Friday, June 17, 2011

The Headwaters of Mission


I read this post yesterday on the Desiring God blog (thanks to a link from Girltalk) and I just had to pass it on to encourage all you mommies out there!

Motherhood as a Mission Field

by Rachel Jankovic

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.

This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

Home: The Headwaters of Mission

If you are a Christian woman who loves the Lord, the gospel is important to you. It is easy to become discouraged, thinking that the work you are doing does not matter much. If you were really doing something for Christ you would be out there, somewhere else, doing it. Even if you have a great perspective on your role in the kingdom, it is easy to lose sight of it in the mismatched socks, in the morning sickness, in the dirty dishes. It is easy to confuse intrigue with value, and begin viewing yourself as the least valuable part of the Church.

There are a number of ways in which mothers need to study their own roles, and begin to see them, not as boring and inconsequential, but as home, the headwaters of missions.

At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.

Faith Makes the Small Offering Great

If you are like me, then you may be thinking “What did I ever give up for them? A desk job? Time at the gym? Extra spending money? My twenty- year- old figure? Some sleep?” Doesn’t seem like much when you put it next to the work of some of the great missionaries, people who gave their lives for the gospel.

Think about the feeding of the five thousand when the disciples went out and rounded up the food that was available. It wasn’t much. Some loaves. Some fish. Think of some woman pulling her fish out and handing it to one of the disciples. That had to have felt like a small offering. But the important thing about those loaves and those fishes was not how big they were when they were given, it was about whose hands they were given into. In the hands of the Lord, that offering was sufficient. It was more than sufficient. There were leftovers. Given in faith, even a small offering becomes great.

Look at your children in faith, and see how many people will be ministered to by your ministering to them. How many people will your children know in their lives? How many grandchildren are represented in the faces around your table now?

Gain What You Cannot Lose in Them

So, if mothers are strategically situated to impact missions so greatly, why do we see so little coming from it? I think the answer to this is quite simple: sin. Discontent, pettiness, selfishness, resentment. Christians often feel like the right thing to do is to be ashamed about what we have. We hear that quote of Jim Elliot’s and think that we ought to sell our homes and move to some place where they need the gospel.

But I’d like to challenge you to look at it differently. Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.

God loves the little offerings. Given in faith, that plate of PB&J’s will feed thousands. Given in faith, those presents on Christmas morning will bring delight to more children than you can count. Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Desperate need of help


I am reading an amazing book about marriage called, "What Did You Expect?" by Paul Tripp and, in it, he shared something that he prays every morning before he gets out of bed:

"God, I am a man in desperate need of help today. I pray that you would send your helpers my way. Lord, give me the humility to receive the help when it comes."

What a humble way to start the day! What a REAL way to start the day, fully aware of the reality that I am a sinner in need of grace, mercy, refining and, yes, even discipline. And, in truly recognizing that, I can then recognize that everything and everyone that is brought into my life today is from the Lord to help me, to sanctify me, and to make me more like Himself!

That perspective changes everything! May Paul's prayer be our prayer each and every day we wake up with life and breath!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Caleb!!!


Yesterday Caleb turned 6 years old! He was SO excited that it was his birthday! Every time we would wish him a Happy Birthday or comment that we couldn't believe he was 6 years old...he would just light up!

His food choices for the day were pancakes, mac'n cheese, and homemade pizza. His cake choice was pretty simple, too...chocolate cake and chocolate frosting! Though we didn't plan anything big, he loved having the day off from school (a perk of home schooling)!


Caleb,

You have a smile that lights up the room...and your eyes have a sparkle in them that always makes me wonder what you are up to!:) You love to sing...especially in the bathroom!:) In fact, as I type, you are upstairs taking a shower and I can hear you singing from all the way down here!!!

In the last two years, you have grown so much, little bean! Not so much in height...but in attitude, in joy, and in ability! You are quick to obey and change your "course" when you are instructed and corrected...not just for that moment but for the days to come...and that is such a sweet blessing to mom and dad! You used to be quick to whine...but, now, it's rare to hear you grumble and complain!

Your ability to read is AMAZING! I can't believe you are almost done with grade 1 Language Arts, though you are only finishing kindergarten! And you are one great goalie when you, your brothers, and the neighborhood kids play street hockey!

Caleb...you have a way of noticing the details...and you bless my heart with your sweet words...like when you noticed that mommy painted her toenails :) or, when you ask me how my teeth are feeling! You are quick to tell me you love me...and I want you to know, just how much I love you, too!

Happy Birthday, little monkey!

love,
Mom

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More and More


"But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge." Psalm 71:14-15

Reading Psalm 71 was very humbling for me. David made it clear in this Psalm that his enemies were abundant. There were those who sought to accuse him, to put him to shame, to seize him, and to kill him. Can you imagine? I know how "down" I can get just knowing that there are people that don't like me anymore! Rejection can hurt...badly. Life can be very painful at times...in this world we will have trouble. What was happening to David seemed so undeserved...and how many times do circumstances in our own lives seem unfair?

I am humbled by David's response. He didn't dwell on the injustices around him. He didn't complain, grumble, stomp his feet, or mope.

He praised the Lord. And he didn't just do it halfheartedly he did it more and more. His hope didn't last for a season, it was continual...for He knew that God reigns and is sovereign over all. He knew that the righteous acts of God were numbered beyond his comprehension and that God was mighty to save! Instead of his praise decreasing in the midst of difficult trials and difficult people, he praised yet MORE and MORE!

Joni Eareckson Tada was talking about the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a devotion that a friend gave me and she said this in regards to trials and praise:

"The refining process (trials) is supposed to turn out things all the more beautiful, all the more durable. But how many of us go through the refiner's fire and come out the other end looking like...charcoal? Or rusty iron. Or smoking ashes. We may be like the Pharisees of old who wore long faces and rumpled clothes when they fasted. Often when we come through periods of suffering, we want to make sure that everybody knows all the sad and sordid details. The thing of beauty that God wanted to create by sending us into the flames becomes tarnished by our complaints and woebegone expressions.....

There is a better way. Let's offer sincere, wholehearted praise to God as we walk through the refiner's fire. Perhaps those who pause to peer in our furnace will see the Son of God walking with us."


May we all seek to praise our precious Lord and Saviour yet more and more!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Birthday Bonanza!

This past weekend we had the sweet blessing of seeing my parents, three of my brothers, and my sister-in-law. They all came up to celebrate my dad and Titus' birthdays! God gave us amazing weather and we had a fun long weekend of celebrating! Titus' birthday was spent at the beach (and, of course, watching the Canucks beat the Bruins!) and my Dad's was spent worshipping the Lord at church and watching Micah play a great game of ball.

What a gift it was to be with family and what a gift it was to be able to celebrate the lives of some of my most favorite people...my dad and my son!







Dad,

You and mom raised a "quiver full" of children and God's Word says that makes you blessed :)...but, truthfully, I feel like I am the one blessed even more. I am so thankful to be your daughter. So thankful for your godly council, words of wisdom, and your friendship. You are trustworthy and patient and the sacrifices you make do not go unnoticed. My heart rejoices in each year of life God keeps giving you because it's one more year that we get to enjoy the gift of you! Love you, Dad!


Titus Nathanael,

Just thinking about you puts a smile on my face...there is something about you, dear son, that is just contagious!:) Your smile melts more than my heart...and your giggle's are music to my ear.

Life is never boring for you. You are always on some type of adventure and seem to have an "outfit" to fit the roll you are playing. Just yesterday you were decked out in hockey gear one moment, catcher's gear the next and, by evening, you were a cop!:)
And I know all the Narnia gear you bought with your birthday money will transform you into a little "Peter" and our home into a "battle ground"!:)

You remind me so much of your Daddy...and I pray that you will not only follow in his creative, fun-loving footsteps (as you already do) but that God would give you the same heart that he has...a heart that loves Jesus intensely, is passionate about the Word of God, and thinks deeply about the truths in God's Word!

It's a sweet blessing to be your mom. Thank you for still wanting "cuddle time" and for not being too old to give me lots of hugs!

I love you, Titus!