Monday, August 25, 2014

Right Where You Are

I was in between jobs, on my own, and desperate for checks that wouldn't bounce.

One optimistic morning, I left home, applications and resumes in hand, determined to find a job.  But not until a biscuit and a coffee from McDonald's.

As I sat in the drive-thru line waiting for my turn to translate the crackly voice from the speaker box, I felt the presence of the Lord in an indescribable way.  I felt a push to write, so I grabbed a sticky pen from the cup holder and a wrinkled receipt.

Lord, what is your will?  What would you have me do?

My hand continued to write as if the words were somehow stored up inside the pen.

Feed my sheep, I wrote.

I was familiar with the passage in John 21 in which Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep, But I wasn't sure what it had to do with me.  

What does that mean, Lord?  Do you want me to find work in a kitchen?  Wait tables?  What kind of career are you alluding to?  

What I later pieced together was that God wasn't referring to the next job I would hold down as a nanny for a little over a year.  Although I took great pride in nurturing those little lambs.

He was instilling in me the thought that it's not the particular job title that counts, but how you steward your time where you are.  Waitress, teacher, UPS driver, the kingdom of God.

Right where you are.

Although I hold a bachelor's degree in Business with a concentration in Marketing that I worked four very hard years for, I have never felt as fulfilled in that calling as I have when feeding God's sheep wherever I happen to be at the time.

Where are you today friend?  Are you waiting tables for lousy tips and rude customers?  Feed sheep right there.

Are you in a room full of desks teaching a disrespectful and unmotivated generation?  Feed sheep right there.

Are you in the trenches of a life that just didn't turn out according to your plan?  Feed sheep there, my friend.

No matter where you are, there are always opportunities to feed, nurture, and love those that God loves.  There are always open doors to give a glimpse of Christ to a dark world.

Feed His sheep right where you are today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

To Live Is Christ and To Die Is Gain

"Mom, I want to go to heaven," he said suddenly taking me by surprise.

"You do?"

"Yeah, sometimes it's so hard to wait.  It's boring here."

My four year old uses the word boring for anything that may be described as unsatisfying.

"Well, I'm ready too.  Getting to be with Jesus all the time is going to be awesome!  But he has some things for us to do here on earth before we go," I explained in awe.

He smiled and skipped out of the bedroom like intensity hadn't just tumbled out of his mouth, and I was left behind to gaze at my tired reflection in the mirror.

He voiced what I have been feeling for several months.  A longing for home.  An aching for a place without horrifying six o'clock news stories.

Paul writes to the church in Philippi:

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  Yet what shall I choose?  I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."
Philippians 1:21-24

And I realize that I'm not the first to find myself homesick.  Paul actually wanted to die, but unselfishly chose to live for the sake of others.  For the sake of others.

Inspiration wells up and takes hold inside me.  I will soon sit at the feet of Jesus for the rest of eternity resting in perfect peace and ultimate joy.  The thought alone spreads a smile across my face.

I have but a short time here in my temporary home to give others that same longing, so I will make the most of the opportunities given to me.

When I replay the day, the year, the life behind me, I want to see myself doing hard work.  Life here can be hard.  No doubt.  But it's so worth it to be a part of ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Unrush Me Lord

"The woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul."

Lysa TerKeurst, The Best Yes

Unrush me Lord.  The basis of Lysa TerKeurst's new book and the new prayer of my heart.

I have ached.  I have drowned in emptiness.  I have questioned, "What the heck am I doing?"

My schedule and the expectations I put on myself have colored me so dark that I have felt heavy.  Like too much finger paint on a flimsy sheet of looseleaf.

"Hurry up!" I say with little hands in mine and little feet struggling to keep up.

I am constantly looking ahead, trying to anticipate all that may interfere or interrupt.  I rush through my days and feel barren when the last little head nods off.  

Raw and unchecked emotion is a side effect of my hurried lifestyle.  Words spill out of me that I soon regret. 

I don't hear the delighting giggles of my daughters.  I don't hear the need for affection in my son's plea for me to hold him.  But most importantly, I don't hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit calling me to love.  

I don't hear him beckoning me toward joy and peace.  Forget patience.  Kindness, goodness, and faithfulness are lost in a sea of urgencies like getting to the bank before 2:00 P.M.  Gentleness and self-control are nothing more than an afterthought.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

I have begun to practice saying, "No."  The fullness of my life depends on it.  

I sit down to the table to eat dinner with my family and an incessant urge to get a head start on the dishes climbs up in me.  No.  I will bask in the gratitude of a scratched kitchen table full of spaghetti and love.

I start out the door to the grocery store with traffic and nap times on my mind.  An overwhelming need to speed pushes my pace.  No.  I will pause to let my baby boy pick a dandelion for me.

I will not miss out on the fullness of life that God has for me.  I will not trade joy, peace, and gratitude for productivity and emptiness.   

What will you say "No" to today in order to give God your best yes?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Should I Give Him The Time of Day? Part Three: Invigoration

I may be the only one, but when someone tells me my hair looks good today, it gives me a little boost.  I stand up a little straighter and I breathe a little deeper.  Many mamas need that extra dose of encouragement daily.

If you spend most of your day in sweat pants wiping little noses and little bottoms, you begin to feel slightly less than human.  If your days are eaten up by giving and giving and giving, you will turn up empty.  Every now and again, all it takes is a little reminder of how lovely you are to bring you back to life.


In the same way, vibrance floods me whenever I pause to sit at my savior's feet. He tells me that I am desired, pursued, and uniquely called to his purposes.

When the morning sunshine first sparkles through the trees, I can sit on the wooden steps of my back porch with a cup of coffee and read:

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10: 31

When the kids are finally in bed for the night, I can hide under my covers and hear:

"Blessed are those whose sin the Lord does not count against them..."
Psalm 32:2

Even in the midst of a chaotic day, when I feel like a hot mess, I can devour a quick psalm that says:

"God is within her, she will not fall..."
Psalm 46: 5

I can't consume these scriptures without becoming invigorated and ready to go again.  It is nourishment for my spirit.  It is vitality for my heart.  It is rest for my mind. I crave to know:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling; 
there is no flaw in you."
Song of Soloman 4:7

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?"
1 Corinthians 3:16

Passionately pursuing the heart of your savior will never produce an empty return.  Intimacy, instruments, and invigoration are gifts given by the fullness of a relationship with him.  He already knows you better than anyone you've ever known.  It's time for us to get to know him as well.