My husband doesn’t know it, but I’ve been sitting in front of the TV all morning watching the terrible images of the Oklahoma Tornado. I can’t imagine wondering if I will ever find my child buried beneath the rubble. I can’t imagine it all being stripped from me, in an unexpected moment because of wind and rain. I can’t imagine… Did you know that the winds were so fierce they stripped the bark off of trees. But the trees were left standing–rooted. Being rooted in Christ, I feel like our family is that tree, and no matter what we’ve been through, we are still standing. And because of that, we have to do something.
Everything in me is ready to pack and start the 20 hour drive to Moore, OK. But every doubt and question and reason not to is flooding my head. My attachment to stuff and my worry about money and bills keeps my feet planted. And for the record: I HATE IT!
This can’t be how Jesus intends for us to live our lives. Unable to help, to reach out to those in need, because of stuff. I can’t imagine He desired for us to be so comfortable that it hinders, and pretty much enables us to feed the poor, help the needy, love the broken. More and more I resent this life I’ve created for myself and my kids. This life of stuff and materialism. This world of work hard at a job you may or may not like, that may or may not be your God given gifts to buy more stuff, and bigger houses, that you absolutely do not need…that with a little wind and rain, can be taken in moments.
So I’m concocting this plan…to leave. I believe that going to Oklahoma could change our family, our lives, and my marriage. I believe that going to Oklahoma will ignite a passion for people in my children. I believe that going to Oklahoma will deepen my families faith in a way that we will never be able to be at this place again. I believe going to Oklahoma will further the kingdom, and help a family believe in Jesus who never knew Him before. I believe I want to go…I believe we need to go. In order to go, I’m going to need to raise the money to prove to my slumbering husband how serious I am. I am praying that God is speaking to him in his dreams right now, and I’m praying that by the time he wakes up my plan will be in full swing, and he will be unable to say No.
Will you donate? I don’t need pledges, I need the cash! Can you give? Will you give? I’m thinking we would need anywhere from $1500-$2000 to stay a week, have money for gas and food and be able to freely give to those in need. I will be taking photos and documenting our trip, so you know I’m not trying to swindle you! Help me get my plan in motion, and so I can be completely convincing when my husband awakens. I don’t think my blue eyes alone are going to get me this one.
Today was wonderful. It started with breakfast, a great day at church, then shopping and dinner. I got some much needed shorts, and some perfume…ahh…it smells so wonderful. All day today was about mothers.
I think it’s wonderful to take a day out and acknowledge your mom for all the great things she’s done for you–like give birth, or clean up your puke or mop up your forgotten frozen beer in the freezer when you were too young to be drinking and the butt-whoopin’ you got for drinking too young to begin with. (thanks mom, but I still swear it wasn’t mine!) Mom’s do above and beyond for us. I know, I have a mom. I know, I am a mom.
Yesterday I was wondering what my family was going to do for me. Fear crept up at the thought that maybe they wouldn’t do anything. My husband works long, crazy hours. My kids are –well, they are kids. I convinced myself that if they didn’t do anything for me, that I would be okay with that. (yah, right! My husband is amazing!) Then this ugly feeling crept up in me. This nasty, too familiar feeling that can ruin you, than can rob you of all joy possible….this….feeling of ….
At the end of the conversation with myself, I convinced myself that I was entitled to presents, and doting and acknowledgement. That somehow, because President Wilson thought it was a good idea to make it a recognized holiday…or Hallmark encourages us to use their words to describe our love for our moms….or the flower industry convinces us that mom’s like already dead things that will continue in that process…somehow, I was entitled. I deserved it. Damn it, I earned it!
In that moment, those feelings of entitlement robbed me of the joy that comes with serving my family. I love taking care of my family. In fact, today, I found it difficult to not handle things. Probably because I”m a control freak, but that’s for another post. Even though I work hard to love my family, I am not entitled to anything. I serve my family because I want to, because I’m called to. Do I want to be honored and respected for what I do? Absolutely. But I want it to flow out of a natural love of God through my kids and husband, showered over me. And I want it everyday. Not because I deserve it, but because I find joy in showing that love to them, and they will ultimately find joy in showing it to me–and any other person in their life.
Mother’s Day should not be that have-to day when we painstakingly try and figure out what to buy a woman who already has everything. It’s a day to do a heart-check.
Are the things you do in your life for your family a natural outflow of God’s love?
Is your reservoir empty? How can you refill it?
Do your kids show a natural outflow of God’s love in their lives?
Love God first, everything will come easier!
You are loved,
Ever have a crappy, horrible, why did I get out of bed kinda day? Tuesday was mine. It started with lower back spasms and muscle relaxers. Then it turned into this:
“Mom, I have a headache.”
“Do you need me to come get you?”
“No, it’s okay. We’re on lockdown anyway.”
“Apparently there are kids with guns on campus.”
Meanwhile, my phone rings. It’s about the middle child in middle school:
“Your child is suspended from riding the bus for three days… “
And then when I picked up the youngest from Private Christian School, the teacher told me this:
“He can be such a good, loving child, but if I could’ve paddled him today I would have.”
So how’s that whole Parenting According to Amos thing going for me? I won’t even ask you, because most likely your children are close to perfection and you’ve just humored me in reading what I think God is saying to parents through the prophet Amos. Most likely your children get all greens or smiley faces on their agendas. Most likely your children live up to every single responsibility you ask of them. Most likely your children get all A’s on their report card (not even one ‘F’, not even one). Most likely you just pity me, looking down on me with a pierced mouthed smile, trying to let me know through your eyes that someday, I will be a better mother and everything will be okay.
But in the meantime I take this to heart–like God is telling me to straighten it up, to tighten the reins on my little family:
“Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you…against the whole family…”Amos 3:1
Oh and it doesn’t stop there either, because verse 11 says this:
“An Adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”
God was speaking of the Assyrians at the time, but now, I consider my adversary Satan himself. And yes, he is sapping my strength and yes, he is plundering my palace. My child was held in a classroom for 2 hours yesterday so the 10 police cars full of officers could search students class by class. (There were kids peeing in bottles in the corners of rooms–no kidding. I have photographic evidence, but I’ll spare you.) My boys are forgetting their manners, and what obedience is, and how important honesty is to our family, and to God.
But I am reminded that the Adversary is the real enemy, from the beginning of my life to the end of my children’s. I must discipline my kids, I must teach them a better way of life. I must teach them to fight from a place of Victory in Christ, because if I don’t stop the disobedience now–if we don’t teach our kids honesty, responsibility, respect–then one of our kids could be the one at school with a gun.
When God speaks of disciplining his chosen people of Israel in the book of Amos it’s because he knows the possibility of the outcome if he didn’t. We can’t ignore the possible outcomes in our own kids lives.
What are some ways you need to stand firm against the ADVERSARY and not allow him to sap your strength?
What is your worst day ever with your kids?
Share with me!
I remember when I first started in ministry. I had lots of naysayers, including people in my family. I was not the one expected to commit to full time ministry. That job was reserved for my much more “religious” brother who didn't commit as many sins as I did. Working in children's ministry was one of the only places in my life that made any sense at the time. Besides being a mom, it was the only thing that came natural and that I was good at.
Regardless of the comments from the doubters, I knew it was where I needed to be. But it didn't come without consequence or mistakes. I was so overwhelmed at that time in my life, trying to balance it all and be it all for Jesus that I lost a really great friend, and unfortunately hurt her in the process. I gave up opportunities to work elsewhere making more money, which as a single mom I needed.
No longer was I, or am I, able to make “gut” or logical decisions about my future. Every move I make or don't make involves prayer and more prayer and wise counsel, and often times tears. Me being in ministry has put my entire family in frustrating positions and financial difficulties.
Ha! I'm obviously not the salesman of the year when it comes to convincing you that ministry is awesome! Oh but it is! All of those sacrifices and struggles are worth it when you hear a teenager pray for the first time, or a kid run up to you and hug your leg on Sunday morning. When the kids in the neighborhood want to know when you will start a Bible study for them, and when teenagers don't want to move because youth group is so important to them. Then there are the proclaimed atheists who now know this Jesus that adores them. And the addicts who know that Jesus is the only answer.
It is just that in times like these, when me and my husband must make a hard decision where we don't seem to win either way, it is so hard not to feel guilty. Ministry is not just a sacrifice for me, but for my husband, for my children. I am so incredibly grateful that the sacrifice Jesus made was enough for my family to be 'all in.' But it is hard to swallow that in order for me to pursue what Jesus has for me, my husband must take a second job to support our family or work countless hours of overtime.
Ministry has these moments when you and your family must come together, completely unified, with faith in God that He will make all things right. It is ugly and beautiful all at once.
Don't give up.
What are some sacrifices you've made for ministry? Comment and let me know.
One of the greatest challenges it seems that comes with growing a church is not having your own builiding. My students are the ones who have suffered the most with our sense of homelessness. For the last year and a half we have bombarded the living rooms of parents, who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
As those opportunities have expired, I find myself forced to reconsider the entire ministry. The easy way would be to find another living room and keep on moving forward in the same ryhthm doing the same thing, with the same perspective…same…same…same.
Jesus never did ministry the same. He constantly adapted with every new challenge that faced him. The foundation of his ministry never changed–it was all about Him. Our ministry will always remain all about Him. But in order for there to even be a ministry, I had to ask the students what they thought, what they wanted, how they wanted to learn about him. This is what they told me:
- We want a comfortable and hip environment.
- We want awesome and inspiring music.
- We want to minister to people our own age.
- We want to feed the poor and clothe the naked.
- We want to be heard and to make a difference.
- We want our own building.
It’s a tall order, but one that no doubt is possible, well except for the last one right now. This past weekend we started with “We want to minister to people our own age.” After grabbing Three Taco Parties from Taco Bell and loading the ice chest with gatorade we headed to the local skatepark to show the skaters some Jesus Love. We will continue learning and doing ministry in an organic way, focusing more on serving and loving others with sporatic times of intense teaching.
When buliding a ministry, we have to be moldable, willing to follow where the Spirit leads. So often in church planting we want to use a model, or mimick a local “successful” church. Our success depends on how we accomplish His will for His ministry.
Where in your ministry have you bucked the system and leaned into God’s creativity in your church plant?