by Kimberly Whetstone
I awoke this morning stretching, reaching, breathing deeply; ready to face a new day. Yet, with a sigh and a sense of anxiety, my breath quickly became shallow, my chest tightened and words slipped from my lips:
“God, why am I here?”
As a pastor, I find myself tasting these words more often than I’d like to admit. They are conceived in seasons when too many sheep have run to the ledge, and I am weary and aware of my inability to be the Rescuer. They are formed in the battlefield of ministry, where at times, no matter how much I love well, I learn I will be a part of someone’s bad church story. They are birthed when my achieving, battered and bruised self runs toward the approval of others instead of finding my identity in the Jesus who is not only for the people I serve, but also deeply and wholly for me.
You see, what I am really saying when these words work their way up from my soul is, “God, I’m tired. I feel insignificant. Am I making any progress in this life…in this ministry? Does it even matter?”
The rigors of ministry can leave us feeling worn, confused and insignificant, yet each day we awaken, each day we breathe, is affirmation God’s work in and through us is not yet done. Each breath gifted us affirms our life is deeply and profoundly purposed and significant. Whether we are on the mountaintop, trudging through the valley or squinting through the fog of the Dark Night of the Soul, each morning we arise we breathe in God’s “I love you. I created you,” and we breathe out his “I have a plan for you. I go with you.” Each breath is a God-extended invitation to find rest, purpose and identity in simply being with Jesus, the one who is for us and ready to carry our burdens. The One for whom we don’t have to perform.
God awakened you today. He lovingly placed breath in your lungs and affirmed your significant existence. As you breathe, through each hug, cup of coffee, laughter or tear-filled conversation, he is using you and creating a beautiful legacy in and through you for his glory. So, breathe deeply and find rest. I assure you, as you are, where you are, in motion or in stillness, you are deeply loved and exceedingly significant.
Kimberly Whetstone is the Discipleship Pastor at Parkview Community Church (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) where she has served since 2011. Prior to Parkview, Kimberly served homeless teen mothers and their children in residential ministry for 5.5 years. During her training at Northern Seminary (M.Div. 2007), she served as a refugee ministry intern at World Relief and a chaplain at MacNeal Hospital where she cared for families in crisis and lead worship for the general population and psychiatric patients.
Kimberly serves as an Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care at Northern Seminary (Lombard, Illinois) alongside her favorite psychologist and husband, Dr. Toussaint Whetstone. They have two children and work together to create environments where people and communities can experience wholeness and healing in Christ.