Monday, August 25, 2014

God Calling

Many of you know that I volunteer for CWIT, Center for Women in Transition here in Holland, MI. We work with those suffering from domestic violence and sexual assult.  We are a support system, counseling center, emergency housing provider, etc.  I have been working on the crisis line for about 18 months and also cover the reception desk occasionally. This past summer I took a couple of months off because of my schedule.

As I got "out of the groove"  I began to think that perhaps it was time to do something else, and not sign up again for the fall.  However, I had already signed up for a few nights in August.  I wasn't really in the mood and thought I was on the right track thinking these would be my last shifts.  Then the calls came in...Three calls from 3 young women who were hurting, afraid and wanted desperately to get the help they needed to be safe, and to be good moms.

As I spoke with them I realized I was making a difference in their lives.  God had called me to be on the other end of the phone connections.

I'm signing up for September!!

Col. 1:9-14  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We have been rescued from the dominion of God wants to use us as rescuers as well!  Where is God calling you to make a difference?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Too much or Not Enough

Sometimes something happens that makes you look at yourself, your values, your spending, your relationships...the whole kit and kabuddle(?).  A couple of weeks ago it happened for us.

We were busy working on getting our rental house ready for our new renters, about whom we are really excited!!  4 young women, all with hearts after God!  This is exactly what we were praying for as we bought and fixed up (with the help of friends Angel and Janelle) the house.  Lord, let it be a place of ministry and blessing for those who live in it, and for the community.

Anyway...I was making a quick run to Aldi's.  In the parking lot I noticed a man on his phone.  He caught my attention, in part because he was wearing a winter jacket in 70 degree weather.  I felt drawn to park next to him, went in and made my purchase, came out, and as I was walking to the car he asked, with a strong accent, if I could help him give the location to a taxi driver.  I took the phone from him and helped him out.  Afterwards I asked what country he was from and he responded Haiti.  I had been right about the accent!

I asked where he was taking the taxi and he named a town about 20 miles away.  That's a lot of taxi money!!  We talked a bit more...we have a heart for Haiti, so it was fun to share a little history.  He lives in Florida, but had come to Michigan to pick blueberries, only to discover that his back could not handle the work.  He was palnning on returning to Florida soon, but in the meantime needed to get back to the town where he was staying with a house full of other immigrant workers, wall to wall sleeping mats.

I told him if he hung out with us for the morning we could save him the taxi fare and take him back to the house.  So he helped us out a little as we worked on the house and then came over for lunch before Al took him back to Fennville.

So, how did it shift my everything?  Well, in lots of ways that I probably don't even realize yet, but here is one.  We live in a modest, relatively small house in Holland.  Most of the time I love my charming little house. (Okay, I'd like it a little better if we had a few more things fixed.)  But really it is very cute.  However, there are times when I feel a bit embarrassed. I wonder: does this look like a house that two professionals live in as they anticipate retirement?  (I know, pretty unspiritual, right?)

That wasn't a problem that Thursday.  I kept feeling embarrassed as our Haitian friend looked around.  As we ate lunch I kept thinking, "Only two people live in this whole house!"  This is such abundance! If we were going to be in the house the next few days we would have offered him a place for a few days, but we were heading out in the morning.

I keep praying that no matter how many people are living in this house it will be a house of ministry, where people feel welcome and safe, encouraged and blessed.  I pray that God will keep my perspective real!

I pray Philippians 4:11-13 For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

So the learning will continue next week as I greet someone I know lives at a different financial level than I do.  I may need to fight the temptation to think our house is embarassing.  Paul did say he "LEARNED" which means it was a process.  So I look forward to sharing our home and offering the hospitality of warmth and friendship.  Isn't that what we are all looking for?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pickin' Blueberries with God

Today I called a friend to see if she wanted to go blueberry picking with me.  There is a special patch, which used to be an actual blueberry farm, but the owners turned it over to the county and now it is a free for the picking patch.  (Ephraim claims it is one of Holland's best kept secrets.  Shhhh!) That also means it is very overgrown, and you have to fight the raspberry prickers and mosquitoes to get to the blueberries.  But it is so worth it!!  The berries are still abundant and delicious. friend didn't get back to me and I realized that after all that has been going on this summer, I really needed to go pick berries with just God.  I needed alone time with Him.

There were birds that came to visit me.  They sat on the tops of the bushes watching me pick their berries.  A robin, a thrush and a female oriole flew back and forth, in and out.  But there were lots of other birds that I could hear as they sang, and called, rustled in the bushes and long grass.  It was quite the symphony of bird carols.  In the midst of it all, the thing that kept running through my mind was the words to a favorite hymn, This is my Father's world.

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

It was good to be there...just me, the birds and God.  In the rustling grass and bushes He found me. I felt honored and humbled to think that my Father speaks to me everywhere...anytime...I just need to make the time and space in my life to relish God's presence!

In the rustling grass, may you here Him pass!