Two Mondays ago on April 23rd, I celebrated my 6th Anniversary as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. Six years later, I one hundred percent feel called to Diaconal Ministry but there are times and days when I get frustrated with having to constantly explain myself and my call to ministry!
Last night I was chatting online with a dear D.M. friend and candidate who is currently attending seminary. She posed the question to me, "Do you ever struggle with not getting ordained?" I was honest with her. I told her that I haven't ever struggled with being ordained but I have struggled with not always being included. There are times it seems like it might be much easier to get ordained and be a pastor but that's not the ministry God has called me too! So how do I help others see that?!?!?!
I was saddened because this individual was put in a situation that I wish wouldn't have had to happen but it did!! The truth is it isn't just about Diaconal Ministers! It's about all the other rosters in the ELCA as well; Associates in Ministry, Deacons/Deaconesses and Diaconal Ministers.
I am so thankful for colleagues and friends in ministry who "get it" and don't question my or anyone's call to ministry! These individuals are all blessings in my life! I wish they weren't the only ones who got it though! There are times when I sometimes feel like I am not good enough or smart enough because of a comment someone made about my call to ministry. But the reality is that's not the case at all!!! I just heard and was given a different call by God and I am thankful to God for that call!
As I told my friend, there are times I feel so tired! I'll be honest I feel like I have to educate a lot but I also know that is part of this call! I just wish I didn't have to educate all the time! In all honesty, the truth is I wish I didn't have to constantly explain myself. It is EXHAUSTING!!!
But yet in the midst of the exhaustation, I know wholeheartedly that God has called me to this ministry just like he has called each and everyone of us to different calls in our lives. I am reminded of the text in 1 Corinithians 12 where we are reminded that we are one body with many members. "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the One Spirit we were all baptized into one body---Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and we are all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body (1 Corinthians 12: 12-17." So perhaps we need to remember that not all of us are hands and not all of us are feet; not all of us are called to ordained ministry, and not all of us are called to "Word and Service" ministry, but without anyone of us, the church is not one body! In fact, I believe without all of us, the body (the church) cannot fully do the work God has called us to do!!