All by myself, don't wanna be
All by myself, any more.
My friends, that's how I've felt in a SUM. I've felt it so keenly, sometimes.
Don't wanna be, by myself, any more!
Here's a photo that my church popped onto our Facebook page a while back. It's of me, all by myself, standing at the back. A married couple is in front of me. There I am worshipping, solo.
It's a cup I drink. We all have a cup to drink, of some sort or other.
Where I have felt this keenly is in ministry. It is difficult being in ministry alone, and I have found it very comforting indeed to have Lynn, who has the strength of an ox. If I had not had her, it would have been significantly more difficult. She's strong, and you need strong people alongside you.
But, yes, it is the cup that God has asked me to drink: To be in ministry as a spiritually single woman. So, I say in response to that: "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word," (Luke 1:38, NKJV). And I mean it. It's ok.
Now God is my awesome father and best friend, and he has not left me without encouragement in all this. So let me tell you this rather fabulous story:
One day, about four years ago, I was sitting in my prayer room (the TV room). It was my usual morning time with God, so there I sat on the couch reading the Bible and jotting thoughts down. One thought led to another, though, and I got myself into a state.
Now, I can do drama well, LOL.
In my bad state I slid dramatically off the couch like a slinky, onto the floor on my tummy, and started to cry. The tears ramped up, and in between hot tears I cried out to God:
WHY DO I HAVE TO DO MINISTRY ON MY OWN?
I was almost angry. It felt so unfair. I think I'd also just seen on Facebook a poster going round with profile photos of lovely couples in ministry speaking at a conference. Yet there was me, having to do it on my own.
Well, at the moment a name popped into my head:
I didn't know who she was, but I'd seen her name float around on Christian things. So, once I'd dried my eyes and pulled myself together, I got up and looked her up. And there I discovered a beautiful story. Are you ready? It will encourage you, especially if your spouse has left the faith:
- Winnie and her husband were itinerant ministers who were both on fire for God.
- Then she lost her faith. She was completely missing in action and didn't want a bar of it.
- She didn't go to church, she didn't support him, she didn't care for it. So he had to carry on in ministry, and they had a big ministry which involved a lot of travel. Brave man!
- Everyone else in his world was part of a couple, and there he was, ministering on his own.
- She was to him an impossible and difficult lost cause.
- The only thing he could do was pray, in desperation. It went on for years.
- He would put his hand on the wall of their bedroom on the other side of the wall (like my TV room which backs onto my bedroom), and he would pray for her while she slept.
- One day, out of the blue, WOOSH the Holy Spirit came upon her and turned it all around. Suddenly, just like that.
- And now they're in ministry together again.
I went to see Winnie and Georgian speak in Auckland about a year after discovering that story. I loved watching them minister together as a couple, knowing that story.
Why did God show them to me, I wonder?
I still don't quite know; but today I am doing well with my cup. It doesn't grieve me anymore. I accept God's will and timing in my life. But I also believe - fully -- that there can be a cheeky little turnaround. And who knows what God has up his sleeve next.
My friends, which parts of SUM life do you find particularly hard to do alone?