Monday, January 16, 2017

Never Underestimate a Mother's Reach

As a stay at home mom, sometimes I feel like my world is small.

I know I'm having a direct influence on the three little ones in my flock, but who else do I affect?

The four walls of my house seem to cut me off from the world, which sometimes feels like I am cut off from affecting God's kingdom in a big way. 

I don't think I'm alone in this struggle. Many women feel called to be moms, but also feel called to live a life for God. I do truly believe that being a mom is serving God. It is a huge job and probably the most important one I'll ever do. I just wonder: is there more?

But here's my point: being a mom is so important and valuable. You and I will never know the extent of our reach as a mom. 

Are you familiar with the story of Jesus feeding the 5000? If you grew up in church at all, I'm sure you are. Here's a refresher if you have forgotten!

Thousands of people followed Jesus across the Sea of Galilee and up a hill. The number 5000 represents the men there. There were extra women and children. They were all eager to hear Jesus teach. They were hungry. In more ways than one!

As lunchtime approached, Jesus asked the disciples to feed the people. The disciples had no idea what to do. There were tons of people, and they knew they did not have the money to feed all of them. But, some of the disciples searched the crowd for some options.

Andrew found a young boy who had a small lunch. His lunch contained five barley loaves and two fish. Andrew wondered how this would feed the whole crowd.

We know the story now. Here comes the miracle. "Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he  did the same with the fish" (John 6: 11). Everyone ate until they were full! The baskets had enough for all of the people!

It's an awesome miracle, to be sure, and it is the source of many valuable lessons. The part that I want to focus on is the little boy and his lunch.

Who packs the lunches at your house? The mamas! It is usually the moms' responsibility to make sure their kids are prepared for the day. If they are going to be out of the house, travelling here and there, the mom packs some snacks! 

Think of this mom's reach! She carried out her normal, maybe even daily task of packing a lunch for her son. It wasn't much. It was just bread and fish. But look what happened!

Jesus took her offering and used it to do something amazing! She was just doing her job, but God multiplied and greatly expanded her reach.

Mamas, we never can know how far our reach is. Some days, at least to me anyway, it seems like I'm only influencing my children. And let's be real, some days I wonder if they are even listening! Are their brains even absorbing anything I am trying to teach them!?

But the Bible teaches that, "whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). When we offer even our mundane tasks up to Him, there is no telling what He will do with them. 

Hang in there, Mamas! Let God expand your reach!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Mom's Word for the New Year

I have been challenged by one of my MOPS mentor moms to choose a verse and a word for the year. You know, just a verse and a word to focus on, to set the tone throughout the year. I know lots of people do this, but I have never really gotten serious about it. This idea has been like a typical New Year's resolution for me in the past. I remember it for a week or two, but it fails to stick. 

This year, I'm going to get serious about it. Blogging it will help keep me accountable, right? 

The verses I feel led to choose are verses that I have been marinating in for the past few months, actually. Through the wonderful experience of Bible Study Fellowship, (have I said that before?) I was introduced to these verses in a new way. Really, I don't think I had ever noticed them before. But a friend and fellow mom from my discussion group shared them with us, and I knew they were for me.

Without further ado, here are my verses for the year!
"Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly--not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by you own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor" (1 Peter 5: 2-4).
Now, if that isn't a word of encouragement and conviction all rolled into one, I don't know what is! It speaks to me so perfectly in my current stage of life. 

I have been given a flock. It includes my husband and three children. I am blessed, and I know it! I am to take care of them WILLINGLY! I shouldn't expect anything in return. I should just do it because those people are who God gave to me, so taking care of them is serving Him. Even if you don't have a husband or kids, you have a flock too! Who are you in charge of on this earth?

I am giggling right now at the part that says, "Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care." Have you ever said, "Because I'm the mom!" or "Because I said so!"? I know there is a time and a place, but that verse is a good check for me! 

Conviction: "lead by your own good example." I'm still working on that part...

Encouragement: When Jesus returns, I will "receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor." Awesome!

So, as my MOPS mentor mom suggested, I'm going to write this down and post it in several locations in my house. I'm not going to let these thoughts slip away this year.

Out of those words, and from some thoughts on life in general, I have decided on a word for the year as well. I'm copying one of my friend's words, actually. I'm not sure all of her meaning behind it, but it totally fits for me too. It's just a good one for moms!

Content.

I struggle to be content on many levels. I look at my life now and instead of enjoying it one day at a time, I think, "I wonder what is next? What will I do when my kids are all in school?" I also try to take on too much because I like doing things, and I've done them in the past. But let's face it, right now I have to be okay with making my family the priority and cutting out things that don't work for us. 

I'm also a list maker. And whether it's on paper or in my head, I like to cross one thing off and move to the next. While it's a good way to get things done, it's not always a good way to live. We no sooner finish one house project, and I'm ready to begin the next, for example. A lot of times, I do not allow myself time to enjoy things as they are and rest. 

Confession time: I like to shop. This year, it is my goal to really evaluate my purchases before I purchase them. I want to buy less stuff. I'm already overwhelmed with stuff!

So I'm going to be like Paul. My prayer for this year is to learn, like he did, how to "be content with whatever I have" (Philippians 4:11). He had a secret. He knew to draw from Christ's power for strength at all times and in all situations. In Philippians 4:13 he said, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

Moms, wives, whoever, I would also encourage you to find a scripture and/or a word to cling to for this year. Let God direct you to it. Then let Him use it in your life this year. I'm really excited to do this! I can't wait to see how God will use it in my life this year! 

Feel free to share with me your verse and your word. Let's encourage each other!