Courage to Live a Quiet Life

We don’t travel to the post office in the middle of the city much, but when we do, I can count on a few greeting cards for the last few holidays (significant or not) from two of our supporting churches who regularly send us notes of encouragement. More often than not, there is also a postmarked gift of love all the way from Middletown, Ohio. I smile while I read over the small, formerly blank card scripted in perfect penmanship with nothing but Scriptures to encourage my soul. There are very few words other than an “I love you” or “God bless you” — the sweet woman of God lets the Word of God speak for itself. I am always amazed at how spot on some of the chosen passages are for what I am currently dealing with in life or ministry.

I picture this precious silver-haired lady who spent what should have been her child-free moments when her own were at school caring for me as a baby and long into my childhood. She always reminded me when I complained about any particular set of circumstances that, “Some days are like that.” Her TV tray always had an open Bible, notebooks, and note cards at the ready except for when she loaned it to me to color on while putting the time in potty-training. I didn’t know then how special these things were.

I’ve been thinking lately how, all my life, the women I have admired the most were those quietly serving Jesus in their corner of the world without fanfare or even recognition most of the time. I saw the depth of their character ooze out in small bits of Sunday school lessons and crockpot hospitality. I was encouraged by faithfulness exemplified in folded arms cradling feverish babies and stolen opportunities for sharing the Good News. I greatly admire the Nancy Leigh DeMosses and the Katie Majors of the world who steward large ministries in incredible ways, but there is something particularly moving about the unrecognized saints quietly doing the Lord’s work wherever their daily paths take them.

My desires to love big and serve God with my life are clearly not wrong desires, but I so often long for them on a scale that may be beyond what God has for me. Can I be content with my quiet life while also preparing my heart for whatever else He has for me?

These desires are from God, and I must allow Him to be Lord over them just like the rest of my life. Whether He ever extends the borders of my sphere of influence is completely subject to His divine discretion. He will enable me to complete each tiny task or insurmountable agenda through His power alone, and I must train myself to be thankful for each and every good work He springs up in my life.

As I advance in age, I hope I lose any ambition to be something other than smitten with the Savior. I pray I’ll have the courage to quietly tend to the work He has given me to do no matter how insignificant it may seem when stacked against what someone else may be doing. And I hope if there is some younger gal looking into my less-than-mind-blowing life, she will be inspired to glorify God in her own quietly faithful way.

We can teach and clean and care and serve until God takes us home to begin our full-time worship. Because we know and trust Him, we can be sure He will tell us, “Well done” for our faithfulness on a small scale. When He does, all we will be able to say is, “You’ve done great things.”

 

 

Different for the Right Reasons this Season

Five Minute Friday: DIFFERENT

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When I walk around this city, I carry with me an unrelenting awareness that I am different. Even though I’ve learned this language and have adapted to the culture in many ways, I still speak differently and do a million and one things differently from the way I dress or wear my hair, relate to my husband, and raise my kids. With the Christmas season upon us, that awareness has become stark and severe.

I don’t want to be different, but since that is inescapable I will say this: I don’t want to be different because of my skin or my hair, the way I celebrate holidays, or make my home. I want to be different because I am a woman that loves and fears God. I want to be different because His name is continually on my lips, sharing what He has done for me and that His love is big enough for the whole lot of us. I want to be different because the focus of my life is Jesus Christ.

But I don’t want to remain different for long. I long to see God change this country and change the people I love and live each day with. Not to be more like me but to be more like Him.

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Merry Christmas from the Taube Family

 

Deliverance from Distress to Delight [day 27: overcome]

Five Minute Friday: OVERCOME

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In our church plant, we are continually sought out to pray over those who are hurting physically or emotionally. We pray over these needs, trusting that the Lord will answer our requests according to His divine wisdom.

However, my husband has been faithful to teach those who come to us that, sometimes, it is not God’s will to take our pains and problems away but to use them as a means to humble us. He can use the greatest distress of our lives to make us more suitable for His service. Because what the enemy intends to use to bring us down, our great God intends to use to lift us up. It is only when we are girded with His grace that we can overcome.

Overcoming doesn’t always mean deliverance. Paul asked God to take away the thorn in his flesh three times, and the Lord left it where it was. Instead of a solution, He offered solace with these words “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” There was a type of deliverance — not from the physical affliction but from the fleshly response that plagued Him. God granted Him an eternal perspective, reminding Paul that He would use this case of suffering to show His power in Paul’s life (05:00).

Overcome by God’s grace, Paul finds joy even in persistent affliction. All these years later, people like you and me, when faced with great distress or disappointment, have been comforted and challenged by these words of solace. Paul’s deliverance from distress to delight continues to serve as a testimony of God’s great grace and power.

When distress finds me, I ask that God would enable me to overcome and delight in His perfect will even if it abounds with problems. If He will not deliver me from my painful affliction, I pray that He will deliver me from my fleshly response and grant me an eternal perspective. I trust He will be faithful to remind me of His strength made perfect in my weakness. Delivered from distress, — though not necessarily from the stressor — I can delight in all that plagues me, knowing He will use it for my good and His glory.

I can celebrate small knowing this obstacle that seems to take me further from my big dreams truly delivers me from attitudes and core weaknesses which pose bigger hurdles. I will both praise Him when I overcome distresses and when I am overcome by them. His grace is sufficient in either scenario.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

What is the “thorn” God is using to humble you?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Heaping Spoonfuls of Grace for When We Goof It All Up

Day 28, EAT (Five Minute Friday)
We sat hunched over half-full plates forcing spoonfuls of chicken, rice, and lentils into our mouths as our host sat watching us. We were doing our best to finish a special meal in honor of the Dashain holiday at our language tutor’s home. We had lost track of the courses but were sure this was the end.

With a sweet smile, she placed TWO GIANT, HEAPING bowls of Asian noodles before us. We stared at the remaining spread in disbelief. Our kids weren’t much help. Our daughter turns her nose up at anything that isn’t pizza, and our son was just over a year at the time but was given a grown child’s serving. My stomach was churning, telling me to stop. But with a forced smile and a feigned word about how delicious it was (nothing tasted good at this point), I kept eating. And then….she brought me some plain yogurt. Yay.

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The second time we ate at her house and reminded her, in advance, our inability to eat large amounts of food.

She asked me several times if I didn’t like it. I knew she wanted me to finish it and ask for more, to convince her once and for all that it was tasty and I was thankful. I knew how hard she worked to prepare this meal for us (slaughtering the chicken and all!). My desperate prayers for freed up stomach space went unanswered, and I had to admit defeat.

Sometimes our efforts to live for the benefit of others and the glory of God just don’t cut it. We are limited and unable to perform the tasks that spell out gratitude and love. We hope and pray that those whom we labor to love will see our efforts and know that we did our we will inevitably fall short.

We will let people down. We won’t be able to fulfill what we promise. We won’t find the strength to love like Jesus. We occupy bodies broken by the Fall and are unable to live perfectly and honorably at all times (or most of the time!). We trust God to work on our behalf, to communicate the words we fail to speak, and to show the love we fail to display.

We will strive and struggle. It’s all part of this thing called sanctification. We need heaping spoonfuls of grace and answered prayers for the strength to do more. We make right the things we can make right, and we ask God to take care of the rest. Sometimes that’s all we can do.

Do you struggle with guilt over your shortcomings in service to others?
Do you need heaping spoonfuls of grace (like I do)?

Talk to me in the comment section!

The Burden Bore ’round the World

As a student, I could wear it on a t-shirt or keep it in my back pocket to pull out as was convenient.

While raising support, I could pack it up and put in the back of our minivan and retrieve it to display alongside our family’s smiling faces and pressed attire.

When leaving the land of my birth, I zipped it up in a 50 pound bag and stowed it away, more burdened by the fragility of my small babies whose worlds were about to be rocked.

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On the field, it became something else entirely, too heavy to handle on my own. The burden for the lost and dying. Those that hadn’t heard. I picked it up and put it away often when my residence was in America, but from now on it would be forever with me sitting on my chest and whispering in my ear, even as I slept.

It calls my name from the sides of the streets where naked babies play with a passed out parent on the sidewalk. It grabs my attention from the beautiful views of this land and draws it a darkness for which I can’t craft a comparison. I hear it in ringing bells and blowing seashells as my neighbors lift up their voices in dramatized prayer to their chosen gods.

The burden I shared while raising support for this ministry was real; don’t get me wrong…

To read the rest of this post, visit Women Behind the Scenes

 

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