Monday, February 25, 2013


Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?

Here goes the *back story* on it.

I was talking to a good friend the other day, and telling her about my life. I was catching her up on the new things going on.

And, as part of my saga, I told her how God had nudged me (pushed, prodded) into something lately.

You see, many months ago I was asked by someone in my new church to join the AWANA ministry.  (In case some of you don't know – AWANA stands for "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" - from 2 Timothy 2:15.  It's a Bible memorization program for elementary school children).

She invited me to come to registration night in September.  It was an interesting evening.  I had forgotten how much I am drawn to kids.
So, I was thinking that I was very close to signing up to help.

But then I was informed that our church has a policy that you must attend for at least six months before joining any ministry.  It made sense to me, and I respected their position on commitment.  So, I told everyone to remember me in January, when my "probation period" would expire.

Well, in the interim, I've got to be honest.  I've gotten rather complacent. Gotten used to doing a lot of sitting around, doing my own thing.  Gotten really comfortable with my rather empty calendar.

Figured that I would just let this opportunity with AWANA 
pass me by.

Well, that didn't seem to work.

Shortly after the first of the year, I "happened" (God) to run into a woman that I rarely see at church (we go to different services).  As we were passing in the parking lot, she said, "Oh, don't forget AWANA.  Hope to see you there!"

I think I mumbled something really *pious* like, "Yeah, I'm praying about it…"

Two days later, while I was out of town, I got a call from "The Hub."  Turns out that the woman who's the Children's Ministry Director had called.  She wanted to ask me to join the AWANA ministry.

Uh, yeah.

God nudge (push, prod).

Sometimes He's not subtle.

I figured that this was coming directly from Him.  Because no one had forgotten about my "probation period."  No one had forgotten about me. They even told me that they had been essentially *counting the days* until I was available…and that several things had changed, and they were losing many volunteers.

The timing was perfect.

(First little fist is raised at this point…)

So, I attended the monthly meeting of leaders after church.  Now, given my druthers, I would have picked working with the little guys – the kindergartners, or the 1st or 2nd graders.  Turns out that the *need* is with the T & T group (3rd-6th graders).

I listened while one leader bemoaned her *smart* but evidently very "rambunctious" group of kids.  She said how hard it was to *keep them on task* and how she was constantly working to keep everyone "sitting still."

That's when the Children's Ministry Director introduced me as the latest volunteer.

This other woman turned around and looked at me like I was a life preserver.  "You're going to be in my group, right?" she said with barely-disguised hope (desperation?) pouring out of her eyes.

Yup, I am.

(Little fist raised again…)

So, later that week I showed up for my first official AWANA night.  It was a madhouse! Kids everywhere.  Now, I am acquainted with working with kids before.  I spent many years volunteering in elementary school classrooms – with my own boys, and many years following.

It's just that it's been a long time since I've done that.

And I learned a new definition of AWANA in Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary:

A ged
W oman
A lot of
N oise
A hhhhhhh!!!

After two hours, I was exhausted.  Rattled, run ragged, frazzled, fatigued – left with a rather huge need for an Advil (or two or five).

As I walked to the car, I looked up at the sky and said, "Lord, I don't think I want to be here…"

To which He said, "But I want you here."

(Another little fist shaking at the sky…)

Then I said, "But I don't want to work with the older kids."

To which He said, "But that is where I need you."

(Oooo…the little fist gets raised again…)

Again, I spoke: "Lord, I don't want to do what You want me to do."

To which He said, "Do it anyway."

Ah, I am learning more about Him.

He has a way of taking your word when you say you want to serve Him. He has a way of telling you what He wants you to do and the where and when of it, too.  He has a way of nudging (pushing, prodding) you into His purposes.

And then I think He waits to see if you'll obey.

Does He chuckle at the little fist I raise to Him?

I think perhaps He does.  Because I know that HE knows I don't mean it in defiance.  I know HE knows that I'm raising it to Him, not at Him.  

He knows that what I'm really saying is this: "Oooh, Lord.  I know I'm going to do what You want, but I just wish I didn't have to.  (Sigh…) But I know I will because I love You."

And I know that He's going to say to me (with a smile):  "I know.  I love You, too.  That's why I push you out of that comfort zone of yours.  I want You to be MY servant."

That's the keybecoming HIS servant, not choosing how to serve Him. Doing what HE wants me to do, not doing what I want to do "for" Him. Learning how to obey Him when HE calls, not just showing up when I feel like it.

So, I climbed into my car, after a crazy *baptism* into the AWANA world, and cried.  And in that moment, my little fist shaking turned into a hand held over my heart.

"Here I am, Lord.  Use me."

To which He said:  "I AM."

Bending my will to follow Him

"Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left.'" (Isaiah 30:21, NLT)

Has God ever called you to serve in a place or a way that really stretched you?  Did you obey His call?

Linked today with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. You will never know this side of heaven how much I needed to read your post this morning...

  2. This is the third time the verse in Isaiah 30 has come to I better pay attention. My hubby was praying over this verse yesterday with a situation I was in. Listening to His voice even when it does not make sense or goes against the natural is so important.

  3. I just love this...for many reasons. In my earlier days, I was an art teacher...elementary, and for years I was asked to work with kids. I finally said I needed a break. It is actually starting to appeal to me again. And FYI...I went to camp AWANA here in Wisconsin for the wonderful folks that started the program decades ago (Always went by the names Teach and Doc). I wish we lived closer, I know I would like hanging out with you. Way to go, Sharon...glad God nudged you!

  4. It will eventually come together, Sharon, and you'll be a pro there before you know it!! It is a fun program though; our kids did it years ago and I helped out too.

    My work at church in hospitality is definitely a stretch for me. It is getting better, but I still struggle on what to bring, will I have enough food, etc., but I do know God wants me involved with it :)


  5. Yep, "Do it anyway."

    Remembering a quote by Elisabeth Elliot (wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot)when she didn't want to go to the mission field and admitted to being flat out afraid, a friend told her, "Then do it afraid."

  6. I love the AWANA program and I have to admit...sometimes it's like herding cattle instead of 'sheep'. Still, I've seen God do amazing things. Kids just need to know someone cares.

  7. HI Sharon,

    I have read through your post with interest and maybe a small measure of trepidation. There is a lot of noise going on here at the moment so I cannot concentrate, but I have the feeling The Lord will bring some of the relevant bits back to me, in His Time.

    George is much better by the way and just home from hospital tonight, thank you for your comment on my post.

    God Bless

  8. Bless you for sharing this, love you.

  9. I really love this Sharon, especially the 'DO IT ANYWAY' part. I have so many similar conversations with God. It seems He says many of the same things to me as He does to you. The whole comfort zone thing is real, and He doesn't want us there too long, does He?? Good for you... beyond the frazzling LOUD noise of the whole thing, there are some tender hearts that I have no doubt you are being lead to.

  10. Blessings Sharon, Another great one! Love the acrostic! Love your dialog with God. And I so love that PHOTO!!! and caption. Somehow, I was not understanding the 'little fist part' but I'm glad He's pried that fist a little open for the challenge of AWANA kids. I directed an AWANA program for an evangelical church back in the 80s (that's so long ago) and fits so well with your honest acrostic now. I don't think I could do it at this stage in my life yet God uses even donkeys. Hee Haw!

    Your question is a stretching one! Any time we move out of our comfort zone. My simple answer is "Yes", yet as you wrote, I usually served where I chose to serve, if there was a need in an area that I felt capable and able to do well. Until Mexico... and until He presented me with an area I was not at all familiar with ... but I began to learn and prepare. Obey? Not as quickly as God may like - my instant response. I'm a bit more reticent now than in my younger years and take less risks, take a back seat more often these days. Say "no" more than I ever did before.

    But your KEY point was great! The clincher for me... that says I need to stop questioning and get moving in obedience more. Thanks for spurring me on in the right frame of mind at least. The direction and the details are always in His hands as He makes me fully aware of the needs and what I can and can't do. Sometimes, it's more difficult for me to own up to being "weak", not equipped... or just not willing, which I tend to find excuses now of not being ready. God forgive me for the times my yes was weak and unwilling.

    This is a good heart to heart! Glad God's using you!

    Peace and love,

  11. ARGH!!!!!! I just lost my comment. It was a novel, too, and a pretty good read if I do say so myself. This stinking computer picked today to get all menopausal on me.

    I love this, Sharon, and I join you in the aged woman a lot of noise...ahhhhhh category. It's the reason I don't work with kids much any more. I did revolunteer for the nursery after about a two year hiatus. Please say that counts.

    How wonderful to be WANTED. And how even more wonderful to be in the will of God.

    That's all.
    My other comment was way better.


  12. Hi Sharon, I love your honesty at your "bending" to where God wants you. Makes me want to run for cover in case He is waiting on me, lol! However, it is true what you say, give in to His will because He knows what He is doing. Thanks for linking up sweet lady
    God bless

  13. Beautiful! Love the way he surrounds us, won't let go, Hound of Heaven. Thanks for sharing this!


  14. Oh Sharon,
    I can SOOOOO relate to this!
    I have a history of telling people what I "won't" do, what I "don't want" to do. I tell them loud and often. And then, inevitably, God taps me on the shoulder and says "Now go do it."

    And I've gotten to the point that when it happens, I just laugh. Because what else can I do? It's not like I'm going to say no! So I shake my head, and sigh a little bit inside, and then I put on my big girl pants and do what he asks me to do.

    And the amazing thing is that every time I've been obedient in those "raise my fist" moments it ends up being such a huge blessing in my life!

    God bless!

  15. God's plans sometimes takes us out of our comfort zone. But isn't it awesome that He knows just what we need--or who needs us!

  16. Submitting to God's will is not always easy as you pointed out so well in this post. We have a lot of examples in the Bible where people didn't want to do what God was calling them to do - Moses - Jonah - are the first two who come to mind. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  17. A ged
    W oman
    A lot of
    N oise
    A hhhhhhh!!!

    Can I just say - I TOTALLY GET THIS!!! After spending the bluk of my close to thirty years in the Lord working in some sort of children's/youth ministry - now that I'm in my mid-50's - times, they have been a'changin'. I don't do noise well. Being a contemplative at heart, I'm not (actually never have been) into the fun and games aspects of children's ministry. It's a good thing I'm a dramatic storyteller which has made me useful in children's ministry in the past. I'm still working with children - homeschool classes in MY home. New challenges. And, the Lord wants to lead. I had a lot of fear and trembling stepping out - my quiet would be disturbed within my own personal sanctuary. But - I have learned so much about my heart this past year as I've followed where He has led. I wish I could express these lessons as well as you do. All I can say is Yea and Amen and thank you, Sharon, for Sharing God. You are always a blessing to me.


"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!

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