Tick, tock, tick, tock……

After what has been essentially a decade long journey, a good friend of mine finally received official notification yesterday that she will be ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church at our annual conference in June. She’s been a minister now for about 4 years. It’s been a long road. She and I attended a fundraiser last evening for a local charity and shared a moment of celebration over the somewhat anti-climactic news. We’ve prayed together, cried together, sought God’s will together, and celebrated small victories along the way together. Now, just as she reaches the end of the pursuit, I reminded her that now I need her to help me accomplish somewhat the same goal, ordination as a deacon in the United Methodist Church. I’m beginning a bit more in the middle of the journey than she, since I already have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hand, but nevertheless, the road ahead is daunting. The clock begins ticking this spring with the official background check and psychological assessment. I have five years to check off the boxes, cross the “t’s” and dot the “i’s”.

I, too, am already in ministry. My partime job in Christian education in a local congregation and my fulltime job in counseling and administration in the healing ministry of a local rescue mission, connected with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, allows me very satisfying engagement in spiritual formation and Christian counseling with adults whose lives are broken. Just this week I had a session with a “student”, a fifty year old woman who has battled alcoholism for over two decades. The Holy Spirit was very present with us as we had our case management meeting. We both were aware of it. I came away from the experience humbled by how God had directed the conversation along lines that I had not had any idea we’d explore and led us both to insights that provide a foundation for further exploration. All I can say is, “Wow!”

The bottom line is, whether or not I am deemed acceptable by the authorities of the United Methodist Church for official status in ministry, God apparently has already determined that I can be of value to building the kingdom and helping those who are hurting to find healing and joy in this life.