Seek Him... and they will come
Seek Him... and they will come
by Carol Nelson
God has His ways of getting things done. There are many examples in scripture of how the most unlikely person was chosen to fulfill God’s purpose.
Sharing my story is not easy; I prefer to keep myself behind the scenes. I stay away from situations where I need to engage in conversation. I am not quick to have answers to questions, and am not able to easily keep a conversation going. I do, however, have a passion for encouraging and ministering to women from all faiths and all walks of life.
My husband and I started attending Elmbrook about four years ago. We had recently moved back to the Milwaukee area. After a time I decided I needed to get to know some more women. A women's Bible study seemed like the natural place to start. So I walked in and asked to be put into a group. I spent time developing new friends and studying God’s Word. Realizing that the large group environment was a little intimidating, I saw that the gifts that God has given me were meant to be used on a much smaller group scale.
God has given me the opportunity to be used by Him. He is always bringing women into my life who need encouragement and direction in their walk of faith. After weeks of pondering and talking to God, He started bringing women to mind. I started approaching women I didn't know that well, acquaintances. A neighbor I waved to once or twice; a wife of one of my husband’s coworkers; a new attendee at Elmbrook I ran into one morning. To my surprise they all said yes and were genuinely excited about coming to the Bible study.
The God part of all of this is that I don't communicate well with people and, even though it was out of my comfort zone, He took my desire to reach out to women beyond the walls of church and brought them to my home. We study God’s Word and share life together: the good times and the struggles. We are learning to pray together. I love seeing these women light up when they see something new in scripture. For a few of the women, this is their first Bible study, even though they may have been attending church for 30 years.
Being intentional in my time with God, I was able discern His calling and proceed in obedience. I love these women; they are the joy of my week. I am blessed beyond measure for the desire they have to keeping coming. My prayer now is that these women will go to their own neighborhoods and find their women to share God's Word and faith journey with. We all represent God’s church, the family of faith, from all walks of life.
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28
These are a few thoughts I picked up from reading Philip Yancey’s book “Vanishing Grace”.
I think God would be pleased if we thought more about going out into the community instead of asking the community to come to the church. As believers, we need to be available to reach out to anyone whom God brings into our lives, so to start thinking of our neighbors more as a gift that God created and has a plan for, rather than someone we think needs to be converted. Jesus sees everyone with grace filled eyes and love. It’s our time to start reaching out to our neighbors, our community, with humility and grace, extending with acts of mercy. Embrace them for who they are and where they are in the journey. Being an instrument that God can use to enlarge His kingdom.