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!

Confession: These Stories Are Not Even Mine [Day 5: SHARE]

My husband spends a lot of time with a group of young men. He teaches them from the Bible and trains them to live as godly men as they help within the church. The long term goal is raising up some pastors who can lead the churches God allows us to plant. Really, he spends more time with these guys than he does with me — on a grump day, I resent that! When they’re in my home, I feed them and keep the coffee flowing. They call me “bauju” which means sister-in-law, and I kind of love it.

What I’ve realized as I try to share my “real life” stories with you is that most of them are not my own. And the ones that are are super boring. “Hey guys, one time I walked my kids to school and then did some shopping and made some food… then I did it again every day of the week.” Any of the stories of God giving us victory in our ministry or doing something miraculous in our family have happened mostly through God’s work accomplished through my better half. My prayer is that as our ministry grows, the Lord will grant me the desires of my heart to serve and disciple young ladies in the church.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

In the meantime, what I’ve come to see and praise God for, is that I have a share in my husband’s service for the Lord. I may not be on the ground level where all the magic happens much of the time. Rather, I’m cheering him on, encouraging him in little ways, and throwing up desperate prayers in all the times I feel helpless. I’m The Legs He Stands On, and as such, I have a supporting role.

Truthfully, the stories we share, though, do not belong to me or to my husband. We’re small characters in the story God is patiently and faithfully writing, and we know this. Even still, we are part of His grand scheme to bring people back to Himself. Every small story of victory and each tale of trial belong to Him. We are not the heroes of our stories, and we are not in control of what’s on the last page.

Am I going to struggle to share 25 more stories of my life with you? Absolutely 100% YES. But, like in every other part of my life, I’m going to have to trust God as He changes the plans. I know He will give me the words I need to hear and the stories I need to share. Whether they’re mine or my husband’s stories, ultimately they all belong to the Lord.

I “make” God big in my life when I accept the support roles He gives me and trust Him, in all His wisdom, to write the stories of my life.

What stories is God writing in your life?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

When I can’t Remember Why [Day 4: WHY]

“Why” is a question I find myself answering a lot. My kids often ask why we can’t just hop over to America and visit with our grandparents. Taxi drivers and shopkeepers inquire about why we would live in this country when many of them would give anything to live in America. Others, disapprovingly ask why we are trying to change the culture of this beautiful country. When the smallness of my life seems to contrast with what might be if I lived and served on the other side of the world, I ask myself why we put ourselves through all that we do.

The following is from a post I wrote earlier this year, and it’s worth reminding myself all these months later.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

I agreed to serve Jesus because He gave His all for me, and I am compelled to do all I can to magnify His great love. 

I agreed to work alongside my husband as we cross-cultures to share Christ because I trust him completely and believe in him wholeheartedly.

I agreed to learn a language and culture because there are millions of people that haven’t heard the Gospel in their heart language, and I may have the opportunity to change that — even if only for a few.

I agreed to raise my children away from the comforts of our home and our family because Jesus is worthy, and I want them to know that more than any other lesson I could teach them.

Jesus is worthy. Because of that I will agree to keep serving Him every day of this little life He gives me. I trust that one day — whether here or in heaven — the impact of that decision will far exceed my expectations. I’ll see our BIG God was at work in amazing ways in my little life. All because I agreed to all the little things He asked me to do. It all seems like small potatoes compared to what he’s done for me.

I “make” God big in my little life when I combat the frailty of my heart with God’s truth. I remind myself that the life He has called me to is worth agreeing to while I trust Him to work His way in it.

What is your “WHY” that keeps you following Jesus?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

Putting my Fears in God’s Hands [Day 2: AFRAID]

For the first year of our service overseas, I was afraid to visit the local shops. It was all so overwhelming to me. I look back now and laugh because I probably could have gotten most of what I needed by pointing and speaking English. Back then I thought  I had to speak Nepali 100% of the time. The problem at that time was I barely knew any!

I was afraid to seem ignorant or to overpay due to my ignorance. But mainly I was afraid to have to talk to anyone. God had given us a heart for the souls of these people but not a manual on how to connect with them. While I longed to establish friendships and the sense of belonging they provide, I could not get over my fears. We did most of our shopping at the supermarket, and if we needed anything locally I would send my son’s nanny.

My language has improved over the years, but my confidence to connect with local people ebbs and flows. I’ve carved out a shopping route in several different directions from my son’s school. I walk and talk my whole way home most days. I have a few friends I visit and drink way too many cups of chai with. The fears of feeling awkward, ignorant, or misunderstood are ever-present but thankfully, so is the Lord and His ability to transcend all barriers and bridge all gaps. When my fears are realized and my feelings are hurt, the comfort floods in faster than the fears ever could. He reminds me that the work of crossing cultures and connecting with people is worthy work because He is worthy, and I am never a step away from the love that casts out fear (1 Jn. 4:18).

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

One day, a shopkeeper called me over to ask me some questions about our beliefs. I was so thankful that God provided strength to overcome my fears and insecurities to stop and chat with her on several other occasions. Each moment I had handed my fears over to the Lord lead to a wide open door to share the Gospel. While I did not see tremendous growth in her understanding of the Gospel that day, I trust that the Lord will work in her heart and give her more opportunities to learn of Him. I pray that the door will remain open to continue to share with her and with others as I fling my fears into His care (1 Pet. 5:7).

And when I stop to buy yogurt a few shops over, I will forever feel giddy when I ask the sweet lady there how she is doing and she replies, “I’m blessed now by seeing you!” And to think I would have missed all these wonderful blessings if I had continued to allow my fears to trump my faith. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is surrender.

I “make” God big when I surrender my fears to Him, allowing Him to provide the strength and courage I need to love and minister to others.

What fears has God allowed you to overcome in service to Him?

Talk to me in the comment section below!