I can't stop the waves of successes and failures. I can pray the Serenity Prayer and the Litany of Humility; I can mean these things in my heart, but the challenges still come, the reality of failure, the excitement of success... why would I not work on temperance and humility more? Why does it not feel to me like I'm improving? How can I respond to God's call to ministry when I am so limited?
Since 2009, I've been President of a nonprofit that gives hope to Brides on low budgets. Amid my vocation as a wife, my call and responsibility as a mother of four young children, I have continually known God has also called me to a mission to engaged couples, especially brides. With a nonprofit, especially now a truly growing one, I'm doing more than I ever have. I'm learning more than I ever have, and I'm experiencing breakthroughs and challenges more than I ever dreamed possible.
There are thousands of resources for nonprofit leadership. Currently, I'm clinging to Mother Teresa CEO. Now a Saint, if you look at her organization from a business and nonprofit standpoint, her order was huge, and her order was a dream in terms of community impact - what every nonprofit would want.
There are several reasons why this book has been inspirational to me as I face these challenges.
- There is a chapter dedicated to embracing the power of doubt. And let me just be honest; lately, I've felt a lot of doubt, whether it comes from others or from my own thoughts. Doubt is generally accepted as the opposite of Hope (or Faith), and years ago, when I prayed for the mission I was called to in engaged couple ministry, the Lord gave me only one word - Hope. So right now, in my overwhelming experiences of doubt, I am praying for Hope, accepting Hope, and sharing Hope.
- St. Teresa of Calcutta felt called to her mission when she was 25, and she was not given permission to follow that call until she was 35. In my mind, that is an unbelievable amount of time to have to wait! Doing what she could, she used that time to plan out her ministry so that when she was 35, she had a course to follow. It simply gives me and many of my friends hope to know that we, being around 35, are the age at which this amazing Saint began her ministry. If St. Teresa of Calcutta could start her impactful organization at 35, then, in God's will, by following her example of humility and dedication, it is remotely possible that the call to ministry I follow will bear fruit.
- She knew her calling was in God's will, and this drove her diligence through the tumult. I am currently facing what feels like tumult. My organization is growing, and when I look back 9 months ago, I am unbelievably blessed, amazed, and humbled at how far it has come. At the same time, my organization is growing, and I cannot keep up with the current demands, and that simple realization is, at times, crushing. I am limited. This leaves me equally blessed, amazed, and humbled.
The last time I went to Confession, the Holy Spirit-inspired priest gave me the vine & branches scripture John 15:1-17. I have been returning to verses 1-5 and 16 often since then.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. ... It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you."
I hope this scripture brings hope to others as it has done for me, while I continue to grow and to be pruned.