Thursday, October 22, 2009


For the last several years if you asked me what the Lord was teaching me right now, I would have said "Death to self". Man, that is some lengthy lesson! Except just lately, I'm finding that the key to the lesson (as to most, I would wager) is submission. Submission to the will of God and resting in His plan rather than fighting for "my way". Because, seriously, I've seen how my way works. Not so good.

If you asked me to clarify what I was learning in that massive topic of death to self, I would say that I am learning to do only what the Lord is calling me to, and nothing else. This looks like me with my nose in my journal making lists of the roles I know for certain that I am called to fill, and then making lists with question marks beside for the roles I could fill, but maybe am not really required to fill. For example: I'm married, so I'm clearly supposed to be a wife. I have kids, therefore, I'm called to be a mom. And so on. But then it gets hazy. I sing at church. Does that mean for certain that I'm to be a worship leader? Or I write. Does that mean for certain that I'm to be a writer?

And then the complicating factor to all this is that I want to really serve the Lord. You know, the missionary comes to church and your heart is quickened by the crazy-faith they are asked to live out. Or that guy at church starts some wild outreach that terrifies, yet excites, you and all you want to do is find something "Big For God" to do. And truthfully, being a "writer" seems bigger and more impressive somedays than being "chief dish and bottle washer".

Yes, well, having 7 children and homeschooling them is a big job to be sure. And I have been convinced for some time that the Lord builds his Kingdom through families as much as through overseas missions, for example. There are many ways to build the Kingdom and I am honoured to serve Him in this way.

But sometimes that little "Look at me! I want to be important too!" attitude rears its ugly head and I question the value of the mundane tasks of my role. And the questioning doesn't squelch my doing the mundane, but certainly the enthusiasm with which I do it.

I want to be Peter walking on water! I want to be Stephen stoned for his faith (well, a little less of that, actually). Then I read this:

"Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on water to go to Jesus, but he "followed Him at a distance" on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises -- human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through the drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God -- but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people -- and this is not learned in five minutes." (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 21)

This is confirmation to me that it is the slow-plodding and small beginnings of being faithful in little before you are trusted with much that builds the Kingdom. And what do I want? A big one time blast of "super-holy-change-the-world" faith? Or a life time of faithful, useful, life-changing (mine and others) faith? Clearly the latter.

And so I continue, changing diapers, making meals, inviting folks over, honouring my husband, loving my kids, serving in the church where needed, and watching to see the Lord make me, and those in my sphere of influence, more like Him. By His strength and for His glory. There is a way to serve at home with the same passion and commitment I would need if I were at the "end of the spear", so to speak. My prayer is that I would approach this Home Mission Field with just that zeal.

This is my marathon.


Joy said...

Wow. I am blown away by your transparency. Not that you haven't been transparent before, but this is great, Barbara. I love that quote. You have challenged me this morning. I'll form a stronger reaction as the day goes on, but this has encouraged me and made me think. Thanks for that. You are someone I look to and you shine Christ in everything you do. You may not feel it, but I see it. I'm sure I'm not the only one. LOVE you.

Erika said...

Wow. Thank you Barb-- I am encouraged to keep doing those mundane and important tasks. ...And I have to agree with Joy there. You are a woman I greatly admire. Your desire to serve and love Christ with all you've got and everything you do inspires me to be more wholehearted in loving what Jesus loves and hating what he loves. So thank you!

halfpint said...

Amen! That would equal 42 kilometers of dishes, diapers, laundry and dust rags. Better invest in a spiritual u-haul. Who better than Him?

Duct Tape Chronicles said...

Well said, Barbara. Those are very much the same questions and lists I have been making too.


Catherine said...

Love this, Barb. Thanks.