“Work”

I kissed my husband good-bye this morning, just before leaving the house at 8:53 am. He was in his lounging clothes on the couch, having just turned off Game Day so the kids could watch Chuggington.

“I’m proud of you,” he said. My heart lifted.

Now here I sit at “work.” At Westview Church in the “bullpen,” the name we lovingly have given the copy room that doubles as an office for myself and two other staff members. I use quotes for “work” because this building functions as my house of worship, my social hub, my place of employment, and seminary (as a distance learner). My desk is where I dream, write, learn Greek, watch lectures, study my Bible, plan discipleship opportunities, and pray.

Work deskAnd as I sit here, I recognize that though I suppose my husband has reason to be proud of me – specifically, for studying for school right away on Saturday, so I can get home to watch the Ducks game at 3:30 – I am really standing on the shoulders of many, many women and men who worked hard and made sacrifices that allow me to be doing what I’m doing today.

As a woman, I am indebted to the generations before me, who paved the way for our gender to have equality – in my country, in my church, in my family. A few generations ago, I would not have had the opportunity to be a wife, mother, athletic trainer, seminarian, and Director of Adult Discipleship. I stand on the hard work of feminists come before me.

As an American, I am indebted to the social servants who have fought, protected, served, and defended our country so that it has the freedoms it does. Those in the armed forces, those in government, those who serve selflessly in NGOs that attempt to provide quality of life to everyone. My great-great-grandparents were immigrants who didn’t speak English, who came to America and the Midwest farmland for a chance at a better life. They did not have the opportunities for education nor the high standard of living that I now enjoy. I didn’t earn any of that, they worked hard to provide it for me.

As a Christian, I am indebted to the grace of God and the heritage of faith he has given me. I was born into a family already covered in the grace of the New Covenant, and the Holy Spirit has been at work in my life always. I did not earn, deserve, or work for that. It was a gift, a precious gift. As is the calling God has placed on my life, and that of my family – my husband and children.

It is easy to read the news, scroll my Facebook feed, talk to my neighbor, and feel downcast about the world. But the Gospel’s truth tells me my life is a gift. I did not work for it. It was given to me. And in response to that, I can only pray that I live a life worthy of its calling.

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dreaming…

Lately I have been sensing a call, a change in direction for my life. So I have been asking God a lot of questions, doing a lot of pondering, and attempting to listen best I can. Here are some of my ramblings, and then God’s answer to me, inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt, “protect.”

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I try to sit in contentment, which is hard, because my heart is a dreamer, made for a longer journey – eyes on the final prize and never completely comfortable in a world that is not my home.

I love the Church. It is beautiful. God’s people are beautiful. And yet we are so broken. God’s kingdom is so much greater, his vision so much beyond what the church looks like in America in 2016. My dreams for it are so much bigger. So great that trying to make a chip in that iceberg seems like an effort in futility. Foolish. Not worth my time, money, energy. I am just one person, and the cynicism (wisdom?) of my 32 years has left some naivety (optimism?) of youth behind.

Can I dream again? Can my heart stay whole, knowing now that “chasing a dream” of obedience to God is right and good, though it may be hard, difficult, confusing, and still leaving me feeling incomplete in this world? Knowing I will still be broken, still dealing with anger, depression, jealousy, pride & selfishness, because I’m human and those things in me won’t completely die until I’m resurrected?

Can I rest in Christ and run his race at the same time?

He says to me,

I will protect you my child. I am your strong tower. You may run to me and be saved. I give you the shield of faith, to extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy. I give you my Word, to be your weapon and sword. I give you the gospel of peace, which lets you rest in the middle of war. I have fitted you with what you need – my Spirit, a helper. I am your shepherd, so you have everything you need. You can run your race. The path will include some still waters. You can climb mountains, because I will make them low for you. I will straighten your path, not let your foot stumble. You will fly on eagle’s wings, just as I shelter you with mine. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart – I have overcome the world.

Amen.

I pray you may know God’s protection as you let him fashion your dreams.