It’s OK to Grow as You Go [day 17: grow]

I have fond memories of playing in the park while my brother was on the baseball diamond as a child. There was flower picking, gravel scooping, and begging mom for slushies. It was the magic childhood is made of — at least, that’s what it seems like looking back. Little friends would chat, and sometimes we would get past “what’s your name?” and “what is your favorite color?” No one had ever told me not to talk to other kids about Jesus, so I asked my playmates if they were saved like they had any idea what that meant. I barely did. I just had Jesus in my heart, and everything on my heart came out eventually.

As I got older, fear of not presenting Jesus perfectly or having something in my life that would block the effectual working of the Gospel kept me from exhibiting this type of boldness. I knew I didn’t know everything, and I thought, “If I share my faith, someone is going to ask me a question I can’t answer.” So I just didn’t. I started to hear things like, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” I began to think it was OK, as long as I didn’t live like the lost, to keep my mouth shut about the greatest gift ever given to me. I’ve come to find out I was wrong. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

I needed someone to tell me, “It’s OK to grow as you go.” I needed permission to share my faith without an undergrad in apologetics. I wish someone would have encouraged me to live faithfully as a Christian witness, speaking the truth in love while humbly admitting when I made mistakes. I would have benefited from a reminder that fear is a tool of the enemy which keeps me from fulfilling the will of God laid out in the Great Commission. Maybe someone did tell me, and I just wasn’t listening.

But now I know — when I celebrate small, I thank God that I don’t have all the answers. I find joy in the fact that I will never know everything about Him or truly understand the scale of what Has he has done for me. I relish each opportunity to share Him, and I trust Him to do a good work in spite of me. If I wait to live missionally until I’ve achieved spiritual giant status, I will miss out on great things God wants to do through my life. As I celebrate small, I praise Him for the understanding He gives along the way, and I trust He will polish my witness in his power while covering my flaws in His blood.

I think back and wonder how things would have been different had someone given me permission to be imperfect. I trust God was working even in my silence, but I think I think I’ll speak up from now on. I may have to pretend I’m still the brave little girl picking dandelions and spilling my heart to anyone who would listen.

What keeps you from living missionally?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Accepting Myself in Light of the Cross

“In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”
-JD Greear, The Gospel Prayer

I’ve accepted the gift of Christ, the payment for my sins on the Cross. Yet, day in and day out, I fail to accept myself — His reward for spilled blood. There’s this little thing in me that whispers I’m not good enough or I haven’t done enough. In short, though rarely uttered in quite this way, I’m not worthy. So, I try to prove myself with what I do for Him each day. Each day, I make mistakes, I drop the ball, I disappoint myself. I believe, too, that God must be disappointed in me. While I know I believe this in error, this thought sticks around and keeps me from fully resting in the finished work of the Cross.

I try to control the circumstances of my days to stack the deck for accomplishment or fulfillment. In all honesty, I’m not sure what I’m after because I’ve yet to attain it. There is only dissatisfaction in the hustle of trying to prove myself worthy. It is a futile attempt. I’m not, nor will I ever be, worthy of the work of the Cross. Even so, it has been completed already. It is finished. I am fully loved and completely accepted by the perfect risen Lord. I am covered by the blood of the Lamb. I am not validated by a check-marked to-do list because I have victory in Jesus. At least today –this morning or just this moment– I claim this victory.

The following comes from a post on my Facebook page:

The act of the Cross was a one-time act. Jesus said, “It is finished.” It is in the past. But that past act frees us from bondage to sin today. It frees us from pressure to perform, to earn, to please. The Love that bore our sin on the Cross burns as strong today, and the power that conquered the grave works in and through believers.

But, if we’re honest, sometimes the Cross seems far away. Sometimes, it may even seem a little impersonal. God forbid we believe this lie given to us by the world He died to save us from! The Cross was for you. It was for me. It is finished. We can rest. We are free.

Grace and peace for this day and every day.

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:3-4).

If I truly accept the truth of the gospel, I must accept myself as a child of God and heir to his righteousness. If I shame myself, I shame the Cross by saying it wasn’t enough. Rather, I must rest in the finished work, never trying to prove myself to Him. Walking in communion, He will lead me into good work for His glory. When it’s done, I’ll know he doesn’t love me more because of it since He can’t love me more than He already does. The sweetest part of the gospel is that’s just impossible. While I’ll never truly be worthy, I can walk worthy because I know whose I am.

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  (Colossians 1:10-12).

How have you learned to accept yourself in light of the Gospel?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

Linking up: Five Minute Friday

Stewardship of Speaking

Five Minute Friday: SPEAK

00:00

“You speak our language?” they ask in amazement. “I do,” I respond as humbly as I can despite how proud I am of myself and thankful I am to finally live in this reality.

And with this hard-fought-for ability comes a great responsibility. My words in any language have always had weight as I have spoken with believers and unbelievers alike. There is always an opportunity to speak truth and love, but there is equal opportunity to spew condescension or judgment. With all my heart, I hope to steward these opportunities wisely for the glory of God.

Such conversations often move quickly to the whys of our living here and what we are hoping to do. Question after question rolls out in my direction in effort to know more about me, but what I  really desire the person on the other end of the conversation to know about is JESUS. On the days I am feeling confident and not overly bogged down by the previous events of the day, I try to steer in that direction. I wish I did this each and every time because the result is generally sweet, something certainly to be savored. Occasionally, my sudden shift to spiritual things is not welcomed, and I sense this in sharp vocal tones and stiff body language. I thank God for the opportunity to speak of Him and trust Him to multiply the fraction of truth I have presented and build upon the fragile foundation I have created in simple words spoken in foreign tongue.

05:00

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Ephesians 6:19-20

That Time I Forgot about My #1 Goal in Life

I’ve got the Monday mom feels.

Daddy’s working late nights. My menu is half-planned and, what I’ve got written is certainly subject to change. I have a stubborn potty trainer and his sister who got her hair cut yesterday and wants her bangs “this way” (perfectly flat against her forehead). If I have to tell her to stop touching her hair one more time, you might find me with a crazed look in my eyes and my husband’s trimmer in my hands.

Meanwhile…

My guy works at the church, spending time with fellas he is training in ministry. In my mind, anyway, I think he is having a blast. And I’m just here watching who knows what number episode of Peppa Pig of the day while pretending to eat a plastic chicken drumstick for my son’s amusement. I’m not sitting here because my to-do list isn’t long enough to demand I do something useful; I just don’t know where to start. Running errands, lugging my 40 pound “baby” around the city in the summer heat doesn’t sound like a peaceful way to spend the day. Text hubby to say I might not make it to the market. I hope this pretend lunch will stick with me ’til dinner time.

Another day passes, and I’m left wondering, “What did I even do today?” I get dinner on my table for my family and the visiting interns. I’m happy to see my husband knee deep in his dreams of ministry, but I wonder if and when my time will come. It’s hard to glimpse the dream and grasp my place in it in the monotony of day to day life. I’ll pick up some materials for Sunday school this week and plan a lesson in my second language. If the stars align, I’ll have lunch with a friend. I’ll see the bottom of the laundry basket for a brief moment and wonder if this will be my greatest accomplishment this week. I sigh, disappointed and unfulfilled.

Then I remember the goal.

 

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3;7-8).

I wrote this 3 years ago on Women Behind the Scenes, so I guess you could say I’m still learning…

Not only am I to make Christ my end goal, but I am also to make all other goals, aspirations, desires, and all things of absolutely no importance to me in comparison to the best prize. The end goal of every day of my life and every decision that I make should reflect a heart that desires only one thing, the ultimate reward-the One who paid it all for me.

Keeping the goal in mind, I see God here, working in the mommy moments and there in the office with my husband and his tribe. I pray God is glorified and that our ministry be not hindered by my selfishness. Looking inward at my unhealthy desires and unmet needs keeps me from looking upward. Looking outward at all the things I need or that need to be done keeps me from looking upward. Looking upward keeps me from losing heart as I remember the goal.

Jesus is my reward for an undone to-do list and a heart given over to Him.

 

Momming Makes me a Better Minister of the Gospel

Five Minute Friday: MOM

I’m a wife. I’m a missionary. I’m an expat. I’m a language learner. I’m a home maker and round-the-clock short order cook. I’m a friend, sister, daughter managing long term relationships. Sometimes, I’m a writer, but I haven’t done much of that work lately. I play many roles and wear lots of hats. I juggle too many things and try to excel at all of them. But there’s one job, one role that seems to supersede the rest: MOM.

It’s certainly the most demanding. The work entailed by these other job titles ebbs and flows. Some days, that work doesn’t get done, and not much changes. But from the moment my eyes open to the time I FINALLY crash into bed, I do the work of “mom.” Mom gets juice and kisses boo-boos and doles out discipline when necessary. Mom helps with homework, ties shoes, and answers calls from the bottom of the stairs where a toddler is too tired to climb. There are days when I want to call in sick or take a mental health day but moms are not afforded that luxury.

Compared to some of my other duties, sometimes “momming” feels like lesser work. Potty training is certainly less glamorous than being at the forefront of a gospel revival. There’s a reason these things don’t get covered in our monthly prayer letter. But this calling, which sometimes appears to be a distraction from the greater work, is part of this great work. It’s the part that refines me the most. It’s the part that points out the dark places where sin resides and controls, morphing my best intentions into resentment embodied in half-hearted helpings of cereal for dinner. In both the mundane and mentally taxing moments of motherhood, Jesus teaches me about Himself. The more I know about Him, the more I can share of His goodness in my home and out and about.

IF we ever make it out.