Pain to Glory

Pain to Glory

 

I believe we can all identify with pain.  We have all experienced the heartache of sickness and death.  Sad but true, life can throw us some hard punches.  I wish we could all enjoy the glory of the mountaintop every day of our lives.  However, we are not living in a fairytale.  From time to time, we will face some dark valleys.

My dear friends, I would like to share with you my darkest valley experience and how I made it to the mountaintop of glory.

A little over twenty years ago I fell into a deep valley of depression.  This valley was so dark and lonely.  I spent months trying to find my way out of this dark place, only to find myself suffering with pain beyond my comprehension.  You see, my pain was buried so deep that I was able to walk through life robotically with a smile.  I went to work at a Financial Institution five to six days a week and maintained healthy friendships.  Nonetheless, I went home every night to face the same dark pain that awaited me.

I would like to give a brief synopsis on how I found myself in this valley.  I’m the oldest of five siblings, and I played a major role in helping each one find their way in life.  I learned at a young age how to suppress my emotions and continue to pour my heart into the needs of others.  By nature, I’m a leader and a fixer.  I have never been a follower, and I always looked for ways to help others fix their problems.  Needless to say, by suppressing my feelings, I was setting myself up for the dark pain of depression.

I thought my life was going rather smoothly, until my husband informed me that he was in love with another woman.  Upon first hearing this devastating news, I felt like I was in a bad dream.  I continued to tell myself to wake up, but I soon came to realize I was not dreaming.  My dear friends, I never in my life felt such pain.  I literally felt my world crumble at my feet.  I was engulfed by a dark cloud of despair.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not seem to find my way back to light.  I was no longer in control, but my life was spinning faster than I could keep up.  After many months of walking around lifeless, I came to realize that I needed help.  I could not fix my life, nor help others with theirs.  It was at that moment that God directed my footsteps to freedom.

I found myself in complete peace as soon as I stepped into the large church.  The music brought a feeling of tranquility.  I breathed in and out slowly.  With each breath I took, I felt a calmness wash over me.  I sat in the back of the Sanctuary simply soaking in the sereneness and sacredness of the moment.  I never wanted this feeling of freedom to end.  I looked up to the platform and noticed the most beautiful cross I had ever seen displayed on the wall.  And then suddenly, I saw the light in my valley.  I felt my spirit excel to the mountaintop of glory.  Oh, what a wondrous day!  I finally found what I had been looking for all of my life.  I found joy, peace, and love on my mountaintop called glory.  My sweet Jesus came into my heart and removed all of the darkness.

Silent Cry

Okay ladies, I think at least once, or possible many times in our life, we have buried a silent cry deep within our hearts.  I can speak with much empathy on this topic.  Why?  Because I mastered the ability to cover my silent cry.  I simply walked through life with a pretty smile.  However, on the inside I was crying out in agony.

Needless to say, when God called me into the ministry, my silent cry was so bad that it was difficult for me to walk in a phony façade.  I was attending a lovely church in Anchorage, Alaska, and was beginning to feel my wall of defense come down.  Little did I know, I became transparent with my circle of friends.  I found it to be rather anomalous when my friends started asking me if something was wrong.  Of course, I continued to walk in my make-believe world, pretending my life was picture-perfect.  Nonetheless, I was only fooling myself.

After a short time of attending my church, I made the decision to become more actively involved.  So, I did volunteer work in the nursery and started attending Sunday evening Pastoral classes.  Well, God used those precious babies to show me just how much baggage I had buried in my heart, which would explain my silent cry.  Me being the fixer that I was, I got a little frazzled when I wasn’t able to comfort the little bundles of joy.  It seemed everything I tried only made them scream a little louder.  Needless to say, by the time their dear parents returned for their little blessings, I was ready to find a place of solitude.

It was while I attended the Pastoral classes that I discovered my calling.  One Sunday evening the Pastor asked each one of us to take a spiritual gift test.  I almost scored perfect in the gift of Pastoral.  I can remember thinking surely there must be some sort of mistake.  I went through the test more times than I care to admit, and each time all evidence pointed to Pastoral.  I genuinely didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry.  If memory serves me correctly, I believe I did both.

Now, I would like to fast forward to a few years later.  By now, I went through deep inner and spiritual healing.  I can recall one late summer day, the Lord spoke into my spirit that many of His women had a silent cry.  Instantly, I felt the silent cry that many women conceal, and my mind reverted back to my cry.  Ladies, I would like to encourage you that while traveling through your dark valley, the sun will shine again.  Please remember, the darkest hour is always before the dawn.  If you’re struggling with a silent cry, please know you’re not alone.  Someone is cheering for you.  Me!  You’re an overcomer!  It’s time that we women pull together and be transparent.  Until next time, stay sweet.

When the Almighty Called Me!

 

Who, Me God?

Melinda J. Abersold

 

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a woman pastor?  Don’t feel bad if you haven’t because I never really gave it much thought, until God called me into the ministry.  When God called me, my immediate thought was, I can’t be a pastor . . . I’m a woman!  So, needless to say, I ran from the call.  However, God used male pastors to confirm that I was indeed called into the pastoral vocation.

So, I set out on my quest to confront my pastor; however, God instructed me to wait.  So, I waited, and I waited, until finally, God spoke to me to attend another church so I could sit under a more seasoned pastor.  I was so excited to finally start getting this show on the road!  Well, needless to say, the pastor God placed me under did not encourage women to operate in a pastoral office.  During that time, God taught me the ancient lesson on obedience.

There are several women in the Bible that God called for a divine purpose, such as Deborah.  There is no disputing that Deborah was used mightily by God as a great leader.  She was handpicked by God to be a Judge over the nation of Israel, and she was used as a prophetess.

Some would try to say that God only used women in the Old Testament for a special purpose in leadership.  However, there are many women that God used in the New Testament.  Philip had four daughters that prophesied.  (Acts 21:9)

It is clear, throughout the ages of time, God used women in leadership.  However, it is also clear that in this modern day world, in which we live, women have been discriminated against in the ministry.  I can only speak from personal experience that this is a heartbreaking fact. I can also say with confidence that God has equipped me with His strength and grace to fulfill my calling.

I have been pastoring for eleven years, and I have found it to be both challenging and fulfilling.  Have there been times that I wanted to throw in the towel and run?  Yes, you better believe it!  However, my God has richly rewarded me for my obedience.

I believe wholeheartedly that we women pastors should always conduct ourselves as a lady.  In fact, God will not bless a woman who tries to operate like a man.  May I say that God was not at all muddled when He fashioned us as women, nor was He confused when He called us into the ministry.  Always be the beautiful godly woman that God has called you to be.

I leave you with this thought.  Never try to force your ministry into fruition.  Throughout the years, God has been faithful.  Over the next year, I plan to share with you, the reader, my personal experiences.