Curriculum. It is all I can think about lately. I know, I know.... I should be enjoying the summer sun, laughing and playing. Except, all but one of my brood are gone all day. Will this be life when my nest is empty? Only, I won't have curriculum and lesson planning to fill my time.
The quietness began to wash over when my oldest left for college 3 years ago... apparently he was the greatest instigator of noise! Who knew! My second oldest is the one home with me all day and she is content to write or read or go in her room and play her guitar. My youngest, when she is home, is the one to ask, "What are we doing now?"! She is the one I, apparently, at times, still entertain. I guess that is part of being the youngest, even at the ripe old age of 12 staring at 13!
It is days like these which have me increasingly asking, "God, what would you have for my life beyond my kids." I know the time right now is to be invested in THEM. I delight in that. But they won't always be with me or needing me. God didn't create me to sit idle. This summer has really brought this to the forefront.
Those closest to me know I have struggled with our move here. So much is different than I have always known. It is amazing, in a small country like ours, that each region could have its own 'culture' and intricacies to learn. I don't want to sound ungrateful, my husband heard God's call to put us here and while I didn't "hear" the specifics of where, I did hear sow for when we got there (here)...
In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
A reading of Leviticus, recognizing the seasons of our life, and then having God draw THAT verse out to my eyes.... this and the calling on my husband's heart are what pulled us out of full time missions into 'tent-making'. On the one year anniversary of touching down here I was participating in a Bible-Read-Thru over our great city. I prayed over what time slot God would have me take and He showed me 11pm. I have bad night vision and usually prefer to be sleeping at that hour.... but I took the slot in obedience and trust and when it was my turn to step up on the platform guess where I was to pick up reading? Yup, Leviticus. Coincidence? I think not. I felt it was confirmation; I was right where I was suppose to be. Don't stop sowing, don't let my hand go idle because I know not which will prosper
Yet, in our time in this city we have met sooooo much resistance and a fair amount of personal hurt and frustration. It often leaves us to ask "why" and "did we hear right". We forget, God didn't promise us everything would be perfect and great... he promises us strength for the trials and peace in Him through our trials and circumstances.
Yesterday some dear sweet missionary friends of ours visited on their way through town. We hadn't seen them in 3 years, since they left for the field in a highly sensitive country. As we shared each other's stories and caught each other up, I reflected on Leviticus 11:6 with her. After she left I still pondered and wondered... I have felt for some time like I am made for more than what I am doing. Like status-quo is met but not much beyond. I hear their stories from the field.... they have sacrificed sooo much as have others around them.... I once sacrificed too, but where do I step out now... why don't I step out more like I use to?
I've seen it but I haven't really admitted it. All of the negative experiences have paralyzed me... wondering what God is doing (IF God is doing...). I have stopped. That is never a good thing. Sadly, it is exactly the victory the 'enemy' wanted.... and I have handed it to him with barely a fight.
Laying in bed last night thinking on the day, the discussions and the Calling, I pulled open the Bible.is app on my phone to re-read Ecclesiastes 11:6 and this is what grabbed my attention:
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
If I try to SEE what God is doing when He is working in the unseen places, how do I expect to have understanding? The book of John puts it this way:
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
When did I become a 'live-by-sight' gal? When did I stop stepping out and putting others first? When did I start letting the 'enemy' have victory rather than pushing back on discouragement, stepping out in faith, and claiming victory for the Kingdom? What happened to me??
I'm not saying I have been a horribly lazy, selfish and self-centered individual.... but what I do know is I haven't been as all-in... all.out.there... whatever and whenever you say Lord, kind-of-gal. I use to be. But in the buzz of life and the hum-drum of coming to terms with a 'foreign (to me) land' and the hurt and confusion which have accompanied it all.... I lost sight of the grander picture and call.
We are called to be more than just Christians. We are called to be servants of each other and others. We are called to sacrificial living as the supreme response to the sacrificial love God offered us through Christ on the cross.
One of my husband's favorite songs right now is plugged in below. I have to ask myself: If I surrender my life at the cross.... why am I trying to live my life my way? When we bow before a king it is expected we are submitting to His will and His way.... unconditionally. So what is he asking me to do?
The church in many areas may have atrophied.... but that is no excuse for my complacency. People on the other-side of the world are knowingly going into areas to be sacrificed at the slaughter of martyrdom just so others may see and know the Savior. How dare I just sit in the church and do nothing.
I share this today as a simple out-pouring of my heart. Perhaps someone will read and a spark will ignite. I don't know. I pray this might ring at the door of your heart today.... to search yourself and what God is showing you to do and how he is showing you to move. The church, our faith, was not meant to be a noun.... it was intended as a verb.
As for me.... no more putting off volunteer work, conveniently forgetting instead of putting open serving days at local institutions on the calendar like all other significant events... and making it a priority. No more asking what WE need before considering what others might need more. After all, in our country, what really is a "need" in our lives of cable t.v., take-out-meals and comfy beds. No more sitting cozy in my living room when an opportunity to go and reach presents itself. Sure we need rest.... but not 99% of the time!! Priorities are too out of whack. And no more laziness when God gives me a message and directive for this blog!!! After all, IT is a big part of my ministry (your blog can be a big part of your ministry too).
As for me, I want my life to be a verb. I want to follow God
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.