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Location: Indiana, United States

Friday, September 12, 2008


I was reading lately in Dee Brestin's book, "A Woman of Moderation." I was particularly struck by the concept that the best way to be moderate in areas of life where I struggle is to be immoderate in my passion for Christ. So my plan, as God gives me strength and blesses my very meager efforts, is to replace the immoderation that shouldn't be in my life with immoderation that should be there. Usually I pick a yearly focus on my birthday. I'm still a month away, but I think the new focus is going to start now, especially since last year's focus of growing in prayer still fits very well.

I can't say how excited I am to have as my focus this year. I have been praying through just how this will look in my life. How can I grow in passion for the Lord of the Universe and the work He has given to me?

One of the things that happened recently is that God took some things out of my life. I have a tendency to get very involved in serving at church and at the Christian school where my husband is principal and our three boys attend. Last month I made a list of all the roles, responsibilities, and serving opportunities that I had. I wanted to pray through them before the new school year started, and wanted Jon to go through them with me. I honestly desire my husband's input on where I serve and how I use my time. He is an extremely wise, loving, kind, servant-minded man and is truly looking out for my best interest and that of our family whenever we talk about my serving and schedule. He serves well and hard too, and always supports me in my serving and work 100%. That is why when we discussed my list I was so surprised at his response. He told me, "I don't want you doing that. You need to cut back on this. You should re-evaluate whether you are really needed in this and this." Oof. I took a moment to regroup and realized that God was answering my prayers with a very easy to understand "Yes to this, but no to the rest." I must admit that I was tempted to say, "Now wait a minute! I like serving in those capacities! I'm good at what I do! They need me!" (notice how the focus was just on me -- oh, the pride that lurks in my heart). Thankfully I have learned after many, many failures that it is always better to submit to God's direction the first time than to have Him have to use other measures to get me to obey. So I talked with leaders of the various ministries and stepped out of pretty much everything except two main areas for my ministry: leading the discipleship portion of the women's ministry of our church (which, being a church of 1,600 people really does need me to focus on), leading my own Bible study, and keeping in contact with friends who are missionaries (but that's really more fun than a ministry, so I'm not sure it counts). That's it. And it seems like such a small list to me.

What I haven't mentioned yet is what Jonathan said next. He gave me very clearly the reason that he wanted me to pull back on some ministries where others in our church are equipped and able to do take over my work. His frank comment was, "Nikki, I need you to help me more in my ministries. I don't have any more time I can devote to them. I have to have your help in caring for our deacon care group, and helping me with things at the school that nobody else is doing."

Wow. I get the great (and fun) privilege of stepping out of some ministries in order to spend more time serving alongside this wonderful man God gave me. And I didn't have to struggle or agonize over how to get it all done. It was so simple. I got out of the ones Jon said to get out of, and I'm focusing my energies on the ones he asked me to help him with, and the ones where God has given me a passion and a position of leadership. Who says finding God's will is hard? All I needed to do was ask my husband and then humbly submit to his answer. I am blessed beyond measure and so full of the amazing grace of God that it just keeps spilling out on my cheeks.


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