I have a strong feeling that God is up to something big in my life. Of course, He always is, in a sense, and in EVERYONE'S life, but with all the beginnings in my life, I recognize that He's really about ready to show me what He has cooked up for me.
I just finished the Steward Leaders Training (SLT) course conducted by the Institute for Pastoral Development (IPD) for the Cradle of JOY Center for Learning (COJ). I was supposed to be an observer but of course the more I shut off the Lord, the more He spoke to my heart during the past three days.
Both IPD and COJ are close to my heart. COJ was the venue of the first couple of years of Lingkod Quezon City. It was a preschool on weekdays and a prayer meeting venue for single young professionals on Friday nights. IPD taught me the Joy of Discovery in Bible Study right before I became a full-time staffer for Lingkod Office. It was thus no sweat for me to join them both for this SLT run. I thought I could be an outsider in the course, however, as I was not ready to face God's plan for my life in yet another seminar.
Let me share the brief description of what one gains from SLT from the IPD website:
"As a steward, discover and align your talents, resources and relationships to accomplish God's unique purpose for your life.
"As a leader, learn to live a meaningful life of service to God and others."
Interesting, right? The course, through its facilitators, did not disappoint. It made me answer the tough questions. It made me face my fears. I was able to come up with something that resembled a mission statement and a plan for my life, reluctant though I was to do so. I refrained myself from polishing it too much as the speakers assured us that we had the rest of our lives for that.
There were many tools presented to us that were all meant to help us in our journey of discovering God's unique purpose for our lives. I was overwhelmed at the amount of work involved to get my life in order. I stepped back a little and came before the Lord. I told Him it was a futile exercise as I had been discerning and searching for as long as I could remember and yet, I still had not found my niche. The Lord simply told me to be patient with myself and to trust His plan and His timing. I sat down to work but did not really believe I could come up with a conclusive document showing my life plan.
Before we closed the SLT, we were all asked to share. I was struck most by the sharing of the Directress of COJ, Teacher Marion Abiva-Cruz, who said that she had found her passion in COJ, in helping the teachers and the students, and she would grow old with COJ. She could see herself with white hair still serving at COJ. She has a supportive husband and her children all go to COJ.
I yearned for that, for the place I could say, "This is it. I would grow old with this place. This is my mission place, where my passion could be best put to use. This is where God called me. This would be my legacy." I approached Teacher Marion and asked her to pray for me that I find my own Cradle of JOY. She said I was welcome to be a teacher anytime. I knew teaching, though very noble, was not my passion. My gifts lie elsewhere. In too many places and too many involvements, actually.
I then went to a meeting with my friends Bobby and Jeng Quitain about a retreat we were conducting this weekend in Davao. Over dinner, we shared about our lives as well and I was inspired once more by this couple. Bobby, the first Lingkod QC Branch Leader and my personal Agitator to be the best Christian I could be, shared with me what the Lord had been doing in his family. I was am-azed. Jeng, my very good friend, with whom I shared many of my best years in Lingkod laughing, serving, and crying, also told me how the Lord was blessing them. I shared about the offers I had before me, those that I took and those that I let go of, and we all marveled at God's hand moving in our lives.
They presented me with more service opportunities and though I knew I was already overbooked and overloaded, I found myself saying yes to them. Who could say no to service? It was simply a matter of planning my schedule ahead, as I learned from the SLT. Besides, they were asking me to use my gifts and passions to spread God's word. I would be a fool not to recognize that as part of God's plan for me.
I have a blessing I want to share, by the way. I prayed to the Lord to give me a cellphone. I did not have any money so I specified, for free. Lo and behold, I qualified for Globe's loyalty/ reward points/ whatever they call it, and they sent me a brand-new Nokia E65.
I don't need proof of God's existence, but when I look at my new phone, I can't help but smile. God knows the key to a woman's heart - an Unexpected Gift at an Unexpected Time. (It's from the movie Finding Forrester starring Sean Connery.) I should have no reason to doubt that He would bless me, materially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc. etc.
I will step back and watch His plans unfold even further.