Learning to Be Nothing


“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3).

I’ve been saying for weeks now that I am in a season of change. The more I reflect, the more I see it. There are things happening in my life, and in the ministry of Faith Miner’s Daughter. Good things. Things like publishing my story. I wasn’t sure I would ever do that. I was committed not to, until I felt God-led in it.

But there are others things happening too. Unexpected things causing mixed feelings. Things I am not sure I like being known for. The most recent example is the mother-son art project I published last week. Those who read it know that my son is in prison. That was hard to put out there. My family wasn’t overjoyed by me writing about that. Prison brings shame upon a family. It is tempting never to talk of such things. They are painful, and others might judge.

But I am finding these are exactly the places where God ministers through us. It is not the places where we have it all together, but rather, the places where it has all fallen apart. The places where your life has become unrecognizable, compared to the life you had envisioned. God ministers through our broken places, if we’ll accept it. It’s not the job we wanted, but it is the job we were made for.

I sent my mother-son art project to Prison Fellowship because I thought our story might encourage others. That was a step a faith. I didn’t know what God would do, if anything, with it. I got a response within the week, asking me to sign a release to re-post my blog on their website. Wow. I was stunned. I have been trying to break into print for years. I have more rejections than letters of acceptance. It seemed too easy for Prison Fellowship to want to publish my article, with little editing. And guess what? It’s already up! They published my story yesterday on their website. I’ve been out to see it a few times, still amazed it says “by Robyn Terry”, and with a link to my website!

I also heard from a friend this week who had shared my mother-son post with others. She sent me a touching response from another mother with a son in prison. That did my heart good. It is dawning on me, this is ministry. It confirmed I did the right thing in sending the story to Prison Fellowship.  “Windows of Hope” I call them, these opportunities to minister to others. Here’s hoping I am finally getting out-of-the-way so God can do what He wants through me.

It’s funny how we make plans, and how God actually works. Most of the time we try too hard to figure out what God is already doing through the life He’s given us. D.L. Moody had a famous quote about Moses. In reflecting on change, I thought of it this week, “Moses spent the first 40 years of his life trying to be something, the next 40 years learning to be nothing, and the last 40 years proving God to be everything.”

I’ve dubbed this time in my life, “The Learning to Be Nothing Season”. I’ve worked hard for years trying to be something. Too hard, actually. I’ve pushed too hard at times, and have acted on impulse in the rush to get ahead. I am slowly letting go of my idea of ministry, and letting God do the ministry He has for me, right in the life I am living. It’s a misnomer to think we have to survive it first before we can be any good for others. There are windows of hope around us everyday: in our home, family, and work. Hope arises from the painful disillusionment and breakdowns of life.

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Words to live by, “If it’s broke, stop trying to fix it”. Instead, look up and ask God how He wants to use it. The light of hope shines the brightest out of the darkest places.


4 thoughts on “Learning to Be Nothing

  1. Robyn,
    Wow! That is awesome I am so happy for you. I know it takes a lot of courage to tell your story, and especially about Eddie….but I know in my heart this ministry will give many people hope. You’re right people do not like to open up when things in their lives our not going well….just to know that someone else is going through the same thing they may be going through and how you deal with it may give them a ray of hope when they thought there was none. I love the “Windows of Hope”! How appropriate. Congratulations! Love Vicki

  2. Slowly, but yes, Christina. Now to just stay in peace…a constant challenge for me. :)

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