“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Wow-A-Thon

...holding fast the word of life, 
so that in the day of Christ 
I will have reason to glory 
because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 
Philippians 2:16 NASB


Earlier this year, I felt a prompting from the Lord.  Well, actually, a couple promptings... first was to be the president of the parent-teacher association at Christopher's school (our current president was ending her term) and second was to change one of the school fund-raisers from a gift wrap sale (something tried and true) to a jog-a-thon (a complete unknown).  The promptings were strong... and I knew if I were to ignore them I would not be following the leading of the Spirit that I felt inside.  Actually I would be squelching the Spirit.  Not following = disobedience.  Following = obedience.  And I have known the consequences of both, so I decided to follow the leading.

Although I was perfectly aware that I had the capabilities to do both jobs, I also have the ability of running myself into the ground when I take on a task that is new and especially time sensitive and involves the potential to cause others to become disgruntled with me.  I saw these two promptings having the potential of thrusting me into a full blown break down... and that is a no-no for me considering my thorn of chronic depression.

So, although I love my Lord with all my heart, I begged Him to release me of these promptings.  Reminding Him of how fragile I really am.  How I might ruin my reputation.  And definitely, how I might crumble to pieces.  I reminded Him that this was not a fit for the different ministries He has been developing in my life... and that perhaps there was someone else who would be more than willing to do the job.  Er, make that jobs.  But He reminded me that He has called me to obedience... and that if He has called me to a God-sized task the onus would be upon Him to see that it would get done.

And so, I obeyed.

And every time that I began to feel overwhelmed or burdened or alone, I would remind myself that I was to be obedient... and it was His responsibility to make the thing come together... the God-sized task.  That I didn't have to force it.  I didn't have to own it.  I didn't have to make it happen.  He would.  And He did.  There were times when I had to drop everything for the jog-a-thon because my family comes first.  I had to keep my priorities straight.  And with each step I saw Him bringing each piece into place.  Better than I could have imagined.  With creativity and funding and volunteers.  It was amazing.

The jog-a-thon committee had set our goal as $11,000... not knowing what to expect and considering that the year before we had raised $11,000 in product sales which net $5,500 for the school.  I agreed to the goal... but secretly, I had a smaller goal to at least match the $5,500 from the previous year,  and a dream goal of $7,500.  I thought $11,000 was too high of a goal... and that $7,500 would do just fine for the year.  There were some who thought that a jog-a-thon would not motivate the older middle school students... there were some who thought we had not done enough advertising... there were some who thought we should have just sold gift wrap, again.

The first day money came in we had about $3,000.  I figured that would be the biggest day of receipts.  Then the total went to $3,800.  Then $5,500... so you know I could breathe a sigh of relief.  But then came the total of $7,500 with two days to go.  And I thought, "Lord, you outdid yourself!  Thank you!"  And then I had to leave with two days left to go for a trip to Maryland.  I had to relinquish all control.  I had to leave my "baby" that I had nurtured.  I just had to.  Go.

And so, I waited to hear the totals... from 3,000 miles away.  Would any more money come in?  And I got the e-mail that on the last collection day about $3,000 more dollars had been received.  And I sent back a note indicating that I was crying my eyes out.  Within moments, I got a second e-mail that said I better just get a larger tissue because the secretary decided to pop into the classrooms to see if any additional donations had been turned in... and there had been... and we were at $11,100.  On the last day to collect.  We had met our goal... and have since went on to over $12,000 in donations received (which is 100% net profit).

I had struggled with the Lord about a jog-a-thon being so temporal and not spiritual.  That I was focusing on money.  But then He gently asked me what I had been praying for the last three years every Friday morning in our lower school conference room with other praying moms... and I said school-wide (including parents, church, school board, teachers, students...) unity.  And He said He was answering that prayer.  Not just with the jog-a-thon, but He would use that... and so with over 85% of our kindergarten through 8th grade families participating in raising funds... and how the students are asking when can we do it, again... and with a nay-sayer or two with their jaws on the ground... Well, I guess I see what He was talking about.

And it is all very humbling as I have received congratulations on a job well-done... and I just want to say...
It wasn't me... 
I didn't want to do it.  
It's all Him.  
I was just being obedient.

But now I get to enjoy the blessing of the fruit which He produced.  And marvel at the fact that He took a jog-a-thon and made it a wow-a-thon...

Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalm 37:3-5 NLT


elizabeth embracing life said...

Wow!!! I love when God gives us hard and then we say yes. You are amazing by allowing God to use you in a huge way.

UL Cards Fan said...

What a blessed way to start my Monday morning. Related to this on SO many levels Sheri. Hope we get a chance to see each other again.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Fantastic word! What a single, heart-willing, heart-filled obedience will yield.

This is your joy, sister, let it be a benchmark for seasons to come... when you're called, yet again, to submit, trust, and leave the results in God's mighty hands.

Wow, indeed! To God be the glory!


Anonymous said...

Love when God says go and we actually do it and He shows that He is who He says He is and nothing is impossible. Lovely

Laura said...

Aren't you glad you've recently gone through Experiencing God again...and I mean the Bible study as well as your life! Those God-sized tasks are always the ones worth going all out for! Congratulations on your obedience and His success. :-)

Kathi Woodall said...

Love this, Sheri. Your thoughts echo mine in the process God has brought me through in getting "Seven Roles, One Woman" published. It's not me, it's not about me. It's all because He told me to do it and I want to honor Him.

Congratulations on exceeding $11,000 but a bigger congratulations on allowing God to work through you and bring Him glory!

bp said...

I love when God works like that and how He does things beyond what we could imagine would happen. Thanks for sharing. Made me think of those "wow" moments I hear on KLOVE.

Praying for your husband this morning.

bp said...

I love when God works like that and how He does things beyond what we could imagine would happen. Thanks for sharing. Made me think of those "wow" moments I hear on KLOVE.

Praying for your husband this morning.

poison_ivy777 said...

That is such a great story and testimony! Way to go on obeying!