For years, I’d been waking up in the middle of the night wondering why the Lord had given me so many ideas and dreams, so much conviction for the lost but so little time, resources and energy. I’d wake up restless, jotting down ideas to relieve my mind of all the brainstorming going on in my head. Why would he give me these ideas when He was very well aware of my circumstances?
This all left me feeling frustrated, confused wondering why the Lord would do this. I was annoyed that our world revolved around us, our family, our friends and our church. These are all great things but there was something missing. At that time I was pregnant so I knew very well and He knew even better that there was no way I would have the time or energy to add anything else to my day. When I would share these frustrations with girlfriends they came to my rescue and explained that my ministry was now my family and that’s just how it is. I didn’t agree with “that’s just how it is” but I agreed wholeheartedly with my family being my ministry and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything in the world. But still the Lord continued to prod, gently prodding, as He so often does.
After months of agonizing over “that’s just how it is” now finally I found an answer. The Lord opened the eyes of my heart to see all these frustrations, convictions, passion and ministry in a new way through this statement I read in my devotions,
“God’s glory discovers us where we are.”
God can use me right where I am at, He doesn’t need to change my circumstances. So I began to meditate on this statement on how God used Moses right where he was, he was old, he was in the field, he was a shepherd. He showed me that I needed to yield, to surrender my ideas, my passion and my conviction to Him. And only until then would I be able to cherish each moment with my children, my family. He showed me how I could seize the day for His glory!
He said (don’t worry I didn’t hear an audible voice), “Mari, yes I have given you a heart to serve, a heart for the lost, a mind full of ideas but you’re looking at all of this through your own lens not mine, that’s why you always end up frustrated and confused.
I gave you Ben and made you a wife.
I gave you Ethan and Aiden and made you a mother.
I gave you Jesus and made you my child.
I gave you a heart for the poor, the lost.
I give you the vision. Rejoice my child in all of this and use it to glorify me each day right where you’re at! You don’t need to start a homeless shelter to help the poor all you need is to open your eyes and your heart when your out shopping. You don’t need to go to Mexico to reach the lost just open your eyes when your out at the zoo or the park with your children. You don’t need to be involved in everything at church so your children can see Jesus. Just treat the homeless man on the street like a person and smile as you hand him a meal. Mari, I want you to cherish each moment in the lives of your children but I also want you to know that you can seize as you allow Jesus to work through you in your day to day.”
It’s so easy to become complacent, to get use to our routine, our little life in our little world and that is exactly what we had done. Oh, no. That is exactly what we had done.
Tears rolled, snot flowed and my heart’s burden was set free when I heard these words. I realized that my children are who I need to disciple right now. True discipleship is only effective if I am in the Word, fellowshipping with believers, serving others, reaching out to the lost. These all go hand in hand. If I isolate one of them then my children only see a part of Jesus, they don’t see all of Jesus. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen in one’s family, it doesn’t just fall into place, you have to be intentional about it.
From these frustrations, confusion and God’s grace, was born: Mommy and Me Missions a group of moms looking for ways to serve in their community with their kids in hopes to inspire compassion, kindness and gratitude.
I wrote this five years ago and have constantly referred other women to this “moment,” God gave me. With the Mommy and Me Missions vision God gave me, I was able to take my pregnant self and my 3 year old with me and we would go into the community looking for opportunities to serve as a family. A few months later it was my 3 year old and my baby bringing sunshine to those who have gray skies in their forecast.
Our family currently serves in South America reaching out to students, street kids and our missionary community. If it wasn’t for this moment, I wouldn’t be able to say our ministry now, is a family ministry. Each one of my children even our 2 year old are an active part of it, it’s not just my husband or just me out there in the trenches sharing His love, but we serve as a team for His glory.
(The above image is our “Share the Love Stones” that we place at the hospital and mall for those who need some sunshine in their day.)
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