Monday, October 27, 2008

Poured Out

I'm being poured out and it isn't exactly comfortable, I must admit. As much as I want to be identified with my Savior in all aspects of His life, death and resurrection, sometimes I really wish we could skip this part.

It is a season of Servanthood, except this time I'm not frying donuts or stocking shelves or getting paid, for that matter. Everyone around me - my closest circle of family and friends - is in need. I am their only common denominator, the one who is being called to help over and over again. I hate to admit it, I'm tired. But I know through my selfless works, they may see Christ, so I continue on. You and I both know they need to see Christ.

I wonder how Christ did it. He walked from town to town, constantly followed by 12 men, who for the most part, didn't always "get it." In every town, more people flocked to Him, most of them needing something, some of them sitting back in judgment of Him. He had to feel drained. He had to want to disappear, didn't He?

My husband and I packed up five years of our life beginning in July to move to a new home. That was five years multiplied by four children's Christmas, birthday and Easter presents and all the junk in between. It was five years of "our" stuff. It was five years of Theatre Company costumes, sets, props, makeup and more. We sifted through it, packing up what we needed and dispersing what we didn't, and we did it all by ourselves. We had no one to help us. Through it all, we learned an important lesson - we're not as young and energetic as we used to be.

When we finally were "under one roof," we had to make a bedroom out of an unfinished attic space. What a creative adventure lay before us, but in the meantime, we had beds in the living room, boxes in the dining room and it seemed like it would be forever until we could get our house settled.

Then, on September 4th, tragedy struck. My grandparents' home of 30 years, including where my mother had lived for the past two years, burned to the ground. Of course we praised the Lord for the lives He spared because of a miracle of a matter of minutes. It was also a miracle my daughter Zoe was not there and I know angels were all around us that day. But my mother and grandparents lost everything. Four days later my grandmother found out she has degenerative disk disease. She now uses a lift chair and walks with a walker. Last week it was confirmed my grandfather who has Alzheimer's has an aorta which is almost completely blocked. A massive heart attack is imminent, but the doctors say it could be two months or two years, they don't know. As we sift through the ashes, literally and figuratively, more jobs are added to my plate. My first job is to go through 33+ pages of household contents for the insurance adjuster and place a value on each item or look it up. Can you say, "Ugh"? As my mother and grandparents struggle with the decision of where to live next - to rebuild or not to rebuild, I know in my heart I am already called to be one of their caretakers in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Ever since I moved in, my neighbor next door has been in need. She is an adult victim of child-abuse, and now a victim of domestic abuse. Her three children are wards of the court. Every day I either get a knock on my door or a ring on my phone. Every day, she needs something, anything. It doesn't matter what it is, I'm the only one who is there for her.

Two weeks ago, one of my best friends stopped by my house. She and her child needed a place to stay. They had no lights, no heat and no hot water in their house. Hotel Danielle was officially opened within a matter of minutes. I provided beds for both and hot meals and baths ever since. In a couple days, she will move into a new home. Then, Danielle's Moving Service (and I think Redecorating Service) will officially be open for business. Oh, and may I add, the next door neighbor is moving out, too. Guess who she called to help her???

Yes, I am being poured out. My husband is right here with me. We don't exactly know what God is doing through all of this, but we know He's doing something.

I can't help but stop and chuckle. A few years ago, had I been pulled in this many directions, I would have been ghost. I wouldn't answer my door or phone. I mean, sure, I've always been a servant, but not to this many people all at the same time.

I stop again and think of Our God. He has the concerns of the world being prayed in His ears. The people who need Him far outnumber the little group I'm serving. And I praise the Lord because when we need something He is never "ghost". He is ever-present. He always listens. He never leaves and never forsakes. I stand in awe, and am so glad to have learned, of His amazing Love for me.

Today's email scripture from "My Utmost For His Highest" states:

As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. John 20:21

"A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in work for God is behind, not before. The tendency today is to put the inspiration ahead, to sweep everything in front of us and bring it all out to our conception of success. In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, the Lord Jesus. The ideal is to be true to Him, to carry out His enterprises.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and His point of view is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God's call is effaced by the needs of the people until human sympathy absolutely overwhelms the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind falters and fails. We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ - 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.'

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God the tendency is to say - What wonderfully astute wisdom they had! How perfectly they understood all God wanted! The astute mind behind is the Mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God's wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God."

I am not wise or astute. I am quite the opposite. Although I have not disappeared from the needs of my fellow man, I have done my share of complaining. But I can see His hand now. I can see His work. Throughout my exhaustion, I continue to serve and bite my tongue, giving Him more thanks for equipping me more than I turn to whining.

My house is still unfinished. I have two more rooms of boxes and bags to go through. In the meantime, my washer died. I also wanted to get the landscaping done before winter sets in. But that's probably not going to happen and yet, all of this doesn't matter any more.

I thank the Lord for the chance to be used. I thank the Lord because He chose someone like me. I thank the Lord, for although I've let Him down time and time again, He continues to mold me and shape me, purify and refine me. He's given me a ministry to reach those who now stand where I once stood. It isn't comfy cozy - there's a lot of sacrifice, exhaustion and no paybacks. There's a lot of going deep inside myself and revealing stuff I would never choose to share. There's a pouring out - there's no other way to explain it. I give and give and give of myself - as did our Lord, and I know you've been there, too.

But isn't this what we are called to be? Missionaries to the world? We are to be Christ-like. We are to have compassion. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I may never go to Africa or Honduras or anywhere overseas for that matter, in the name of missions. I went to the Navajo reservation once in New Mexico and Arizona. But my mission field is right here, right now, next door, in my home, for my family, for my friends. We can never stop being Christ to those in need.

Friday, October 10, 2008

All the way my Savior leads me...

There's nothing to write and nothing to say that says it better than this right now.

From my favorite Christian Artist of all time, Rich Mullins.

All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His faithful mercies,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Ere by faith in Him to dwell
For I know whate'er fall me
Jesus doeth all things well
All of the way my Savior leads me
And He cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me strength for every trial
And He feeds me with the living bread
And though my weary steps may falter
And my soul a-thirst may be
Gushing from a rock before me
Though a spirit joy I see
And all the way my Savior leads me
Oh, the fullness of His love
Perfect rest in me is promised
In my Father's house above
When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings it's flight through the realms of the day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way