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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sittin' on the Shelf

Years ago, as a young wife and mother, and a baby in the Christian faith, I got super involved in our church.
I was there just about every day.
Prayer ministry,
bible studies,
children's ministry,
a touring singer,
a teacher and mentor,
partnering with my husband to lead a Young Married Sunday School class,
regularly entertaining friends and new church attenders.

When I look at my journals from that period I see a common thread of thought:
I had to do it all.
Notice the focus on self.

It wasn't that my faith was not genuine.
It was.

But I think my understanding of "works" was incomplete.
I knew God loved me.
But I also felt that somehow God would love me and value me more if I kept busy in His house.

Then I hurt my neck and was laid up for months.
I felt as if God had simply stored me in a dark coat closet.
There I sat, despondently watching a slim light at the bottom of the door while the world of church ministry went on without me.

How I struggled with not being involved.
I felt so useless.
That's when I discovered an unpleasant truth about myself:
I wasn't convinced of God's love for me. I felt I had to "work" for His love.

My earthly experience of feeling devalued as a child and needing to work for my parents' love and respect had colored my faith in Christ.

Fortunately, the Lord intervened in a miraculous way and communicated His great love for me.

I sometimes wonder how great it would be if every busy server in the church were to be put on a shelf for a period of time.
It's a great way to reevaluate what you truly think about your value and significance in God's kingdom.

Have you ever been "put on a shelf?"
Did God teach you valuable lessons while you were in a condition of "uselessness?"

Here are some of the truths God showed me during my period of convalescence:

"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)

"For You created my inmost being;
 You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:13,14)

"...the Lord disciplines those He loves
as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:12)

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Eph, 3:18,19 )

I needed my time on the shelf. It was painful, but enlightening.
The Lord showed His faithfulness, His sweetness, and His goodness during this time.
And I fell more deeply in love with Him.

(All scripture verses come from the NIV Bible)


  1. Hi Dena,

    It's easy to get in that thought pattern. We're so accustomed to love having strings attached.

    Every now and then, the Lord sends a gentle reminder that He loves us because of our relationship to Him.

    Susan :)

  2. And every now and then the reminder comes through great pain!