Ladies, this next feature is our first RWR feature by reader request. I’m very excited about this on many levels. You ladies wanted to hear from Gwen. I did too! It just so happened, and may not always be the case, but I knew Gwen- gracious and humble she was ready and willing. I love Gwen, and I know you ladies will too. This woman has a heart for God. Don't miss this one. The greatest hope we have……………
A Place for Space Ministry Photo.
Hello, RWR! What an honor to be asked to give my two cents worth on the RWR blog. I think the world of Kasse (I know you do, too) and I was so excited when she invited me to write a piece for this blog. What a woman of inspiration and spirit she is. Thank you, Kasse!
My name is Gwen Rutz, I’m married to Prince Charming (Troy), we have two married sons with wonderful wives who gave us 3 grandchildren. My “grandma” name is Nina. Precious, Sweet Pea & Brother make my world go ‘round!
My piece today isn’t about being a rural woman - though I am. My “city” friends call me “earthy”. But I wanted to share with you a little concerning Starting what He’ll Finish....
I’m a girl who wants to have all my ducks in a row before beginning a project. I certainly don’t want to start something without knowing exactly why I’m doing it, what the benefit is, what the challenges will be, what the cost is, how long it will take and on and on. I don’t start a puzzle until all the edge pieces are found (but who has time to work a puzzle anyway), and I don’t put the clothes in the dryer unless I’m know I’m going to be at home to put them away without wrinkles. I just don’t like loose ends and unfinished business. Can you identify?
You know how we dream of what we’re going to be when we grow up? Maybe you wanted to be a teacher or a nurse or a stock car driver. I wanted to be a preacher. I had the holiest and most sanctified pile of stuffed animals and Barbies you ever saw because they were my congregation that heard me deliver the world’s greatest sermons. I literally changed their lives forever. Well, Jesus did it through me.
As I grew up, that dream (I call it a calling) stayed with me. Rabbit trail: if you wonder what you’re purpose is in life... look back to what you played as a child. You may discover it there. In my teens I preached to my youth group (and beyond - story for another day), then as a young adult, I was given the opportunity by my pastor to preach on different occasions.
I felt like I was supposed to get formal education concerning my calling so when I was almost twenty I enrolled at Berean University to begin working on getting credentials and becoming a licensed (then hopefully ordained) minister. I bought all my books, did all the work and just had to do one assignment to complete my training. I never completed the assignment.
Fast forward ten years. I was leading worship in my church, peaching on occasion to fill in for my pastor thinking this was the extent of my ministry. But God brought it up to me again that I needed to get my license to preach and be a “real” preacher - you know - with credentials and all. (that piece of paper that says you did the work and are credible). So.... I enrolled at Berean University to begin working on getting credentials and becoming a licensed minister. I bought all my books, did all the work and just had to finish a few assignments to complete my training. I never completed the assignments. (bright huh?)
Fast forward ten years. I was leading worship in my church preaching on occasion to fill in for my pastor thinking this was the extend of my ministry. But.... (sigh) God brought it up to me AGAIN that I needed to get my license to preach and be a “real” preacher - you know - with credentials and all. So.... I enrolled at Berean University to begin....well, you get it.
I know you must be asking the same question I was asking myself. WHY DIDN’T YOU COMPLETE IT?! For so long, I didn’t know why I didn’t complete it. No idea. Then one day I realized why I couldn’t complete it and get my credentials. Seriously, it’s foolish to put in all that time (and expense), get SO close (okay to the end) and not finish. (I know, I know, the height of stupidity). But here’s what I came to realize. I didn’t know the “why” or the “what next” and that bothered me.
I didn’t know “why” I needed credentials and I certainly didn’t know what I was going to do with them once I got them. If I did get credentialed was there something I was supposed to “do” differently? Was there something “next” for me? I didn’t know.
But this third time (charm you know) I completed the courses. I did everything I was supposed to do. Took the final tests. Had my interviews. And now... I’m an ordained minister! So you may be wondering if I discovered the “why” and the “what next” to push me to complete my credentialing process. Nope. I sure didn’t. But I did finally discover was that if (and when) God wanted me to know... He’d tell me. He told me the first thing to do (get my credentials) and it was my responsibility to do the first thing. What was next was God’s problem to solve, not mine.
So, even though I had no idea “why” I was getting my ministers credentials or what I would even need them for, I did it anyway... because God said to. That was now enough for me and God honored that. Let me tell you what DID happen next.
Incredible doors began to open. I began getting invitations (out of the blue) to speak to different ladies groups and civic organizations. I travelled and spoke at churches large and small, near and far and was loving it! Now.... let’s fast forward again....
I am currently in my fourth year as the Senior Pastor at Restoration Church in Seiling, OK. (the same church I grew up in - credentials required) I now see “why’ I needed my minister’s credentials. And I am living in the “what’s next” phase of my ministry.
I have learned many lessons over the last 30 years concerning one’s life and calling. Some were hard lessons to learn. Some I want to remind myself of so I never have to have a refresher course. But all lessons were for my good and have made me the minister I am today ministering to the people I love so much. So...let me sum up just a few lessons for you.
1. You will never get to step two until you obey step one.
2. You don’t have to have it all figured out to begin working on your calling.
3. Do something every day to prepare yourself so when God’s ready to begin you’re ready to begin.
4. When God calls you to do something He will hound you to death until you do it.
5. It’s never too late to begin.
6. You take one step and God will take three.
7. It’s God’s calling. He’ll reveal it in His timing.
8. What you think are wasted years are really preparation for your calling.
Let me leave you with the most important part of this little story.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Please don’t give up on what God has for you to do. And don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out to begin. You just do your part (begin) and He’ll do His (complete).