the next thing that happened felt like a detour. i went back to tammy's comment space and saw that she had left more stories at the doorstep of our conversation. these stories, though, related to how God could perhaps use me in a non-profit capacity, given my business training.
she shared about a place she knew that serves as a care shelter for unwed mothers in unexpected pregnancies. she shared about another place that takes in people with emotional issues and drug and alcohol additions. she shared about another home that shelters battered women. she said a business degree could really come in handy for starting a non-profit like this, and how there are always people out there looking to donate to good causes to get them started and maintained.
then nate chimed in and said there was no doubt in his mind that i was meant for ministry. to have someone call that out so definitively after knowing me just a short while now, all i could do was whisper in my heart of hearts a quiet "really?"
i'll be honest (as i was honest with tammy) and say that i felt really, really resistant to this non-profit notion. none of the instances she shared felt like something specifically for me. and after my experiences in business school so far, i have become pretty closed to anything that will take me away from the front lines. i don't want to be cloistered away in an office, relied upon for my organizational leadership and administrative capacities, even though i have those to offer. i want to minister to people's needs, not be preoccupied with paperwork and making something go.
i remembered a vision God gave me about three years ago when kirk and i were dating. we were praying together on the phone one night, and i became so aware in that moment that God was going to use us in ministry, both together and individually. and then i saw a picture in my mind of an oxford flat. i was sitting on the hardwood floor in the front entrance area, and light was streaming through the window. there were about three or four women there with me, kneeling and sitting cross-legged and generally feeling forsaken and broken-hearted.
in this instance, i could tell that flat was being used as a place of ministry during the day, a refuge of sorts for the lost and disillusioned, those who go missed and broken and unheard, who need a place to cry and be heard and held and covered in prayer.
i called it a ministry of mercy. and i have wondered in the years since then if God ever means to bring it to fruition. i still don't know the answer to that question, but he at least used that moment of vision to instruct me in the ways of my heart, a heart of compassion and mercy and gentleness and grace and acceptance and love, whatever the ultimate uses he has for it. and i have carried the truth of those things, and the hope for something like what was contained in that vision, close and quiet in my heart ever since, pondering it, turning it over, asking God what he intends. my movement toward business school to create something that helps people help each other was my way of stepping even closer to him with that question i've been holding there.
it really helped to hear tammy's response to my concerns of starting anything formal. she hearkened back to the story of the starbucks girl, saying that eventually that woman needed people around her to bring about the church God eventually started. she needed praise and worship people, someone to handle the financials, an associate pastor, a building plan . . . and that God never called her to function in all those roles. he had called her to love and pray for people.
tammy said the thing is, God gave this woman the vision. he did not give it to the office people, the praise and worship team, or any other part of the church. the whole administration fell under her umbrella of God's vision. and this is where having administrative training could be an asset, even though a person's particular calling and gifting can stand apart from that.
that really gave me something to think about. i could see what she meant, the difference between having an asset and using that asset in a sole capacity. i felt the door to such a notion open up a little bit, making way for possibility.