The Lie I’ve Believed about my Little Life [Day 3: BELIEVE]

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.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

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?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

The #1 Way to Deal with Nosy Neighbors

Five Minute Friday: NEIGHBOR

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Nosy neighbors. We’ve all had ’em. We had an especially nosy neighbor in the first colony we lived in here in Kathmandu. I would see her in the morning and she would say, “I saw you had pizza for dinner last night. How was that?” Her roof, where she did laundry and bathed, looked right into our dining room. We learned to shut our curtains at dinner time or we would have an audience. I’m sure it was pretty entertaining with my picky eater toddler and throw-everything baby and the two of us trying to converse in our second language with our tutor over a plate of American food he was trying to get down with a smile.

What I have learned after experiencing several of these types of situations is this — Neighbors don’t have to be nosy if you share your life with them. Sit with them. Drink tea/coffee with them. Talk about kids and school and work and life. Inviting them to church or sharing the gospel should not come out of the clear blue; it can ‐ and should! ‐ be a natural outflow of life lived in close proximity. In this close proximity, if our friends and neighbors are not hearing about Jesus and being invited into our relationship with Him, a heart examination may be in order. Our love for Jesus should be clear and contagious to those we spend our time with.

When the Taube family shares our life, we don’t have to be “the foreigner TV” show anymore. They’re learning plenty from our regular interactions, and we are enjoying our peace and privacy in our home.

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Encouraged and Empowered by Hospitality

We had planned a quiet day at home: fallen leaves swirling around the backyard we shared, our daughter playing on a borrowed swing set. We would leave this home soon. I cherished another day looking out French doors across the vast green where chickens and barefoot toddlers roamed wild, but Thanksgiving Day in this fashion just seemed wrong. Visa decisions and an international move loomed as we prayerfully anticipated our son’s upcoming birth, trying also not to relive the day we met his brother whose home was made in heaven.

We joined our church family to lift words of spontaneous praise to the Giver of all good gifts. My hand swooped across my belly as I relished the swishing that indicated a child thriving within. Dark clouds had been dominating the light of joy which made brief, infrequent shifts in the daily climate. Grieved over this storm I hadn’t chosen to weather, I silently asked forgiveness and begged for peace. Certainly, these are among God’s greatest gifts.

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Minutes later, a mom of nine, with whom I’d previously only shared pregnancy horrors and birth stories, approached me, and said, “We would like to have your family over for Thanksgiving dinner. “ She proposed this so matter-of-factly like her house wasn’t full enough and she didn’t have a sufficient amount of work to do.

Shocked and relieved, I scribbled down her number, promising to call her after discussing the plan with my husband. But what was there to discuss? We had a clear calendar, an empty fridge, and restless souls.

I entered her home round belly first and toddler on my hip. I wish this memory included me bringing along some tasty treat to add to the spread. We had little to offer aside from ourselves, broken and weary as we were.

No one seemed surprised that we were there which says much about our holiday host. She embraced me with butter-covered hands, pulling me against an apron adorned with flour. Her hair was plastered to her brow, evidence of the labor of the day. I basked in the beautiful glow communicating a persisting joy I hadn’t possessed in quite some time.

There was a sense of belonging in this place which was more like the set of a sitcom throwback than a modern monument to perfected homemaking. I waddled over to a well-loved La-Z-Boy and settled to watch football while the oldest siblings took my eager toddler to bounce around a super-sized trampoline. I exhaled my worries and breathed in the enticing aromas of the equally sizable supper to come..

We feasted on fresh-baked rolls, sweet potato casserole, and new-found friendship. We savored the sweetness of spoken memories and a family founded in Christ. We ate until we were full, and we wasted the day away in the comforting silence of satisfaction punctuated by stories, laughs, and the occasional temper tantrum of a tired two year old.

It seemed, the forecast within my weary ministry/momma heart was changing. I sensed sunlight peeking through the clouds. And with it, a realization: I had vowed to carry my light to the edges of this earth but had allowed the fierce winds of sorrow to blow it out. How could I shine for Christ in the darkest of places when I carried a flameless candle in my own home? I pondered these things while I walked around the track at the park in attempt to prod my son out of my protruding belly. My induction attempts were unsuccessful, but the change in thinking as I walked ’round and ’round were well worth the waddling.

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Our home grew to include ten tiny toes a few days after this life-giving holiday celebration and the days of healing that followed. Our daughter stayed at our new friends’ home, jumped on the trampoline all day, and went to sleep in a room full of giggling girls.

I can never repay her for what she unknowingly did for me those days, how she awakened my weary soul to see all that there truly was to be thankful for. I can, however, extend grace born out of gratitude for the sacrifice made to make us daughters of God. This gratitude moves me across the world with my little light in a depth of darkness that makes my knees knock together, begging God for added souls to our spiritual family.

Kindness blew away the swirling storm and replaced it with sunshine in my soul. I was encouraged and empowered, ready to share the warmth of this kind of genuine love for the Lord and for the least of these —like me— around the world. I take lessons learned from beautiful friends like this one, open my heart and prop wide my front door to the hurting and whole alike. The forecast looks as promising as a Thanksgiving spread.

 

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Moments of Hope @ LoriSchumaker.com, Monday’s Musings @ What Joy is Mine, Glimpses Linkup @ Embracing Every Day, Literacy Musing Monday’s @ Mary-andering Creatively, Tuesday Talk @ Sweet Little Ones, RaRaLinkup @ Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story @ Jennifer Dukes Lee, Mommy Moments Blog Hop @ Life of Faith,

Celebrate a Special Far-Away Friend with a “Birthday in a Box” [Women Behind the Scenes]

A birthday on the field can be a lonely time for an MK. She may remember her family and the fun celebrations they used to have back home. She may think about her favorite restaurant where she used to spend her birthdays or all the things she might receive if they were on American soil where they have all. the. things. Memories of birthdays past with special friends emerge with a longing to spend a day like those she’s spent before.

My daughter was young when we moved to the field, and the first birthday she had here was her fourth. Even at such a small age, she remembered her past birthday parties with her family. She wondered out loud if this birthday would be any fun. We included our friends here and had a small celebration a few days before, but when her actual birthday rolled around we didn’t have much planned…

Grandparents to the rescue!

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Continue reading this sweet story at Women Behind the Scenes and you’ll find a little tutorial to help you love someone special from far away, too!

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!