Not All Of Us Are Hands, Not All of Us are Feet!!

Two Mondays ago on April 23rd, I celebrated my 6th Anniversary as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. Six years later, I one hundred percent feel called to Diaconal Ministry but there are times and days when I get frustrated with having to constantly explain myself and my call to ministry!

Last night I was chatting online with a dear D.M. friend and candidate who is currently attending seminary. She posed the question to me, “Do you ever struggle with not getting ordained?” I was honest with her. I told her that I haven’t ever struggled with being ordained but I have struggled with not always being included. There are times it seems like it might be much easier to get ordained and be a pastor but that’s not the ministry God has called me too! So how do I help others see that?!?!?!

I was saddened because this individual was put in a situation that I wish wouldn’t have had to happen but it did!! The truth is it isn’t just about Diaconal Ministers! It’s about all the other rosters in the ELCA as well; Associates in Ministry, Deacons/Deaconesses and Diaconal Ministers.

I am so thankful for colleagues and friends in ministry who “get it” and don’t question my or anyone’s call to ministry! These individuals are all blessings in my life! I wish they weren’t the only ones who got it though! There are times when I sometimes feel like I am not good enough or smart enough because of a comment someone made about my call to ministry. But the reality is that’s not the case at all!!! I just heard and was given a different call by God and I am thankful to God for that call!

As I told my friend, there are times I feel so tired! I’ll be honest I feel like I have to educate a lot but I also know that is part of this call! I just wish I didn’t have to educate all the time! In all honesty, the truth is I wish I didn’t have to constantly explain myself. It is EXHAUSTING!!!

But yet in the midst of the exhaustation, I know wholeheartedly that God has called me to this ministry just like he has called each and everyone of us to different calls in our lives. I am reminded of the text in 1 Corinithians 12 where we are reminded that we are one body with many members. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the One Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and we are all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body (1 Corinthians 12: 12-17.” So perhaps we need to remember that not all of us are hands and not all of us are feet; not all of us are called to ordained ministry, and not all of us are called to “Word and Service” ministry, but without anyone of us, the church is not one body! In fact, I believe without all of us, the body (the church) cannot fully do the work God has called us to do!!

A Blessed Day

It’s a day that will always hold a special place in my heart…the day I was consecrated into the ministry of Word and Service; the day I was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA! I can hardly believe that tomorrow April 23 will be the 6th anniversary of my consecration. It was such a blessed day; filled with family and friends. I am so glad that my friends Liz and Carrie drove through the night so they could be a part of this special day! The previous camp director of the camp I worked at preached a rockin’ sermon! A day that forever is a part of me and reminds me of my call to ministry! I remember so many laying their hands on me…what a powerful moment!

A Simple Reminder

“How beautiful are the voices; how beautiful are the hands; How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News to the world!” These words caught me off guard tonight! I closed my sermon with them and found myself fighting back tears! I think it was all the faces looking back at me! I try to be a servant but Im also human! I don’t always think the best or nicest or act that way towards my neighbor ! I’m a sinner too but that’s the beauty Jesus doesn’t pass over anyone! He washes everyone’s feet! Tonight instead of a foot washing we did a blessing of our hands! So cool as I washed! Then one of my fave people saw me, grabbed my hands and washed them! I had to fight back the tears! Then I looked up and she was drying one hand while one of our elderly ladies was drying the other hand! A simple reminder to me and all of us!

Risky Business

“We are not that far apart, God can see us both!” These words were written on a friend’s carepage last week and they have been running through my head a lot especially today. Do you ever feel like you are alone? in life? in your vocation? in ministry? in the world? If you are like me you probably answered yes to this question and it probably feels like such a daunting feeling. How else are you suppose to feel when you see these words; solitary, lonesome, forlorn, and desolate under the definition of alone in Webster’s dictionary?

When I graduated from seminary in 2005, I knew that I had made the right decision. God truly was calling me into the ministry of Word and Service; Diaconal Ministry. There has been and continues to be no doubt in my mind! Yet at times, it feels like such a lonely call. So many don’t understand my call to Diaconal Ministry. Heck; they probably dont even know what a Diaconal Minister does or is! (Now don’t get me wrong; this isn’t the case for everyone!) But the reality is that the roster is such a new (compared to the other two rosters in the ELCA) roster that there is so much to educate and for the world to learn about us! My call calls me to “home and family ministry” yet so many see it as a call to “youth ministry.”

Today I am having one of those days where the joy seems to be outweighed by the loneliness. In other words, today I’m feel quite a lone. I am currently the entire DM roster in my synod! Boy who would have thought that I would be a pioneer??!?! And in the midst of the loneliness, I am reminded of those who have seen my gifts to this ministry. I think of my seminary advisor who reminded me that it would have been so much easier to walk out that door and quit and never look back. I am reminded of the many who bring such joy into my life when they “get” Diaconal Ministry or even approach the question with me! I am reminded of the gift and blessing of my DM brothers and sisters in the ELCA and around the world. I am also reminded that not everyone of us has the same gifts; “There is a variety of gifts, but the same call.” Jesus himself took a risk when he washed the feet of his disciples. It was completely out of the norm and wasn’t at all what people expected! Yet Jesus did it anyways!! I have to remember that even when I feel lonely etc.

The truth of the matter is that I (we) are never alone! God walks with us at all times. And it is especially in the times when we are feeling lonely and afraid and like God isnt even here when God says, NO WAY! LOOK! LISTEN! HERE AM I!!!! Or in the words of my friend on her carepage post, We truly arent that far apart. God can see us both.” In other words, WE ARE NEVER ALONE!(even when that is the only feeling we can seem to comprehend)

“How Beautiful Are the Feet….”

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!”

Awhile back, I blogged about this and today it hit me again. Recently many of my Diaconal Ministry friends and I have been having a conversation about how we would like to help educate churches, bishops, etc better about who we are etc.

I think this quote popped into my head again because as DMs we are called to pick up our basins and towels to serve all God’s people. As you my faithful readers know, I felt a strong call to Diaconal Ministry because I saw how others treated my mom because she lives with a mental illnesss. God truly calls me/us to reach out to all God’s people. We can wash anyone’s feet whether it be in a prison cell, at a nursing home, at church, on a mission trip, etc etc etc!

For me, “Living Lutheran” means that I am called to show God’s love, grace, and acceptance as a Diaconal Minister by bridging the gap between the church and the world. “Living Lutheran” for me means that I am also called to bring the needs of the world before all God’s people. Also “Living Lutheran” means that I am called forth from Word and Sacrament to be freed in Christ to Serve. “Living Lutheran” means that it is important for me to live out my identity through “diakonia.”
How else do you see DM “Living Lutheran”?

5 Years Ago….

I can’t believe I am still up! The crazy thing though is that today marks an anniversary for me! 5 years ago today I was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. It is hard to believe it has been 5 years already! The funny thing is that at this time 5 years ago I was waiting for two very dear friends to arrive from Iowa for the day. I’m so glad they came and was blessed to have them as a part of my service! I will never forget standing out in the street at about 1 am as they handed me a special gift. It hangs on the office in my wall and reads “Diakonia.” The letters are filled with pictures of our time together at seminary. I love it because, not only, does it remind me of my call to “Diakonia,” but it causes people to ask what it means etc! Such a special day in my life! I am so thankful and blessed for the Diaconal Community of the ELCA! And those that understand, see, and know that God truly has called me into this ministry!

Moments that I Cant Seem to Shake or Forget

Our lives are made up of moments….moments that are forever captured in time. Sometimes those moments are happy moments, Sometimes those moments are sad moments, sometimes those moments are joyful moments etc. I remember the moment I was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. There are the moments that I treasure spending with my friends and family. And then there are those moments that I can’t seem to forgot about, no matter how I try. I think of Representative Gabrielle Giffords as she and many others were shot yesterday in Arizona. But the one moment that I think of is last January and the Haiti earthquake, realizing I had friends there. As we remember the Haiti earthquake this week, may we remember all those who lost their lives there…the Haitian people, my friend Ben Larson, and so many others. This Wednesday Jan 12th, the one year anniversary of the earthquake, take time to tell those you love how much you love them. And in the words of Ben Larson,” God’s Peace to us We pray.”

A Holy Time, A Holy Place, With Holy People!

Earlier this last week, I found myself in Des Plaines, IL for the Diaconal Ministry Gathering of the ELCA. So good to be with beloved diaconal sisters and brothers. It was definetely a holy time in a holy place with holy people! Who would have ever thought that a year ago when the planning team planned the dates it would be during the time the ELCA would have to do major restructuring. I was reading my friend Mark’s blog the other day and he had some great thoughts about this situation. The darkness will not overcome. Christ will help us through this difficult time.

Being a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA hasn’t always been the easiest thing. However it seems to me we have made some huge strides. As I listened to some of our speakers this past week, I definetely came away feeling hopeful. I hope others came away feeling the same way!

I am thankful for the community of diaconal brothers and sisters! My life is so much richer for having each of you in my life. You each bring gifts that the body of Christ is enriched by! Thank you for simply being you and fulfilling the mission that Christ has placed upon your hearts and minds; your heart’s passion!