If I am truly honest, there are times – every now and then – when I wonder, “Am I making a difference?”
Do you ever have doubts?
Should I continue with ministry?
[insert your questions here…]
But somehow by God’s grace, He sustains you and reminds you that despite our insufficiencies and insecurities, God can still work through your life.
I received this email this week and with permission, I share it with you in hopes of encouraging anyone who’s reading it – either because you are going through something gut wrenchingly similar to this person or if you’re wondering if your ministry, prayers, counseling, or teaching might be in vain.
To the person in deep pain:
- Despite what you may have heard or been shown, “You are loved. You are not alone. God loves you. God is with us.”
To the pastor or ministry leader drowning in doubt:
- Your ministry is not in vain. Keep loving, serving, teaching, and encouraging. “Feed my sheep.”
Being a pastor can be so overwhelming but it is so amazing to see Hope Restored.
This is the reason why I am in ministry:
My name is _______, and I’ve been coming out to Quest for _______. I just wanted to email you and tell you how much your sermon today on family relationships meant to me; and I just wanted to briefly tell you of my story behind why I connected to today’s sermon so much.
I’m in my second year at the University of Washington, and I have been living with my parents all my life. I really related to your story when you talked more about your family; perhaps I could relate because I come from a Korean background as well. Even still, I have never really heard my parents apologize to me or even tell me the simple but meaningful phrase of “I love you.”
My mother has criticized me for as long as I can remember about my body image and the appearance of beauty – she always told me (and still continues to tell me) that I am not quite “beautiful” yet and how I have much work to do to get myself to “beauty”; There hasn’t been a day where I haven’t been reminded about how I’m not as “skinny as other Korean girls.” My father criticizes me about the career choice I am studying for and always reminds me how disappointed he is about me giving up my previous hope of going into the field of pre-med; I have heard from his own mouth that I am a failure countless times. I’ve held onto every negative thing they have thrown at me and eventually found myself feeling guilty as if perhaps I just wasn’t good enough.
In the past month and a half, the anger, guilt, and sadness inside of me had been increasingly building up because the hurtful words seemed to escalate even more. I was so blinded with these negative feelings that I never once asked God to help chip away the hardness that I had created in my heart. I tried to handle all the negative feelings I had kept inside on my own and it backfired; a week ago, I took a bottle of sleeping pills and I tried to end my life. At the time I felt as though there was just too much sadness and hurt for one person to handle.
However, now I realize that we’re never alone; God has been with me the whole time – I just failed to take a closer look. I thank God that my attempts failed since I am here today writing you this email. When listening to your sermon today, the part that hit me was when you said that we needed to reconcile our relationships even though it may take a lot of time. So for the first time in a while, I fell to my knees and prayed to God that he would chip the hardness of my heart away. And I can say with all honesty that I feel him working within my heart. I just wanted to thank you for your message today. I also was wondering if you would pray for me and my journey of reconciliation and healing…