Thursday, October 1, 2015

You are a Missionary

For years growing up, our church would have missionaries come in and speak to us about what they were doing in the mission field.  I always loved to hear what great things they were doing in far away countries.  To see the faces of the people they were reaching for the Lord was so very touching and motivating at the same time.  I always thought, would God call me?

Fast forward to when I was in the Navy stationed Spain, I began to see first hand what missionaries did for the Lord. Our pastor, Chris Parker was a missionary to the military in Spain and the work he and his family did greatly touched my heart.  We began to reach out on occasion to the local Spanish community.  On one particular occasion we filled backpacks with Spanish tracts and Spanish New Testaments and went to a local carnival to hand them out.  That night we gave out about 1000 tracts and at least 250 New Testaments.  At that point in my life I wondered if God was calling me in some way to be a missionary someplace, or to do missionary work somehow.  But the opportunity never materialized.

Then I met my husband.  He was NOT a missionary.  He was NOT a pastor.  And for what it's worth, that's not what I ever thought God had in store for me.  I never thought I would be a missionary or pastors wife so no surprise here.  My Jon, he's a regular guy with a regular job who has a severe love of all things fishing!!  Now, don't think I don't love him because OH HOW I DO LOVE THAT MAN!!!  God put us together and I am so very thankful.  God chose Jon to remove me from the Navy and plant me in South Carolina.

In 2001 I moved to South Carolina to begin my life as a wife and Mom.  In my mind I began to question what my mission field was and whether God would use me to do something great. 

In 2011 I began studying the book of Colossians with the Love God Greatly(LGG) ministry.  About two years later, I began to help the French translator with graphics and eventually  I started translating for the Love God Greatly ministry and thought, here we go!  THIS is my mission field.

Well, I don't know how many people our French translations are reaching and quite frankly I don't care if we only reach one, that is enough to make a difference.  I want to reach more but I have limitations and again I began to feel discouraged.  God, what is my mission field?  What is it that YOU want me to do?  I continued to translate but I just didn't know if that's where God wants me.

Last week, Angela Perritt from LGG brought in ladies from around the world to stay at her home and be ministered to, loved on, taught and equipped to reach the ladies of their country. This amazing experience really showed me that we are being equipped to serve our own countries....Except, as the French Translator, I AM NOT IN FRANCE!  Again, HOW DO I REACH MY MISSION FIELD????    WHAT IS MY MISSION FIELD?  I'm just a small town girl, living in a large world and just didn't see how I could reach my mission field.

Then she came.  Sally Clarkson of Whole Heart Ministries along with her beautiful and very wise-for-her-years daughter Joy came to Texas to speak to us and boy did they speak!  The thing that Sally said that spoke to me the most was that our greatest mission field is our families.


My greatest mission field is my family?  My children?  God are you kidding me?  You want me to do great things for you right?  You want me to reach the world right?  My family isn't big. We are small.

But no, Acts 1:8b says:

 and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The first place mentioned is Jerusalem; where they lived. THEN in Judaea and Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

My home is my Jerusalem. I am responsible first to my family.  I knew this already but I never looked at my family as my mission field.  But think about it.  God gave me a husband to love and cherish (and I do).  Then he gave me a step-daughter as a bonus and I love her so very much.  THEN he blessed my husband and I with a son.  God gave them to me.  He gave these precious people to me for me to love and serve.  He gave me children to teach about Him.  About HIS goodness, HIS mercy, HIS forgiveness, HIS grace.  My first mission field is my family.

Returning from the LGG Intensive, I have a new appreciation for where God has me. I have my mission field.  My Family!  But I am also called to Judaea, Samaria and uttermost part of the earth and I can reach them thru translating. Through serving.  But if I don't take care of my first mission field, then I am not honoring what God gave me FIRST. 

So go, take care of your family.  Disciple your children.  Make sure they know that God loves them.  Make sure they know that they can come to you if they need anything...even if it is a cup of tea and time with Mom and her candle (thank you Sally).  Because when they grow up, they need their Momma, but they also need a friend. They need a friend who understands them, loves them and will listen to them.  And who better than Momma?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Matters of the Heart

Today I noticed a friend had commented on a meme that I posted and seemingly denied Christ, and her faith.  I was in complete shock.  I had no clue that she had left the faith. That she no longer had the rich, deep faith that I knew in her two years ago. We had led a Bible study together.  We met a couple times when she came to vacation here. I love my friend.  But something happened. Gone was the girl who loved Jesus and a bitter, intolerant person was left in the wake.

It makes me sad. We discussed hot topics present in our society today and one of them was the Confederate flag. See, I live in South Carolina and understandably it is a hot button issue.  But you see, I never said I believed it should still fly.  Never said I was pro-slavery. But I won't judge people who lived 150 years ago for doing something that was legal in that time.  History is just that, history.  Frankly,  I was glad the flag came down. But I would not agree that it should be banned. You see, I'm logical. I'm a history buff.  I know that those who forget history or pretend it never existed are doomed to repeat it and the hatred and bigotry that is in this world isn't caused by a flag. It isn't caused by a rainbow.  It's not caused by a symbol of any kind.  It is caused by the heart.  That is where the seed of bitterness, anger, hatred and strife starts to grow.  It may be watered by outside influences but overall, it all starts in the heart.  All of the hatred and bigotry is a HEART MATTER.  Nothing more.  And if you can't heal the heart, you won't be able to heal the nation.

And that's what we have here in the good ole U. S. of A.  A heart problem.  Jesus tells us in the great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.  How can I show hatred to someone if I love them? How can I hate someone if I am following Christ's commands? I can't.

Pray for those that hate you and despitefully use you.  That my dear is tough. Having this conversation with my friend today was tough.  You see, I love her.  I don't hate her.  She's angry.  She's hurt.  She is having a rough time and I get that.  She's lashing out at those who have the faith she has left. I get that.  She even unfriended me on social media.  And although it hurts my heart, I'm okay with that because that's her right and her choice and she is the one who has to live with those choices.  God can heal all wounds.  But this isn't about me. This is about her.

What do I do now?  Nothing.  Frankly, she doesn't want to hear from me and the last thing I want to do is make her any more hurt or angry than she is now.  So I step back, hand it over to the Lord and let Him move.  Let HIM take care of the situation.  To my friend, I love you dear one. To all those out there battling and fighting the good fight, continue to show love.  Continue to show forgiveness. Continue to dig deep into the Word and discern what is right and good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered if  you are loved? Have you ever wondered if you are beautiful? Have you ever wondered if you are doing enough for those around you?

Well, I have.  ALL. THE. TIME.  I think as ladies, we all want to be called beautiful.  We all want to be loved. We all want to know that we are doing a good job being wife, mom, and whatever else goes along with those things.  But it's hard.

Sometimes we just need to hear that we are beautiful. Not from the world.  Who really cares what the world thinks? But from the people who mean something to us.  From our husbands. From our kids. From our friends....ok, maybe not really from our friends so much as from our husband and kids. I want to know that I'm doing good. I want to know that I matter. I want to know that I'm not a failure. I want to know that despite my best efforts that IT IS ENOUGH.

But what does God say about that?  Am I doing enough?  Outside of Christ, I can never do enough. Outside of Jesus, I'm a failure. But with God, I am beautiful.  In God's eyes, I am a princess. I am His child.  I am beautiful.  INSIDE.  I am trying my hardest to be obedient to Him and His calling.  Do I fail miserably?  In my eyes and the worlds eyes, yes I probably do.  But in God's eyes I am being obedient. I am doing what HE called me to do. Yes, I can do better, but He's not finished with me yet.

I know I can do more.  I know that I am in this constant feeling of "I need to do more" but I don't think that's what God wants. He wants to me to also find rest in HIS arms.  To know that I cannot do it all and that it is okay to say "no" sometimes.

We are instructed in 1 Peter 3:4-6  "but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

I'm to be holy.  I'm to let the adorning be a gentle and quiet spirit. Now before you say "no way could she be quiet" it doesn't say I'm to be quiet but I'm to have a gentle spirit.  Don't be harsh.  Temper my words with love and gentleness.  Show other's God's love.  That's the most important thing I can do.

So what can I do today to touch someone's life?  What kindness can I show?  How can I be beautiful in God's eyes? Men may fail but with God all things are possible.  I am to keep my eyes on HIM and keep my heart pure.