Sometimes we feel that we are being led by the Lord to do something that takes us out of our "comfort zone." That is when we realize that it is all Him, not us. It is through our obedience, trust, and His grace that we can do whatever He asks of us.
Ed and I have been involved with Twin Cities Marriage Encounter since we made our weekend retreat in 1999. It was a wonderful experience for our marriage, and for our family. Ed wanted us to get involved as volunteers right away. I did, too, but I wasn't sure about becoming a team couple. Public speaking has always made me nervous. I didn't like giving presentations in school, and no matter how many times I do it, that feeling remains.
But because we'd seen for ourselves the miracles that can happen on these weekends, I reluctantly agreed to try. Twelve years later, we are still at it!
I wasn't sure how I would give my talks; because of time constraints, all the team couples write out their presentations and read them, to keep from droning on, with ad libs and asides. I couldn't do that, because while I do read and write Braille, years of diabetes has caused some neuropathy in my fingers, and so I am not a very fast reader. Were I reading my talks through already-nervous, and nerve-damaged fingers, our presentation would take all night!
After trial and error, I finally decided that I would write out my talks, give Ed a written copy to cue me if I needed, and then memorize the several talks we give during the retreat. Typically, I am a basket case the week before with nerves, and memorizing. It really is worth it, though; we see the work the Lord does—real miracles for many couples we serve.
When we are going to do a weekend, and when I pray for the attending couples, I meditate on the Wedding Feast of Cana. Not only for obvious reasons, but because I see myself as one of the servants filling the jars with water—that is all I can do, a humble job done in obedience. The Lord is the one who does the miracle, providing the wine with whatever we as the team offer.
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew . . . (John 2:5-9).
The Lord doesn't ask me to be a wine maker, just His obedient servant, trusting Him, and filling the jars "to the brim"—to do my best for Him.
When we were in Biloxi before Thanksgiving, which I have written about here, Ed and I walked to Mass at the church a few blocks from our hotel on a beautiful Sunday morning. I was thinking of what I could take away from that trip to share with you readers. I had just started the column, and to be honest felt a bit unsure of myself; before this I had not so much as written a comment for an internet recipe! We got to the church a little early, and I asked Ed to describe what it looked like. He was telling me about it, and then said, "and right next to us is a beautiful stained glass window of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast, with Jesus, and Mary in the foreground, and with the servant pouring the water in the background."
A comforting reminder to this once-unsure-of-herself Marriage Encounter presenter, a now unsure-of-herself weekly columnist needing only to trust, and to follow. Mary said to the servants "do whatever he tells you." Make the water available, and he will bring the wine, for he is the Lord of All our Trying.
How reassuring. "Speak Lord, your servant is listening!"
You can find Twin Cities Marriage Encounter here.
1/7/2011 5:00:00 AM