Running on Empty

I was sixteen years old when the Lord called me into ministry and I was eighteen when I knew I’d marry a pastor. These are the only two things in my life I have ever felt sure about. I had a vision in my mind of all the amazing people we’d meet and all the amazing ways God would use us to further his kingdom. I wanted nothing more than to bring him glory.

What this ministry has actually looked like, however, is more of a long, uphill marathon. Complete with a hurdle every ten steps. We have watched our friends in ministry engage with their churches. They are so loved and well received. They thrive. And then they receive calls to even better jobs. Ministry is smooth sailing. Meanwhile, we end up feeling a little more alone every year. Our job prospects dwindle down as we crave from the depths for longevity, acceptance and healing for our worn spirits.

Sometimes I feel like the brother in the story of the prodigal son. Not angry of my brother returning home and not jealous of my friends’ successes in ministry, but forgotten by my father after spending my life faithfully loving and following him. I wonder what I did wrong that I have so many lessons to learn. Surely the growing process has to slow down soon. If every trial is God’s way of teaching you a lesson (as I’ve been told), then surely I should hit sage status any time now.

My spiritual lungs burn as I long for breath. The constant stream of sweat coming from my eyes have left my cheeks with river like grooves. This race has been long and taxing and feels as if it will never end. I am nowhere near the finish line. I know I’ve seen that rock before. And I swear, it feels as if I’m running in circles. My cheering section has dwindled down and I’m left wondering if I should even bother finishing the race.

At what point is enough, enough?

My heart is at war. it knows better than to believe that God is anything but on our side (Romans 8:31). Or that he is anything other than good (Psalm 136:1) and just (Isaiah 30:18-19). But the other half feels forgotten and abandoned. Called into ministry and then left to run the race alone. And though I have had a relationship with the Lord long enough to know its completely untrue, I am hurt. And it’s hard to know where to go from here.

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