As we approach the weekend, I invite you to think back over the last week and all that you have experienced: your unique combination of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, laughter, frustration...whatever it all was, all in just one little week.
Now, think back over the last month. So much life, in such a short amount of time. Perhaps too much to review in a quick moment.
And the last year? Even more chock-full of this intense human experience we call life.
We go through so much - even when life is pretty good! And hopefully, in the midst of it all, we reach out to God, who is always there for us and who promises to listen...and love, and forgive, and heal, and transform.
But, there are times when God's presence is hard to feel. There are times when we wish God would speak to us in ways we could hear, out loud. Sometimes we wish God could sit across from us and talk to us like another person would. It'd be nice to see God's face and hear God's voice and know that God is with us.
This week, I am in St. Louis for Stephen Leader training, diving deep into the world of Stephen Ministry. And what stays with me more than anything else about this rich ministry with a long and powerful history is that it is such a fine example of that Lutheran catch-phrase, "God's work. Our hands."
Stephen Ministers provide one-on-one care, marked by deep listening, non-judgmental presence, and strict confidentiality. They are highly trained and care deeply about their service.
Stephen Ministers are one way God gives us the gift of a human being to embody God's promises to listen...and love, and forgive, and heal, and transform. These are people to be with us, here and now, in tangible ways that we can see and hear. God knows we humans need that, and God reaches out to provide exactly what we need.
I hope you'll consider if God might be reaching out to you and encouraging you to have a Stephen Minister.
You may think:
-Others need this more than me.
-I'm handling my stress ok on my own.
-I would be too embarrassed to ask for a Stephen Minister.
-I don't know how all of this works.
If you have even an inkling that a Stephen Minister might be a gift in your life, I encourage you to set these hesitations aside and reach out to learn more. Chat with me, PT, or one of our amazing, committed Stephen Leaders. Pray about it. See where the Spirit leads.
Don't let this gift from God pass you by.
And know too, that even when we don't feel it, God IS there, just as God promised.
God is good! All the time...