “wheels on the bus” turning and headed in the right direction.
2015 was a banner year in so many ways for our ministry, and yet, it stretched me further than I could ever imagine being stretched. Added to the amazing growth of our ministry was the news that I would be losing my personal financial support due to no lack on my part but because of a shift in direction in the convention that has been my main benefactor. So, as Henry Blackaby taught in “Experiencing God” I came to a crisis of belief, a turning point, perhaps a major transition was in store for me. Questions such as: “Is God through with me? What are His next step for my life and ministry?” began to run through my mind.
Honestly, there was a part of me that said “Yes! Finally, I can move off the front lines. Get a safer job in ministry. A job that won’t be so demanding of my faith, my time, my health, and my heart. Maybe I am supposed to leave ministry and find a more ‘normal’ job for a 55 year old female (smile).” Not many founding directors can lead their organization from beginning to maturity. I pestered God with my sense of inadequacy, doubt began to creep into my soul, fatigue into my mind and body. Yet, this idea of our ministry being on the cusp of another year of explosive growth kept haunting me.
Of course, I looked to Scripture for hope, encouragement and direction. And, found what I always find…die to self, live for others, believe that the God of Creation cares for the least of these…serve them, love them, lead them to faith in their heavenly Father, trust ME. No surprises there. But, if I were to go on in ministry, I needed a fresh word from God. A personal word from Him.
And, He answered in two ways. In late December I had gone to our P.O. Box and picked up our mail. In the bundle was the usual junk mail, a catalogue or two, our regular donations (thank you, faithful givers!) and a small, unassuming envelope from an old friend. Curiosity got the better of me as I opened this small envelope while standing in line to purchase stamps. I almost fell down when I pulled out the check and saw the number of zeroes in the amount. This one check would cover 1/3 of our recent loss of funds. I cried out THANK YOU, JESUS with thoughts that this was a wonderful end of the year type donation in response to an email appeal that we had sent out. But, God wasn’t through!
For years I was involved in city wide prayer. Recently some old friends called a gathering and I felt the urgency to go once again and join my voice with other intercessors pleading with the Father for mercy, repenting for our sins, standing up to the evil one for the souls of the lost in our city. This was like rain on my parched soul and spirit.
We then grabbed a quick burger and headed over to the Healing Room in east Austin. While soaking in the Spirit in the expectation room I was crying out to God in my brokenness for a clear word from Him regarding my future in ministry. As the worship leader transitioned from one song to another, God’s voice rang out clear, so very clear, not through a lyric but just nine little words that were straight from the Father’s heart to the worship leader’s heart to mine. “I am not finished with you yet! Hold on!” The first time I heard these words I was startled. Then she repeated them again several times. She fell silent and then a few bars later launched into the next song the Lord gave her. It was like a million tons had been lifted from my spirit, soul and body. He gave me a clear word that I can trust Him to provide all that I need to finish the race in leading our ministry.
That one large donation and sweet word from the Father should be enough for anyone…but God, in His mercy, decided to give me even more assurance. I went into the office on Sunday and picked up the mail that had been slid under my office door. Luckily I sat down while opening the mail because there was another small, unassuming envelope in the stack. I said to myself…what? This can’t be happening! I opened the small, unassuming envelope and, yes, another large donation that covers another third of the funds that we have lost! Two checks in two months have covered 2/3 of the lost funding! What an encouragement. What a miracle and answer from God.
So, I got my answer from the Father. He will provide all that we need. He hears our prayer and answers in His timing. He has many surprises in store for us as we walk in faith and obedience. We are on the cusp of greater works that He ordained for us before we were ever born.
How about you? What decisions…large and small…are you making? Are you tempted to give in, give up, to not go on with God? Ask Him and He will answer your heart’s cry in ways that will astound you, humble you, restore your faith, allay your fears and prompt you to greater works for His glory! Perhaps He is calling you to give beyond what you think you are able to financially or rearrange your life so that you can serve Him with more of your time. Give in, let go, let God. Accept His challenge and join Him in His work! What a ride it is ‘on the edge’ with God!