My word for 2023 is intentional. Dictionary(dot)com defines intention as the “act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” Basically, doing something on purpose. What are my intentions? Who do I aim to be? From a Christian standpoint, who does God call me to be? This year, I will try to base my doings off of one question: Am I being intentional? Am I intentionally loving my family? Hanging out with my daughter? This or that friend? Am I being intentional when I teach a little girl to read notes on a piano, able to connect the notes on the staff with keys below her fingers? Messaging a friend?
There are many things that popped up in a Google search for intentional living. A lot of it had to do with goal-setting and trying to stick to a plan. Who is your intention to be? That is all fine and dandy, but I do believe that is a little above my head. I don’t need to have a goal of who I want to be in some distant future. What I do know is who I am: a wife, mother, daughter, sister. A music teacher and (not as often as I’d like) a blogger. I think I’d just like to be more. A little more of everything.
So, when my daughter comes in the house crying because it is way too cold (we moved to Minnesota this summer), I’ll warm her up and make her giggle. When I’m thinking about that friend of mine in Kentucky, I will message her and see how she is doing. I will pay attention. Why am I crabby? It is not my intention to blow up at my family. Let’s play scales on the piano. Lots of them, really loud. (A special thanks to my family who just leaves the room and waits for me to cool off.) I want to be more intentional this year. I’d like to keep blogging, too. Together, we will see where this year takes me!
I saw the woman in the chair; she was in church again today.
Someone said they’ve sold their house; they’re going to move away.
No! I cried, they cannot go; they cannot move away.
I didn’t get to know her; there’s something I need to say:
Please tell me your secret; I want to sit at your feet,
I need to know how you handle the pain that is your daily meat,
How do you keep on smiling when each day your health gets worse?
How do you keep depending on God when you’re living with a curse?
Every time I see her, her smile comes from deep within.
I know her fellowship with God isn’t scarred by the chair she’s in.
She admits her health is failing; she knows she’s fading away.
How can she remain so calm when I’m running away?
My friend, can you tell me how you can trust the Lord
How can you stay so gentle and sweet when He seems to wield a sword?
You are to me a promise even in the midst of pain
God is near and faithful if I will turn to him again.
When I heard the former poem, it became my prayer. But then this afternoon, Dr. H took my daughter to the park, so I played the piano for a while. I didn’t get through one song until my fingers became super tired. What was going on? My fingers might be out of shape, but when they are tired, I lose feeling and function. I grew frustrated, as my nap that day hadn’t gone well. So I wrote this next poem.
I am the woman in the chair; I go to church every week.
We’ve just moved again, so I’m new, but let me speak:
It’s true I lean on God for everything, and I’m strong because of Him.
I try to get involved, try and find friends in the community within.
But sometimes I want to cry, just cry.
“It’s not fair!” I yell. “Why me, Lord? Why?”
Why is my illness progressing? Why am I losing function?
Why am I the woman in the chair, the one receiving so many assumptions?
Why do I deal with chronic fatigue, amongst so much more?
It ruins my day, my motherhood, and even my simple chores.
But then His calming presence softly wraps around me.
“I’m still here,” He says. “It’s okay. Just be.”
I sigh as I let it all go. “It’s so hard,” I whisper into His shoulder.
I feel His embrace, and it somehow makes me boulder.
“How did you do it?” I ask. “When You walked the earth?”
“By leaning into My Father,” came the reply. “He’ll show you your worth.”
My eyes were suddenly opened to scripture, as I recalled His promises.
I am salt and light, adopted, and redeemed. I am justified, and I am His.
It doesn’t matter what comes next, because He always will be.
Things might be hard, but my God, He lives in me.
So I can be strong and praise Jesus with my everything.
It’s Him I trust, for health and for life. He is my King.
Anna E Meyer
I have heard people come up to me and tell me what an inspiration I am. I shrug, because I just do what I do, and I make do with what I have. But if someone is encouraged because I keep moving forward? Praise Jesus. Paul said, in Philippians 1, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I hope I can show Christ in my life. I know that one day I will walk and run again. I remember telling my two year old that same thing, so she stopped and prayed right then and there it would happen soon. My life is hard, but Jesus’ life was harder. So many of the early apostles were tortured and killed, all to the advancement of the church. Everyone knew about it and praised God that they were honored to share in Christ’s suffering. It’s hard to see it that way nowadays. Dr.H is reading a book and discussing it with me. “When Jesus Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty,” by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes (where I found the first poem). We are not but a third of the way through it, but boy, is it good. After playing a little piano this afternoon, I felt depressed and defeated. But the Lord speaks to me through my writing.
I’m the lady in the chair, and I think I’ve cooled down.
I’m a child of the Most High, so I’ll just adjust my crown.
I read scripture every night as I go to bed.
His Word is comforting, as I lay my head.
I write to my Lord and sing His praises every day.
I now understand that He’s the potter; I’m the clay.
Stealing lyrics, I’ll sing: Take my life and form it,
Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh Lord.
I’ll stand with You and drawn sword.
I don’t understand why I’ve got this disease,
But You work through Your children as You please.
Because of my life You’ve reached another,
And I don’t need to know reason any other.
Christ suffered while on earth, as well.
You understand and comfort as You tell
Of all the good things waiting for us in paradise.
You’ve made us Yours, You’ve paid the price.
All I can do is praise you today.
All I can write is how I love you always!
Anna E. Meyer
An hour or two after I wrote the first poem, I sat down to write the one above. I can be angry, and then the Lord swoops in somehow and makes me feel better. By reading scripture. Hearing a song, where the words just speak that day. More writing. There are a lot of things that I, a mere human, don’t understand. My dad always said, “Ask God when you get to heaven.” My daughter, now 5, stops and prays right there that she can find out BEFORE she gets to heaven.
I do not even know how to end this blog post. Maybe I will start writing more. Whichever the case, be blessed, my friends!
One would think, because I’ve had MS for nearly 15 years, that it wouldn’t keep surprising me. Every time I leave the house, I come home exhausted. I was sharing with my husband yesterday about how I’m sick and tired of being surprised and disappointed by the same old thing. So yesterday, when I came back and finally sat at the kitchen table, he approached me: “Come on Anna. You can’t let this keep surprising you, remember? What’s your go-to verse?” My….verse? “Yeah, for when you start getting disappointed. You don’t have one yet?” So that’s what we did. We spat off verse references that can help me when I’m disappointed that I don’t have any energy. Again. Here is our list that we came up with quickly!:
Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God sees me, and He knows my frustration. Some how, some way, this will all work out for the best. It’s part of His plan. I have no idea why, after sitting outside for an hour, I’m still shocked that I can’t walk well (um, worse than before. I just don’t walk well, period). Why, after getting down on the floor to play with Lydia, I sit and just need to stay there for a bit. (I don’t crawl around so much anymore. I just tell her our Barbies (or unicorns or whatever toy we’re playing with) will drive to the park, and the park will be within my reach. Or some other half-way compromise. She’s awesome for (most of the time) working with me.) She just w! ants to continue playing with Mommy, so she follows my…stipulations? We’re both happy– I get to play with her longer periods of time!
God is my help. He uses my weaknesses for His good. In fact, His power is made PERFECT in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Even my very obvious physical weaknesses. As I continue to internalize this truth and recall the scriptures I had memorized years prior (for this purpose, actually), I will remember that I am strong in Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10: 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.
I have been looking into spiritual warfare a lot lately. I have also been reflecting on my inward struggles and have decided to draw up a battle plan. My biggest inward struggle is against the depression and anxiety that try to control the rest of me. It has been since I can remember. I am at a much better place than I once was. The biggest current struggle now, is that the serotonin-deprived parts of my brain are trying to convince me that it’s not worth exercising or stretching every day. It’ll tire me out and prevent me from getting anything else done today. It might get better for a little while, but then one slip up, and I’ll be right back where I started. It’s almost Thanksgiving, when we’ll be flying back to Minnesota. Car rides and flights always set me back. Why bother? This is a lie I have struggled with for FAR too long.
This spiritual battle wages because we are given the power to overcome sin’s grasps when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. There is no battle when there is no opposing side. The Spirit of God brings us to life spiritually, but we still live in these bodies of flesh that still have a sinful nature. Thus, the battles rages—but victory is assured because we are in Christ! (Matthew 26:41; Romans 7:14-20; Galatians 6:16-17)
In Genesis 4, Cain gets angry that God didn’t look upon him and his sacrifices with favor as God did with his brother, Abel. God addresses it in verses 6 and 7: “6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’” God tells us to fight against sinful feelings! These feelings of depression and anxiety? THEY DON’T CONTROL ME!
Isaiah 53:4-5: “4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for out transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Here, we discover that Jesus went to the cross for our body, soul, and spirit. His suffering was not just for our soul’s salvation, but the HEALING of our soul, as well! He brings us peace—because not only are our sins on that cross, but so are EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, and everything we can imagine! Frustrated? Nail it to the cross. Depressed? Nail it to the cross. Anxious? It’s on the cross!
I know these are a lot of scriptures, but these battle plans need more than just words of mine. You see, the word of God is the sword of the spirit. And with the faith that we receive by reading these verses of truth, we can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16-17). I shall continue.
The very first scripture I wrote was a time when Paul was depressed. So depressed that he despaired of life itself. In 1 Kings 19:3-4, we see Elijah when he is depressed. “3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom brush, sat down under it, and prayed he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’” Here, we see Elijah in isolation. Depression THRIVES on isolation. Shame is in the driver’s seat when depression shows up. “I am no better than my ancestors who died in the desert before seeing the Promised Land. Kill me, too!” That sounds an awful lot like what I said earlier in this post: It’s not worth exercising. I’ll just go backwards, anyway. I’ll just have this disability forever. Ahh!
How do I fight this? I need to focus on God changing ME instead of what’s around me. In Matthew 14, Jesus is walking on the water, and Peter asks to be called out, too. Picking up in verse 30: “But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Peter didn’t pray for the storm to stop, he prayed, “Lord, do a work in me! Reach down and rescue me!” – THEN, the storm stopped! I’m not going to wait until I get miraculously better or I “feel like” exercising or stretching. I can’t keep praying that I’ll “feel like” exercising and stretching more. I just need to DO IT. Because I know that when I take a step, God will be there to guide it. Peter walked on the water until he saw his circumstances and got scared. I’ve been scared too long.
I talked a lot about exercising and stretching for my MS in this post, which is definitely something I need to be doing. I have been dealing with a lot of other lies that this battle plan will help to eliminate. The first step of what I need to do is to straighten all these things out in my mind. Actions are the follow through of thoughts, and I need to start there. Instead of praying that I’ll get more work and that it will pick up, how about I start doing the work I have better? It all starts in my mind.
“…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9b-10).
“Abba!” I cry as I reach my hands up, wanting to be held, but unsure of where my daddy is. “Where are you?”
“I am right here, my child,” comes the reply as he picks me up into his arms and holds me in a hug.
“I am so stressed out,” I say to his shoulder. But he comforts me. He puts his hand gently on my back.
“There is no need,” God tells me softly into my ear. “I’ve got this.”
I nod my head. “I don’t want to do today on my own. It’s too heavy.”
“My dear, all you have to do is ask.”
“Will you take this day from me? And here is my to-do list. It is overwhelming. I can’t……”
“Don’t worry, my child.”
“But what if I take it back?”
“Then just give it to me once more.”
I let out a sigh as I burry my face in my Heavenly Father’s shoulder.
Yesterday was a hard day. So much going on, so much disappointment and discouragement. In church last Sunday, we talked about how the devil goes about discouraging us all. Because even if we don’t fall for his other schemes, discouragement pushes us into despair and trouble better than anything else. And now that I recognize it, I see it all over.
“Disappointments come in threes,” a Mary Kay leader once said, “but blessings come by the thousands.” I can feel that God is opening the floodgates for blessings with this Mary Kay job of mine. It is going to affect my job at Sound House, as well. Sometimes, I can’t sleep because I am just imagining possibilities. Now that yesterday is just that—yesterday, in the past, history, I am ready to look ahead and keep moving forward.
Dr. Wile E. Coyote had me listen to a voicemail I’d left him a few weeks ago, telling him how excited I was that the father of one of my music students thanked me for teaching his daughter, and getting her excited about the piano. We do that for each other—haul one another up and out of the pity party we are trying to throw ourselves. I look at all my goals and the reasons that I am doing this Mary Kay job, as well. I want to bless other women by introducing them to a product that makes them feel good and look good on top of it; by giving them the same job opportunity I had, one that many women are praying for but don’t even know exist. I want to share my faith and pour into other women, just as I have been so poured into!
“Hey, God,” I say as he sets me down and takes my hand.
“Yes?” he asks with a small smile on his face.
“I know that the rest of this month will be better, so…thank you!”
On this day ten years ago….my mother and I traveled an hour away from my hometown to visit my neurologist to receive my official diagnosis. The results from the spinal tap had come back, and finally, Dr. Nelson would tell us for sure if I had a pinched nerve, MS, or a brain tumor. He had given all three of these as possibilities as to why my entire left side had stopped working normally, but his theory was that I most likely had MS. That is what we knew before we got to Wilmar, MN. I was CONVINCED that it was nothing but a pinched nerve, and for some unknown reason my name had been on the prayer list at church for the last few weeks.
On that day, ten years ago, I was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was started on some medical steroids, and I was shown how to use the Autoject for my three-times-weekly medicine shots, just under the skin. (It would be another year before I gave myself those shots….and, of course, I was bribed—because what other way is there for a kid to be willing to do something unless they get something in return?)
Since my diagnosis, we have called the anniversary of that day my “celebration of life.” It is the day when I can look back on a year and see all the things I have been able to do, even though I have MS. On this ten-year anniversary of this life-altering diagnosis, I reflect on the things I have accomplished in my life!
1. I’ve been on all sorts of cool vacations and stuff.
Who cares if I had to rent a wheelchair to go Disneyworld? I went to Disneyworld! I’ve also rented wheelchairs at zoos, and even the Minnesota State Fair. Those places take a lot of walking, and I don’t quite have the energy to walk all that way. But I still got to experience it and enjoy my visits! Those places, by the way, have been the only ones I rented a wheelchair for. I can still walk! ….just not super far. I’ve been to the Wisconsin Dells and the Black Hills of South Dakota, just doing the tourist thing because I could. In high school, I went to a youth gathering with a church denomination, and had an AWESOME time with my cousin Jenni and my aunt Sheryl! In college, I went on TWO summer mission projects. Just because I have MS, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun! So I have to plan a little extra, and the south is typically a bad idea in the summer. I STILL LIVE LIFE.
2. In middle school, there were no cheerleaders, and I wanted to be one, so I petitioned and found a coach for middle school basketball cheerleaders!
We were moderately good. Our most difficult move was when one cheerleader stood on the thighs of two other cheerleaders, but we stayed safe. I wasn’t really into watching sports, but I did notice that when our middle school teams had cheerleaders, the whole “crowd” was pretty riled up. You know, for a middle school game. Smiley face. Of course, this cheerleading team kind of left the middle school when I did. I always wanted to be a cheerleader. Our high school had football cheerleading, but by that time, I just wanted to play in the pep band. (We see why I became a music major?)
I was also on the golf team for a few years before the walking became too much for me and I acknowledged that I wasn’t that great. But it was fun!
3. I got my black belt!
Actually, I started Tae Kwon Do in 4th grade. In 7th grade, I got my junior black belt. I was diagnosed with MS in 8th grade. In 9th grade, I got my 2nd degree junior black belt. After I turned 16, sophomore year, I got my first degree adult black belt. And senior year, I got my second degree adult black belt! I was involved in Tae Kwon Do for 8 years; 5 of those years after having MS. I remember difficulty in my first tournament after being diagnosed, but then I just focused on what I COULD do instead of what I COULDN’T. I taught and I was a referee as my level advanced. I became inactive in TKD after I graduated high school, but I will always be a second degree black belt!
4. I finished high school AND college.
One of my college professors once told me that he had never seen such determination in a student. So I wasn’t the best. Who cares? I did as best I could. I was DETERMINED to finish well and I learned a ton while in those college years. I wrote a post about what MS has taught me over the last decade or so here.
5. I played a senior recital of percussion music.
At that time in my life, I had skill, because I was playing on these instruments all the time. I played a piece on the marimba, the timpani, some toms (drums), the vibraphone, and even flower pots! (Videos of all these can be seen on YouTube.) I loved that season in my life, when I could go from instrument to instrument in the percussion section in an empty band room and just PLAY.
6. I’ve had a “grown-up job” since I graduated.
Even before I graduated, I’ve been giving private lessons. According to some of my other music-major friends, I wasn’t charging enough, but still. As soon as I graduated, I got on the substitute teacher list for a few different school districts. And when I got to Kentucky, of course, I began working at a music store—giving lessons! And now I’ve started up this Mary Kay business! Before I was married, I paid my own rent, bought my own food, and loved when Mom and Dad came to Sioux Falls to take me grocery shopping. And now, I don’t get many visits from Mom and Dad (because I currently live, like, 20 hours away), but I still get care packages of coffee brands that aren’t sold in the south. (Thanks, mom!)
7. I’ve written, like, four novels.
Only one I’ve written is decent enough for me to want to publish it, but I do want to publish it! [2015 edit: you can find my first book here.] I also write shortstories and blog posts all the time. And other little things when I feel like it. I’ve kept a journal since I was diagnosed! And things have just kept moving from there. I don’t believe they will ever stop, either.
8. I wrote music for a class in college and directed an ensemble playing it in church one time.
So I maybe didn’t take into consideration that band instruments play better in flats than sharps. And that high school students can’t pick up music as fast as college students. But I was so proud of that piece! I even published my college friends and I playing the piece here on YouTube.
9. I GOT MARRIED!
Just this last summer, if you are keeping up with me at all on this blog. (I’ve kinda talked about it a lot….) Never did I ever think I would meet a man who saw ME past the MS that has been so apparent in my life. I have a limp, which is the most obvious symptom to the world and the first turn-off to anybody who sees that instead of me first (which is pretty much everybody). But Dr. Wile E. Coyote, while he notices my limp, only notices if it’s a bad day or a good day and helps me stretch sometimes. Or if he’s walking with me, and I pull him around. (He’s not as sturdy as my sisters when they’ve walked with me, hehe.) I love Dr. Coyote, my best friend, and he is what I need. But God knew that. And I am privileged to be starting this med school journey with him and trusting the Lord until graduation, and beyond! (Like, forever. Every. Minute.)
10. I have become stronger than I thought possible.
Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have had to push past the limits of where I would want to quit because something is hard. Being diagnosed so young (at 13), I had to face many decisions and situations that most teens shouldn’t have to face. I thank the good Lord for my always-supportive family who helped me so much!
On this day in ten years, who knows what things I’ll accomplish that I’ll be able to remember? The thing about having MS is that though we have to plan a little more, sometimes sleep a little more, and maybe be careful of what activities we chose to partake in, we still live normal lives. I haven’t felt normal for years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would love to wake up one day and the Lord tell me, “You’re cured!” But I know that when people see me walking with a limp, unphased, it brings God more glory.
Anna E Meyer
So I’ve talked about what I’ve learned and what I’ve done, MS wise. What else would you all like to know (MS-wise)?
It has been a roller coaster of a week. Two weeks ago, I was presented with an opportunity to be a Mary Kay Independent Beauty consultant. Well, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I discussed it, and decided that this randomly WAS from the Lord. It was totally random, and I had never dreamed of working with beauty products EVER. I was working 4 hours a week at my other job, and needed to get out of the house and associate with people other than in a music lesson or online. So, I accepted the opportunity and ordered a starter kit. Then came the discussion about inventory. Any inventory I bought upfront would be an investment, as I would sell it. But it was block week, so Dr. Coyote and I decided to both pray about it and discuss the following Saturday (AFTER tests were done). We made a decision, I told my sales director and my senior consultant (aka my awesome friend Kat who presented me with this unexpected opportunity).
Last night, Dr. Coyote and I stopped and looked around at what had been happening. We had both somehow been in a little funk this week. My debit card would not allow the purchase of the inventory we wanted (and I had already called my bank to discuss it a few times, thinking everything was said and done after that). My website was not active and I couldn’t get to it. Why were these things happening? My confidence in this decision was faltering, and I was relying on myself to fix everything.
Duh! The devil was trying to stop me, and I was trying to resist him by myself. What happened to the armor that the Lord had given me? He protects my head, always reminding me who I am—I am his child and was chosen by him for a purpose! I wear the belt of truth, so that no lies can entangle me and I can always be reminded of the truth. I wear the breastplate of righteousness, which protects my heart. The breastplate keeps the devil out of my heart because it is too easily deceived on its own. And Jesus lives there, empowering me! I also carry the shield of faith, which protects me from attacks and helps me through obstacles in my path (have you seen the way that Captain America uses his shield? I imagine using the shield of faith somehow like that). I hold the sword of the spirit—the word of the Lord. In my own experience, I have found that if I do not start off my day by reading the word, the rest of my day is filled with self-pity and I don’t look up—I’m stuck “naval gazing” (looking down at myself—it’s all me me me me me). We have access to the word like never before—I think I have 8 bibles on my shelf in different translations or with commentaries and such. And lastly, the Lord has given us use of this amazing “weapon” called prayer. And when we’re praying, we have an access to God that we wouldn’t have otherwise!
This Mary Kay job is a ministry. I decided that right away. I will be doing so much more than I would without it! I will have access to so many more women, and I will be able to invest in them. Way more than if I was sitting at home on my computer (which is what I am doing right now as I type…). This job is also an opportunity for the Lord to do his thing and grant his blessings to Dr. Coyote and I, that we can bless, as well.
Nobody and nothing will get in the way of this. The Lord set it in front of me and showed me possibilities he could do with it. Most med students have $250K of debt when they become a doctor. What if I’m not okay with that? I can interact with women and help them discover the beauty that so many of the rest of us see. Somebody did that for me, and I want to share this greatness! I don’t WANT to be normal. I WANT to be different. I WANT to let Christ use me and shine through me. I WANT to make a difference in someone’s life. And maybe someday I’ll drive a pink car (as long as Dr. Coyote wouldn’t have to). Then someday when you’ll see me, you will know that the Lord has been up to something in my life. Are you going to let him be up to something in yours?
Synonyms: Soul-winners. Oversees, shepherds, and tends the flock of God. Protector.
Characteristics: Protector, hospitable, nurturing, love being around people. Peaceful, disarming, motivating, and counsel with wisdom.
Responsibilities: Care for and protect God’s flock; be worthy of imitation. Serve, inspire, and live as role models for their church. Instruct believers further in the things of Christ and build them up in faith. Admonishes and encourages in order to edify in love, with the patience and compassion of the Father. “He is humbled by the precious gift he’s been given and knows he’s fully accountable to God for each soul He places in his care and does not consider the gift and responsibility a light thing, but rather the most awesome responsibility in all of creation” (B. Dino).
Examples: Jesus Christ, Timothy, Lydia. Who else do you know in this role? Some people from my life in this role include Pastor Jason Mueller, Pastor Jim Demke, and Tom Hartsock.
I read somewhere that women rate close to pastors on online tests because their mothering instinct is to protect those under their care and to love and grow their children. I even considered being a pastor at one point because I love doing discipleship. But the three men I have listed above? They are GREAT at discipleship and great at what they do. Not all preachers are the closest to the gift of “pastor.” Some of them teach better than they do some of the other responsibilities that fall under a pastor. There is nothing bad about that at all. I know churches that have a leadership TEAM, not simply one pastor to take care of everything. I think this is smart, if one has the resources. Then, a person that lands in each of these five spiritual ministries can be involved, and all the bases would be covered.
Anna E Meyer
Do you know people who display the gift of pastoring? Are they all pastors, or could they be other people, as well?