Discipleship is tough, like really tough. It’s also one of my favorite parts of loving Jesus. I have this crazy idea that if you have a relationship with Jesus you’re called to be in ministry and you’re called to be making disciples. The best form of discipleship is doing life with someone. It’s not a formula or a clear cut process, it’s life on life. That means it’s messy and gritty and sloppy and that’s the beauty. And some weeks that can also be the tough part of it.
Here’s a peak into my roller coaster called discipleship from last week.
Last week I traveled to two different colleges to speak in chapel, guest lecture, and have some strategic meetings. Discipleship doesn’t stop because my schedule is full. Upon landing in Atlanta I found out via Facebook that one of the girls I’ve mentored and loved on for 10 years, and who recently dropped out of my life, is pregnant. Standing in that ever familiar crush of people in a hurry to exit the plane my heart dropped and broke into a thousand pieces. Riding the train through the airport and on to the car rental I kept whispering to myself “hold it together Mel, wait until you get in the car”. After agonizing minutes, that felt like hours, of going through the rental process I got into my car and promptly broke down. I don’t cry often but when I do it’s note worthy. Ugly gasping sobs of pain. The feelings of hurt and confusion and anger swept over me in waves.
And that night while driving through Atlanta I angrily decided I was done with ministry. “That’s it”, I told my friend while crying with her on the phone, “I’m officially done, I can’t do it anymore.” She and I both knew I wasn’t done, but in that moment it felt better to yell about it for just a little bit. Because sometimes discipleship hurts, a lot. Doing life with someone means opening yourself up to hurt. It’s a beautiful mess of vulnerability and fear and faith. Most times I love it but occasionally I really don’t like it at all.
The next two days were spent loving on students and speaking life into them. In the midst of my deep heartache God allowed me to be used and to be ministered to. Because discipleship is never one sided. I give, but I receive so much more.
While I had a busy schedule that only my assistant could keep track of I took the time on Tuesday to text with my sweet girl who lost her parents exactly five years ago on that day. I text her words of love and encouragement and shared grief. Because discipleship means purposely walking into the hard and the deep and the broken. Because it’s not about me.
I flew to Minnesota half way through the week where I spent a couple of sweet, very late, hours talking with my sister and brother in law. Because discipleship means sharing stories and laughing and being able to be real.
On Wednesday at Crown College I had 6 straight hours of meetings and connections with students. From the guy who wanted to make sure Miss Mel met his new girlfriend, to the girl I’m loving on in the area of kidmin and life in general, to the student who just wanted to check on me to see how I was doing. I went to bed that night with my heart full of gratitude. Discipleship means purposely connecting and in that connecting sharing important life moments with each other.
Driving home from the airport late at night I connected with my “kid” (who’s now 21) from my very first ministry. He’s been going through a number of tough life moments. I listened to him as he asked out loud why the firm ground under him kept shifting. I admonished him when I heard unhealthy thought processes. And I prayed with him and pointed him back to the one who never shifts. Because discipleship isn’t afraid of the hard questions and always point back to Jesus. Always. Healthy discipleship doesn’t create a disciple of me, it creates disciples of Jesus.
Two full days at home in Iowa meant loving on my twin neighbor girls. They just turned 9 and think their neighbor’s house is way better than their house. They don’t know Jesus and I’ve been praying for an opening to love on them. So we do life together. They helped me paint a dresser and we went bike riding and they swept my deck. Because discipleship means being present.
And one of those mornings last week I took the whole morning off and was so emotionally exhausted I couldn’t have answered my phone if you had paid me. I spent time with Jesus, I sang really loud, I laid on my couch, and I received renewal. Because discipleship means I purposely take time to feed my soul.
It’s a new week with new opportunities to disciple. My weekend fed my weary soul and I’m ready to continue to step into what God has for me. Because discipleship is God ordained, not forced by me.
He doesn’t need me, but He desire to use me. So I tune my ear to His voice trusting and believing with everything I have in me that the One who calls me is faithful.