There are two women that I’ve been visiting since I started the one on one visits last month, and now I have two more. The third one will only be at the jail a few weeks, but she’s eager to start her step work. The fourth wants to work on her GED.
Even though I’ve joined Christ Church, I still feel Catholic. The peace remains about joining and already an elder and associate pastor are working to get the jail connected with their larger church. I hope and pray still for there to be partnering in ministry but even more I pray for His will and to grant me discernment and understanding of it.
After more prayer and reflection concerning the membership, there was a conversation I had with a meeting with my spiritual director at the Catholic church about an hour before I went to teach the Westminster confession to the kids and then got up to profess my commitment to their church. He explained to me why a priest wouldn’t see disordered desires starting in the mind and not acted upon as necessary for confession. In the eyes of the priest, they weren’t sin. He called them nuances. My previous parish priest may have felt the same way, but if so, he kept it to himself. Whether I correctly or incorrectly assumed we both viewed them as sins, I was confessing as such and God honored that. Though I sometimes wonder now how much was real during that period and how much was just my wishful thinking. Without the kind of relationship that encourages an interchange as peers, I can never know. It is sad.
These weeks, as joy filled as I am about all of this at the jail, there’s grief that’s popped up now and then. And in a weird way, it’s a grief about letting go of something that can’t be and isn’t so not what He is doing. I suppose that’s part of love. It never stops. It has to change direction sometimes but it never stops.
This past Wed when I asked the two Catholic leaders what they thought about going to a priest for confession who didn’t think your sins were sins, they both said, find a different priest.
There’s no need for me to go looking for anything. God has given me so much right where I’m at it only makes sense to simply join the family I love. I stuck with the parish and ministry for love in Boston. Now the ministry I love is pulling from a host of churches and none of them are home and the leadership struggles.
One of the leaders told me that he thought all the best ministries were the ones that were hurting. I am familiar with this mentality and its not Scriptural. God is abundant and gives much to those he expects a lot out of. It is true those fully dependent on God are blessed and perhaps the ones that live off a shoestring are better due to that dependence, but – I cannot believe, from what I know of my Lord, this pinched place is where He always wants to keep a ministry. I guess the biggest problem I have with it is the always. There is nothing static about relationships or growth and a ministry barely getting by has to constantly focus on income.
I continue to pray and wait and pray especially for the class on Wed nights and the women I meet with individually. I tell them to be faithful with the smallest things and I need to do the same so much. I’m overwhelmed with the gifts He has blessed me with. Thers is a woman at my church, (which I can now finally call my church) that is trying a Scripture reading method I’d never heard of where you read each book of the bible 20 times before you read the next book. I’m joining her. She’s the same one interested in the jail ministry and had a dream about a place called “Promise Home” for women.
I look forward to what He’s doing and what He will do. Every day I have now is a gift. That’s always the case, but rarely has my heart been able to agree for very long. I sometimes catch my breath because I can’t believe this is really my life. I have momentary fears He’ll take me home sooner than I’d like. This is totally new and a wonderful fear to dismiss. My thank You can never be big enough.
(picture from confidenceandjoy.com)