Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I choose to be uncomfortable.

I am comfortable.  I look around at my home and the things I own and the food we eat- there is really nothing I need.  Oh sure- there are things that I want, things I desire…. But nothing I really need.  I would venture to say this is true of so many of us- especially in the church here in the United States.  We drink our overpriced lattes; complain about long lines at the supermarket, service at a restaurant not being as good as what we paid for. When we get uncomfortable at church or it no longer “meets my needs” we find a new one.  

Tragedy in our world strikes my face book feed when a famous comedian/actor commits suicide. 
As I have sat the past few days looking over how my face book feed has blown up by the death of a famous person none of us knew but most have enjoyed watching I am stricken by disparity of the world we live in and the comfort ability of our nation.  Very few people acknowledge the 500 people killed (women and children buried alive) in Iraq because they have different religious beliefs than the majority.  People have fled their homes to the mountains (if they were able) and those who were not have stayed and died.  Those people are not comfortable.

Over 400 innocent children have died in the past month in Palestine because of a war in Gaza.  I understand the side Israel takes- and I understand that with Terrorists there are no rules.  But 400 lives of innocent children are 400 lives to many to pay the price of “peace.”  This touches close to home because we sponsor a 5 year old boy who lives in West Jerusalem/Gaza.  We have prayed for him for the past month not knowing if he’s alive or how his family is surviving.  My kids ask, “Are they still at war?  Why are they still at war?”  I have no answers.

Then there’s the Ebola outbreak and crisis in Africa with the most people dying from this outbreak than any other.  There’s the crisis in Ukraine.  Here at home I counseled a woman last week who was on the verge of being homeless with nowhere to turn.

Yet- here I sit from the comfort on my home, drinking my coffee, sad because a comedic icon is dead.  I am reminded of a story I heard once of a father and son walking on the beach.  The beach was scattered with jelly fish and as they walked the father picked up a jelly fish and threw it back into the ocean.  He kept going picking up jellyfish and throwing them back into the ocean.  The son asked, “Why are you doing that?  There are too many, you can’t help them all.  In the realm of things it doesn’t matter.”  The father replied as he picked up another jelly fish and threw it back into the waves, “It mattered to that one.”

You see I don’t want to be comfortable.  I can’t do anything about the Ebola Virus, the religious genocide in Iraq, the crisis in Ukraine, the children dying in Palestine.  But I can refuse to be comfortable.  I can keep in fervent prayer for our world that desperately needs peace, hope, joy and freedom.  The answer lies only in Jesus Christ.  I can choose to remember and spread the word.  I can decide to change my perspective and instead of mourning a famous person, my heart grieves for the loss of life all around the world.  My heart grieves for my sponsored child in Palestine and the things he has experienced and seen in his short little life.
I can’t fix the world- but I can start serving God here where I am.  I can get up from my lazy comfortable surroundings and be uncomfortable at church serving kids.  I just read a story of a woman who gave up lattes for a year so she could sponsor a child overseas.  I can quit whining about the things I want but don’t have- knowing full well how blessed I truly am. 

When I look at the world it all seems so hopeless.  I can get bogged down by the massive amount of work to be done and in so doing stop doing anything and just be comfortable.  But- you see- one life matters.  Here at home, in Iraq, Ukraine, parts of Africa.  What I do matters to Kinan a five year old living in war torn Gaza.  I choose to be uncomfortable so that people may know Christ and experience freedom, hope, love and joy.  Will you?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week of Hope 2014

We just got back home from a service trip with our teens from Crossroad Community Church.  It was a great time. Our leaders had the privilege of leading 8 youth to begin a relationship with Christ- 7 of them from our own church.  Remarkable!

God moves in so many ways- many of which we have no idea how.  I'll admit I wasn't happy Sunday night when we received our "crew" assignments.  I was in charge of 4 teens- none of them from our youth group.  The conversation in my head went something like this.

Me: What?  God, are you serious?  I don't know any of these kids.  I just moved to IN 6 months ago and am getting to know "our" kids and now you give me 4 complete strangers?  What are you doing to me?

God:  I put them with you for a reason.

Me:  Ok... ok.  You know what's best. (mumble mumble grumble grumble)

I still don't know all the reasons why my crew was put together the way it was.  Maybe it was because a couple of the shy girls needed someone loud and obnoxious (who, me?) as their group leader.  Maybe it was because I was able to lead one of my crew's best friend in the beginning of a new relationship with Christ as their Savior.  Whatever the reason- I had a blast hanging out with 4 kids from 3 different states.  It was great to encourage them to be grateful for the things we have and to "serve with a smile."  We had great conversations about the fact that while the Christian walk may be hard and things happen we may not understand- that it's worth the cost.  In the end- while harder- it's so much sweeter to walk with Jesus than to walk alone.

I'm excited about the new found faith at least 8 teens began last week.  I'm excited to see how God transforms their lives.  Often, I feel at awe that I get to be a part of all that.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Failures as a Mom

Mother's day is just around the corner.  As a mom- I am a failure.

Failure #1- We moved during the middle of a school year.  Everyone knows the best time to move is in the summer time, right?  There's nothing like pulling a first grader out of school just when he's gotten the hang of going to school all day or pulling a pre-k student out when she finally knows the names of the kids in her class.  But- when God says "Move!"  You do it.... or Biblical history tells us you get swallowed up by a big

Failure #2- My kid is below average on the kindergartner entrance exam.  Never mind that we've never had to take an exam like this before.  Never mind that Indiana would want my 5 year old to know body parts like "jaw", "heel" and "ankle."  Who knew those would be of utmost importance.  We've been working on things like being nice to friends.

Failure #3- The missed pick up.  You get a call from the school (before the move) reminding you that it's early release day and your child has now been sitting in the office for 20 mins waiting for you.  You get a call from the new school (after the move) reminding you that it's early release day and the child has now been sitting in the office for 20 mins waiting for you.  Why can't all schools operate on the same early release schedule?  Just pick a day and stay with it!

Failure #4- We missed Awana Awards last night because we had youth group going on at the same time.  Usually we have another couple helping but they were on vacation.  So the choice was to leave my husband by himself in a room full of Jr High students to see my kids get their awards- or be his backup.  Luckily for us "Ma Bride" was able to go and see the kids awards.  Sometimes no matter what you desire to do- responsibilities are in conflict.

I could continue on all the ways I have failed my kids.  I'm sure if we all thought about it we would all have a long list if we're honest with ourselves.

I had a great chat the other day with a friend of mine who doesn't have kids.  She feels like there's a lot of "stuff" she needs to deal with before having them.  I told her- there's always a lot of "stuff" to deal with.  For me and my husbands we thought we had dealt with sin issues like anger and patience.  We thought we had them under control- and then we had kids.

Raising kids is a tough job.  Raising them in the world of ministry is often unpredictable and hard.  Which is why so many PK (pastor's kids) and MK (missionary kids) end up rebelling.  Often it's hard to balance what people "need" me now.  Our kids always need us.  Our kids are the ones we'll have the longest.  They are the ones who will have the chance to see how we deal with life not just when we're out in the limelight- but how we are at home.

When I say I'm a failure- I mean it.  I fail every single day at being the parent my kids need and deserve.  I make mistakes.  I'm not a well person leading other well people.  I'm a sick person teaching others the need of a healer.  And the healer is not me.

You see there's immense freedom when I finally realize I'm a failure.  There's freedom because I know who the real parent is.  I know that their real Father wont ever desert them and wont ever fail them.  He's there with them at school- I'm not.  He's there with them when they make friends (good or bad)- I can't always be.  He's there with them when they make their choices.  He's the parent I will never ever be.

My job is to teach my kids about their incredible Father who loves them.  My job is to help them develop into the man or woman God created them to be.  My job is to point them to Christ.  They are my first ministry.  They are my first disciples.  I will fail in my own power.  I will fail at loving them unconditionally 100% of the time.  But where I fail- I know God will succeed.