Monthly Archives

August 2011

testing our sanctification

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There are some people in our lives who test our sanctification.  They hide barbs in their conversations, they open their mouths and pour out contempt on you.  Most of the time, smart people will back away from toxic relationships like this, but sometimes you can’t cut off all connections…sometimes you are related by blood.

I have one such person in my life, and every time there is interaction, I wonder what it will cost me later on…I voiced this thought to a friend of mine and she suggested I take a look at Job.

I was wondering what Job had to do with irritating people, but then Alistair Begg connected the dots for me.  He was talking about suffering and the fact that God is Sovereign–which means that He allows suffering but He is not the author of evil.

There’s an interesting distinction there:  He created the world and it was good….but sin entered and it became imperfect.   He gave us choice to love Him freely—and that’s what this whole story is about.  Do good because you love to do good, not just follow the rules.  It’s a choice to obey.  It’s a choice to disobey.  Obedience has great rewards, and disobedience carries natural consequence…but God is not the author of evil.

When we choose to love God in the midst of suffering (especially when it’s at someone else’s hands), we experience love that is more like Christ’s love–it’s richer, deeper and much more fulfilling…it fills your countenance…there are people I know who have born the consequences of someone else’s sin…and they do it wearing the sweet aroma of Christ…it makes a HUGE impact on everyone around them.  You know who I’m talking about, right?  They’re the people who are so sweet, you could never imagine them any other way.  When they share their testimony, you hear about alot of things that would break most people, shatter most families, and yet, here they are, praising God for His hand in their lives….thanking Him for the sorrow.

I’ll admit I was filled with skepticism when I first met a woman like this.  I was unwilling to believe that she was so content with all the stuff that she had experienced.  The longer I knew her, the more I wanted to reflect Christ like she did…and the more I talked with her, the more of Christ she shared with me.   Before she died, she told me ‘Nothing comes easily in this life.  But the struggle is part of the blessing.  It’s the real test of the light of Christ.  The more you succumb to bitterness, the more your heart closes off to the hope that is in Christ.’

Her words came back to me over and over again when I began walking a difficult path seven years ago.  Grace is never cheap.  Suffering gives us the opportunity to experience intimacy with Him, that transformative power of His sufficiency and His presence that can only come when we love Him and trust Him in all circumstances.

It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.  Pain is like black paint in a Vermeer painting.  It’s dark, but it highlights the Light–these are opportunities He uses to draw us into Christ-likeness.   These people who test your sanctification?  Let them.  Let God.  Bring it!

Senseless Desensitivity

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I think this is probably a fitting first post for me, as it’s an issue that crops up often in the bustling news world, and provides an even more difficult challenge for Christian journalists, I think. Desensitizing.

In one sense, I’m glad that I’ve developed the ability to “shut off” my emotions when it comes to news. I’m naturally a decently emotional person, but it’s really not reasonable to be a journalist who cries every time she does an interview. And so I’ve learned to turn that side of me off as I listen to stories about famine killing hundreds of thousands, entire nations in uproar, Christians being hunted for their faith, so that I can focus on asking good questions to get the news across effectively. But there’s a point when shutting off that emotional valve can be devastating–not so much to me as to God. As a Christian, I’m called to love everyone, to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions…praying for all the saints.” But when you hear bad news every day, it’s easy to be numb. It’s easy to shout across the office, “Ruth, another bombing in Iraq. 15 Christians dead. Who should we talk to about it?” rather than to simply stop and pray. It’s not just easy, it’s easier. Easier than taking a minute to think about the life lost for the sake of the Gospel, the importance of the Gospel message, the purpose I write this news at all.

I’ve been working at Mission Network News for nearly three years, first as an intern, now as a full time staff member, and have yet to master the fine art of “stopping” in the news room. Lately, I’ve taken to writing down the names of countries, leaders, and even friends on small note cards that I might be reminded to pray for them throughout the day. Funny how we have to make so much effort to remember to pray when these things are before our eyes daily.

And in an effort to place the blame elsewhere and feel slightly better about the fact that I’m so far from perfect, I recognize that we all do this. We all hear news even in our own towns that we say is terrible, but how often do we stop to intercede? I’m reminded of cameraman Jack’s thoughts about the 1990’s genocide in Rwanda in the film Hotel Rwanda, “I think that when people turn on their TVs and see this footage, they’ll say, ‘Oh my [gosh], that’s horrible,’ and then they’ll go back to eating their dinners.” That line haunts me. What can I be doing to get involved? I can’t give to every organization, but surely I can pray for many of them. How can I become more sensitive even to what’s just “news” to me–someone else’s “reality”–today? How can you?

 

The Last Day — Great Memories

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Loriane and little girl

Team member Loraine and little girl from Orphanage 2.

What an incredibly awesome trip we’ve had. 29 people with varied backgrounds, ages and gifts. 29 people with one goal — to reach out to needy kids — kids that are considered orphans. Kids marginalized by society. Kids who are loved by God. Kids who need to be loved by Christians.

We traveled half way around the world to share that love. It’s a love that we can recognize because we’ve been loved by someone as spiritual orphans — slaves really. “But God show his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

As slaves He’s chosen us, bought us, instructs us perfectly, and also calls us ‘friends.’

As we tried to become ‘Jesus’ to these kids we were both loved and hated. While we wanted all the kids

Little boy

What will you do to help?

toparticipate and join us in our activities, the reality was not all did. A few rejected what we had to offer them. Some of us went to them, ‘twisted the arm’ (so to speak) and encouraged them to join us. Some, we actually carried to the VBS, games and crafts.

Isn’t this the picture of what Christ did for us? John 6:44a, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Romans 9:15, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then, it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

Elya and Chelsea

Elya with team member Chelsea.

As Christians, that’s so humbling. While we were here to serve all of the kids we visited. Not all came. Not all of them heard. Not all of them experienced our love, even though all of them had the same opportunity.

While this trip has been full of miracles (and I mean that), it’s also been a trip full of tears. Seeing young people with no hope at such a young age (humanly speaking) seems unfair. The lack of trust of people is ominous. Their desire to control all situations seems selfish. Their understanding of love isn’t real love.

All of it points to a point that needs Jesus. Apart from Him there is no love. Apart from Him there is not hope. Apart from Him we’re just shifting sands blown by the winds with no direction.

But, I’m comforted by the words of Jesus when he says in John 14:18&19 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

If you’ve ever considered going on a trip to reach out to orphans, please consider joining an Orphan Outreach trip. There are many to choose from each year. Click here for information.

Feeling ‘used’ in a good way

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Orphanage 40 child

Aleena at Orphanage 40.

There are days when you feel inadequate. Then there are days you KNOW you made a difference, even if it was a subtle difference. Today was that day for many of my teammate on the Orphan Outreach trip to Russia this week.

Everyone got up, ate breakfast and checked out of the hotel by 9:00. Actually, for the first time all week. I was late. I thought I heard, be down with your luggage at 8:00am, breakfast at 8:30 (which were both correct), but here’s where I got side-tracked — I heard, but down by 9:00am, but we won’t leave probably until 9:30. So, to me that meant be down by 9:30, right? Well, not so much. Long story short, I was late — the VERY last person on the bus.

The reason for my delay was uploading video from the previous day.

Excited little boy

Excited little boy at Orphanage 40.

However, today, we were heading to our final stop at Orphanage #40. This orphanage is for children with eye issues — at least ‘officially’. However, there are MANY other issues, too. Cleft lip and pallet, down’s syndrome, severe fetal alcohol issues and the like.

We arrived at the camp along the Gulf of Finland at around 10am. We walked into the woods to a secluded camp setting. There was on newer building that looked like a long motel that you’d see in the U-S. However, the other buildings were wooden structures far enough apart that it takes a little time to walk from building to building.

Team member Olga with Oxana

Team member Olga with Oxana

I started off with the most functional kids. These 12 or so children were those who had eye issues, but we high functioning. Almost all of them were 6 years old. These children listened so well. They did crafts, putting fish stickers on a fish tank looking piece of blue foam. They shared the creation story and they all listened.

The second group of kids, the largest group, of about two dozen kids were those younger and a little less functioning. They were kids with down’s syndrome and fetal alcohol issues. However, most of them could communicate, but they couldn’t control themselves. This group was able to do the craft, but that’s about it. This was the ‘super charged’ play group.

Then, the final group of kids were those low functioning — Down’s syndrome children, fetal alcohol, and other disabilities that require hands on attention.

I visited each group this year. The first group, there was a little boy with my name Gregori, or Gresha. I got a chance to talk to him. He seemed proud that we had the same name. I was able to watch them do their craft and tell a Bible story. It was great to see the happiness on their faces.

We finished with them at around noon, boarded the bus and headed back to St. Petersburg for lunch.

Our next to the last night devotions were really sweet. Ellie shared from the Word, but many more people talked about what God is doing in their lives because of being on the trip. It was a great time of sharing.

Our night ended at McDonald’s. Most got ice cream and just hung out laughing. We’ve done a lot of that on this trip.

Open hearts, closed hearts – mission team unwavered

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What a dramatic difference between Wednesday and Thursday.

First, let me apologize for not posting anything on this blog yesterday. I got everything done — pictures uploaded, video made and scripts written — only to realize the time on my internet card had run out. Unfortunately, no free wifi in Russia. At least not at the hotels we’ve been staying in this week. So, this will be two updates in one.

Orphanage 2

Sergey is a wonderful little boy. We met him last year.

Yesterday, we got up at the same time, ate breakfast and headed in teams to Orphanage Camp #2. This is the camp where we had so much fun last year. We really connected with a lot of the kids. And, it was great to see so many of them again this year. It wasn’t good they were there, but it was fun seeing them grow and seeing them laugh.

 

When I arrived, we walked back to the field where we would be holding our vacation Bible school program. We basically did the same activities we did at the previous day. However, when we made the circle to begin the day, my little friend Sveta walks up and hands me a piece of watermelon. I’m not sure, but I think it was a part of her breakfast. What a thoughtful, loving little girl. I made her eat it. I told her I had already eaten breakfast and she needed to eat it.

After singing a few songs (in English), we broke up into groups. Craft, recreation and memory verse. I went to recreation. Why? Not sure. Knees my age aren’t supposed to be there any more. I may have to start volunteering for crafts in the years ahead. 🙁

Two girls at orphanage 2

Two girls at orphanage 2

It started raining in the afternoon, but despite the rain, we went ahead and did “The Everything” for the teenagers. If you haven’t seen it, click here.

Following the skit, Melissa Blough gave her testimony and I presented the Gospel. Following the skit, there were a few who had questions about it. One girl who will leave the orphanage was challenged by Masha, one of our interpreters, about what she’ll be doing with her life. Many of the boys in the group got very quiet, reflecting on what they had seen and heard. While no one made professions of faith, we were seed planters.

As we got ready to leave the camp, I got the shock of my life. A teen girl who befriended one of our team members last year, pulled me aside. Through an interpreter asked some questions about adoption. I’d like to ask you to pray for this girl we’ll call Ella. She came to Christ last year during camp. She just needs a chance. Pray God will give her one either through adoption or a Christian mentor program.

Today, was a different day altogether.

The camp was cold in every way — emotionally and spiritually. Kids in this camp were actually displaced by a fire. It was in their living area. So,

Teen girl in Orphanage 14.

Teen girl in Orphanage 14.

they were in strange surroundings. When we arrived there wasn’t the typically running beside the bus yelling and screaming. Children weren’t playing happily. There was just a dark cloud.

This was the camp last year where the director has taken our gifts to the kids and took them for himself. The man run his orphanage like a boot camp. There’s much anger and little love. When we walked in the kids hardly even noticed we were there. We organized some duct tape crafts and dream boxes. One boy took his box, threw it out the window and said he was making believe that it was a bomb and he was a terrorist.

While, discouraging, we were able to present the skit. I was able to talk about the fact that they’re either a slave to sin or Christ and that in reality, we have NO freedom. I told them that Christ died for unlovely sinners. He gave His life for people that are actually His enemy. I said it didn’t matter the sin, it was paid for at the cross.

There wasn’t much, if any, response. But, they DID listen. Again, we’re not called to save people. We’re just called to preach the Word and be faithful. God will provide the increase. I’m praying God will protect these kids for angry caregivers and that he’ll replace this unfriendly, unkind director with someone who actually loves the kids.

Pray for the kids as they return to the orphanages next week.

August 17, 2011 Russia Video

Click here to view photos

Laughs in Russia Video

We’re all orphans, so why shouldn’t we help?

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Today was a day I’ve been looking forward to since I we first planned on coming back to this region last winter. Why? Well, today we were starting to visit orphanages where I had developed a few relationships with the children. Those relationship developed in a few short days. I was hopeful that at least one or two of the children I had met were either still at the orphanage, or they had either been adopted or reclaimed by their family.

What I was about to discover was a bit overwhelming.

We got up at about 7. We had to have breakfast and be ready for the bus ride to Zelenegorsk, Russia. That’s where we’re staging the rest of our visits. The rest of the orphanages we’re visiting are out a camps near the Gulf of Finland.

It was about a 90 minute ride. We drove straight to the camp where orphanage 46 children were attending camp. As we arrived, I started seeing kids that I didn’t expect to see today. We’re were planning to see kids at orphanage #2 on Wednesday.

Greg and Sveta

Greg Yoder and Sveta. We met last year at summer camp. Sveta has two brothers, but hasn't seen either for over a year.

However, first I saw Sveta. She was at #2 last year, but the kids move a lot, so I figured they must have moved her. Then Chelsea about got hugged to death by a young lady she had befriended last year, Elya. She’s now 15. Then Sasha and her brother. All of these kids from #2. I kept asking about the two kids, Nastya and Eleena, who I had taken an interest last year. Nastya, because that’s my daughter’s name. And, Eleena because she wasn’t liked by very many kids.

But, all the kids were telling me that Eleena had been adopted by a family in the United States and Nastya was gone. Nobody knew where she was.

So, in the morning, we spent time playing games with the little ones. I had two little girls, Sasha (11) and Sveta (9) around me most of the morning. We played games, heard stories, sang and just had fun.

We left for lunch. Since we came right to to camp, we decided to check into the hotel, eat lunch, then head back to the camp. Everything went smoothy. And, we arrived back at camp with many children anxious to get started with more fun.

Since we have such a large group, we have to travel in shifts because our bus isn’t large enough to take everyone. Since I was on the first bus, we basically kept the kids busy until the others join us. However, while I was playing with some of the kids, I see Sveta walking into the play area with this very blonde, very fair skinned little girl. I did a double take. It was Nastya.

Greg and Nastya

This is Nastya. She's visited regularly by her parents, but they've lost their parental rights, but won't let them be adopted.

When she saw me, her eyes got really big and ran and gave me a big huge hug. She called me ‘Grug’. I asked her why she was there. Long story short, there were several different orphanages at this camp. There’s was just one. So, not only did I get to see almost all the kids I had hoped to see, we got more than one orphanage at one camp. That means all the more ministry.

The interesting thing about many of these kids, they can’t be adopted. Nastya is just on example. Her mom and dad have had their rights terminated. However, they won’t give up their rights so their kids can be adopted. So, rather than shape up, they continue living the way they do and don’t care about their kids. Nastya’s mom and dad come by regularly. However, they have no desire to get her and her brothers back.

Following our first day at the camp here, we went back and ate dinner, then wrapped up our day with devotions on the beach at the Gulf of Finland.

We didn’t see anyone come to Christ today, but there were seeds planted, friendships rekindled and progress made.

It also made me realize that when you look at it, we’re all orphans. We’re all fatherless, apart for Christ. But, because He loves the unlovely He sent his son Jesus to die for us. As he reaches down and selects us as his ‘slaves’, we become His. He selects us, purchases us, tells us what to do perfectly and makes us His heir. And, not only is he our master, but He calls us friend. What a great place to be.

Keep praying for the team.

You can see more photos of the trip by clicking here.

Click here for today’s video.

Russia Team with Orphanage 60 camp

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Kids at Orphanage 60

Orphanage 60 kids at Camp

There are times when you face uncertainty. And, there are times when you wonder what God has planned. Perhaps those are one and the same. I think all of us had a little of that today as we set out to be the hands of feet of Jesus to a group of young people who live in Orphanage 60 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

However, these kids weren’t in an orphanage this week. They were at summer camp. A place they spend more of their summer, away from the busy city life. This particular camp was a former boot camp during the Soviet days of communism. We were told this camp was over 50 years old. However, many of the buildings were brand new, including a nurses station and laundry facility. They have plans to keep this camp open all year long.

However, our job was to present Jesus to them in a way they would see it, hear it, and understand it.

We started the day with breakfast in the hotel like we always do. Then, the 29 of us got on a bus and headed about 90 minutes out of town to this camp. Unfortunately, the trip had a few surprises. First, there are a few people in our group who get car sick. Secondly, there are some people in our group who weren’t feeling real well and had to answer nature’s call in the middle of no-where. However, those were the only hitches.

We arrived at the camp mid-morning. We were informed most of the boys were away at a soccer tournament. That was a little disappointing

Katya throwing football

because we have four men in our group, all of whom wanted to show interest in these young men, something they don’t get a lot of. We also wanted to hold a basketball clinic. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much interest for that. So, instead, we just starting playing. We through American footballs, kicked the soccer ball, hit the volleyball around, and just ran and played.

Then, the teen group of our team took over. We split the kids up into groups. The first group played games, the second did tie-dye t-shirts, and the last group did a circle of trust. You get in a circle, blind-fold someone, and ask them to cross the circle with the guidance of someone telling you where the obstacles are located. These obstacles were sins written on paper and placed on the ground within the circle. The first time it kind of easy. Then you have people MOVING the obstacles as you try to cross the circle. Then, you have a friend help point you the way. It’s a picture of God using His Word to guide us.

After that, we had lunch at the camp. It was good. Soup, chicken, and potatoes.

Tie dye shirt making

After lunch we played volleyball, made duct tape wallets and roses, gave the girls make-overs and ended the time with a skit which in mime form, addressed certain social issues facing many of these teens. It was presented in a compelling way that helped them understand they need Jesus. While I don’t believe Jesus has any difficulty saving us, I do believe when we struggle in our sin it appears to US the Jesus struggles to take us under His wing. The reality is, we have our idols that prevent us from having a relationship with Him.

The teens watched intently to the drama. Following that, Anna gave her testimony about the struggles she has in her life. I followed up by asking the question? If you follow God, are you afraid you’ll lose your freedom? Then I pointed out they’re not really free at all because they’re trapped in their sin. They can’t escape it without Christ. They can try, but they’re slave to their sin and only Jesus’ death on the cross for evil people can rescue them. It’s His work ALONE on the cross saves us.

I think they heard. I’m praying seeds were planted and much fruit will come from them.

Tomorrow, we leave St. Petersburg and head to the Gulf of Finland for more ministry at orphan camps outside St. Petersburg.

Monday Wrap-up Video – Click here for Monday’s wrap-up video.

Russia Skit Team – click here for the skit video.

Chick pox hits hospital, disappointment

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It was the first day of actually ‘doing’ something with the kids. Everyone was anticipating a great afternoon. However, like almost ALL mission

Laura and Bethany listen

Team members Laura and Bethany listen to the bad news.

trips, things don’t always go as planned.

We got up and ate breakfast at the hotel. It was a buffet. So, everyone got what they wanted. I ate pancakes, hard boiled egg (because the scrabbled ones looked really runny), meat and orange juice. I added a cup of coffee, too.

Following that, we left for our first sight seeing trip to The Hermitage. We only spent about 2 hours there. We saw painting after painting. Everyone was very much interested. However, despite our jet lag all of us seemed to be anticipating the afternoon of spending time with the kids.

Hospital 15

The intake hospital called, number 15 in St. Petersburg.

We ate lunch at 1:30. Once completed we traveled the 20 minutes or so to Number 15, the intake hospital. Which isn’t a hospital at all, actually.

Number 15 is the first place the children go after they have been taken by the state. These children are found on the streets, taken away by protective services, abandoned by the parents, or actually orphaned in the truest sense.

Once in #15, as it’s affectionately called, the children are assessed, tested and determined a plan of action. They can be sent to an orphanage, reunited with a family member, or foster care is an option — but only a small option as it’s not very popular in Russia.

However, when we arrived we were told the third floor was quarantined because of chicken pox. Because we have a doctor and several nurses on the team, they check with infectious disease specialists who highly encouraged us NOT to go in and visit with the children. Why? Well, it’s highly contagious. If somebody hadn’t had chicken pox they could get it, carry it with them all week spreading it to all the other kids we came in contact with, then when they returned home, ‘surprise!!’

So, rather than run the risk, we decided NOT to go inside, but pray for the kids instead. It was very disappointing, but the right decision. So, we

Russia team members pray

Russia team members pray but don't play today.

spent about a hour praying over the kids as we walked around the building.

Following that abbreviated visit, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had a great meal. And, walked back to the hotel.

We spent the evening getting our gift and supply bags packed for the rest of the week. We also practiced our ‘play’ for the teens.

Tomorrow, we travel to Orphanage #60’s camp where we’ll spend all day with the teens. Keep praying for us.

Watch our first video here. Russia Trip 2011 – Days 1-3

Day One & Two — travel day to Russia

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What a day. I didn’t get packed until after midnight. Not unusual. Woke up in plenty of time to finish. While finishing, I realized I forgot to grab the money for the 30 extra bags. So, I did that and still made it to the airport in plenty of time. But, when I arrived, I realized I left the team folder back in my office with all the flight numbers, names of team members, and releases from the organization we’re representing. However, due to a GREAT office manager, she delivered it to me in plenty of time and we’re good.

I needed some spending money, so I went to the ATM machine. Not sure if I couldn’t remember my passport or there was an error, but I couldn’t access my account. It said I didn’t know my password. And, it locked me out. So, I’m traveling to Russia with less than $20. 🙁 I guess I’m on a ‘serious’ budget. I do have credit cards, but I’d rather pay with cash.

The flight left on time, but we were short five team members. They were driving to Chicago to catch the flight from there. Unfortunately, one of the teams members forgot her passport in Grand Rapids. That’s at least a 3 hour drive. We needed a miracle.

One of our team members was able to convince the United Airlines ticket agent to convince an American crew member flying from Grand Rapids to Chicago — to carry the passport with them to Chicago. Last check — they agreed and we’re waiting to see if it arrives on that American flight.

I’ll write more as I’m able. Our flight to Germany leaves at 3:40 (central time).

(Written Saturday)

Everyone MADE it!  Can you believe it?  The pilot on American Airlines was the first off the plane in Chicago. Chelsea was waiting for him. She saw

Silly team members.

Katie and Molly are a little tired after a long frlight from Chicago to Frankfurt.

him and said, “Is that…?”  He said, “Yep.”  Handed it to her and she took off running. She had just 10 minutes to get from L6 to the Terminal 1 to check in. SHE DID IT. Thank you all for praying.

We were on-time to Frankfurt, Germany. Everyone was tired. But, that part of the trip was uneventful. The last leg took off on-time and we arrived on-time (actually about 5 minutes) early in St. Petersburg, Russia.

We all got to our hotel rooms by about 3:00pm and we all showered napped and had dinner at the hotel. It was a buffet style dinner. It was good.

Tonight, we’ll rest. Get up at 7:30ish. Eat breakfast. Then head out at around 9:00am to begin the heart of our trip in Russia.

my bricks

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This will be a bit of a ramble. I’m flexing my ‘stream of consciousness’ fingers starting…now.

In the daily hustle and bustle of a newsroom, it’s easy to overlook the non-emergency things until they become emergencies.

Some of you might even be thinking ‘been there, done that’…and I find myself taking shortcuts to speed up the things that I have to get done in order to get other things finished.

There are some days I go home and fall into bed exhausted and while drifting off to sleep I find myself thinking “Can’t call it a day yet! I’m not unconscious!  I still have to…..ZZZZzzzzzzzz.”  We joke about this in my family…we’ve even given it a nickname: ‘dooobee’—as in ‘do a lot’ and  ‘busy as a bee’.  In the story of Mary and Martha, I totally ‘get’ Martha.  As a kid, I was always mad at Mary. ‘C’mon! Come help get this meal together! It’s not fixing itself!’ And when she didn’t move, calling in the reinforcements and asking Jesus to get her off her hiney…only to have Him side with her??   I was bafffled. (We’ll get back to this later)

The reality of it is that there are too many times I fall into the Israelite’s way of thinking: I am the sum of the bricks I made today.  You do that too many times, and you start to believe it.  There are a lot of bits in the Bible about rest…it even starts early in Genesis with God setting aside some critical time to REST.  Yet much of His creation is frenetic with the doing, and lost in the ‘being’…which is what happens when you rest.

In the quiet of rest, you can actually hear things.  You can hear our Heavenly Father telling you what a beautiful child you are…or maybe He might be whispering that answer to the question you keep asking (like a toddler: ‘now? now? now? how about now?’).

How do rest and bricks travel down the same road of thought?  I’m not really sure they do.   The bricks can create a false sense of worth, which leads somebody like me into thinking I have to keep producing in order to be valued.  Rest helps me re-new…and I can understand worth far better when I’m being spoken to by our Father through the Word.   Ah…Mary and Martha.   Mary understood knowing Christ.  If she knew His voice and understood what He was saying, it was much easier to obey.  Martha understood the doing end with her servant gifting.  As those gifted this way know, it’s very easy to take on too much and then stress over the details, even if it was originally meant to serve Christ…not being able to BE with Christ prevented her (and us) from the depth of relationship we sought in the first place.

This has to have a conclusion…so I’ll wind up by saying take the REST seriously.   We are not the bricks we make because our worth was summed up in the death and resurrection of our Savior.  Just sayin’.