Adults

Why Bother?

WMU meetings and activities demand an investment of time and finances. Regardless of what we do, they remind us more needs to be done. So, why bother?

Why not spend those precious moments and dollars on ourselves and our families?

A recent associational missions fair answered those question for me. Pressed for time, I quickly set up my table, pasted a smile on my face, and greeted our guests. I discussed my display, stamped the children’s “passports,” and answered questions.

Then two teens approached. After a few moments of chatting, we began exploring in depth the challenges of sharing God’s love at home and around the world. A mixture of excitement and anxiety played across their faces and in their voices. And I saw myself.

I remembered God’s call to share His love. I relived The Great Commission’s tug on my heart. And I thanked God for the reminder.

WMU Wins Souls for Christ

I’ve worked with WMU for several years. I attended several leadership conferences, and I was a workshop leader representing Sisters Who Care. During one conference, Ms. Chocolate spoke about the needs of children in her community. She encouraged us to spread the gospel in our neighborhoods stating, “How will they know unless we tell them?”

I’ve recalled those words often. I’ve interviewed missionaries who are thankful for readers’ prayers for them, their families, and for the salvation of the people groups they serve. Missionaries sacrifice the comforts of home to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those who’ve never heard nor thought of having a relationship with God who created them. “How will they know?”

Lead from Your Strengths

Delores does not like being in the limelight and prefers to work behind the scenes. Evelyn delights in speaking from the platform. Donna has never met a stranger and is very outgoing. Kay’s quiet demeanor and gentleness are well respected by those who have been blessed to know her. Sandy is creative and thinks outside the box. Dawn appreciates her strong missions heritage.

What do these women have in common? They are all strong WMU leaders. I have had the privilege of working alongside each of them.

Perhaps the greatest leadership truth I’ve ever learned came from this collective group. They have taught me that there is not just one way to lead. In fact, there are as many different styles of leadership as there are leaders—because no two leaders lead exactly the same way.

Follow to Lead

While it may be popular to talk about leadership and to dream about being in charge, the Bible paints a different picture of leadership. Christians who lead because a still, small voice* calls them to do so know the difference.

Why follow God’s leadership? Following God’s leadership works differently than planning our own future. It requires us to hear His voice. While some hear His voice daily, others have not positioned themselves to listen. Sometimes God has to get our attention so that we can hear Him. God often uses circumstances to bring us to a position to lead, and getting to that position may require a strange and unexpected journey.

On a journey, we usually experience some discomfort. Our muscles get tired. Our bodies ache. Our habits may change. We may find ourselves sleeping on uncomfortable pillows or eating foods that don’t taste quite the same as our home-cooked meals. These are small discomforts compared to what our Bible heroes experienced.

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Refocus Every Day

Has God ever had to refocus your life?

When I first got married I went through a period of massive insecurity. I was more concerned about my appearance than when we were dating. The more gentle and loving my husband was, the more terrible I felt. Every mistake I made bothered me twice as much, and every good thing I did only counted half as much. I had big dreams of being an “excellent wife.” I tried, but I couldn’t seem to get it right. I berated and belittled myself for not being good enough. I pleaded for God to show me what to do.

God didn’t turn me into the excellent wife I wanted to be.

Instead, He reminded me that my identity had not changed. I am still His daughter first of all. My situation had changed, but I hadn’t changed in the most fundamental way. I was so concerned with being a good wife that I took my eyes off my real goal. With the wrong goal in sight, nothing goes right.

Prone To Wander

I like to take pictures of my children. Since I have a smartphone, this task has become easier than ever before. Whenever my children are doing something funny or cute, I quickly whip out my phone, open the camera app and snap. In fact, at the time of this writing, I have 2,622 pictures on my camera roll in my phone. Clearly, I like pictures of my children. And since I like to capture these moments, nothing is more frustrating than when I aim my camera, ready to snap, only for the image to soften and lose focus. Suddenly, I’m tapping the screen, trying to refocus the image. Inevitably, by the time I get the camera refocused, the moment is gone. I’ve missed an opportunity.

Sometimes, this happens in our spiritual lives as well. We can lose focus on God’s purpose for our lives through distraction or waywardness, and we can miss out on divine opportunities if we don’t refocus. Let me give an example from my life to demonstrate.

In the Stillness

“Be still and know that I am God,” seems to be a common verse from Psalms that Christians say or hang on their walls within their homes.

We try to remind our hearts to be still and know He is God.

But do we do it?

I don’t know about you, but this does not come natural to my Type-A, constantly creating to-do lists personality. Now maybe you are a natural at it and easily find time of aloneness (and if so, please tell me your ways).

I imagine for the majority of us, stillness is not something we try to attain often in our lives. It seems like days, weeks, and months can go by within the routine and demands and then one day we wake up and realize we haven’t been still before God in quite some time. In fact, when was the last time we stopped to hear His voice?

New Doors

Plans made? Check. Finances arranged? Check. Several weeks each year earmarked for international missions? Check. I was all set and ready to go.

Then life happened. Family health issues halted all mission trips.

Nevertheless, God led in ways I could never have imagined. I had written for church services, mission trips, and a couple of devotions for a bulletin service. Yet, I never considered myself a writer.

Slowly but surely that began to change. I studied the craft, and opportunities increased.

A writer’s conference speaker introduced me to a ministry that translates radio drama and Bible studies for broadcast around the world, including countries closed to the gospel.

Imagine that. Now I reach more people in Jesus’ name than I did in all my mission trips combined. Isn’t God amazing?

Gather around the Campfire

Judy grew up in a large family. Her parents had 7 daughters, adopted 2 sons, and provided a home for 53 foster children over the years, 5 of whom stayed with them until high school graduation. Judy remembers that they all had chores to do and claims she was an amazing dishwasher, partly due to lots of practice since the counters were often full of dirty dishes. She mostly wore hand-me-downs that were often the wrong size or worn out or both. She often felt awkward in group settings, but she also says life was good in that large Christian family where love abounded.

When she was 9 years old, Judy, who by then was a tomboy nicknamed “Bugs” because of her fascination with insects, went to missions camp for the first time. She considered it a great privilege to be there and a life-changing experience. Some of the camp highlights for Judy were singing silly camp songs, learning new ways to pray, developing friendships (some that have lasted a lifetime), growing spiritually, and being enthralled with the missionaries who shared their stories. As a result, Judy developed a love for missions that she now instills in others.

Changing Focus to Receive God’s Strength

My husband was rushed to the hospital December 4, 2015. He was vomiting “old blood.” Each time the doctor cleared Darrell’s stomach then fed him through his peg tube, Darrell aspirated. The surgeon couldn’t replace the peg with a J-tube due to gastric problems, aspiration, and chronic vomiting. Nourishment to sustain life was impossible.

I watched my husband transition to eternity with the Lord. I worried about Darrell, his fears, and how I would live without him. With each worry, I asked God to strengthen and help me live in the present, to be thankful for the current moment we had together.

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