Tuesday, June 14, 2011


God is not subtle.

Let me explain what I mean.

Many of you know that every Friday I go with a ministry team to an assisted living facility for the elderly. We present a worship service for them.

It's difficult work sometimes – I find it tiring to prepare 10 minutes of sharing every week. What should I say? How do I make it relevant? Sometimes my mind is just dry.

The atmosphere is challenging. There are unique sights and smells. There is a P.A. system that regularly interrupts our time with announcements. There are beeping alarms, and whooshing oxygen tanks, scary coughs, and random mutterings – there's the ex-Marine who always blurts out, "I can’t hear you," and the clattering sounds of the kitchen next door.

Frankly, I often find myself in the car on Friday mornings feeling like I just can't go another time.

This has happened more than once. And each time, God has had someone say something extra, something different, something unusual to me – something that is so unmistakably from Him, that I can't leave this ministry.

But…I grow tired. I'm really burned out. I've been doing this for two years now.

And so, for several weeks, I've been praying hard about what to do. I've asked my friends for advice, talked to my husband and my sons about it, asked my mom. And mostly, I've tried – really triedto beg God to give me a clear and firm answer if it's OK to quit.

Each time I even think about it, I feel guilty – because EVERYONE quits on these people. They are some of the most "forgotten" souls in this world that glorifies youth and worships beauty.

But…I grow tired. I'm really burned out.

So, about a week and a half ago, I had come to the conclusion that I was going to take the summer off. I didn't feel right about completely leaving – but I didn't think I could keep on going right now.

I just had one more Friday, and then I was going to tell our team that I needed to take some time off.

One more Friday – a Friday in which I had to lead the service because our regular leader was on vacation. One more Friday…

In fact, I told my husband that morning as I was leaving, "I'm going to take the summer off. This is my last week for a while."

Well…God is not subtle.

At the end of the service, I always make a point of going to each person and taking their hand and speaking with them a bit. Just to let them know that I was glad to see them. Actually, it's my favorite part of the whole time, to tell the truth.

So, I reach this one woman, who is new to the group - I take her hand, and she starts crying. She says, "I'm so sad."

I ask her what's wrong.

She so very quietly says, "I'm blind."

It's then that I notice – behind her darkly tinted glasses – two scarred and ugly slits where eyes should be. I tell her that she doesn't need eyes to see God. She can see Him with her heart. I promise her that one day He will give her eyes back to her, and that the first thing she'll see will be His face. She thanks me…

I make my way to more people.

Another new woman is there. As I take her hand she says to me, "I'm not a Christian." But then she proceeds to tell me how much she's enjoyed the service, and how loving and warm it was.

"You know, I wasn't going to come today, but I'm so glad that I did," she says with a smile.

I tell her that God wanted her there.

Now I hadn't known what to share that morning. So, I just "happened" (read God's intervention here, folks) to bring a tract with me – Billy Graham's Steps to Peace with God.

I give it to her. She was reading it when I left…and saying, "Oh wonderful - this is just wonderful!"

Can you see God here?

When I got back to the car, this was our conversation...

"Lord, I thought I could quit because there would be someone else there to speak."

"Yes, but it wouldn't be you. I want YOU there."

And then, in total honesty, I whispered, "But Lord, I don't want to go."

And He said, "I know – go anyway."

I smiled – and I just know that He was smiling, too.

He's not subtle – but I like Him that way…

What is the "go anyway" in your life?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon,

    Your last sentence gives me much to think about. Thank you for sharing this and so much of yourself. This is a wonderful ministry, but I can understand your being tired, worn out and dry. Praise God, if He wants You there, He will enable and strengthen and lead you to new heights and give you encouragement. Thank you for all your visits to my blog and all your encouragement to me. It is good to know someone identifies with what I am saying sometimes.

    God Bless - Hugs Nita.

  2. Well, I'm in a "stay or go", but I can't figure out if mine is a "go anyway" or not. It seems to me that God is telling me in every way possible to get out of something that I actually like to do. It makes me sad.

  3. What a wonderfully transparent post! I believe any decisions we filter through His word, prayer, and the wise counsel of A FEW close friends or mentors will always be accompanied by God's peace. Even the ones we initially feel sad about. If it is truly the Lord leading, we can't EVER go wrong. Sharon, you are a woman of the Word and have a heart that is always seeking Him. I'm confident you will know when your time is up. And in the meantime, I'm confident He will supply you with all the strength and stamina, internally and externally, that you need to continue pouring into these precious people. God bless you!

  4. I'm in tears reading this, Sharon. You really do a good work there but I can understand how hard it is for you! You are blessing those people, but in turn you are being blessed. I will pray for you with this ministry that God will renew your strength and desire to minister to these precious folks!!

    LOL, my go anyway is where I am right now. Its been a struggle, but thank you Lord, I think I finally see light at the end of the tunnel, and it is God's light indeed, not a moving train :)


  5. My "go any way"? It's washing windows at church every other Friday morning. It only takes 45-60 min. to wash the little hand prints off our exterior and sanctuary doors, but it is planting season for us and my own gardens are a mess. I'm tired. But I still go and pray for the staff as I wipe the prints of God's people away just one more time.

  6. Sharon,

    That was an exceptionally moving post! Thank you for openly sharing your thoughts and heart. Isn't it amazing when God is guiding us, He really lets us know!! I am praying for continued blessings as you minister to the people that God places in front of you.

    Living for Him, Joan

  7. That was a great and very honest post Sharon. I think my struggle is where I am right now.

  8. This is such a beautiful message, Sharon, and challenge to us to keep on keeping on when the Lord is not subtle. You describe your ministry well. I use to accompany my daughter to this same ministry and it wasn't easy. We always took her toddler and her attitude was our goal! I think right now the go anyway is to not lose sight of God's promise for our prodigal and to keep praying.

    Love ya,

  9. Blessings Sharon... Well said and shared from your heart so beautifully and honestly... I think we've all been there or get there...

    No, God is NOT subtle... but what a beautiful blessing you are and they are to you! My heart aches. I know how this tears at your strings.
    Time off isn't bad... I love how nita responded about your ministry... amen!

    I read this yesterday and pondered your question to us... and came up with NOTHING, although I know in the past my "go anyway" is part of why I'm here against all odds... I love your conversations with God! BIG SMILE :0) and this part won my heart:

    "Yes, but it wouldn't be you. I want YOU there."

    And then, in total honesty, I whispered, "But Lord, I don't want to go."

    And He said, "I know – go anyway."

    I concede and agree (for you,not me) so I prayed for you and this ministry and the great need because these sweet, dear people are touched by Jesus through you... and He is smiling!


  10. Nita - So often what you say speaks to me, because so often your thoughts are mine. I always appreciate your openness. And you'll never know how much you encourage me. Thank you for reminding me that God will give me the strength I need to do what He calls me to do.

    Debbie - As you know, I've been praying for you. That God will give you a clear discernment on what comes from Him, and what doesn't. That He will make His wisdom and guidance abundantly apparent!

    Melissa - What a precious comment. Thank you for the encouragement - it was well needed, and very appreciated. Yes, God will need to provide me with strength right now, because I think He's making it pretty apparent that it is NOT time to leave yet.

    Betty - Thank you for your words. I really admire how you've handled your move - I know you've struggled, but you've consistently turned to the Lord for His strength and peace. He did say "Go" and you went. And I am so glad that the light is indeed His Light!

    Anita - This just brought me to tears. What a thoughtful thing that you do - such a lovely act of unselfish service. And don't you find that if we listen close enough, God is in a *planting season* in our own hearts?

    Joan - Thanks! And yes, when God makes His guidance this apparent, it is pretty special. I will go, and He will provide. That's His promise, and I'm hanging on to it.

    Sandie - We all have a struggle. And I'm beginning to trust the fact that where I'm *at* is right where God wants me. And even when I might want to be somewhere else, He'll find a way to keep me right in the middle of His will.

    Mary - Yes, a small child's attitude is the perfect heart to bring to these dear elderly people. And yes, Mary, God knows your heart about your prodigal - He says, "I know - keep praying anyway." May God answer the cries of your heart.

    Peggy - I totally believe that your *go anyway* is where you are. Not many people would be willing to do what you're doing, and be living in another country. I admire you for your dedication to the Lord's guidance, and your obedient heart. I appreciate your prayers, and I so appreciate our friendship.


  11. Hi Sharon -

    Through CHRIST JESUS:

    You are the sizzle in their dull lives.

    You are refreshment for their thirsty souls.

    You are relief for their heavy baggage.

    You are an escape from their fears.

    You are a sent one...

    Why is all this - because you walk with the MASTER MAN who will never give us more than we can bear.

    He listens to our requests...but the final call is His.

    Yes, we do resist our Lord sometimes...but Oh! how rewarding it is when we go forth in His name...

    May our Lord help us all to increasingly be willing and obedient.

    My prayer is that our Lord will give you a new wave of joy and peace about the continuance in the ministry for his golden citizens. Perhaps, our Lord will end it for you there...but in your "now" season there, may the joy of the Lord ignite in you afresh...

  12. Oh Sharon, how this one hit the spot. I have been at the point of wanting to give up on few projects but reading this I'm reminded that some how what I do does matter. Blessings to you dear one.

  13. Sandra - I can't tell you how refreshed and strengthened I feel by your heartfelt comment. It really reached my heart. I am going to copy down your words (if that's OK with you) and take them with me on Fridays. Yes, the MASTER MAN is the only One I want to walk with - and for now, He's saying to go to these people. (I love how you called them His golden citizens - that was precious). Thank you, friend - you have greatly encouraged me.

    Wanda - Thanks so much. Giving up is such a temptation sometimes, and yet, as you said, everything we do matters - to God and to others. Blessings to you, too, Wanda - we're in this life together. And we never walk without the sure hand of God guiding us.


  14. Hi Sharon -

    Glad you were encouraged...

    Sure, you can copy...


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)