Monday, October 29, 2007

Waking Up in the Mission Field

My husband and I have always talked about being missionaries one day. When we were in high school we had the opportunity to see one of the Mercy Ships. That night we talked about how one day we would be missionaries together. S's mom had always told him that she thought he was destined for such a thing. Fine with me. I was just excited he included me in those plans! Ah, young love.

We still bring up the subject now and then. We have put off thinking about the whole thing whenever I was pregnant. We have decided to wait until they were older. We have thought about short-term mission work we could do with the kids. We know missionaries. We know former missionaries. We know people who grew up in missionary families. It's still in our plans for one day in the future.

When we bought our first house 2 years into marriage, I dreamt of raising our family there. We did end up moving into a nicer and newer house when I was pregnant with Sweetheart. So, then I pictured having teenagers in that house. I pictured hanging their graduation pictures on the wall at that house. I pictured them coming home from college to that house. I was set. We had a house and we would raise our family and gather belongings and everything would be great and comfortable.

Flash forward 7 years and find me packing again to move into this slightly smaller, much older house. I could care less what our house is like as long as I can make it into a nice home for my family. After all, one day we may be living in a hut in Africa!!! And? I will make that hut a wonderful home for my family. Being a homemaker doesn't mean buying a house and living the American dream. Being a homemaker means I can make a home for my family no matter where we find ourselves.

In line with that kind of thinking, I worked hard to downsize our belongings when we moved here. We can't just live and keep collecting stuff that we have to move and pack and take care of the rest of our lives! We need to be ready to serve the Lord. How can we be ready to go do His will if we are tied down to a house and stuff and debt, etc? Good thoughts. (In fact I think after living here 1 year it is time to de-clutter again!) I am absolutely convinced that going to do God's will is going to be an exciting time in our lives!

But what about when God says, "Stay"?

So we find ourselves in a mission field right now. Where we live, where we work, where we attend church---we are being called to serve. Right now. It isn't foreign. It isn't all that exotic. It isn't far away. Can this really be missionary work?

But we find ourselves in a position where we know some people who go to church but are not disciples. Some people who have heard the name of the Lord, but whose lives have not been changed or transformed. And some people that we would actually not choose to have our children spend time with. And in those respects, this is exactly like missionary work.

So my home....this home...for however long we live here, must be ready to serve the Lord. I must be ready to have people over. I must be ready to cook meals. I must be ready to share what we have. I must be ready for...things I cannot even imagine. I really can't.

Because I don't know what this "local missionary" thing looks like. But it sure feels nice to know we have the opportunity to serve the Lord RIGHT NOW and not sometime in the FUTURE. Instead of planning and dreaming of what might happen one day, we find ourselves here...right now.

May God use this family for His glory.

5 comments:

  1. Brenda, you're right. We can be missionaries right where we are. One of the things we do with our older kids is take them to serve at the local homeless shelter a few times a year with our church. Our church serves there once a month, but during the summer our church youth go there and serve the people, pray with them, and just take the time to talk to people who would otherwise feel invisible-with adult supervision of course! Your kids may be a little young for this right now, but we have seen our kids grow and change tremendously as a result of this outreach. They are much more grateful than most kids their age. Anyway, I'm sure given your heart's desire to serve your fellow man, the Lord will give you opportunities to do just that.

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  2. wow--powerful message. i have often wrestled with the way the Lord has told me to "stay" when all i want to is "go", but i must be faithful in the little things first. and who knows, i may always be a missionary here in the US ...

    thank you for this wonderful post.gail

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  3. "But it sure feels nice to know we have the opportunity to serve the Lord RIGHT NOW and not sometime in the FUTURE. Instead of planning and dreaming of what might happen one day, we find ourselves here...right now."

    I need to print this out. How much more good would be done if people stopped dreaming of a garden of roses and concentrated instead on what can be done *right now*?

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  4. from the inside outOctober 30, 2007 at 9:08 PM

    I so relate to that. My husband got us a bedroom suite for our 6th anniversary. I am thankful but secretly saddened, we never thought we would still be here! We kept living minimally not allowing our roots to settle in too deep. I like that finally I have something other than plastic drawers to live out of but I see it at one more thing we will have to sell at the yard sale! (for much less than what we paid!) I do know the longing to go to does keep me from enjoying the now. My friend thinks I am trying reverse pyschology with God by saying, "Look God, my house is fully furnished, I am content let, so can we go now...?" (Like that would really work? ~ He's GOD!)

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  5. I feel like I just read my life! Have a great day!

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I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)