Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
This morning in my moment of prayer, I was looking back to a few years ago when I spent more time at church. I really wanted to be a part of something special, for God, and was trying to get involved in everything. I voluntarily wrote for their newsletter. I participated in activities. And I even volunteered to be on the Caring Ministry, where I’d go to the homes of those who were bedridden and give them communion.
Then things just didn’t work out. No one’s fault, but that’s just how life happens. New people came on board. I wasn’t asked to write anymore. The woman who was supposed to train me for the Caring Ministry wasn’t available to train when I was available.
So, time went on … a lot of time. Then one of my favorite people in the church passed away and I couldn’t bring myself to go back as often as I once did. It was too painful. I remember driving to church, then feeling so uncomfortable that I turned around and came right back home.
While some die-hard Christians may suggest Satan was keeping me out of church; I have to disagree. There’s a saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I was always of the mindset that when something is right for you, you know it. And what has been right for me was going to church less often, because I felt so much more comfortable (and right with God) by practicing at home — every single morning. I’ve been reading the Bible more and working consciously on my well-being by praying for opportunities to help others.
Then it dawned on me … God is using me, via my business. I’m a full-time, self-employed author and journalist. I am also a ghost writer and book editor. I’ve helped countless people get their books written and published. I make dreams come true — and everyone needs a dream.
Another way I make a living is by public speaking. Two years ago, I started a library series called “Learn and Listen.” I present a half-hour biography on a famous musician, followed by live entertainment by local musicians. Through this series, I am helping to employ musicians — excellent musicians who are top of the line. Being a musician is a tough, competitive business and via this series, I am helping the ones I employ get more work. I’ve also helped an artist friend get work when I created a children’s recycling series. Getting work for people and helping them is what I do best, so that’s the way God uses me. I’m excellent at booking gigs, follow-up calls, organizing dates, and so on … That’s what I’m good at.
But what I’m not so good at …
Though I’m a very good listener, I can’t listen to people’s problems without feeling drained and depressed myself. Some people have the gift of resolving other people’s problems by listening to them complain. I do not have that gift. Nor do I have the gift of singing in a choir. Or counting money for a church. Or organizing big events. These are talents other people are so much better at.
While I was more than willing to let the church dictate how God would use me, I feel God went directly to me. Because these are the people who relate to me — the creative types, the musicians, the writers, the artists …
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and I’ve been so incredibly busy these days; business is the best it’s ever been. Today is the first day I was able to take a breather and write a blog in a over a week. And to think, I used to write in my blog every single day — sometimes twice a day.
So when I take such joy in my career, I’m also taking joy in the fact that it’s not just about me. We’re all part of this great big chain connecting each other, working together, inspiring, and forging ahead, using our God given talents. Every day is beautiful and meaningful.
God knows where to place us. You’ll know when He’s there because, while it may not always be easy, you’ll just have that gut feeling of “This is where I belong … and who I belong with.” And you will feel God’s presence.
What is your Caring Ministry? Share your stories! Post them here, or email me directly.
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: email@example.com
Her “Learn & Listen” series is available to libraries, churches, assisted living facilities, Jewish Community Centers, Rotary Clubs, and senior centers. “Learn & Listen” features the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, John Lennon, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.