“Lord, are we done? Is this it?” For the last 7-8 years, I have whispered these words in prayer to God in slow seasons and times of recovery from surgery and times when I was discouraged by a diminishing of energy or physical limitations (two surgeries from falls) and just plain seeing the wrinkles on my face! In these recent years, I have wondered “Does my usefulness to God and His kingdom have a “shelf life”?
Living in Light of Ephesians 2:10
From my early days of knowing Jesus some 50 years ago, I believed and pursued the truth of Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works that He has prepared for us ahead of time.” My early mentors and teachers taught me that God had a unique purpose for every believer’s life and as I grew in relationship with Him, that purpose would unfold.
From ministry to college students, to my own family, to Bible study ministry to wives and moms in my circle of friends and then to work with professional women and finally in women’s ministry in the church, life was always filled with purpose and serving out of the gifts and passion God gave me. This brought great joy, partnering with God and seeing his redeeming and transforming work in the lives of others!
I’m grateful to God for the mature, gifted and faith-filled women in my life who show me that I don’t have to buy into the world’s narrative of “what life should look like at my age or any age”! They have shown me how to apply the wisdom of Romans at every stage of life:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV
But even though I believe this truth there are times when I’m tired, depleted or discouraged and I find myself ripe for wondering “Lord, are we done?”
My husband and I have some friends who are further on in maturity, faith and life experience. We call them our “north stars”. They have walked the road of faith longer than we have and are mentors and examples of how to live, be happily married, be active and healthy physically, be emotionally and relationally healthy and how to be vital and fresh in their faith and service. God continues to powerfully use them, she in her counseling and spiritual direction ministry and he in his shepherding men individually and in small groups. They embody for us this picture:
“Blessed is the man (woman) who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He (she) shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1a, 2-3 NKJV
These friends flourish in every area of life, have energy beyond their years, and continue to bear abundant fruit! They experience seasons that are quieter, times of rest, recovery and being renewed by God, but then in His time, their fruit bursts forth again. Why and How? They are planted by the rivers of living water, the Holy Spirit, they delight in God’s word, they apply this word and remain faithful in the work God has called them to. When you look at them, they are people with a spring in their steps and a twinkle in their eyes. They are people “whose leaf does not wither and in whatever they do, they prosper!”
So, returning to my whispered question to the Lord in a moment of insecurity “Lord, are we done?” My first thoughts were of our “north stars” and I wrote in my journal in response to my question the words I believe were from God “Not unless you want to be!”
I want to encourage you that in whatever season of life you find yourself, God’s power and plans for how He wants to use your life never end or reach an “expiration date!” You may be in a season of rest, recovery or quietness for a variety of reasons. But all living things must rest, recover and regroup. The fact is God’s living water, the Spirit, is working now to prepare you for future seasons of creativity and fruitfulness!
Helen Steinkamp, Co-Founder Salt+Clay
“My North Stars” Ken and Carol