Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What to do when your life looks mostly like this:

toddler in my lap. baby bump (due August 1). grilled cheese. watching Backyardigans.

I may have been sent to Uganda, but my everyday probably looks a lot like yours, perhaps with better weather.

We are all called to go into all the world and make disciples. Most days I can do that from my living room, or my laptop. You might do that through your bank account, your prayer closet, or your neighborhood playground.

If you are anything like me, though, it doesn't always happen. I don't gather my kids around the Bible everyday. I don't pray for them like I should. I can rush through a whole day cooking, chasing, resting... without ever glancing in His direction. This is why I needed the word "tend" this year. I need to be intentional. I want to tend my little flock well.

I've discovered there are a few things I can do daily that help me remember that I am a "sent one":

  • Stay in the Word, especially the Gospels. Even if it's just one verse to cling to for a whole week- write it somewhere you will see it. And keep clinging!
  • Ask Him what He wants you to tend today. I've given up on living a "balanced" life- ebb and flow is much more realistic. And as I ask Him what to tend He gives me His assignment for the day (and it's generally way more do-able than the list I have in my head)- some days it's baking for my people, other days it's reaching out to other missionary women. Sometimes He reminds me to tend to my husband, and occasionally He says "Let Me tend you today". And when I accept His assignment I don't have to feel guilty that I am not being all things to all men every moment! Hallelujah! Such freedom in obedience!
  • Surround yourself with other women in the same season of life. And encourage each other in your mission! It has been a blessing to join a weekly Bible study targeted at pregnant mamas in a nearby slum. Not only do I get to minister by my very presence at this Bible study, I am in their same season of life. It is good for me to be reminded of the vital ministry we have to our children and future generations!
  • Don't compare! You are uniquely sent wherever you are. He didn't send anyone else. Embrace your role and your season and make disciples! {totally preaching to myself as I wish I could be a tad more productive these days}
What season are you in? What does disciple-making look like for you?



Friday, February 27, 2015

Community: The beautiful, the ugly, and the yet to be...

Play Group: August 2014
Wow! We are seven months in.

We are only seven months in.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. It's a four-year term. There have been some sweet moments of community-like this play group (but it sadly falls right in the midst of morning nap), and my Bible study ladies, our mentor sessions with the Metz's and my coffee dates with Abbey. And there have been some disappointments, the not quite clicking, the friends already preparing to leave, etc. This expat community stuff is not for the weak.

Or maybe weak is exactly what I need to be... humility and serving one another in love are two crucial components of community. I not only need to give, but receive. It was so beautifully said in this post:
"Community is not found- it is built, one brick of love at a time."
And the other beautiful thing is that God is still here. He is drawing me closer to His heart, refining me in this hard season, and allowing me to yearn for that glorious Someday. Someday there will be no more tears, no more goodbyes... and until then, we can love fiercely the ones He has placed in front of us. I don't want to quit engaging just because it's hard. He has brought dear friends into my life in the past, and He will do it again.

I don't know about you, but I want to know and be known, and so I'll build, one love brick at a time.

{linking up at the Grove: Community}

And so inspired by these posts:

6 People that Kill Community (oh, I'm guilty of playing a couple of these roles)
Cracks in Community
Love Like a Gangster

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lent: A Path through the Chaos

These are the words that are percolating in my heart as I prepare for Lent 2015: 
"Jan Richardson writing in her post, The Artful Ashes, shares what she discovered when she undertook a project where she learned to draw in charcoal: 'Taking up a new medium, entering a different way of working, diving or tiptoeing into a new approach: all of this can be complex, unsettling, disorienting. Launching into the unknown and untried confronts us with what is undeveloped within us. It compels us to see where we are not adept, where we still lack skill, where we possess little gracefulness. Yet what may seem like inadequacy-as I felt in my early attempts with charcoal- becomes fantastic fodder for the creative process, and for life. Allowing ourselves to be present to the messiness provides an amazing way to sort through what is essential and to clear a path through the chaos. 
(The Ashes) beckon us to consider what is most basic to us, what is elemental, what survives after all that is extraneous is burned away. With its images of ashes and wildness, Lent challenges us to reflect on what we have filled our lives with, and to see if there are habits, practices, possessions, and ways of being that have accumulated, encroached, invaded, accreted, layer upon layer, becoming a pattern of chaos that threatens to insulate us and dull us to the presence of God." from the app Lectio Divina- Lent

Monday, February 09, 2015

Hidden.

In this age of social media it is so easy and tempting to be seen. I can post an instagram of me and Elizabeth reading a book, or what I am chopping for dinner. I can share a funny quote from my kids. And I have total control over how I curate these moments. I can also rationalize that our family back in the states and our supporters want to be a part of our lives, albeit, virtually.

Up until this generation most of these moments were shared only by a mama and her kids- perhaps a friend who was over for a real-life playdate. And now these precious moments are broadcast all over the internet. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, or that I don't do my share of over-sharing. But this morning, Jesus started opening my eyes to the beauty and purpose of hidden-ness.

I'll be the first to admit that these tiny years, and life on the mission field, can be lonely {which makes the temptation to broadcast that much stronger}. My days revolve around nap-times and bed-times. And my energy for socializing is practically non-existent. And my other missionary mom friends have the same problems. And I sometimes wonder "what's the point?" What is God doing in these hidden years?

I think I found my answer in the story of David summarized in Psalm 78:70-72 (NKJV):
"He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to  the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands."
God took David from the sheepfolds- from a hidden place of faithfulness, years of doing small things- in preparation for leading His people. Because of his hidden years and all God worked into him in those days, David had the integrity, faithfulness, and skills required in his next assignment.

You don't learn integrity in the spotlight. The spotlight only reveals integrity. Integrity is birthed in hidden faithfulness when no one is watching. Integrity is when your words, and actions line up, when people can count on you to do what you say you will do, and when you keep at it even when no one notices. Skillfulness is gained by habitual practice, repetition, dailiness, hard work and discipline.

David knew that being a shepherd is lonely business; there was no one around but sheep and God. And that was enough.

And so God is teaching me that the beauty of hidden-ness is the intimacy I can cultivate with Him and my flock in this season. And the purpose of hidden-ness is to produce in my character the things that are lacking. I'm sure there will still be pictures on instagram {don't worry, mom!}, but behind the scenes I'll be pursuing my Audience of One.

How do you deal with the loneliness of the little years? Please share!

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