I’ve mentioned earlier in this series that God has not granted us a ministry full of women for me to work with. In fact, this past Saturday we had a great attendance, but of the 45 people that showed up for service 2 were little girls and 3 were women. I guess I had these expectations because we had been told so many times that most often in overseas ministry, women are the ones who are faithful to church. In our little church plant, we have not found that to be true. I praise God for all the men God has brought into our ministry and for the young guys my husband is able to train — but where are all the women at?!?
I see other ladies in ministry who don’t have to look too far to find young women to work with in ministry. Selfies of coffee and open Bibles as they study together make me self-conscious of my lack-luster ladies’ ministry. I am about to finish discipleship lessons with the young lady I have been working with, and we are looking for someone else to study with. One girl we talked to said she has no interest in studying the Bible. The other mysteriously stopped answering my calls. I plan to continue working with this girl. She has grown so much, but I still long to see our influence grow as we grow together in the word of God. I know it will happen some day, but while I’m waiting it is hard to “stay in my lane” and not doubt what God will do.
Rather than envy my sisters in ministry that have at hand what I long for, I can rejoice with them in what God is doing and encourage them in faithfulness. The Bible teaches that we are one body in Christ (Romans 12:4). We all have our specific service to do and our parts to play in the great work of God. While my piece of the puzzle may feel small when held up against what another holds, the truth is it really is all in His hands.
God calls me to faithfulness with what I’ve been given right now — no matter whether it fits my idea of all it should be. As I remain faithful with what I’m given and cheer on my sisters in their respective ministries, we can all rejoice together in the mysterious work of God. What a wonder that He uses each one of us in our little corners of the world and our small spheres of influence to accomplish His mission in the world!
God gives different gifts. He grants unique graces to each one of us. He gives some thriving ministries and others fledgling flocks that need constant tending. But He gives all of us Himself, and in Him we have relationship with one another. May I always be found faithful in my little work while encouraging my fellow kingdom workers in their own service to Him.
We can rejoice together right now in what we see God doing. but just think of all we can praise God for when we reach our eternal home. We will see all the pieces of the puzzle perfectly pieced together and praise Him together forevermore.
I “make” God big in my life when I remain faithful in the work He he has given me to do while also supporting and encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ in their service to the Lord.
How can you encouraging a brother or sister in their ministry today?
I’m not sure what I thought would happen when we moved to the mission field or stated a church. I guess all the talking about big dreaming and doing great things had wrapped up my soul in delusions and fantasies. When reality hit that life here is just like life anywhere else — work, struggle, joy, and pain — I felt a nagging sense of disillusionment. Wasn’t I supposed to feel more on fire for God than ever before? Shouldn’t we be well on our way to building a ministry that will knock our supporters’ socks off? Life looked more like mundane faithfulness as we gave ourselves to a language that didn’t seem to stick, trained toddlers who seemed allergic to obedience, and made a life in what felt like an unlivable place at the time.
I may have had expectations about our beginnings on the field. I may not have anticipated the growing pains and the disappointment that were waiting here to greet me in Arrivals next to tourists who would have their fun and go home. But God didn’t have expectations of me — because He knows me. He knew what I would face and how I would handle it, and it did not shock Him. He knew it would take me way too long to understand the things He was teaching me, but He would remain patient in His teaching.
What I didn’t realize then is that God was — and is — interested first in capturing my heart. Personal and ministry growth will happen as I give myself back to God in passionate pursuit of His heart. Once I realize truly how much He loves me and how much He desires my true devotion, it is my great joy and honor to throw all I’ve got at His holy feet.
These days, I am more involved in seeking the heart of Jesus than I have ever been in my life. This doesn’t mean I am not concerned with the things of life like serving my family, keeping a home, and participating in ministry. But it does mean that I do all those things differently. I do them considering first that I am loved and accepted as I am. Remembering that I am engaged in a thrilling romance with a partner who can’t be displeased. My heart is wholly captured, and my purest and truest response is to serve from the deepest places that love fills.
I’ll never be disappointed or disillusioned by my intimacy with Christ. Life and ministry will have their joyous victories and their crushing defeats, but Jesus plays only one note. He just plain loves me. Before cross-cultural commitments, ministry engagements, or family mission statements, He wants my heart.
I finally know Him well enough to gladly give it to Him.
I “make” God big in my life when I first seek His heart and a relationship with Him before trying to change the world for Him. He really just wants my heart!
What has drawn your heart away from seeking Christ?
As we went to bed last night, we looked outside to see why it seemed so much brighter in our room than usual. Little did we know — it was a full moon! As we peered outside for a few lingering moments, we could see that there was a small crowd gathered around the Hindu temple that lies just outside of our gate. Candles added to the glow of the night, and we marveled at how common yet still strange of an occurrence this seemed to us.
We spend a few moments talking about how odd it is that so much of life here seems normal to us. We had just walked by that temple an hour earlier with our kids on our nightly walk. There was no one there at the time. It is just a feature of our neighborhood now. It is only during heavy holiday seasons where the bells ring constantly and the fires burn all night that I take much thought. This thing that is so common to me must seem so exotic or strange to anyone else that lives in the location they’ve always called home. And I totally get that. I do try to pray each time I pass this place of worship, and we take the opportunity to share the Gospel with our children again when they acquire about that place is for.
Because this feels like home to me now. Shopping at the local market instead of a large grocer is normal and mundane. Watching my selected cut of chicken get chopped before my very eyes is commonplace. Tip-toeing around potholes, muddy puddles, and street-dog droppings while I walk my son to school is every day life. Words exchanged between neighbors from rooftop to rooftop is just a thing that happens sometimes.
Common, yet significant
The significance of all of it doesn’t strike me often. Yet, in my heart I know that God has brought us to this specific place to live this common life. Though it doesn’t feel exotic anymore, I know it is special. I have confidence that God is working through the common, everyday things to mold me for His service. He will use chit-chat that bores and the fixtures of our surroundings to change me and glorify Himself. When I think this way, this common life of mine doesn’t seem so ordinary anymore.
God uniquely works in each of His children’s lives. He shapes us into who we are and places us where we need to be. In His infinite wisdom, He reigns over even the most common parts of our days. There is nothing common about the mysterious ways He works through the events of our lives for His ultimate glory.
No matter how normal it all becomes to me over the years, none of it really is. King Jesus makes all things glorious.
I “make” God big in my life when I choose to see Him working through the commonness of my days. He delights in my recognition of the miracles He works in my mundane life.
In what common places do you see God uniquely working?
I’m taking a break from #Write31Days this evening, but I have a new post that went live on the Velvet Ashes blog today. I think it’s a message many of us need to hear whether we are living and serving overseas or honoring the Lord daily in our hometowns.
When it comes to contentment, I so desperately need GOD’s help to guard my mind and my heart. I need Him to help me say “no” to the things that aren’t necessarily bad but aren’t good for me either. I can’t peacefully live the quiet life He has called me to without fully resting in His provision.
I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope you will poke around the VA page for a while. It has been a huge blessing to me. I’m currently leading a Connection Group, and I would recommend joining one to any lady serving overseas in any capacity.
Contentment is Counter-Cultural
I’m getting pretty fed up with Instagram lately. I chose to make my account private so I have to approve all follow requests. I would estimate that around 80% of my requests are phony. Generally, they are fitness gurus who want me on their team changing my lifestyle — oh, and selling stuff. If it’s not them, it’s got to be some hipster blogger who certainly has no interest in my account of life in Nepal but has every intention of influencing me to boost my lifestyle to boost her bottom line.
Discontentment sells. It sells in America. It sells in my host-country of Nepal, and it sells all over the world. Our hearts are fragile, and we are easily influenced. “Get a better body in 8 weeks,” or “Transform your home with 1 can of paint” — no matter the tagline, the message is the same: your life and the person behind your social media feed is not acceptable as is. I fall for it just about every time. Discontentment fuels economies and fills bank accounts, but it does nothing for the soul…
My days start and end with little things. In the middle are a bunch more little things. I have choices to make to serve God faithfully despite what may be the disappointing details of a monotonous day. My husband may call me and ask me to do something I have no interest in doing in order to help him or our ministry. The phone may ring with a needy friend on the other side who needs more than a few minutes of my time again. I may get a message from my son’s school that I need to bring him another pair of underoos because this potty-training thing is so much harder than we all thought it would be. I’m on the other side of the world. Before coming here, it felt like such a big mission. Now, in the daily-grind, it can feel so small.
Revisiting Little Things from 2015
In 2015, I wrote a post called Faithfulness in Little Things. It’s funny now how some of those things seem like big things. Faithfulness in attending language school every day has allowed me to share the Gospel, teach groups of women, and disciple young ladies in my second language. Spending time daily with the Lord each day has grown my faith in Him and my understanding of the Gospel. Loving and encourage my husband through learning a language and planting a church has allowed him to remain faithful to the Lord and his work here and helped our marriage to flourish.
The Little Things of 2018 and Beyond
It seems that missionaries often get praised for their “sacrifice” to follow the Lord to foreign lands with Gospel dreams in their hearts. But faithfulness to the call is not the be-all and end-all to a life lived for Christ. We are called to faithfulness in all aspects of our lives from the most mundane tasks to extreme acts of faith. The truth is, my days are made up of little things. The big thing of moving my family to the mission field was just the beginning. Now, my life is made up of children’s school schedules, homework, dinner-prep, and connecting with local people for a few minutes at a time. There are some moments that feel like “real ministry. Other moments seem counterproductive to what I think I ought to be doing.
Faithfulness today makes fruitfulness tomorrow. Little today means a little more tomorrow. God sees my struggle to be faithful in the little things. He will show up in big ways to help me stay the course. Loving babies and laundering clothes may not feel like holy work, but it can be. May the little acts of faith and patient endurance in my life add up to the things dreams are made of. I pray the Lord smiles on my little heaps of faithfulness as He bestows on me greater opportunities to stretch my faith. I desire to serve Him in bigger ways, but He may only ever require an endless string of little things. I pray I will be faithful in that, too.
From start to finish, and all the moments in between, I want to be faithful in all the little things. I trust that when I look back a few years from now just like I did today, I will see that they were actually pretty big.