When I moved to Vancouver, after finding my sea (Jesus) legs, I dove into church. I dove into serving and learning, and completely gave myself back to Christ.
I decided that I would make an excellent community group leader.
So I told people that I wanted to lead. That I was capable and ready.
They told me to wait.
I met with a pastor and discussed the options. This was about 8ish months later. This time my heart was a bit better. I still felt capable and ready, but I was willing to go through the apprenticeship process.
Note for you, in case you think I sound like an arrogant something - my heart was sinful. I desired power and wanted to lead people to Christ through me.
He told me that I needed to wait. He set me up with a great couple who I mini-apprenticed with.
I didn't want to apprentice. I wanted to lead. But I decided that if I had to apprentice to lead, I would do so.
I started meeting with the lady leader in the group and we discussed life. We would hang out and be intentional about conversation. It was great. But my heart was still quite silly and deceitful.
They moved away to an exciting life adventure and I met with the pastor again.
You need to wait. You need to have a real apprenticeship now.
Okay. So I did. This past fall, I started apprentesing.
It was sweet. It started at a perfect time because the day before we first met, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me. That led to some of the biggest work God's ever done on my heart thus far.
. . .
Sometimes I feel weird writing and talking about how God's done work in my life, as if either I think I'm great now, or that somehow my words will come off as arrogant.
I hope though, that through what I write and share, that I demonstrate a need for Jesus that grows each day and not the opposite which would be needing Jesus less. That'd be gross and stupid of me to ever think that.
Anyways, Jesus changes hearts. We shouldn't be ashamed of mentioning (aka talking often) about the fact that we once were buried in sin with no option out and with no chance for salvation, that God saved us on His accord (by grace He allowed us to have faith), and that we still sin and need Jesus. I still sin, daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes every second. Jesus saves me constantly. He is my redeemer, my refuge, my grace, and my hope.
. . .
So. I started apprenticing. I started learning. I started being faithful to the plan that my church had decided was correct. I started reading my Bible more, praying more, and made more diligent efforts to live out the things I professed and believed.
Cue December. I met with that same pastor again. I shared that I felt more ready than ever, and that God had changed my heart (because I felt He had) and that it wasn't about myself anymore.
The conversation was epic. Mostly because Jesus used the pastor to speak hugely into my heart. Through discussion and me being honest about things, I realized that there were huge sin issues deep inside my heart. Sin issues that related back to bullying from elementary school, having a hugely judgmental perspective in high school, and not holding people accountable for being bad friends just so that they would like me. My fear of man, my pride issues, and my insecurities - they all were exposed for what they were - sin.
My heart was shocked. I remember sobbing in that meeting, not because I was angry that I'd been exposed, but because no one had ever told me those things. No one ever mentioned that the way I lived my life was actually showing sin issues that I wasn't working on.
He got me to stay as an apprentice for another season. I gladly accepted. In fact, I feel as though I stepped back from leading in many ways.
God spoke to my heart. He told me to be quiet more than I spoke (which was hard because I love talking). He told me to listen for more than words (which was hard because did I mention I love talking). He told me to sit in scripture for a lot more time than I did then (which was hard because if you've read my blog for awhile, you know that getting into the Bible routinely is one of my biggest struggles).
There were a lot of things God started speaking to my heart. None were easy, and all took away things I cared for. All of them however, were essential to living a life that is for Jesus.
When I say that God took away things I cared for, I mean that God gave me grace. He showed me that I had to stop being selfish in certain areas, to start using self-control, and many other things. He took away the sinful things I was holding to. I'm so thankful.
Over the past two or so months, my heart legitimately has changed.
I say that with the hope that in another season, I'll look back and see a lot more change - in a good way.
So now what - what about leading a group? I'd still like to, and I'm totally willing. I'm excited if the opportunity arises. But I'm not quite so sure about when that will be. It might be the fall (just kidding, it won't be - more on that in a minute), next spring, the fall after, or five years down the road.
More so then when, I also don't know what my group will look like. I had a vision up until December of what my group would be like, and mostly the vision was Nadine gets to lead and talk about Jesus and be in charge.
I don't have a vision anymore.
If I've learnt anything in the past couple years, it's that I can't close my fist around anything. My spiritual hands have to be open. I need to keep my heart in a posture of worship toward Jesus.
. . .
Today I met with a pastor about what the fall looks like. I was honest about the fact that I'm unsure if, when, how, why, etc., God has a group for me. I'm just unsure now.
I get to wait longer.
And I'm so excited.
I think it's because I went into this meeting with open hands rather than grasping ones.
I went into this meeting ready to listen to Jesus speak instead of myself.
. . .
I got home and started making lunch. As I made my lunch, God gave me a new vision.
It's kinda funny to me.
It's of a big chili pot. Sitting.
As I envisioned this chili pot, God reminded me:
When you make chili, you let it sit for hours.
You could eat it right away, and it would be okay.
But by letting it sit, and adding herbs and spices throughout, it gets to become a better dish.
And it tastes far more delicious in the end.
The same is for you Nadine.
Sit and wait.
Your time to be used will come.
I have plans for your life.
Rest and wait.
Rest and wait upon Me.
I'm still adding spices and herbs.
Rest and wait.
. . .
So this is where I'm at.
For the first time, I'm excited to wait. I am legitimely excited for another season of apprenticeship.
That is not typical of me. Waiting is not typically my strong suit when it comes to my own life.
I want Jesus to keep readying me for His purpose.
Because His purpose is perfect, and is designed by Himself (aka WOW!!!).
Mine is flawed and designed by a girl who is a sinner.
I could be used now to lead. I probably wouldn't be terrible at it.
But now isn't the best time.
I want to live on God's timing because His timing is correct.
I want to be tasty chili.
. . .
If you're unsure about what apprenticeship is, it's basically
something my church uses before someone leads a community group (which
is just a fancy term for small group/Bible study - but with huge
emphasis on missional living and a lot more other things). You get asked a lot of
questions, paired with a set of leaders, and you learn from them. They
speak into your life. It's great. It's beautiful. There's a lot more to
it than what I shared here because it's also really hard - your sins are
exposed and you have to be willing to let God radically change your
life. There's even more than that, because in that exposing of sin, you
also get to experience more grace than you thought possible. Whoa. There's even more, but this post is already too long.
Wanna know more - let's go for coffee.