I have regularly been meeting with a young lady to study the Bible over the last year. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her grow in her understanding of the word of God as we have contrasted the truth with worldly teaching. Our meetings are simple — open Bibles and translated materials at my husband’s desk which I steal for an hour. Occasionally, we will have a cup of tea or a salty snack from the cart down the road. There’s nothing fancy about our meetings, but God always meets us there. We’ve had her and other young people from the church for countless meals and get-togethers at the house. She helps me wash dishes as we wait for the coffee to brew.
I’ve never thought of my role in her life as being very significant. But, one evening, while texting with her after helping her handle an uncomfortable situation, she said something that completely changed my perspective. She said, “I’m so happy. I finally have a family.” Cue the tears! What seemed small to me was such a big thing to the person I shared it with. God had worked in her life through our time together and bonded us in ways only He could.
Sometimes I think my life and all its roles are just too small for God to show up in. I errantly believe that because I am just a ministry-wife/SAHM that God is not interested all aspects of my life and relationships. Though I do grasp the truth He loves me and is after my heart, I find it difficult to accept that He would show His great power at work in my little life. Homework helping and meal-planning, discipline and discipleship just seem like small boxes for the King of the world to tick off.
When I ask God to show me all that He has done, I see that He has completed miraculous wonders amid the monotony of my less-than-noteworthy life. While it may make for a yawn-inducing biography in the opinion of some, God has done great things. He has allowed our family to take young people into our spiritual care and disciple them in the word of God. He has made us mentors, friends, and guardians of two small souls in our home.
May I never be too timid to invite Him into the smallness of my life. May I always be aware of His presence each moment and the grace that flows through them. My prayer is that I’ll grow in understanding and persevere in believing that God is invested both in having a relationship with me and in using me in big and small works for His glory.
I “make” God big in my life when I believe He is who He says He is and that He will do what He has promised He will do even in my little life.
What lies have you believed about God’s work in your life?
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).
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?
My brother just returned to America after a one-week stay in Kathmandu. Whenever anyone visits, I find it so amusing to be able to see “my” world through fresh eyes. When I would stress about what we were going to do for the day, he would reassure me that it was all fascinating to him. He wanted to walk around and do life the way we would normally to do it to get a glimpse of how we usually went about our days in this foreign city. We visited my markets, my gym, hosted guests, attended church and walked my son to school and participated in our daughter’s cultural program. It was all so ordinary, a far cry from a typical tourist trip. But he soaked up every moment, and I vicariously did the same.
In regards to my writing, I’ve been challenged to share more stories of my life overseas and our ministry here. While it all seems so small and ordinary to me, I believe sharing how God works even in the smallness of my life may be an encouragement to someone else underwhelmed by the significance of their own existence. Certainly, God works in big ways around the world, but He also shows Himself mighty in ordinary life in ordinary places using — you guessed it — ordinary people.
So, I’m going to show up for the next 30 days to share with you how God weaves significance into the smallness of my life, and how He uses our imperfect family to shine Gospel truth into dark places. Walking through local markets, circled up with our faithful church members, or just goofing around the house with our kids, I’m thrilled to share with you how God is teaching me to make Him big in the smallness of my life and encourage you in your efforts to do the same.
I “make” God big when I share stories of how He works mightily even in the smallness of my little life.
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.
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.
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 was tempted to list off a series of complaints so that you may see where I’m coming from with this post but decided to refrain because rehearsing and repeating disappointments is rarely, if ever, conducive to any type of spiritual encouragement. Since that is what this space is for, I’ll keep those between me and the Lord. I know He can handle them and will think no less of His beloved for dumping them at His feet. In short, it seems we are in one of those “one thing after another” seasons. I know you know what I am talking about. It’s been harder and harder to add something each day to my “Good List,” and sometimes the entries hint at the struggle of the day.
God is worthy of praise and honor even when the circumstances at hand are less than ideal. In these honestly unwelcome times I praise Him for who He is; this is my lifeline. I know that, unlike my chameleon-esque circumstances, He never changes. I praise Him that everything He gives me is good — even if it feels nothing but bad at the time. It is not second nature to do this, but I play it on repeat until it feels right. Because it is. I pray over time that this repetitive recitation will become firmly planted in my heart and mind until it is not a last resort but a first response.
And I’ll ask God in His grace to allow this period of piling up disappointments be a mark in my life which I can look back on. Looking at this monument of His understated grace, I’ll see how He was right there when I finally peeked out from under the mess to look for Him. Oh, that I would see every trial as an opportunity to worship Him for who He is while trusting Him to do what He does best! Worship is never wasted, and His work in my life is only good.
I can shut down and stare down the issues of life, willing them to go away or I can fall upon God’s grace as I heap upon Him the depths of disappointment and disillusionment that would scare anyone else off. He’s big enough to carry every ounce of it and loves me enough to never suggest it is a burden. He bore every ounce of my sin on the Cross, so this is cake for Him.
Even as He carries mine, He’s got plenty of room left to take yours, too. It’s so freeing to hand them over. You can lift those empty hands to worship Him. Worship is never wasted and His work in your life is only good.