My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Ministry, for some reason, is often heaped with guilt.  It is the lie that keeps people striving and working instead of resting in the promises of God.  It is the lie that ministry requires complete sacrifice of self and welfare for the needs of others. 

The truth is that guilt is not from God.  The truth is that Jesus requires sacrifice of self to Him alone, which doesn't necessarily mean ministry.  And sometimes that sacrifice of self means learning to take care of the basic needs of you.

It's not an easy pill to swallow.  In fact, I often listen to the lie of guilt over the truth of the Father.

He values me.  Why would I not value myself?

Wouldn't I be able to more effectively minister...more effectively lead...more effectively live wholly...if I were able to fill myself up in the Lord, take care of my need for intimacy and truth, and then give out to others?

To live in a place of fullness is not an easy task.  It's hard.  It requires laying down certain things to pick up better things.

This Sunday, John was speaking from Acts 20, and as I read on in the passage, I saw this...

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.  I know that savage wolves will come among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard!" Acts 20:28-31

This past year, I faced a lot of wolves in among my flock.  I battled.  I rallied.  But, I was, honestly, really discouraged.  People I trusted took advantage of me, of this place.  It was frustrating.  It was hurtful.  And I wasn't sure how to handle the bitterness that I felt sneaking in.

I felt beaten down by the wolves that had been invited in. 

But, when I read that passage, I realized part of why I couldn't recognize the wolves among the sheep. 
It says, "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock...".

Uhoh.  No guilt there.  Just truth.

I have been known for working too hard, for not taking care of myself, and this past year, I came dangerously close to giving up.  The "giving up", it turns out, didn't really have much to do with my role here, which can be incredibly overwhelming, but the fact that I wasn't caring for me in the midst of the ministry.  I wasn't keeping watch over myself.  I wasn't spending the time praying over our school.  I wasn't spending the time caring for my needs.  So, while I was caring for the flock, wolves slipped in, and I couldn't even recognize them.

So, all guilt aside, this year has to be different.  I have to protect my flock.  And that has to start with me.

I have to be "on guard".  And perhaps that is going to look a bit different than in the past.  Yes, the work is still here, but it's time to prepare this place well so that it's protected from the wolves.  I'll stand at my post, on guard, but hopefully that strength will come from a place of wholeness sought after in time taking care of my relationship with Jesus and me.

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