In His Presence

his presenceSaturday morning was a rush. I had hit snooze a few too many times. Rushed around crazily trying to get everyone dressed for church, and  get myself dressed.

I ran down stairs and made chocolate chip muffins for breakfast (because chocolate is always good, any time of day), and coffee…. lots of coffee.

After everyone had eaten, the dishes were washed, we got into the car, and headed to the church. Dodging, motorbikes, cars, people, and cows along the way.

I practiced with the children for our upcoming choir performance, and finally sat down for worship.

This was my husbands Saturday to preach. So for a change, I understood the message since it was in English, and God spoke to my heart. Reminding me of why He had sent us here. Reminding me that though some days are hard, it is all worth it.

And as we stood to sing and to pray, such amazing peace washed over my heart. Peace that truly passes all understanding.

It was then that I realized the beauty of being in His presence.

For it is in His presence we find joy. In His presence we find peace.

It is in His presence that all the rest of “life” slips away, and we are caught up in His amazing love.

It was a beautiful moment, but also a moment of conviction. For I realized that I had neglected His presence that morning in my rush to get to church. I understood the importance of being in His presence.

The Bible tells us to “Be still and know I am God, I will be exalted among the nations…” Just be still.

I’m learning that God doesn’t really need me. He can accomplish His works without my help.

But I’m finding that apart from Him, I truly can do nothing. It is me, who needs Him, every moment of every day.

The Lord is teaching me that in order to have joy, peace, love, strength… I must dwell in His presence.

As the service closed, and the business of the rest of the day loomed ahead, I had peace, I had joy. Both of which came from Him.

Sometimes living in such a different culture is hard. Many times, I lack understanding.

Yet, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Where are you today? Are you running on empty? Feeling frazzled, exhausted, worn. Believe me I know and I understand. I’ve been there.

But my advice to you and to myself is this…. Go, and get alone with the Lord. Dwell in His presence, draw your strength from Him. Allow Him to transform your mind, and fill your heart with peace.

Often we “think” we don’t have time to spend time with the Lord.

Yet, this is the lie of Satan. We dont’ have time, not to spend time with the Lord.

And we will run on empty, we will feel frazzled if we seek to live for Him and serve Him in our own strength, our own power.

Instead, we must go and sit at HIs feet. Draw near to Him and allow Him to draw near to us.

Only then will we find the joy, peace, love, hope, grace and strength for what lies ahead.

 

A Wife and Mom’s First Priority

beach-time-005I have been married now for 14 years and have three great kids, 13, 11, and 7.

The early years of marriage I stayed at home loving on my babies.

Then I became a home school mom, teaching my little ones their numbers and ABC’s.

Yet, all of these years I was also a pastor’s wife.

Then our family moved to Korea, and I became a missionary wife and home school mom.

Now living in Central Asia, I am once more the missionary wife, but this time my kids are in school. Giving me extra time for ministry and work in the field.

I have loved this added aspect of life, but in many ways have also missed my time at home with the kids.Missed having the house and dinner ready for my husband’s arrival.

The past year, our first year here, has been a whirlwind. The days have flown by, as we have been every so busy. And if I’m not careful it is easy to lose sight of what my first and most important ministry is.

Because more important than ministering to the people here, more important than “doing” ministry. Is ministering to my husband and kids.

After God, they are to come first.

The Lord has been teaching me this, and as I have prayed and asked Him to show me how to minister to my family. He has spoken to my heart and said, it is the basic, day-to-day things that show them they are important.

It is having an orderly (notice I didn’t say clean 🙂 ) home to come home to.

It is having cookies baked for the kids.

It is listening to my husband after he has had a long day.

Listening to my kids tell me about their days.

It is making sure they have a good, filling breakfast to start their day and a nutritious meal to end their day.

It is all these things and more, but it is the little things.

Someday’s this is not possible. Some days, we all arrive home at the same time, and I have to scramble to get dinner on the table.

Some days,  we over sleep and breakfast is cereal and bread.

Other days, are busy and we are all moving in different directions.

Yet, the majority of days should include all of the above.

Because as a wife, my first priority is to my husband.

As a mom, my first priority is to my kids.

I can not minister to others, while I neglect my family.

In order to minister well to others, I must first minister well to my family.

So to the stay at home mom, I’ve been there and I remember the days I felt discouraged. But I am here to encourage you to embrace the time you have with your family. And don’t despise the daily grind, look at it as a way to minister to your spouse and kids.

To the pastor’s wife/missionary wife… never forget that your first priority is your family. Serve first the Lord, then your family, and then others.

To all wives, God has designed it so that your ministry is first and foremost to your family. This is His perfect design. Let us then not grow weary, let us not think what we do is trivial, but let us embrace this God given ministry and serve our families well.

The days go fast, children grow quick… may we use each day to serve the ones God has given unto us, and may we use each day to serve the Lord through them.

 

When your too busy to sit at His feet…..

mary and marthaAll too often it seems the Lord reminds me of Mary and Martha, and He points out that I’m acting way too much like Martha and not enough like Mary.

Since being in Central Asia, it seems the opportunities for ministry are limitless. The needs endless. The days seem to slide into the next, months fly by, yet the work is never done.

And if I’m not careful, I become too busy “doing ministry” to sit at His feet!

When this happens, burnout is not far behind.

The truth is whether you’re a lay person, a pastor’s wife, or a missionary, the temptation to “do for Jesus” often outweighs the desire to “sit at His feet.”

In reality, the work will always be there, the needs will always exist. And though serving the Lord and others is important. More important is the time we spend with Him.

Why do so many get burned out and quit the ministry?

I believe many quit and burn out because they fail to sit daily spend time with the Lord. They fail because they rely upon their strength and not His. They get too busy doing, that they forget whom they do all these things for.

So what do you do when your too busy to sit at His feet?

1. You repent. First and foremost you must ask the Lord to forgive you for not putting Him first. Even doing ministry which is good, can not come before your time with Him.

2. Examine your life. Did God call you to do all the things you are busy doing, or do you need to learn to say no?

3. Determine a plan of how you are going to discipline yourself to daily set aside time to meet with the Lord.

4. Follow through with your plan.

5. Draw your strength and the grace needed from the Lord to do the things He has called you to do.

We all most likely have Martha tendencies. Yet, how much more should we strive to be like Mary. Whose greatest desire, was to be as close to Jesus as possible.

In our fast paced world, sometimes we have to make a point to slow down.

In the midst of ministering, we have to recognize that we first must be ministered to by the Lord.

For though we strive to do it all in our strength, we will surely fail.

Yet, what amazing things God can do through us, if our strength is found in Him.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be like Mary than Martha… let us then make this our aim. Even more so, let our aim be to be more and more like Jesus!

 

 

Giving Thanks

fallMaybe it is the cool nights and mornings, due to the monsoon season.
Maybe it is that itch I get every year about this time, for fall.

But regardless I’m ready to pull out the fall decorations, put on a pot of cider,and bake an apple pie.

I love the fall season. The decorations, the crisp air, the yummy foods, and of course the pumpkins.

The whole season it seems leads up to Thanksgiving, quickly followed by Christmas.

Yet, the Lord has been teaching me that giving thanks, is not a season. It isn’t even a special day.

Giving thanks, is to be and should be a way of life.

Serving on the foreign field, and living in an underdeveloped country makes it easy to criticize. Easy to compare here to there. Even easier to complain.

And if we are all honest, it doesn’t really matter where we live, how much money we have, what our job may be… our human tendency is bent toward complaining.

This is what comes natural.

But, the Lord is showing me that true joy, true happiness begins with a thankful heart.

One of the best ways I find to get myself out of the “dump”, is to count my blessings.

As I begin to thank the Lord for who He is, for all He has done, for what He is doing even now… I am overwhelmed.

I think this is why in I Thess. 5:16 we are told to give thanks in EVERYTHING!

Why, because in everything whether the good or the bad, we still have reason to be thankful.

And as we give thanks, our hearts are filled with His joy, His peace, His love.

So though I love fall, and though I love the fact that in America we have a special day called Thanksgiving.

This is certainly not a one season or one day celebration.

As Christians, this is to be our way of life.

Living each day with grateful hearts.

Teaching our children to see the good in life, the good in difficult times.

Instructing them to be thankful rather than to complain.

Life can be hard, the spiritual journey difficult.

Yet, one of the keys I believe, is to choose joy.

Allowing the joy of the Lord to be our strength.

Joy that is found as we give thanks unto the Lord.

Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Psalm 105:1