Thursday, March 24, 2016

Almost Missed Ministry Opportunity

The boys were all out of the house at a men's ministry activity with our church--Paint Ball. It was just me and Sarah for the entire morning.  Sarah was looking forward to some girl time with mommy.   I, on the other hand, was thinking about a speaking engagement I had coming up a week later and the talk I needed to work on.  A whole Saturday morning free of the boys would be a great opportunity to practice my talk and spend time preparing.

Sarah's sweet smile and enthusiasm for spending time with her mommy won out.  Plus the day before, I had told her we could be together that morning and it didn't seem right to back out now.

We had pancakes, did a tea party with her stuffed animals, painted nails, and ended up in my bedroom talking while folding some laundry that had been waiting a couple of days to be put in drawers.

It was a lovely Spirit led morning.  Every moment seemed right.   My head had been fixed on doing what seemed pressing, but it was trumped by my heart beating to what was most important.

As I folded the two-day-old laundry, my nine-year-old daughter told me a story.  She told me how the Lord had been working in her life.  She shared about how she experienced the Lord in a new way at a prayer meeting and how the Lord freed her from a fear of what people thought about her hands being raised or her feet dancing as she worshiped.  She then asked me if I had a story to share about what Jesus has done in my life.  And so I left the laundry to wait a few minutes more and shared part of my story (at an age appropriate level) with her. At the end, she expressed how thankful she was to have a godly mom who loves Jesus. Wow.

And I almost missed it.  While sitting there with my sweet girl, I knew I was doing ministry.  Right there in my home, listening to my girl, folding laundry, painting nails, making pancakes--all ministry.

A week later I would be in a room full of women speaking, but I felt like the Lord was reminding me in that moment where my most important ministry truly is found.  It isn't found in a speaking engagement, writing a blog post, ministering on a retreat, or leading a Bible study (although all those are good!), it is found in the everyday activities, in my home, with my family, one on one with the people God places in my path.

That Saturday, the most important assignment the Lord had for me was ministering to my daughter....and I almost missed it.  How thankful I am that He didn't let me miss it!  

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John 3:16

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Blue Skies Above

Last weekend I had the privilege of going to Nebraska to be a part of a speaking team for the Refresh My Heart Women’s Conference put on by Lelia Chealey.  Nebraska y’all!!  What an incredible weekend! I met wonderful women from different parts of the country!  I was teased a little about bringing such a big suitcase for a short weekend.  However, I left with a heart fuller than my overstuffed suitcase and refreshed by my sweet all powerful God.

On the way to the conference I had been on two separate flights.  On one flight I had an aisle seat and the other I was squished between two largely proportioned men.  On the flight back, once again I found myself sandwiched between two men.  Trying to look past the man to my right to see through the window, I realized it was a mute mission and nestled myself into a book I had picked up at the conference.  The book was Every Little Thing, by Deidra Riggs (Which I love, by the way!).  

The plane landed in Chicago O’Hare Airport and we were instructed to remain on the flight if heading to Nashville.  Passengers going to Panama City, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Dallas fled the plane in order to rush across the airport to their adjoining flights.  I was able to remain.  I turned to the man at the window seat hopeful he might be leaving and asked, “Are you staying on the plane?”  He said he was getting off here and my heart leaped!  A window seat!  I will finally get a window seat!  He got up and as soon as he was in the aisle, I moved to his seat.  A window.  My heart was happy. 

It was a dreary day.  Rain poured from the sky as a watering can over a flowerbed.  People from across the globe boarded the plane and we ascended into the sky. 

Soon we were above the clouds.  It was breathtaking.  I looked down to see a blanket of white that appeared like snow-covered ground, bumpy and uneven with valleys and hills defining a beautiful landscape.  Then I raised my gaze and saw the blue sky.  Florida blue skies.  The kind that beg for you to soak in their glory and fullness of that clear deep blue. 

I use to say to my husband that all I want is blue skies—Florida blue skies--every day. 
However, the reality is that not every day has blue skies and certainly not Florida blue. 

Thirty minutes earlier, I had left the Chicago airport and it had been raining and the sky from my view on the ground was gray with charcoal colored clouds above.  Rainy.  Dreary. Wet. But now, in the air, there were nothing but white clouds below and blue skies above.  Perspective.

When we keep our eyes low focusing on only what we can see at ground level, it can sometimes be hard to see past the gray.  Rain comes. Life hurts.  And the pain can leave you drenched in dread, soaked and weighted down by the cares of this world.  It is easy to forget that above the clouds there are blue skies.  The blue skies are always there, crisp and clear and full of hope. 
I wrote this post from 25,000 feet up in the air in my journal.  On the front of my journal, it appropriately has part of a verse on it…

“Set your hearts on things above.” Col 3:1
The remainder of the verse says, “Not on things on the earth.”

Whatever you are going through today, I understand that your pain is real and from your view, it may appear very bleak.  But the Lord has a higher perspective.  His ways are higher than our ways.  From His view, He sees there are blue skies just beyond the charcoal colored clouds.  Keep on going in positive expectation that the rain will end, the clouds will clear, and the blue skies that have been there all along will eventually shine through.

It is easy to forget that above the clouds there are blue skies.  The blue skies are always there, crisp and clear and full of hope. 

“Set your heart of things above, not on things on the earth.” Col 3:2

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

 Father, I pray that when our skies look gray and bleak, that we would remember to keep our eyes on things above.  Help us Lord see things from your point of view.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.