Friday, February 17, 2012

Faithfully serving God WHEREVER He calls

I have had a burning desire to write since early this afternoon, but... life intervened. I had duties and obligations to fulfill, and then a "Jane Austen" date night.

Now it is 11 pm, and still I can't shake the thoughts that have been running through my head today. I'm not going to sleep until I get them out, so I might as well take a stab at stringing together a cohesive sentence or two after such a busy afternoon and evening.

My morning was actually quiet. I spent some time reading, praying, cleaning house, and just "relaxing." During that time, I took a phone call from a friend who shared snippets from a book she has been reading. This book is written by a young woman who is living the life that I always thought I would be living... She is living in Africa, caring for 14 orphans, and by her life and service, she is preaching Christ to those around her. She sounds like an amazing gal, and her life seems to be exactly what I had always envisioned. Here is just a snippet from the book...

"I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.

Jesus called His followers to be a lot of things, but I have yet to find where He warned us to be safe. We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His hands."

Those of you who know me know that my battle has never been an unwillingness to GO, but rather being willing to STAY. After hearing about this girl this morning, my heart once again rebelled. "God, You know that I would have been happy to stay in Benin, in Haiti, in Cameroon... and yet You brought me back here. God, I want to serve You in some foreign land. WHY do you keep bringing me back here? Spartanburg... God, there are SOOO many people who have NO desire to serve You on the foreign field. Why won't You let me go?"

As I was praying about this, and just thinking about what God has done in my life, a new post on Facebook caught my eye. One of my friends had shared a blogpost... "We need 'boring' Christians" What?!?! Now this I had to read...

It starts like this...
We all long for a radical calling, but monotony can be its own mission.

Scripture calls us into radical service—but that does not allow
others to eviscerate tedious, less “spiritually” glamorous tasks of their meaning in God’s Kingdom. Scripture also calls us to embrace the mundane and ordinary as holy and beautiful: “... aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

Many of us want to do something awesome, something epic. We tend
to think that the more normal, the less “spiritual.” So it is quite possible that our aspirations to be radical stem from dangerous ambitions to perform biography-worthy feats of global glory.

Following Jesus is not to be romanticized through impressive
Facebook status updates or photos of exotic places on our blog. Discipleship is often ugly, messy and painful. Faithful service will regularly lead us into dull labors and bewildering struggles that would make unexciting press.

“What ever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
Remember how Jesus calls us to faithfulness in the small things (Matthew 25:14-30).

Aching for yonder shores and longingly scanning the distant horizon
may well be God’s call on our lives. But it also may be our impatience with the monotonous minutiae of the daily grind. Escapism is not fulfilling the great commission.

Regardless of our location, abroad or at home, all ministry is
inescapably local. Every worker in a global context must embrace the monotonous minutiae of a new daily grind after the plane lands"

Andrew Byers, God's Word, Our Words and the World.

Wow, oh wow!!! Was this ever what I needed. God has called me... He has given me a work that I LOVE, a job that is truly ministry, and service. He has allowed me to work with people at a time in their life when they are VERY vulnerable and open. I am a midwife... I deliver babies. The very first baby I ever delivered was in '96. Her parents named her Amy. They were rough "bikers." I maintained contact with them, and 3 months after the birth of their baby girl, I heard that they had accepted Christ. When I went back to their home to visit them, they were two VERY different people. When I asked them what had brought them to the point of accepting Christ, this is what they had to say. "When we were only responsible for ourselves, we were willing to take the risk that there might truly BE a heaven and hell, and we were willing to ignore it in exchange for living the life that we wanted to live. When we had brought a soul into the world, and were responsible for that child, and teaching it truth, all of a sudden we wanted to know the truth, so that we wouldn't lead her astray."

God has CALLED me to be His servant, and to serve Him faithfully where He has placed me.
I Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

He has given me a love of people, a practice that is my own (therefor allowing me to share Christ unencumbered by the "restraints" that might be put on me in any other workplace) and a practice that includes spending hours with each mom, doing medical stuff, but also "listening" (Lots and lots of listening) and counseling. I have the opportunity to be Christ's hands... serving these women at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

God expects me to be faithful where He has placed me. My ministry IS Spartanburg, SC. My ministry is Labors of Love. God has called me to be a "boring Christian," to serve Him faithfully, not glamorously... but faithfully, right here at home.

Another ministry that God has placed on my heart stems from the struggles that I shared in my first blog post. It is SOOO easy for singles who are struggling with depression, loneliness, addiction, whatever to just kind of "disappear" in the crowd at church. Those of us who live alone don't have anyone to be "strong" when we are down. I learned during that time of trial that the times that I "didn't feel like going to church" were the times that I needed it the most. When I was feeling down and lonely, I could easily "justify" staying home. I didn't have someone in the house saying, "No... we NEED to go. Come on." I found myself just "disappearing" falling through the cracks at church with no accountability. Because of that time, I have made several commitments to God. 1) I will be in church unless I am delivering a baby, or sick. 2) I will do everything that I can to let those around me know that they are loved, that they are missed when they aren't there, and that there is SOMEONE who will notice and care enough to check in with them.

I'm thankful for the lessons that God taught me today. I'm thankful for the reminder that He expects me to serve faithfully right where He has placed me. So... until GOD moves me on, I can be found serving in Spartanburg, SC... at Labors of Love Birth Center, and First Baptist of Spartanburg. And... serving joyfully... knowing that I am right where God wants me to be.

1 comment:

  1. I was married when God put me on the boring Christian path. I was completely convinced that being boring meant I was useless. He used 2 Corinthians 4 to bring me around to understanding that the routines of life with my family were no less HIS ministry than being active within the confines of my church walls.

    It is a hard lesson for some of us to learn.