Friday, October 23, 2015

The Ministry of Being You

Tonight we celebrate my younger brother returning from his 6 month long Appalachian Trail adventure. Dinah and I made a couple lasagnas and later we'll meet up with my siblings and parents to welcome him home the way we know best - at a noisy over-sized family dinner.

Tomorrow, I'm watching the small kids of a friend of mine while she goes for a doctor's appointment. Her husband is out of the country and her pregnancy has taken a sudden high risk turn (prayers very much appreciated). My husband's family is coming into town for the weekend.

This morning, standing in the middle of our mess, trying to cook, homeschool, keep littles alive, I felt it coming over me. That creepy crawly feeling of stress tiptoeing it's way up my spine, ready to clamp down around my head in a tension headache as I tried to juggle all-the-things. "Uh oh," I thought. "Here it comes..."

God hasn't given me the ministry of perfect homemaking. At least, not today. It's not my job to point people to Jesus through my spotless home or superior decorating skills (and those of you who have been to my house can certainly attest to that). God has given me the ministry of loving people just as I am. Not as someone else. He's also given me seven children, a heart for young Mamas in a bind, a passion for service and a little house from which to run this whole shebang.

Can I accept that maybe He knows what He's doing? That if my company shows up and my house looks for all the world like I loved 9 children in it all day long, yes, even the ones who seem to think crayon art is an improvement upon my plain walls, can I accept that His work for me in that moment is still good?

See, I can get a little Martha-ish. I can miss the point completely and get all wrapped up in the fuss of busy that I fail to see what the real point of all of this. The truth is, I can't do it all. No one can. No amount of "leaning in" can make up for the fact that I've got finite time, a very human body with very normal needs and very full hands. Something's gotta give, and that's ok. The thing is, the one thing that shouldn't be neglected is the embracing of His peace over this life, these days, this ministry of imperfection.

If I gain a clean house but don't show love to my family, I failed. If I neglect the needs of the people around me to make space for my pride, I've gotten it wrong. If I try and force myself to fit into the ideals of others by pretending I'm something I'm not, I'm missing out on the opportunity of showing them how this God of ours works.

He works by taking all of us in all of our uniqueness and finding special ways for us to serve. In a world with such diversity, God showers us with His love by finding the right people for every task - and growing them into the work He has for them.

I feel like I keep learning these lessons over and over again, and I'll keep on learning them forever: The surest way to point others to Jesus is to show them how He has shown up in your life. Not in how it's so perfect that you don't need Him.

These hands are full, but they are full of souls each made with a purpose, a plan, a future. These days are full, but they are full of the work of love as service. This body is tired, but it's tired from caring and giving and living life to it's fullest - just not in the way the world envisions.

There is never any shame in following Jesus with your whole heart, whole soul, whole life. Even if it looks kind of like a mess to the outside observer.

My friend drops off her kids and I feel so blessed to be a place where people can come for help and know that I'm up for it. It's a good life.

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