Thursday, February 24, 2011
"It's ok. This is just the season of life that you're in."
Every mother of young children has heard it. It comes from friends, family members, encouraging older ladies who've been exactly where we are and survived it! I've said it to myself and to others. There is some wisdom in it. And for years I took great comfort in that simple phrase. But....
A couple of years ago I was in a conversation with a dear friend. I'll never forget it. We were sitting in my car talking and I was explaining to her this feeling of restlessness that I couldn't shake. I felt like there was something else I was supposed to be doing. Something more. I couldn't put my finger on it, but whatever it was, I was pretty sure it didn't jive with my ever comforting "just the season of life you're in" mentality. See, I had used that phrase to justify my tendency to ignore everything that didn't have to do with my little family. I thought that surely God nor man could expect me to do one more thing! Because, see, I have these 3 kids. I teach them at home. I feed them 3 meals a day. I clean up after 3 meals a day. I discipline them. I do their laundry. I wipe their bottoms. I potty train them. I bathe them. I kiss their boo boos. I clean the toilets (which is no small task when you're potty training them) and mop the floors. I do the grocery shopping and the soccer shuttling. We seem to move like every two weeks. I have a husband to think about. An awesome husband who does campus ministry, is working on his Masters, and doesn't know how to not be involved in 10 projects at one time :). What else could you expect of me in "this season"? Then, sitting there in my car, I was hit with this question - "But for what?"
Let me just stop right here and say I am not suggesting that any of the activities I mentioned are anything less than valuable, necessary, consuming, indispensible acts of love. But the question I began to wrestle with that night was about FRUIT. I saw the next 200 years flash before my eyes and this is what I saw. I saw my kids growing up, having children, and doing a great job loving and taking care of those children. Then I saw my grandchildren growing up, having children, and doing a great job taking care of those children. Then I saw my great-grandchildren growing up, having children, and doing a great job taking care of those children. Awesome, right? But for what? Because while I do want that to be a part of my legacy, I couldn't see anyway that it was going to make the world a better place. I didn't really see that Christ was going to be magnified through my legacy if that was to be the whole of it.
I began to ask myself how my children would grow up to be radical, compassionate, Christ following world changers if I waited until they were grown and gone to start radically following him myself? And wasn't that my greatest desire for them? To be Christ followers who had a radical impact on the world around them? Greater than my desire for them to be well educated, well dressed, well fed, well churched people living in a orderly home and successfully reproducing that very thing in their own adult lives?
Needless to say, this answer in the form of more questions did nothing to cure my restlessness. It only magnified it. I was now urgently determined to figure out what more God was calling me to. This was no small task considering the reality of my "season" of life had not changed. But while the season had not changed, the question had. God was urging me to stop asking the hopeless question, "What in the world can I do while in this season of life?" and begin asking the life changing question, "What can I do for the world while in this season of life?" I knew that whatever I did, it would have to include my 3 little ducklings. I knew that Duane felt confident in his calling to Campus Ministry, so we weren't relocating to Africa just yet. I had the responsibilty of teaching my kids on a daily basis. Going to the grocery felt like climbing Mt. Everest. Many days I never even made it out of my pajamas.
So, what's a MOM to do? It was a tough question....with such a simple answer.
God said....You be a mom. You be a mom not only to the three children I graciously gave you through birth, but you also step out and be a mom to the child who was abandoned by his frightened mother and will never have a family if you don't share yours. That's My child, and that's something you can do in this season. You can fix one more lunch. You can wipe one more bottom. You can kiss one more child's boo boos. And you can do it all while still in your pajamas. And you know that stable, loving, Christ centered family I've blessed you with? Would you consider leaving your big, safe house on the cul-de-sac to plant that family in a place where you can bring stability and Christ to people who desperately need both? It won't be easy, but it is something you can do in this season of life. Yes, raise these children I've placed in your care. Do it well. But don't wait until they're grown to begin truly following Me. Find a way to "look after orphans and widows" right now. Find a way to "proclaim good news to the poor" right now. Show them how to store up their treasure in heaven, not on earth. Let them see you feeding the poor, giving a drink to the thirsty, inviting in the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting the imprisoned. You will teach them to care for the least of these.... by caring for the least of these. You want them to be Christ followers? Show them what it means to follow Him. Show them now that the path of Christ is rarely the path of ease. You want them to be radical world changers? Get radical and start changing the world while they're watching. And when you think you just can't do one. more. thing..... remember that If I call you to it, I will equip you for it.
Yes, Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Yes, there are a great deal of things that I simply cannot do in this season of life. But may I never forget that following Christ is not a seasonal activity. He would never place me in a "season" that rendered me incapable of bringing glory to Him through my life.
This is the season of life that I'm in - the season where every step that I take to follow Him is multiplied by 3, soon to be 4, times. If ever my faith needs to be lived out radically.... it's right now. They are watching. They are learning. It's just the season of life that I'm in.
Monday, February 21, 2011
"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.................Was Jesus not an extremist for love: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.'............. So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be? Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime - the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.............. all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows............... The contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are. But the judgement of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust."
~Martin Luther King Jr.
~Martin Luther King Jr.