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The Woman She Was Made to Be

As I hang up the phone, there is a yearning deep within my soul for more. More than this current pain, more than what life seems to be dealing to her. From the very beginning of our relationship, I have seen a strength in her. A strength willing to do anything for her family, willing to sacrifice herself for the needs of others, and can face countless circumstances that would break the will of many human beings.

She perseveres. She always has. In a season where money was tight, her father passed away unexpectedly, and she suffered a stroke. She carried on. Filled with grace to put one foot in front of the other. She continued living, continued listening to God, and continued loving the world around her. And now—the pain is loud.

The throbs of a broken heart echo in her voice, this pain is not foreign to her, she has felt it before, but this time it cuts deeper hitting her core. She thought this would be different, that he would be different. But countless lies later, here she stands—alone and fighting for hope.

Loving for the Long Run

She’s the girl who doesn’t realize her boots went out of style three years ago. She’s the girl who constantly brags about her accomplishments and drives you crazy. She’s the girl who knows she’s an outcast. She’s also the girl who has no clue what people say behind her back.

We can all think of someone like this, and our first inclination is usually not to love them. Instead of saying, “She looks like she needs a friend,” we think, “I hope she doesn’t sit next to me!”

Jesus says that people will know that we are His disciples if we love one another (John 13:35). So how do we love people? By inviting them to dinner one Friday night, helping them study for an upcoming test, or stopping by their dorm room to ask how their day went.

These are all great ways to reach out to people, but they’re only the first steps to developing a relationship. If all we do is invite someone to hang out for 30 minutes, is that showing them that we really care?

Wrap-Around Care

Wrap-around care. I was struck by this phrase that was new to me. I learned of the phrase in the article, “Contagious Love for One More Child,” 1 in Sharing, the newsletter for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. The article focused on a church whose members have become invested in caring for vulnerable children by becoming foster families, adoptive families, or wrap-around families. The article speaks of wrap-around care as offering resources or support to adoptive and foster parents. Wrap-around care is a way of showing these families they are not alone by giving them encouragement and assistance in various ways.

As a Mission Friends teacher, you may have families in your church who are foster parents or adoptive families. Though not all children in foster or adoptive care have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), all of these children have gone through some type of trauma. I like the idea of giving wrap-around care to these foster and adoptive families so they can concentrate on providing for the emotional and physical needs of the child.

What are some ways of providing wrap-around care to these families?

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Missions for Advent

I love Christmas, especially now that I’ve learned to pull back and focus more on the eternal gift of Christmas. Incorporating Advent practices into our family’s celebration was the turning point.

This year, I added an international missions emphasis. Our weekly Advent prayers included 2 of the missionaries featured in the Week of Prayer for International Missions prayer brochure.

Prayers flow into action. Invite your friends and neighbors to a WorldCrafts party. Consider hosting the Intriguing Indonesia party since Indonesia is the focus of this year’s International Mission Study. VisitWorldCrafts.org/parties.asp for everything you need to introduce your friends and neighbors to this country and this WMU ministry that develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people around the world.

Prayers, action, and joyful giving draw the season to a close. A bountiful Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is the result. The heavens sing, and God multiplies it all for good.

Lucretia Mobbs loves this season of light.

Are You Tired Yet?

Thanksgiving is behind us. So is Christmas.

Only one more holiday to go, New Year’s Day!

Then, after we get past the first of the new year, we can settle down again. We’ll put away the decorations, return unwanted gifts, get to spend a few nights at home, and try to figure out a way to pay the bills for all the “specialness” that we enjoyed over the last month or so.

And, oh, let’s not forget that we will need to create a list of resolutions for the new year ahead. We will definitely want to lose weight, exercise more, spend less time on social media, and spend more quality time with God and our family.

Whew! I’m tired! How about you?

I’m tired just typing those words and thinking about the effort we’ll put forth in the weeks ahead.

Does the end of one year and the beginning of the next really have to be that way? Do we have to rush and hurry and overspend and over plan every minute of every day?

No!

Learning, Praying, Giving, Going

Do you know all the different ways that the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering helps missionaries? Below are just a few of the ways that the Christmas offering has helped Jacob and Robin Talley as they serve in Indonesia:

Missions Matters!

Sometimes it “pays” to look down. This is one way our family finds extra funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

When our children were young, we began the tradition of depositing any money found throughout the year into our Mission Jar. This included money discovered in the pockets of clothing to be washed, in vehicle seats, between couch cushions, and especially lying on sidewalks—I once stumbled across $7 this way! In December, we would take our money to a coin changer and include the total in our missions offering.

While our Mission Jar was a family project, it is always interesting to discover the creative ways churches publicize the international missions emphasis. My friend Sue’s church makes Lottie Moon come alive for young children by displaying a life-size cutout of Ms. Lottie and allowing the youngsters to compare their own size to this diminutive missionary to China.

Growing Missions in Your Church

While we know bigger isn’t always better, we all want our WMU to grow. Spiritually, of course, as well as physically. So what steps can you take to engage more preschoolers, children, students, and adults in missions education and involvement in your church?

Truly Humble

T. W. Hunt’s discipleship class changed my life. He told the class about a growing awareness that he spent more time reading about God than he did reading God’s Word. Hunt explained that this conviction led him to read only the Bible for the next 5 years. Amazing! Not 1 newspaper, magazine, or book, only the Bible. His face was lit from within as he taught, and I sensed the powerful presence of God in him. Oh, how I wanted to experience God like that.

Hunt taught us with humility and gentleness, and he made me realize that what you feed grows. I left that conference knowing that I had to narrow what I allowed into my life through media.

Philippians 4:8 became the test. Is it true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or morally excellent? Is it worthy of praise? These questions became my guide.

It’s been 20 years since that conference. I’m still narrowing and learning from great spiritual teachers.

Lucretia Mobbs loves quiet time in the Psalms.

Dealing with Leadership Surprises

Being a leader is hard. But you never know just how hard until you’re the leader.

Here are the things that surprised me the most about leadership:

1. Delegating is hard. I admit it—I have a type A personality and maybe control issues and OK, maybe trust issues, but sometimes it just seems easier to do everything myself. Wrong attitude! I can’t do it all; I don’t have the skills, time, or patience to do everything with excellence. I am robbing someone else of a blessing and the opportunity to use his or her talents for the kingdom. How will anyone else learn to serve or lead if I do everything? Delegating is hard, but it is the right thing to do. Even Jesus delegated the feeding of the 5,000 to the disciples and His mission here on earth to us. 

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