Friday, March 6, 2015

Visible or Invisible

"Father, you know us in secret, and you know all our secret places. What we do to benefit your kingdom will not be lost if it is not seen by others, for you see and you reward according to your grace and mercy. Strengthen us to do good works, visibly or invisibly, always in your name." 
G.K. Chesterton

I was particularly drawn to this quote as I read this a few days ago. There is much of my personality and make-up that longs to be part of visible works. I enjoy public speaking, training and mentoring opportunities, leading/facilitating groups and teaching in any size venue. I've come to recognize these as positive things that when used by God can build up the body of Christ. While these desires and skills have the ability to build up the body they are only the visible side of Christlike servant-hood.

For the past few years God has been working on my heart to build skills in the visible and the invisible works set before me. The journey of understanding and following the Spirit's lead in both the big and the little things is humbling and convicting. Here are a few things I am learning.

  • To God be the Glory - The motivations of the heart are what God longs to define. All the work I do is worship to Him whether I am cognizant of it or not. I can worship God just as fully whether I am washing the dishes, reading a book to my children, enjoying a conversation with my husband or leading a bible study. Compartmentalizing life into sacred and secular activities is a human notion, not a Godly one. All work in life is spiritual when the motive is God's glory. 
  • Growth is more important than idealized balance or perfection - I hear people talk about balance all the time. I talk and think about balance much of the time as well. Unfortunately, it's my experience that balance is a very fluid idea. I tend to agree with Holley Gerth when she says, "I don't believe in balance - there's never a time in our lives when the withdrawals and deposits work out perfectly. Life is too messy and unpredictable." Regarding visible and invisible works there will be seasons in which there appears to be no balance. (Hello mom's of little ones who long to participate fully in something!) Longing for everything to work out perfectly will skew my vision about what God wants me to be doing. Growing closer to God in whatever season I find myself is a far better goal than seeking balanced perfection.
  • Comparison will steal my joy - "How does she do it all?" "If only I could get my life together, then I could serve God more fully." Statements, questions and comparisons definitely have the tendency to creep into my life. When left unhindered my joy and contentment will disappear. I have found that living in step with the Spirit and turning a deaf ear to these comparisons is the only way to live at peace. Taking one step after another on the path God has placed in front of me is the only way I know how to live. Not jumping ahead (my tendency) or lagging behind but staying in step. Responding to the people, circumstances and opportunities as they arise give way to contentment and fulfillment.
  • God's path for me is unlike His path for any other - This isn't simply a rewording of the point on comparison. I am learning that my life is entirely my own. My unique personality, gifts and abilities, circumstances and sufferings were given to me to be used by God and impact the world around me. Whether the impact is seemingly more visible or invisible is beside the point. The point is that I don't miss out on Who God is and what He is calling me to do. I don't have to live in fear or doubt that I'm "not enough" for God. God sees everything I do and when I am faithful to attend to the people and opportunities He places on my path I can be confident I am following His will for my life. 

I certainly don't have everything figured out and I am a work in progress. I am still pondering some deep questions and trying to seek His voice in certain areas of my life. These are just some of the convictions I have developed over the last few years. I hope that there is something that you can learn or apply from my sharing these thoughts with you. Thanks for reading.

Blessings!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Soundtrack

A year ago today my mom passed from this life to the next. I miss her everyday. Since none of my friends were able to make it to the funeral I wanted to share the eulogy I spoke that day. I am sharing it here just as I wrote it that week. No grammatical changes or refining. As part of my remembering and grieving I want to share her story with the world. 




“It’s an honor to be here today to share a few words about my mom. So many thoughts and memories rushed to my mind when I sat down to prepare what I was going to say today. Memories of her fierce love for her family and her genuine care and concern for everyone she met. I thought about her contagious smile, prayerful heart and gentle spirit. Today however, I want to share with you about two of her favorite things in life, her love of music and her faith in God.

Mom began sharing the gift of music so many years ago. From directing a choir of sorority sisters, to Easter sunrise services, One Achord and the Campraise Orchestra.
She was even the director of our family ministry, Mountain Top Experience. She was always sharing the gift of music. But even more than simply sharing the gift of music I believe my mom was inviting us to take part in the eternal anthem.

For my mom, music and performing were not about making much of herself and her life. She willingly traded in her lead role to take on a supporting role in the grand story of God. Through sharing music with countless individuals mom was adding to the soundtrack of the amazing and unending story of God. Her example to me, to all of us, is that our life’s purpose is meant to bring glory and renown to God and God alone. The soundtrack of mom’s life was beautifully orchestrated by the Creator of the universe, because she willingly gave up her life to add to the melodious sound of the eternal anthem of God’s glory.

The second aspect of my mom’s life that binds many of the hearts in this room is her faith. Perhaps it was through a handwritten note, a jar of shells, a teacup, a listening ear or a copy of her favorite devotional, “Streams in the desert”. Oh how many lessons I could learn from observing my mom’s faith.

She loved without borders, trusted unwaveringly, suffered graciously and surrendered completely. During her most difficult times her faith did not waver. The intimacy with which she approached her walk with her Savior is an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many of you.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to serve and worship alongside my mom since I was a child. Her faith was deeply personal and widely spread. She shared with gentleness, deep conviction and most of all compassion. She was always inviting people to find strength, peace, purpose and hope from the Savior she knew and loved.

Each day she walked with humility and mercy. Her daily life was a sweet aroma that came from her time spent with God. She knew God and lived in the overflow of a deeply personal and intimate relationship with her Savior Jesus Christ. The legacy of faith she has passed on has rippled far wider than we may ever know.

Even in this moment, this celebration of her life, she wants to pass on her faith. To tell you about her Jesus – her rock, her friend, her Savior. She chose the songs and verses shared here today as an invitation to all of us. An invitation and opportunity to walk through life knowing personally the Savior who guided her, comforted her and walked with her throughout her life.

As I watched my mom live out the soundtrack of her life to the glory of God, we who remain are invited as well to come to Jesus. To respond to His call and to grow in a personal relationship with Him.

The following song is the final anthem my mom wanted to share in the soundtrack of her life. This is her hearts deepest desire to share with you.”