Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Dusting Lesson

Last week I was busily trying to get the house dusted.  All dusters of homes know that it is a never ending process.  But I love when I am doing the mundane and God shows me something new.   That is exactly what He did.

As I carefully moved each item I began to think about how much stuff we collect.  Just loads of stuff.  We fill our rooms, closets, attics and garages and when they will hold no more we pay for a storage unit.  Have you ever wondered how much the stuff in your storage unit actually cost once you pay to store it monthly?  As I get older, I hate clutter more and more.  God continually reminds me that we are to lay up our treasures in Heaven and not on earth.  So no, I am not terribly sentimental.  I know that just seems wrong. I am sentimental toward people but do not transfer that value to possessions.

So I continued to dust thinking "I will do this all again next week" and the next and the next and the next.  Then I realized that taking care of so many possessions is being a poor steward of what God has entrusted me with. Clearly not making good financial choices is poor stewardship but what about spending my time to care for all the things. The things cost a lot more than the price the store charges.  They keep me from taking time to be the hands and feet!

How many times has there been something worthwhile to do but I just didn't have time? Was it because I had loads of clothes to wash, a big house to clean, lots of possessions to organize or to dust? How many times could I have been used to make a real difference in someone's life (maybe even an eternal one) but I was too busy taking care of our stuff.

So the Lord convicted me where I stood, dust cloth in hand.  Now I need to practice what has been revealed. Next time there something I would just love to purchase, I hope I will consider the full cost. How much will it cost of my time, talents and resources? It just might not be worth the eternal cost!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Life Interrupted

That is truly what it is.  We lay down our best plans and say to God we are willing.  It is hard, painful even. Our clean neat pretty packaged lives look more chaotic than we ever dreamed we would allow. Our churches look different when we openly invite the troubled, hurt, impoverished and suspicious to join us.  Our families look different when we open our arms to the least of these. But are we willing?

We are currently in the process of licensing for foster parenting. Not the first time, as we did this years ago with the intention of adopting. This time it is much less self serving. This time it is truly because God has moved mountains (selfish desires, plans, etc). We are down to one child being at home full-time and in the world's economy it is time to relax. After all. . . our laundry piles have dwindled to being crazy small, cooking, cleaning, having quiet times, spending one-on-one times, going and coming as we please, and oh it is so much cheaper to have a meal out. These are just a few things that are so nice right now. And yet. . . the Lord called.

He whispered in our ear over weeks of time. He beckoned us. But one day it seemed louder. I said, "We are too old". He said, "you are breathing". I said, "but it is too hard". He said, "I love them and they have no home."  What more needed to be said. From that day on I knew what needed to be done but feared greatly that my husband never would consider it.  He likes writing on the wall (LOL) and practical. But I was wrong and I greatly underestimated him.  The first time I asked, he said "I have been thinking about it too." Wow, God is incredible! It blew me away. We still talked and prayed for a while but I knew. The instant my husband answered that way. . .I knew.  God would have us do it! And why not? His Word commands us over 50 times to take care of the orphans.

So we began the process.  Our worker came out to meet with us and gave us a huge pile of paperwork. Honestly, it looked daunting.  During the process, more than once I have felt it is just too much and there are many other ways to help. But God keeps reminding me that they are His and He loves them as much as He loves me.  He sets the lonely in families. He reminds me of our boys and how hurt and broken they were. A good Christian foster home makes such a difference.

So we plug forward.  The paperwork we got through quickly.  It was best that way. Then you don't spend too much time thinking of all the very personal details you must share.  Done! But each other step takes time as you wait on various people to do their part.  I keep thinking, Why are we waiting when some child may desperately  need to be in a home during the Holidays. But God is sovereign! He is in control! So I rest in Him!  He sets the lonely in families.  And yes, I still at times think that the Holidays will be much easier and more peaceful with our family as is.

But would it be best? Is an uninterrupted life where we find joy? I think mostly not.  It is those very situations we would not have chosen for ourselves that prove to be the most meaningful.  It is when we go out of our way to do something we wouldn't ordinarily do or we are put in a difficult situation and see the Lord's hand.  Life interrupted is most often (in my estimation) where God paints the most amazing experiences into our lives. We see Him most clearly then! So this morning, once again, I laid the fears of moving ahead and the aggravation that we would need to wait at the Lord's feet. Such mixed up feelings. :)

This morning, I also had an opportunity to watch a video from a local church. It was remarkable. They get it!  They have an incredible vision for what God would call a church to do in the face approximately 1,000 orphans in our states foster care system and a great shortage of foster homes. Please watch.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Love. . .

I write this post at risk that some dear sweet friends are going to think that I write about them every time we spend time together.  But they are so inspirational.  The thing is that I don't even think they know how amazing they are.  They just do life. . .loving out-loud their Savior.

So through the night I was thinking (yes I know I should have been sleeping) about all the little snippets of conversation and what makes spending time with them so special.  By morning, the Lord in His great mercy and grace showed me.  They really get it! They understand more about Jesus than any lay person I have ever known.  They don't speak Christian-ease or rush around doing church work.  They definitely serve at church but they serve with their lives.  They live so much like our Savior would if He walked earth in the flesh today.  It leveled me with humility. It made me re-evaluate the way I think and what I do.

Do my actions, motives and words show my love for the Savior? I want to guard those more closely but how?  And then I wept before the throne. For only He can change those things.

When I choose how to spend my time, talents and resources. . .who does it serve? What difference does it make? Is it the way Jesus would spend them? Am I willing to do the hard stuff to really serve Him and the least of these? Or do I do the easier stuff? I especially see this with my passion for orphan ministry (my friend showed me this). It is easier to try to motivate others to help than get dirty in the trenches myself. But my friend, well she is like Jesus telling the children to come to her.  She is their shelter even when she is dead tired herself,  She and her husband awaken the love that was nearly forever lost in these children.  The love that their fragile little hearts had almost decided to be a myth.  Because of these sweet lovers of Christ Jesus, these children know love and thus will be able to understand that God can love them too.  It is a clear reminder that working with orphans has eternal consequences.