Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Is My Greatest Testimony for Christ?

I'll begin by saying I don't know that I have the answer to this question. But it's been on my mind recently. As ladies in the ministry we often struggle with nagging thoughts.

"Am I doing enough?"

"Am I being selfish by focusing so much on my family?"

"Am I too consumed with the ministry and forgetting my family?"

"Does what I do at home really matter?"

"Does it matter to anyone besides those who live under my roof?"

"What should my priorities be?"

"Should I feel guilty for choosing different priorities than other ladies?"

"Does what I do please the Lord?"

 

As you can see I obviously have long conversations with myself:) Tell me I'm not the only one...please:) I think we all struggle with these thoughts and the devil riding our shoulder. Through certain circumstances recently the Lord really has been working at opening my eyes to my greatest ministry and my greatest effectiveness. I think it would be such a benefit if we could be truly, wholly convinced of this. With true confidence the weight of guilt is lifted and you have the freedom to completely give yourself to the task at hand.

We have all heard that our children are our greatest ministry. We have all nodded our heads and went, "blah, blah, blah....but when do I really do something great? When do I do something that can be seen? When do I do something that makes me feel like I've accomplished something for Chrsit?"

Even if we do love and embrace our role as mother and wife and aren't driven to lead the ministry the devil sneaks in to discourage and frustrate us. He sneaks close and whispers in our ear, "Why don't you do the things you used to?" "Why aren't you doing what that lady is doing?" "Why is your life so wrapped up in your kids?" "People need you, you should give more!" The stab of guilt runs deep and we begin to bleed remorse and regret and connive ways to fix our station.

So many lies swirl around when The Devil speaks and they sound so good!

"Should we love souls?"

"Should we invest in others?"

"Should we be a witness?"

"Should we give our all to raise our children?"

"Should we do anything possible to walk along side our husband and meet every need we can?"

 

The answer to all of these is Yes. But what is the path to accomplish them? Must we be at the church everyday? Must We personally be the mentor and guidance counselor to every female and child in our church? Must we visit ladies for hours every week? Must we teach every class and play the piano? All while running a household, schooling our children, loving our husband, cooking the meals, cleaning the house, organizing the masses?

From how I see it I say No. Is there anything wrong with doing all of those things if it is right for your family and all the needs are met? No. But I would say generally that isn't how it works out and if it does it is a wave of time that changes. I feel like I have been though multiple major changes of my balance of ministry/family in the short time we have been married. Every stage of life is different and with it comes an equally different ministry opportunity. God moves us and grows us and we can't cling desperately to the check list of ministry opportunities we once held. We as ladies love stability. We love feeling we are accomplishing something meaningful and worth while and if ever feel we are truly doing that we may cling desperately to any change that threatens that. But God sees the future and knows the necessary steps we must take to get there. I think all of the previous questions ARE important to Christ. However, I believe they can be accomplished in a much simpler, beautiful way.

Prayer and Obedience

This what God has been opening my eyes to.

#1 Prayer. We all know we should. We all know it's good. We've all heard it's necessary. But sadly I assume we have all been guilty of putting it on the bottom of our priority list as we fight to SERVE in the battlefield and not the prayer closet. Prayer is something I can always do. No matter what stage of life I'm in. No matter how few churchy opportunities I'm allotted. I can always pray. When I feel like a failure as a parent, I can pray. When I feel like a disappointment as a pastor/missionary wife I can pray. When I feel disconnected from the people due to the ministry God has given me PRAYER can bind our hearts again. When the heaviness of the temptations and struggles that weigh on our husbands weighs so much you think you might break, I can pray. When you see a lady or child or man struggling and you want to do more you can pray. I should always be willing to put feet to my prayer but not in defiance to my calling and God given ministry. Being your husbands helpmeet and your child's parent and a witness and example for the saviour can co-exist. You don't do less for someone by choosing to pray instead of go if God has told you to stay. You only do a disservice if you refuse to go when God tells you and God will never tell us to do something that will hurt another ministry he has given us.

#2 Mothering is mentoring. This is another area God has been opening my eyes. First of all of course, mothering is mentoring our own children. And what an important irreplaceable role that is. No one in the world can do it but you.

In the country where we live it is very common for women to go abroad and leave their children with any relative who will keep them. No one thinks twice about it. But you watch that child with the relative they are staying with and something is definitely missing. They don't have that vital role of a mother who is willing to discipline and completely pour their life into the child. Even in a pagan place where parents definition of love and attention can vary greatly to scripture, having their own mother present can many times still be the best choice.

I also recently read a short story about Albert Einstein. One of the smartest men to ever live. Come to find out was expelled from school for being unable to learn. They told his mother to not bring him back. She in turn told her son the school says they don't have good enough teachers to help someone who is so gifted. So instead she taught him at home and under her guidance and great support he blossomed into a world renown scientist. Nothing can replace a mother who believes in their child and takes the time to invest in them. Who doesn't wish for public fame or allow the devil to beat them up over the lack of it.

But here is the clincher, not only is motherhood mentoring our own children but it is mentoring anyone you come in contact with. You may think what?! Here is what drew me to this conclusion.

Recently, I noticed something in our church. It is small and relatively insignificant but I found it astonishing. Their is a certain area of modesty that is an issue where we live. In every church you will most likely see many saved ladies who don't understand or choose not to do it. It is one of those cultural issues foreigners struggle to help them learn. We have a time of teaching about it but we haven't really had many people in our church that it applies to until recently. A young visitor lady came. A relative of a man in our church. These boys and man have never been taught on this are of modesty but one thing they have seen is they have seen me model it in our church. It is pretty noticeable that I do it, being so drastically different than the culture as a whole. (It is not something that is simply culture that we wish to Americanize, it is an area of biblical modesty.). So as this lady came I watched as her relatives kindly and gently helped her with this area of modesty. Absolutely no shame was inflicted or derision. It was all done very lovingly. This was my lightbulb moment. Who taught them that, April? You did! Not because I'm great. Not because I'm a wonderful teacher. Not because I taught a lesson on it. Not because I took her aside and taught and mentored her. But because I simply lived the life of a mother trying to follow Christ. I don't say that to boast. I say it because in generally we feel that it is such a small task. One that is important to our children's lives and that is the end. That we sacrifice any other ministry we could possess to care for the menial one we have been given. When in fact when we embrace our role and do it well we actually accomplish both. Our life is able to teach what and accomplish what we could never do with our words. Only God could make such a perfect plan.

Yes, we must still make time for people. Yes, we must take the time to invest and share the gospel and the teaching we know. But I am starting to believe I haven't sacrificed the greater ministry for the necessary BUT in doing the greatest necessary ministry my ministry through prayer is farther reaching and more effective than pursuing my own sincere intentions. The woman who have affected my life the greatest are woman who not only embraced their role as mother and wife and did it superbly but they also took the moment God allowed and shared that wisdom with me and prayed for me. If you leave off one or the other your effectiveness is greatly diminished.

So let us bite our tongue and hush that old devil when he comes to our hearts door with lies and discouragement. Help us to never say I wish for more than JUST raising my children. Help us to never diminish the greatest ministry has given us. I won't claim authority in this but I hope it helps some the way it is helping me. Other ladies I would sure love to hear any advice or experiences that would be encouraging.

 

4 comments:

  1. Thank you, April. This post was timely for me as I have also struggled with this. It was such an encouragement to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad:) We ladies have to keep each other encouraged, yah:)

      Delete
  2. Years ago I came across this encouraging poem:
    "I asked the Lord, What shall I do?
    And my love flowed warm and free.
    Then He pointed out a tiny spot
    And said, " Tend that for me."
    I quickly replied, "Oh no, not that...
    Why no one would ever see.
    No matter how well my work was done,
    Not that little place for me."
    The word He spoke, it was not stern,
    He answered me tenderly,
    "Ah, little one, search that heart of thine,
    Are you working for them or me?
    Nazareth was a little place, and so was Galilee."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet words, sweet babies, sweet life :)

      Delete

Thanks so much for enjoying the third world journey with me. I always enjoy kind and uplifting comments!