Monday, March 27, 2017

Ministry Monday: Coffee Shop Counsel

Welcome back!

In recent months, I've been preoccupied with holidays, a missions trip a few of my family members took, working through some personal struggles and just keeping home and school running.

Before coming back, I have thought about and prayed about the direction of this blog.  I've come to think of this blog as a ministry in itself and any ministry that lasts for a few years is in need of refocus of purpose and sometimes a bit of change.  Praying about it and thinking about it, I couldn't get coffee off my mind.

Let me explain...and with this explanation comes my Ministry Monday topic.

Throughout the years, I have often found myself in a coffee shop sitting across various sisters in Christ pour their hearts out as we sip on lattes.  Our conversations don't end until long after the cups are empty and several other patrons have come and gone.  Am I some great guru who can solve the problems of the masses?  No.  I realize that is God's job.  All I am is a listening ear, a compassionate heart, a pair of hugging arms, a praying friend, and, sometimes, I am a vessel through which God can speak words of wisdom, advice and love.

Sometimes, I have been the one pouring out her heart and the woman across the table is the one being used of God to disperse love, wisdom, advice, and rebuke.  Are my problems solved when we get up from the table?  No.  But I am encouraged and I drive home with a bit of hope glimmering in my heart where there was none when I entered the coffee shop a few hours earlier.

I have recently realized that there is a great ministry in meeting a friend for coffee.  We are able to meet on neutral ground - away from the busy-ness of home, the listening ears of little ones, the beckoning chores - often in a relaxed atmosphere.  We enjoy a treat that soothes our physical bodies and a cozy space that feels safe.  Whether I am the counsellor or the counseled, I always leave blessed.  So, this is a ministry that ministers to others as well as to my own soul.

Not knowing when the phone will buzz or ring for a needed coffee date, I am challenged to stay in the Word so that I am filled whenever God wants to pour Himself through me to others.  For, if I am empty, what have I to give? To be honest, there are many days I am empty...and God keeps my phone quiet.  He knows when He can use me and when He can't.

My prayer when I am driving to the coffee shop of the day is always that God would speak through me, that I would not speak when I am to be silent, that I would be an encouragement, and that the friend would feel loved.  When I am to be counseled, I ask God that my heart would be open and my spirit obedient.

I know I am not unique in this ministry.  I know many of you have found yourselves holding something warm and listening to a dear friend as she seeks help, understanding, love.  Know that you are not wasting your time.  Know that you are not slacking off from your duties.  If you are walking with the Lord, you can know that you are doing His work - even in a trendy coffee house.

Which brings me back to this blog.  I had thought of renaming it - something to do with coffee and friendship - but I am a bit attached to the title I have had for almost a decade.  Not to mention, much of my  counseling has to do with marriage (Love) and children (Rewards).  But, I want us to feel we are chatting over cups of coffee.  I want us to laugh, to think, to edify, and sometimes cry.  I want to share with you what God has shown me in His Word, tell you of some of my struggles He has brought me through just to encourage you.  On our Saturday meetings, I still just want to share some verses, some quotes, some great books, blogs, and yummy recipes.

So, much of this blog will remain the same.  I just want to be focused on encouraging YOU in Christ.  I want you to feel loved.

Grab some coffee.  Or, reheat that cup you've been trying to get to all day long.  Let's chat.

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