2 years

This week marks 2 years ago that our lives, mine especially, was shaken to the core. Two years ago today our son Knox was born at 16 weeks.
The days leading up to his birth have replayed in my mind. On the first we’d had our sonogram after not being able to find heart tones for a couple of days. I can still picture the black hole in his chest, where his heart was no longer beating. My heart still sinks when I close my eyes. On the second we met with an OB doctor I’d never met and scheduled the induction. It was God’s providence that we made that relationship with him. I’m so thankful for his care. Because little did we know that 6 months later we’d be in his office again staring at a lifeless body in my womb and scheduling yet another induction for our daughter Lily.
And then today.
I remember walking in to the hospital the day’s events. I remember how scared I was, how sad. His birth, so thankful to be able to hold him and admire God’s handiwork. Thankful for nurses who made footprints, took pictures and prayed with me. Sobbing when they took him away. I remember the OR, fighting anesthesia with fear…waking and asking before my eyes were open if I was still whole, if they’d saved my uterus. And the next day being so weak, having my first allergic reaction ever (super scary for me) and then watching as someone else’s blood made it’s way through the IV tubing into my own arm. And leaving. Pale, weak and exhausted. Hollow and leaving a piece of me behind.
As I mourned I wrote. I wrote this series as I grieved his loss. Writing was often the only time I didn’t feel completely numb. It was my therapy.
Two years has passed since. The pain is less, but it’s still there. I still wonder how different our lives would be if he’d survived. I still wonder why he died. But through his life and his death I have learned much. God taught me a lot about trust, control, grief and caring for others. I gained a new perspective as a patient and hurting mother. I learned a lot about wrestling with God…and I did wrestle, I shook my fist, I cried out and I surrendered.
It’s been two years. His footprints still hang on our wall. A heart in our family tree to mark his presence in our family. And brothers who still talk about him…and a brother who bears his name (Zebediah Knox). A brother who will learn about the one who came before, the one he will meet in Heaven.
God is faithful. He is good even when we’re grieving the loss of a child…even when it doesn’t feel like He is good. I am thankful for the joy that He has shown me on the other side of this loss. I am thankful. Losing Knox allowed me to be teachable, mold-able…God used that experience to shape me more to the image of Christ.
So today, I remember the birth of my son whom I will meet for the first time with his sister and two other siblings in Heaven. What a glorious day that will be! Today our family remembers our Knox and we are thankful.

Asking Questions

When I was studying for my Master’s degree, we spent whole courses exploring how people learn and why we teach the way we do. We took quizzes about kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners. We talked about how we often teach the way we best learn. So when it came time to teach my own children at home I started thinking about the ways they would best grasp concepts within difficult subjects. And while I’ve employed some of these strategies and theories to learning…the best tool I’ve found to teach my children is to ASK QUESTIONS. Lots of them.
I started thinking about what I want my end result to be. Do I want them to just be able to regurgitate information for a test or a room full of people like a trick pony? And the answer is no. I don’t want them to be vats of useless knowledge…full to the brim of facts and statistics, theories and formulas with no ability to apply them. I want my children to think for themselves…to know where to go to find information, how to put that information together and draw a conclusion that is right and real for them.
When I teach my nursing students, it is so tempting to just want to open their brains and dump information in. I do lecture a fair amount, but I try to ask questions, to get them to take the next step to a conclusion on their own. I can’t tell you how many times potential employers would say “Just give me someone who can critically think…I can teach them to do any skill.” I think the same goes for my children.
I ask questions to teach them…to let them think things through. I want them to process the information, consider the options, weigh the results and determine why, when and how. It’s not enough for them to spit it back at me, I want them to be able to tell me why they picked what they did.
It doesn’t just go for school, but more importantly for their faith. I want my children to own their faith…not mine. I want them to follow Christ, to seek after Him and to do His will. I want them to know the Bible is true and that is sufficient for EVERYTHING. But I don’t want them to know it because I said so…I want them to know it because God said so and He called them to follow Him. I want them to find the path God has for them, not the one I want. I want them to wrestle with the tough questions, the challenges they face and I want them to ask questions and find the answer God has. More importantly, I want their faith to be tangible to them, not some paper thin replication of mine, but the kind of faith that is sturdy, the kind they’ve built with God themselves and I want them to be able to defend it to a world that will tell them they’re wrong.
I ask my children questions to teach them, to guide them, so that they can ask the questions and find the answers for themselves. By asking questions, I hope to allow my children to make what they are learning their own. I hope they will be able to know what they believe and be able to defend and articulate it. Because that’s the important part…not just the “correct” answer, but why.
 

Back

Some of you have noticed I’ve taken kind of a break over the last year. It wasn’t planned or necessarily intentional, but it happened. It isn’t that I stopped writing, rather, I stopped hitting the publish button.
This blog started at first as a way to keep up with family and for them to follow us while we were living  a distance away. Then it morphed into a mom, wife, family kind of blog and for a time it was an outlet for me to grieve when we lost our babies. But writing has always been my outlet. It’s how I process things going on in my life, it’s how I muddle through and try to make sense of it all. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a comfortable place for you to come and share in our lives, to share struggles, victories and “hacks” for making it in life.
This last year or so has been challenging for us as a family. We’ve been loved and cared for, we’ve been hurt and abandoned, we’ve healed and grown and we’ve learned together. I’ve written a lot as a way to make sense of it. But some of what I wrote, I wrote when I was angry and hurting…and words sting. They can’t be taken back or undone. So while I wrote, I didn’t publish. It was simply for me to express safely. Someday, when I’m further out and it’s not so raw I may share, but for now they stay there in my “drafts” folder or in my own writing in my journal.
I’ve been wanting to write again to you, my readers. My brain is turning and my pen (er…fingers) are itchy to write. I have ideas and things I’d like to share. It may take a bit for me to get back in the swing of things, but I thank you for being patient with me. For waiting while I wrote for myself. So, I guess this is it. I’m back. I hope to start back writing once or twice a week. Something to share, something to get me back in the swing of blogging regularly. So grab a cup of coffee, let’s sit down and chat. I’ve got things to share…

Five minute Friday — She

Here’s how it all got started, back story, details and all. The short version is:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (On your blog or in the comments).
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}.
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you.
It’s a great way to catch your breath at the end of a long week.
OK, here’s the prompt, give me your best five minutes on the word:

She

I don’t know if I can write it…words just can’t put all that she is, they won’t wrangle all the pieces and parts and I’ll feel like I do her an injustice. But the words get stuck in my throat to say them so…
Mom you are the strongest person I know. You have spent your life giving to others, to me, my children, your family and your patients. I’ve watched you…bone tired from work, mentally exhausted from the turmoil and yet you’d rise to make dinner, get a drink or run bath water. Nary a word or sigh, simple humble service.
I’ve watched you…Every time I take a breath and strike up a conversation with a stranger, comment on the weather, life the ride in the elevator…I think of you. The ease that you can find common ground with a complete stranger. It never came that easy to me, but when I find myself standing alone with someone else I think of you and how you talk to people…not at them…but to them and I take a breath and speak.
I’ve watched you…I’ve watched you buy clothes for you locker at work for the kids and the people who come in sick so you don’t have to send them home in a paper gown. I know you carry chocolate and soft kleenex for the nurses you work with. I know that you will always hold a mamas hand who is losing her baby because you know what it means to her. I trust them with you.
I’ve watched you…weather the storm of life and not become bitter. I’ve watched you bloom in the last two years…through the hurt, through the difficulty…but I’ve seen to run head long into what lies ahead. I’ve seen you hold your head up and treat others with respect even when they weren’t respectable to you. And I’ve seen you continue to love.
I’ve watched you…The boys who completely lose all sense of focus, duty and any sense when they know you’re coming. So much so that I’ve stopped telling them until you’re almost here. The one who calls you “bam-ma” prays for you everyday and thanks God for donuts.
Mom, I swore when I was younger I wouldn’t become you…but now it’s what I hope for. That I can be as loving, as caring and as strong as you. So that when my children grow up, they will take a breath, care for someone and love like you do. You are a blessing to us…all of us…those who know you, who have been cared for by you and best of all those of us who can call you Mom. I am proud of you. I love you more than words can say.
 

What next?

This past Sunday we made the difficult announcement to our congregation that we would be leaving. Our hearts broke, but it has become apparent that we would be more beneficial to the Kingdom if we serve in a different place than our current church. Our church has been such an easy congregation to love. They have loved us too and we’ve cared so deeply for them. Our hearts are heavy at the thought of leaving. I can’t tell you how many tears we’ve shed over this decision. How many sleepless nights and how many prayers cried out to God. While it isn’t what we’d hoped for when we came here, He has clearly given His answer. And we are to go.
The question is now “What next?” And the truth is we don’t know. We don’t know where we’re going or what God has in store for us. But we know that it’s time for us to leave. I’m reminded as we’re in this time of transition of Psalm 119:105 that says “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.”
Several years ago we were camping with a group of friends from church. The ladies decided to make a trip to the bathroom in the dark, using the lantern to light our way. As we were walking along the single file path to the bathroom, we commented about how with the lantern we can only see the next step in front of us. We can’t see the whole path laid out before us, but only the one step ahead. We took one step at a time, trusting the path would carry us closer to the bathrooms.

It’s like that with God some times (much of the time really). He rarely, shows us the whole big picture. He may place a call on our lives, give us an idea of where we’re going to end, but He doesn’t often show us the whole process of getting there (lest we think we know a better way and try to go our way instead of His and jack up the whole process). Instead, God tells us “this is where I’ve called you…take one step.” He shows us one step at a time and we are to walk in faith and know that His word will light the way.
As much as I’d like to see the whole path, heck right now I’d like to see the end point (or at least the general direction), God has only shown us the next step. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. If we continually turn to Him and His word, He will light the way, giving us direction and guiding us to the place He has for us. God’s word is true, it is relevant and it is sufficient always and for everything. Even when we don’t know what comes next.

I am saddened to be leaving here. I don’t always understand and to be truthful I’m not always happy about it. But I TRUST that when we are faithful to Him…He is faithful to us. When we hold to the standard He’s called us, when we honor Him and when we are obedient to Him, He will direct our path.
So for now, we continue to serve Him, love His church and trust Him knowing that He has a perfect plan for our lives. We covet prayers for our family, the church and the leadership here. We are thankful for the time we’ve spent here. We have loved and cared for His flock here. We are sad that we have to leave, but we know God is faithful. And so we take the next step…

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your paths straight.

 

Happy Birthday

Today is Titus’s 3rd birthday. Three years ago today I had the most incredible homebirth after having 3 previous c-sections. It was such an awesome experience. I am so very thankful, still, that I had such a wonderful midwife, doula and several friends who supported me and believed in me and the Creator who made me. You can read my birth story here.

And Today:

You can do it!

As the school season gets rolling here I’ve answered a lot of questions about homeschooling. Yes, I school our boys at home, the oldest 4 anyway…Zeb doesn’t know his ABCs yet at 4 months but we’re working on it. (Oh how I wish there was a sarcasm font!)

It seems like lots of people are intrigued by the idea and maybe even toy with it for a time but it often seems as though the conversation ends with the other parent saying one of two things…either she says “I don’t think I could do it, I’m not smart enough!” or “There’s no way I could homeschool…I couldn’t stand my kids for that long!” So here’s what my response is (at least in my head anyway)…
First: We homeschool not to keep the bad influences out or to make our kids academically superior or because we’re afraid of the “real world”. We homeschool because we view it as less about education (although very important) and more about discipleship. We are called to disciple our children at all times and quite frankly when we send them to public school we are allowing someone else to do it. They are often taught values and beliefs that are contrary to our beliefs and the values we believe are important for them to understand before setting off in the “real world” (even in a small school).
Second: I love it. It’s hard absolutely. There are days when I seriously think they might be better off on the big yellow bus going to school because we get frustrated. But the truth is, I know they wouldn’t be. We might have rough days, but the freedom homeschool offers is that we can modify our day, our lesson plans and our teaching methods to meet the needs of each child. Not only that but if all else fails I’ll outsource to dad or someone else who might have a different perspective. Unfortunately, in many public classrooms they just move on because our teachers have a  classroom full of children and can’t individualize the education being delivered. (Not because they don’t want to, but because when teaching 35 other children it’s difficult to stop and make it work for one or two).

So back to my response:
Some day I’m going to flippantly say “Well I can tell that you obviously had someone else teach her to walk/talk/think/eat because look at that execution! I mean there is no way a plain old parent could teach their child to walk with such grace!” Okay not really, but seriously…you’ve taught your child so MANY things in the first few years of life why would you ever think you couldn’t teach him? I mean who better to teach your little one than you? You know how this kid thinks better than anyone. You know that he has a particular affinity for the color blue and that he really likes dinosaurs and has memorized most of their names. So why not use those dinosaurs to teach counting, math, science, spelling or English? When my second son was learning his addition facts we were having a miserable time, and I mean miserable! I would write 3+5 = ? Over and over again, and no matter how many times we “built” it with legos, used fingers, toes or whatever he would struggle to grasp the concept of any addition problem. Finally exasperated I sent him to run outside. He has always been very active and we both needed a break, so I asked him to go run a couple laps around our backyard and off he went singing the whole way around the yard. As he was wrapping it up, I asked him to pick up 3 rocks as quick as he could and put them in a circle I drew on the porch. He dropped three rocks in the circle and I asked him to pick up 5 more and put them in a second circle I drew. As he put them down I said “Now quick! How many rocks do you have?” Without missing a beat he said “8”. So I wrote the numbers above the circles. It was a huge breakthrough for us! I could tailor learning to fit what he needed at that moment. For the record, he no longer has to run laps to add but we used a similar concept to subtraction and multiplication.

I have  a confession to make…I am miserable at English, Grammar to be specific. I kind of hated it in school. A lot. We didn’t diagram sentences until Junior High and I hated every single minute and once you get past the adjective/adverb territory and in to prepositions…I feel totally lost and my guts wrench. This last year we did a program called Shurley English with the boys, it involved diagramming sentences and parts of speech past adjectives. I.Was.Terrified. to teach it to them. I mean, what if I seriously messed up? And I can’t remember squat from when I was in school. So you know what? I learned it all over again with them. I stayed a day ahead with lessons so I was prepared but we did it together. The beauty of the program itself is that it has the little jingles to help remember parts of speech, it has question and answer flows to learn how to diagram  sentences and it makes total sense! Where was this stuff when I was 12?
Some parents think they have to have a Master’s degree in everything to be able to teach their children. First grade teachers are super smart, without a doubt, but few of them have a master’s degree in calculus, literature, history and science. It’s called knowing where to look up the answers and being willing to learn together. So no, I’m not the smartest person around but am I qualified to teach my children? Absolutely! And so are you! And really, when they get old enough for the subjects I know nothing about like say calculus…technology is awesome and they can learn it through a correspondence or online course.

My children do benefit from being accountable to others who may teach them throughout the year, they learn that someone else has expectations too and not just mom. For example, we have a wonderful gal from our church who teaches them art during the week. They have learned that she expects them to sit still and listen too. She gives them instruction and they’re expected to follow those instructions and complete the task. They learn accountability to others. When we lived in Colorado we had a group of homeschool families who got together once or twice a month. The kids might prepare a project to present to the group, write a paper or report to share with someone else. One year I taught a science unit on the human body. I went once a week and taught about a different body system, we did experiments and dissected stuff…it was awesome! I was able to use my in depth knowledge as a nurse and experience to teach the whole group. Another mom put together a music program, while another provided math tutoring. We worked together to give our children the best learning experiences possible. We are still a bit of an oddity here so there aren’t as many homeschooling families, but there are still those experiences out there.

My response to the second statement “I couldn’t stand my kids all day!” is one that gets under my skin more than others. First, they’re your kids! If you can’t stand them then it’s probably a parenting issue. And secondly, if you can’t stand them how do you expect a complete stranger to? I mean really, if your child is so irritating that even you…the one who is supposed to love them unconditionally and all, doesn’t want to be around them…there is more than schooling at issue there and perhaps you should spend some more time around them…training them perhaps and learning to love them.

I do think it’s possible for most parents to homeschool their children. I realize that not every parent feels that conviction (and I don’t expect them to). But don’t NOT homeschool because you don’t think you can, it is possible and YOU CAN DO IT! (Is that grammatically correct? We haven’t made it to that lesson yet…)

Five Minute Friday — Broken

IT’S FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY FREE WRITE TIME. Link up your post in the comment. We can’t wait to visit and read you. Make sure you leave a lovely and encouraging response to the person who linked up before you.
Today’s word is “BROKEN” Ready, set, GO:
Broken.
We come in to this world already broken. And the hammers of life continue to break our lives, our hearts, into millions of different pieces.
We scramble to try to hold them all together, to piece them back and make them stick with whatever we can find. We carry the baggage of our sin and the sin that others have committed against us. We bring with us the hurt, abandonment, abuse and grief. Until one day, we fall at the foot of the cross. With our broken selves. We wonder if HE can put them back together, if HE can make them stick and if it will stay that way.
God fixes us. He fixes our broken hearts, our wounded souls and wipes the tear stains away. When God fixes our brokenness, we are completely whole…he finds the pieces, each one and puts them together one by one until we are like new again.
The same insults may come our way, we might still be sick, hurt, abandoned or abused. We might still walk through trials…we aren’t promised “easy” but we are promised that we will never, ever, again be
Broken.

Five Minute Friday — Present

Five Minute Friday
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Present

I am reminded today about the importance of living in the present. Soaking it all up, drinking it deep. A school mate is dealing with his 9 year old son having cancer, battling it to the teeth and holding on to every moment for dear life. I see mama’s who are learning about horrible diseases their baby’s have, learning there is no cure,  no treatment and in all reality they will be saying goodbye to the baby before he turns 1. I have a friend who grieves for the daughter she lost 5 years ago, she is missed every day, thought of every day and impacts lives even now.
And I hug my children tighter. I thank God for every moment I have with them. I cry out in prayer for these families and many others. I wonder why such sweet children, parents, families are called to walk this path. And I am reminded that none of us know when we are living our last day. We will all meet an end, for some of us it may be today, tomorrow or 50 years from now. We should all live in the present.
Each day lived full, letting little things go, making memories but most of all loving those around us. When I think about it, I think about what I want my children to remember about me if this is my last day. I think about how I want to be faithful to what God has called to do. I also think about what I’d want to remember about my children if, heaven forbid, this is their last day too. I think about the way my oldest son’s eyes light up when he laughs and how even at 10, he so wants to be a man but is still a boy who loves. I cherish my second son, the way he cares for others and his stories…his stories! And my blue eyed 3rd son, who charms with his smile and his words. I treasure in my heart the smile he seems to give at just the right moment. Then there is my spirited 4th son, such a challenge for me, but oh what a child who drinks in life. He lives the experience! And my precious gift in my 5th son. My baby born after losing two babies. He feels redemptive and healing. His countenance so happy and sweet. When I look at him, I can’t help but think “My Joy comes in the morning”.
I sear these images, these memories and their faces in my mind. Wishing I could take snapshots in my brain and rifle through them each day. I pray for God to help remind me that I need to live in the present. I need to take it all in and take each day for the gift and the moments that they are.
Be present.

How's your serve?

This past Sunday we heard a message on Volunteering within the church. Serving each other.
Sure, we always need more volunteers, more hands to help “do church” and more people willing to step up. But there are lots of reasons (see excuses) that we don’t step up to serve within the church.
The thing is this…we are all called to serve. Every last one of us, whether we really want to or not.
Joshua 22:5

5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
We are called to serve God. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty (death) that we all deserve as a result of our sin. We deserve death and life away from God. God can not bear to be in the presence of sin. He hates it. And nothing we can do will “earn” our way back into His presence. There is no way we can ever be good enough. But God loves us, so He sent Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin. Once we believe in Him and trust Him as our savior we are assured eternal life in Heaven with our God. Because of this wonderful sacrifice we should want to serve Him and those around us. Serving God means we are obedient to Him and what He has called us to do. It means we honor one another, we seek to do God’s will and seek to bring Him glory in all we do.
The Bible lists lots of spiritual gifts, but the one thing we are all called to do is to serve. It’s not optional. This can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes. We all may have a different gift, but sometimes those gifts are big labels we hide behind. We don’t want to serve in a certain ministry or with a specific group of people because we don’t think it’s our “gift”. Are some people better teachers than others…probably, but does that mean we shouldn’t try or be willing to step up and try to learn or even help? Definitely not.
I’ve been pondering lately why people are hesitant to serve within the church or community. I think one of the reasons is that we don’t know how or where to serve. There’s this thing in church…it’s the untrue belief that those who are coming to church have it all figured out, life is all roses and we don’t need help with anything. Let me tell you nothing is further from the truth. Every person sitting in church has problems, most of us have a colorful or at least semi-colorful past and none of us have life figured out. But it’s this belief that we’re supposed to have it down that keeps us from telling others when we need something. The truth is though, when we’re unwilling to ask for help, when we’re unwilling to be real with those around us…we are robbing others of the opportunity to serve us and we’re missing a blessing. We’re too busy being proud. So we need to be willing to ask for help and we also need to be willing to look around for ways to serve those around us. Keeping our heads up, our ears open and our mouths shut helps us find ways to serve others. We hear someone say that they’re going on vacation for a week…can we serve them by mowing their lawn while they’re gone? Look around…there are lots of places to serve.

Another reason we’re hesitant to serve is we’re afraid. We’re afraid of what someone else might think of us. When we’re serving God, what man thinks should mean very little to us but let’s be honest…we’re all a little afraid of what everyone around us thinks. When I first started playing drums in worship band I was paralyzed by this fear. Could I play drums? Yes. Was I the best? No, but I could do it. Did I like playing? Yep. But why then, did I not want to play on Sunday morning, why did I nearly faint from panic for the first several months I played? Because I was afraid…I was afraid that I would mess up that I wouldn’t hold the beat and that people would talk. I was afraid of what the worship leader was going to think of me and what the congregation was going to think of me. It wasn’t until several months in to it and I’d messed up a couple times (which I totally agonized over for the rest of the week) that I realized what they thought didn’t really matter. I was going to do my best, but I wasn’t there for them. I was there because I had a talent that God had given me, our church had a need and I was called to serve. And better yet, even though I’d messed up, my church still loved me. They didn’t even bat an eye really…we might have gotten a little off beat but we made it through and no one disowned me.

And I’ll tell you, those fears are from satan. He wants nothing more than to keep you from serving your church, your community and those around you. It’s sinful to succumb to that fear and to let it keep you from being obedient to Christ.
Perhaps the most touchy reason we don’t want to serve is because we are too caught up in our own self to be of much service to anyone else. We are selfish, we like to think of how others should be serving us, how uncomfortable serving others might make us and to be honest we are too proud to really do it.
Sometime we think a job is beneath us. I don’t know very many people who enjoy scrubbing toilets, changing diapers or even mowing the lawn. But all of these things can be ways we serve each other. Is there a spiritual gift named in the Bible for changing diapers? No. But I will tell you, to the mother who is able to sit in worship because someone else is willing to care for her children for an hour, it is a gift. A few weeks ago, someone served me in the most unglorious way I can think of. Titus got sick and barfed at the end of the buffet line during a fellowship meal. I was holding Zeb and chatting with someone and had no idea what happened. By the time Gabe came to get me and let me know, one of the fathers in church had cleaned up after Titus and scrubbed the carpet. I was humbled (and embarrassed). The dad was most gracious and willing to serve our family in that way. And I’ll tell you it wasn’t the first time someone willingly, and believe it or not, cheerfully cleaned up after one of our children got sick in church.
Sometimes we just don’t want to serve others (insert two year old whiny voice here). Tough. I went to church with a lady who didn’t particularly enjoy leading children’s worship. She enjoys kids but she doesn’t really dig serving in this way, but she does it anyway and the children are none the wiser. She does it because she has the ability and she is being obedient to God’s call to serve. She puts on a smile and teaches every couple of months. And her smile isn’t fake, it is real because she is cheerfully serving God and not man.
When I used to sing on worship team there were some weeks that I didn’t care for a song or two we were singing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t sing it but rather I didn’t care for it, it wasn’t my style. But I also knew there was a lady in our congregation that really enjoyed the song. It was one of her favorites. So we sang it. We were able, we were called and we were obedient. Had we decided to avoid singing it because we didn’t care for it we would have been selfish and would have denied her ability to be blessed by worship that morning. Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and choose to serve how God calls us to serve and not how we would rather do it. We should joyfully serve Him and look for ways to bless others…even if it’s on our “less than desirable” list.
Serving isn’t just about doing stuff, it’s about ministering to one another. It requires us to be humble. We have to be willing to swallow our pride, serve where, when and how we are able. Serving isn’t about getting glory and recognition for ourselves, it’s about bringing glory to God. I think you can glorify God by cleaning toilets as easily as you can by feeding the poor.
Service to others is a part of loving one another within and outside of the church. It’s part of building relationships with others. We are much more likely to have a genuine relationship with someone when we are willing to serve them and look for ways to do so.
Learning how to serve takes time. We can’t just have one lesson on it during a sermon, or Sunday school or even during Life group and expect it to take hold. It’s something we have to cultivate every day and every moment we’re together. Teaching your children how to serve can be as simple as helping them learn to hold doors open for those around them. It teaches them to be aware of the needs of others and meet those needs. We do it when we don’t want to, when we’re grumpy and when we’re already frustrated. But…we are called to do it. We do it because God asks us to. And as we serve others, we find that we’re blessed as well.

So I would challenge you…how can you serve those around you? Are you listening to what people are saying about where their needs are? Do you have the ability to do something to serve others, even if it’s something you’re not thrilled about doing? The question really is…How’s your serve these days?