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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If you teach a man to fish....

Opportunities knock.

To be in a unique place, time or relationship.

The most unexpected of blessings.   You weren't looking for it, asking for it or even thinking about it....and then there it is.   Out of nowhere, you are over the moon crazy about it.  You are willing to fight and sacrifice all while being totally baffled at how instant it was.   It changes you see the world.

A random encounter last May at a wedding brought something completely off my radar and put it right in my face.  It was a God of those instances where He grips your heart and you cannot even conceive of not acting on the request.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that I'd be in the place I am right now.

Its a girl.

We have adopted her right into our hearts and love her like crazy.
Okay she isn't a girl.  She's a full grown woman.  A beautiful, 27 year old, blue eyed, sassy creation that loves the Lord and people in a way I've never encountered and she blows my mind every time she talks.

We adopted a missionary.

I didn't realize it all those months ago.  It's a small thing to do, I thought.  We agreed to be a regular supporter while she was in New Zealand for her second season, this time in leadership.  Working through YWAM first in a school setting then co-leading a group out into the mission field.

"Missionary." It always had this untouchable, strange, Mother Theresa vibe about it.....people who dressed funny and went out into the jungle and tried to bring Jesus to people who probably couldn't understand them.  It was a totally foreign, alien concept.  Probably because I really didn't think about it much....didn't really make time to even listen.

Now, my eyes are opened and I'm learning.  The phrase "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."  It just keeps coming to me.  She is raising up missionaries in a missionary my ignorant nutshell of a description.  How beautiful is that?  One pebble tossed into the lake creates ripples but toss a handful of pebbles in and watch how far those ripples reach.

I never expected how profoundly it would effect  How it would expand our view of love...  How God's power would be on display.  How deeply touched my heart would be or how many tears I'd shed for this....near stranger that was becoming like a child to me.   Birthed into my heart.  How much God would expand my understanding of how He works.....across space and time and that He would choose to speak comfort and love to someone on the other side of the world.  Something I thought was so small....was revealed to be much bigger than I ever anticipated.

It's been humbling, confusing and amazing all at once.

She's being called to go again.  This time she has a mere 6 weeks to raise the funds for a full year.   There's a travel visa to purchase, plane ticket, a new backpack to live out of on I had no idea were needed.

I want to introduce you to her.
Our little missionary child....Mandi.
Prayerfully consider if the Lord may want you to help support her too.  I could not be more proud of her, who she is, her heart for the Lord or the way she loves people with every cell in her being.

This is a young woman who will change nations, one heart at a time.

Blessings to you of abundance, grace and a cup that overflows.
the Mrs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Out of the muck.

Analysis paralysis.

A good friend asked the Facebook world if they have those moments when everything gets so overwhelming that you just freeze because you have no idea where to start.  One of the comments named the moment: Analysis paralysis.   Quite clever, accurate really.

The timing was interesting as just the day before I was having one of those days.  The world felt heavy.  I was in my head, trying to keep a million plates spinning.  This typically results in an outward display of all my hard work is in my head and my body just can't follow that act.

I've experienced this a million times and typically the result has been me wallowing in the muck. My nature is to nurture and sometimes I can get a little lost in the needs of those around me.  Wallowing in the muck only produces more muck in my attitude.   I would go to this place of self pity.  A "Where am I in all this?  Look at all the good that I do! What about ME!" place.  Its ugly and worldly.  A "lookit me" display of epic proportions, danced out in my head with interpretive ribbon dances and wildly cheering fans (generally they are all me as well).  Interpretive dance....frankly, it makes me laugh inappropriately.   It's ridiculous.  Somehow, the Lord gets in there and grabs my face, pulling my attention away from myself just long enough that I can snap out of the prideful haze I've created.
This time, I changed the game.  This time I chose to look at it from another angle.  This time I felt myself slipping into the muck and said No.  Not this time.  Instead I took time to stop and feel overwhelmed and then ask myself why, what was so big?  I started to talk with the Lord about what I was feeling and the extensive list in my head.......some were tasks, some were people in general that were weighing on my heart, some were upcoming events and things needed to plan for, frustration at playing calendar cop and getting nowhere, Christmas shopping, people asking for help or guidance, people placed on my heart to intercede for, Mr studying like crazy for the next test and then leaving for a week of training, gifts to make, regular household duties and cooking.....there was sooo much going on in my head!

First, I needed it out of my head.  I pulled out a notebook and laid it on my desk with a pen.  At the top I wrote "Write it down - THEN sort it out".   I moved though the next few hours of general tasks just thinking, talking with the Lord about everything and as something was brought to mind, on the list it went.  Slowly the overwhelming feeling started to release.  As it did, I started to become aware that I was overwhelmed because I was trying to be in charge of it all.  I was trying to keep all the plates spinning by myself.  Instead.....I should have taken the plates down and put them in His hands to hold....the only safe, unbreakable place.

My perspective started to shift.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed I started to feel incredibly blessed.....overwhelmingly blessed.  Instead of feeling self important, I felt blessed am I that people trust me with their heart, count on me for guidance, stability and support?  People have confidence in me and feel safe to be vulnerable with me, trusting that I will comfort them and remind them of His Truth in their life.  ......suddenly, instead of feeling prideful and puffed up......I became keenly aware of how utterly insufficient I am apart from Him.  There is nothing I can do for any of them without Him.  A whole new kind of "overwhelmed" came over me.  Suddenly, it all looked different.

It was still a full page of "stuff" to figure out.  There are still a lot of tasks to try and manage.  The "stuff" didn't change, but how I see it did.  Did the heaviness disappear instantly?  No.  It got a lot lighter and still is.....but that's because I'm still loosening my grip on it.  Still translating inside what I'm trying to keep control of, what my job actually is.

Reminding myself that its not about me.  Even when I want it to be.  I'm just a tool.  Time to clear the muck out of the conduit, ensure the lines are clear so there's no more interference.

"Peace I leave you; My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."   ~ John 14:27

Blessings for clear lines, clear perspective and only blessings that are overwhelming.
the Mrs.