Faithfulness in Little Things *Revisited* [Day 21: START]

My days start and end with little things. In the middle are a bunch more little things. I have choices to make to serve God faithfully despite what may be the disappointing details of a monotonous day. My husband may call me and ask me to do something I have no interest in doing in order to help him or our ministry. The phone may ring with a needy friend on the other side who needs more than a few minutes of my time again. I may get a message from my son’s school that I need to bring him another pair of underoos because this potty-training thing is so much harder than we all thought it would be. I’m on the other side of the world. Before coming here, it felt like such a big mission. Now, in the daily-grind, it can feel so small.

Revisiting Little Things from 2015

In 2015, I wrote a post called Faithfulness in Little Things. It’s funny now how some of those things seem like big things. Faithfulness in attending language school every day has allowed me to share the Gospel, teach groups of women, and disciple young ladies in my second language. Spending time daily with the Lord each day has grown my faith in Him and my understanding of the Gospel. Loving and encourage my husband through learning a language and planting a church has allowed him to remain faithful to the Lord and his work here and helped our marriage to flourish.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash
The Little Things of 2018 and Beyond

It seems that missionaries often get praised for their “sacrifice” to follow the Lord to foreign lands with Gospel dreams in their hearts. But faithfulness to the call is not the be-all and end-all to a life lived for Christ. We are called to faithfulness in all aspects of our lives from the most mundane tasks to extreme acts of faith. The truth is, my days are made up of little things. The big thing of moving my family to the mission field was just the beginning. Now, my life is made up of children’s school schedules, homework, dinner-prep, and connecting with local people for a few minutes at a time. There are some moments that feel like “real ministry. Other moments seem counterproductive to what think I ought to be doing.

Faithfulness today makes fruitfulness tomorrow. Little today means a little more tomorrow. God sees my struggle to be faithful in the little things. He will show up in big ways to help me stay the course. Loving babies and laundering clothes may not feel like holy work, but it can be. May the little acts of faith and patient endurance in my life add up to the things dreams are made of. I pray the Lord smiles on my little heaps of faithfulness as He bestows on me greater opportunities to stretch my faith. I desire to serve Him in bigger ways, but He may only ever require an endless string of little things. I pray I will be faithful in that, too.

From start to finish, and all the moments in between, I want to be faithful in all the little things. I trust that when I look back a few years from now just like I did today, I will see that they were actually pretty big.

Me and My Three Audiences [Day 20: AUDIENCE]

I sit with my friend in her one-room home, and I take in all that she does from how she makes her tea to her preferences on dressing her son. I take note of what she watches on TV and what she says when she answers the phone. Much of what I have learned about my host culture has come through observing the behavior of others in this way. I play audience to everyone I meet here in attempt to understand, imitate, and appreciate their culture.

They don’t mind giving it right back. She asks me a laundry list of questions, mostly about why we do things differently than they do in regards to our children or dietary habits. She watches how I discipline my kids and inquires about my choice of fingernail polish. It used to bother me, feeling picked apart, but I know that she is seeking to understand my culture. I also know, that because our family lives somewhat counter-culturally, her whys will lead me to opportunities to talk about Christ’s difference in our life. She — and by God’s grace, many others — is my audience.

In all these encounters, I have a great opportunity to showcase Christ. I don’t live my life performing for Him because I know He is perfectly pleased with me because of the blood sacrifice. However, I do wish to honor that sacrifice in my daily interactions. Ultimately, He is the audience I am acutely aware is with me and watching at all times. I want to acquaint each member of my audience with Him so they may also have the wonderful gift of His presence in their lives.

Photos by Kelly Rockhold Photography

Three Audiences of My Life

I am someone’s audience

This can be something healthy like learning culture or it can be entirely something else. I recently unfollowed a bunch of accounts on Instagram. While I can’t necessarily recall why I started following theses accounts in the first place, I realized that few of them were feeding me as they should but were rather tempting me towards unhealthy comparison and envy. I had willingly become a part of their audience without concern for what this decision would do for my heart. This lesson is not applicable only to my online life but to my daily life as well. I must be mindful of who and what I allow to influence me.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

Other people are a part of my audience

Generally, it’s just two little people, but it still holds true — there are people watching me. This may include people in our ministry, in our neighborhood, or in my little corner of the internet world. While I do not seek the approval of others, I desire to live a life that uplifts the name of Christ and blesses others. I do not perform for my audience, but in the Spirit I try to model who I am made to be in Jesus.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

I should seek only to please one audience

I hesitated to write about this because the whole “Audience of One” thing seems so cliche, but there’s a reason it has caught on. The temptation to perform for others or present our lives to be a certain way is real and ever-present — especially in the digital age. I don’t perform for others, but I don’t perform for God either. That is, I don’t work to please Him. I know because I’m covered in the blood, He is already pleased with me. Instead, I seek to honor that great sacrifice by living in a way that glorifies Him and celebrates my standing with Him.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24).

I’m watching. They’re watching. But most importantly, HE is watching.

I “make” God big in my life when I seek to honor Him in all my interactions.

What can you tell me about your audiences?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

Waiting Well when God Pauses My Plans [Day 17: PAUSE]

“How’s it looking at the camp?” I ask my husband again after visiting the property.

“Same old, same old.” Still no change.

God gave us a dream to start a camp, and then he provided the money to buy property and begin building a building on it. The process started a few years ago, and we really thought the first phase would be done by now. Various holdups and letdowns have occurred along the way. We were always told things would speed up after rainy season or after we got some sort of approval. Rainy season came and went without much progress and rejections came more frequently than approvals. It seems God has paused our plans on-and-off over the years — and even completely demolished them when we were denied visas to the country we planned to minister in for the rest of our lives.

Even in the day-to-day, things happen that put a hold on my plans. In the last several months, I’ve had one minor health problem after another that required many visits to the hospital and a surgery. But even more annoying than that, it required a lot of waiting. My plans and desires were put on hold while I had to sort out these mild but persisting medical issues.

It’s frustrating and brings out the worst in me — impatience, anger, and the like. Waiting isn’t something many people do well, and unfortunately, I am no exception. He’s still working on me, building my faith and showing me truly where my hope belongs. The waiting is where I find Him leading me into a deeper intimacy with Him. I want to honor this gracious gift He gives me by waiting well.

Two Ways I can Wait Well
  • I can wait well by training my eyes to look upward by worshiping Christ and dwelling on His goodness. God can use the seemingly stagnant times of my life to cause me to fall more even love with Him. I can know Him more and worship Him for everything about Him. Everything I know about Him tells me He won’t keep me waiting forever, and as long as I wait He will be with me.
  • I can wait well by training my eyes to look outward as I seek opportunities to minister to others. In the waiting, it is easy to sulk in self-pity or self-indulgence as I feel sorry for myself. However, God can use the pain of waiting to soften my heart to others if I allow Him. I can be more sensitive to the needs of others and apply myself to meeting them in any way I am able — even in the waiting.

I can honor the Lord in my times of waiting. The camp may take 5 more years and I may spend countless hours in our local hospital, but by His grace, I can wait well.

I “make” God big in my life when I honor Him by looking upward and outward in times of waiting.

Has God brought you into a season of waiting?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

To Rejoice is Greater than to Rush [Day 15: WHEN]

I wrote the following post for Five Minute Friday a few months ago, and I thought it was so fitting for this series. When my little life is less than what I want it to be or I feel stuck in my current circumstances, I don’t have to continue my pattern of waiting, wishing, and whining. I don’t have to rush from one thing to the next in search of something that will fill me. I can do the will of God even when my feelings war against my joy.

To Rejoice is Greater Than to Rush

When will the kids grow up? When is our ministry going to take off? When are we going to get to go out on a date together again? These thoughts come in waves as I rush from one event to the next always wishing the next more comfortable phase would usher itself in while I’m scrambling to catch up to the chaos of the one that came before. I want the fruits of my labors like yesterday, and I really wish we could just get a hurry up on this harvest we’re waiting for. Oh, and when is it okay to rest? Here I am again waiting, wishing, and whining.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

In this rush which seems far too routine to me, I wonder what I am missing. I don’t have to search long to find my answer.

Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It really couldn’t be more clear than that. While the present may not be savory, it can be sanctifying. I can daily find reason to rejoice rather than rush to the next better thing. The King of the Universe reigns also over my days. I fail never to have the opportunity to commune with him as friend with friend. And I happen to believe that this encouragement to give thanks in every thing is good advice for today, tomorrow and this season and the next one. Actually, forever because I’m told it’s God’s will concerning me, and I know He won’t change His mind on that matter. I want to see what this looks like in daily practice. Do you?

I “make” God big in my life when I choose to do His will be rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks in every circumstance of my little life. 

What can you rejoice in today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

How Do You Inspire Others? [Day 9: INSPIRE]

A generous commenter on this blog the other day said that he supposed I could “find the holiness in tying a shoelace.” I’m not sure about that because I buy my kids velcro shoes so we can get out the door faster. But I have seen God work in the smallest places and have become sensitive to all the ways He is working in my life. At other times during our overseas ministry, I have woken from sleep with a heavy heart, lacking that sense of holiness in common days lived for the Lord. I look ahead at my day, and it feels so empty. I know this feeling is not unique to overseas ministry or to my life.

A look at instagram will tell you that we are all after a little inspiration. Would you be surprised if I told you the Bible actually instructs that we inspire one another? Hebrews 10:24 stresses the importance of believers provoking or stirring up good works in one another. We are to inspire one another to live in faithfulness to God in service to others.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

This takes thought and discipline. Our fallen nature wires us to always do what’s best for number one. This passage teaches that we must thoughtfully consider how we may inspire others. John Piper says, “The aim of our lives is not just loving and doing good deeds but helping stir up others to love and good deeds.” This is something we can feel good about putting on our to-do list each day. As we live in service to others, we inspire others to do the same. As we serve those we rub shoulders with, we glorify God as we go. We know this is the ultimate goal.

In a nation with a Christian minority, Christian fellowship is harder to come by. Perhaps I could pass off this passage most days of the week due to my lack of daily contact with the Christian community. However, what better way can I stir up love and good deeds within another person than to introduce them to Jesus? How many opportunities I have to do so if I choose to see and act upon them.

Verse 23 of the same passage tells me how I can live this out in the day-to-day. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with how loving or good I am but completely depends upon God’s faithfulness.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Helping kids put on shoes or passing plates of heaping rice in circled up fellowship, I can inspire those around me to love and good deeds. I do this daily drawing from the deep well of God’s abounding love towards me. Suddenly, my life feels a little less small.

I “make” God big in my life when I depend on His faithfulness to inspire good works in others. Only through His grace do I have the capability to love and do good deeds beyond common morality. He inspires true Christian service. 

How can you inspire others to love and good works for Christ?

Talk to me in the comment section below!