By Karen Grubb Gilbert
Mimi, I need to talk to you in private,” my 5-year-old granddaughter said to me. “Okay,” I replied as I followed her up to her room. She shut the door and sat on her bed. I sat next to her as she looked at me very seriously and said, “Mimi, when can I come to your house to play?” You know those words just make a grandmother’s heart burst! I assured her we would find some time for her to come and play and that we did. We read books, played with Polly Pockets, beauty shop and tried out a new sugar cookie recipe. A dream come true for such a time as this.
You may be asking how this story fits with our theme based on the Old Testament book of Esther? Esther was an example for all of us. Her story reminds us that we have been chosen by God for a purpose. We probably won’t save a people as Esther did but we do each have missions from God that are important. This is the only book in the Bible where God is not mentioned by name but God’s hand is all over the amazing story of Esther.
My JourneyMinistry for me has been a joy and brought together my background in social work and my work in the church. It took shape serving on church staffs as community minister or minister of missions, always encouraging people to build relationships and move outside the 4 walls of the church building into the community and the world. My ministry gave rise to the Agape Meal at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas which has just celebrated 25 years of serving a weekly meal to people in the community who are hungry. This ministry introduced me to the Navajo people, the Hispanic people living along the Texas Rio Grande border and Albanian people living in Macedonia, a Balkan country in Europe.
From church staff, this ministry expanded to include many churches as I worked with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship managing a volunteer office in Texas. My work evolved into the role of coach with churches as they discovered their mission in the world and discover ways to encourage and partner with CBF field personnel.
A move from Texas to Richmond, Virginia brought a new work. I soon found myself on a church staff working part-time helping a people imagine and dream of new ways to engage in missions. Another move from Richmond to High Point, North Carolina found me really stretching myself as I took on directing a women’s shelter for single women experiencing homelessness. The shelter had 22 beds and a staff of 7. Every day was a challenge but God was in the work and I was where I needed to be for such a time as this.
New Ways to Find God in the MidstEach time and place of service, I felt God in the midst of it, calling me for such a time as this. I have recently retired after 35 years of ministry and am finding new ways to live out my calling. I’m returning to that calling of being a mom and discovering ways to support and encourage my two daughters and their spouses, who are all four ordained ministers and working in ministry settings. They each have two little girls and are always balancing family and work.
Thank you, Esther, for reminding all of us that God does not forsake us but works in our lives for such a time as this.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.