Tag Archive for theology

Moms, You are the Difference Makers

Do you feel like your life counts and is making a difference? Does the fact that you are a young mom with kids at home make you feel side-lined?

A shot of hope: You’re making a beautiful difference right where you are.

Have you heard this prayer? It’s one of the most beautiful prayers of all time.

In it, St. Francis of Assisi speaks to the longing in our human hearts for noble service and difference-making a world so full of hate, prejudice, war, and hurt.

peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I gravitate toward difference makers and I want to spend time with people who are bettering the world around them.

I want my life to count and you do, too.

But we think everyone else is making a difference. Me? I’m here at home, doing my thing, making meals, schooling kids, changing diapers, tidying toys.

So who are the actual world changers? Are they the people who have a confederation named after them? A conference? Do they have a newsletter or blog? A nationally syndicated TV show?

St. Francis of Assisi gives us clues. At first glance, the prayer sounds like it’s for the lofty worldwide-peace-global movers and shakers.

But upon further examination, it’s small. It’s local, even right down under the roof of your own home.

It’s all about one-on-one human interaction, because isn’t our theology lived out in our human interactions?

So, who is nearest to you right now? That’s where you make the difference.

Moms, you can answer this prayer without ever leaving your house.

You can and will make a difference for the Kingdom of God by caring right where you are. 

Who needs your comfort? Your love? Your care? Who needs you to be a voice for justice in their lives? Who could use your encouragement? Who needs a meal? Who needs a listening ear?

My friend Joy is using her gifts alongside her husband in Uganda. It’s easy to admire here because she’s rocking babies on the other side of the world. But, what if you could make a difference here by rocking babies in a church nursery or by welcoming a younger mom into your home for refreshment and a needed break?

Why do we overlook the local, while glamorizing the distant and global?

Who is hiding deep hurt? Who doesn’t know where to go for help, like the son of this woman who lives a town over from me, who didn’t feel as though anyone cared, so he killed himself.

We are the difference makers if we’ll open our eyes and allow the Holy Spirit to  direct us. Christ through you. A conduit of hope and peace.

Yesterday, was a perfectly normal day, but I prayed that God would take my day and use it for the good of others and His glory, as I pray each morning.

The “others” came in the form of my kids first as I taught them. I checked cursive handwriting for neatness and served leftovers for lunch. I tidied the house.

I noticed an ambulance outside my window through the falling snow. It was my elderly neighbor in need of help. God prompted me to go out and stand with the son as he waited for his dad. “There’s nothing I can do,” I reasoned. “It’s snowing and I would just be in the way.” But the Holy Spirit prompted me to go out. So I did. I stood in the snow with my neighbors worried son, and told him we’d watch the house and pray. I have no idea how that helped, but I showed up.

We had kids over for some snowmobiling fun, came home, and ate dinner. An hour later we had 12 teen girls in for Winter Bible Study. We talked, laughed, and I served more food. I had a table full of women after the event, so we sat, ate, shared life, and prayed for the needs represented at the table. My college daughters want to chat late at night, so I did that.

Was my day remarkable? No. There was absolutely nothing radical in it.  But the Spirit prompted me to go and help and pray and serve and I did. That’s the radical part. 

We’re not living a soliloquy. It’s not all about our story. We are part of God’s bigger story, a Kingdom building story, and the radical part is showing up in the small.

 

Where are you today? What is God prompting you to do? Who can you serve? Chime in and tell me what He’s called you to today.

Our Theology, Exposed.

What we believe about God affects how we live. And how we live exposes exactly what we think about God.

We pride ourselves in correct theology: we know and say all the right things. But do we live out our beliefs? Or do our actions deny all that we have affirmed?

Proper theology is not just a matter of knowledge–it is a matter of the heart. A heart that is willing to embrace what scripture teaches, and then live as though the gospel is true. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”

When we sin we show that we really believe an improper theology– one that has a stunted view of God and a dwarfed view of his strength, his wisdom, his goodness and his abilities to handle our lives for our good. Proper theology enables us to believe that God is big enough, strong enough, wise enough and good enough to handle all of the ins and outs of our lives. We will respond by living in a way that glorifies and magnifies Him at all times.

Proper theology is lived out in the mundane of daily life. In the little moments of our day.

I have been blessed to have some real-life examples of women who lived out their theology in the mundane and hardship of every day life.

These women practice what they claim to believe:

  • My friend who prayed for years for children, but God did not give her any. Now she thanks God for giving her the ability to mother many needy children in the foster care system and has a heart for showing His love to these kids in crisis.
  • My sister Hannah and her husband Jonathan, who testified to the fact that God is good all of the time to the doctors in the NICU as their baby was on life support and eventually died. Their view of God’s sovereignty allowed Jonathan to sing “His Way Is Perfect” over the tiny white casket of his 3 month old daughter.
  • A friend who is in a difficult ministry where another ministry wife is bent on making her life miserable. She knows God put her in this difficult place with this difficult person for His glory and her good. She has taken on the “blessing for insult” mentality  towards this woman who is bitter, jealous and juvenile in return.  She knows that someday if this woman is truly saved, God will conform her to the image of His son and she will repent; if she is not saved, she hopes her kindness towards her will draw her to Christ.

I have also seen negative examples of this:

  • Women who despair and worry when things go wrong, or who  choose bitterness and retaliation when they are mistreated.
  • Women who manipulate to get what they want and think they deserve.
  • Women who are critical and demanding of others, yet soft on their own sin and shortcomings. They claim to know Christ and His love, yet deny Him by their actions and words which are disobedient and carnal.

If we were to play out your life on a screen for all to see, would we watch a woman who is trusting, resting and living out what she claims to believe about God and His sovereignty?

Or would we see a woman who is living with no fear of God, as if there is no God and no day of reckoning coming?

Trials do not make you what you are, they reveal what you really are…and in this case, reveal what you really believe.