Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?

My heart is in prayer over a speaking engagement I have been invited to speak at this coming May. Tonight, I was surfing the web and doing a bit of research over a few topics and came across this adorable idea (thought). It has grabbed my hearts attention and is intriguing my thoughts:

“Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?”

Now if any of you have planned a ladies’ tea or banquet, we usually focus your attention on those adorable dainty china teacups. Let’s face it — they are pure loveliness in your hands! (and the tea is good too!) We use the images of teacups from our invites to the décor; to crafts and door prizes. The possibilities are rather unless. Then you add the delicious food, laughter with sweet fellowship, then a devotional that challenges yet encourages your heart — bliss and loveliness all wrapped in one! I truly adore teacups.

I also adore teapots, but they don’t get as much praise and attention as their counterparts do. This is why when I came across this little poem with its question, I stopped.

I would love to share it with you now:


Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?

Characteristics of Teacups:
Beautiful
Delicate, yet strong
Unique
Offers relaxation and soothes the spirit
Holds what is put into them with no outlet

Characteristics of Teapots:
Beautiful
Delicate, yet strong
Unique
Offers relaxation and soothers the spirit
Pours out what is put into it

-author unknown-


2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NASB) says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

When you compare a teacup and a teapot you will notice each have fine qualities as they sit as individuals, yet one holds onto what is put into it, while the other pours it out again.

The question is asked: “Which would you rather be a Teacup or a Teapot?”

If ‘tea’ is left inside, even in the most beautiful of loveliest teacups ever to be created, it will become old. Stagnant. Useless. So it is with us. If we hold onto blessings and choose not to pour out ourselves onto others because of the goodness of God in the land of the living (Ps 27:13), we too become old. Stagnant. Useless. Oh, we may remain beautiful on the outside, but what is on the inside becomes selfish and displeasing to our Lord.

Like the teapot, it pours out what was poured in. So it is with us. If we pour ourselves and our blessings out over others we bring glory to our Lord and blessings to others, but we also will find our souls rejuvenated and revived. Funny how the Lord turns your ‘pouring’ full circle. How He chooses to refill you and bless your soul because you chose to pour out. When we go back to Him to refuel, He fills you once again with His Spirit, Word, His Love, and exactly what He knows you need — and even maybe what you need to give to someone else that you aren’t even aware of. What an encouragement!

Isn’t God great!
The Lord is the one who fills us each day. We cannot fill ourselves! We are unable.
Be sure you are spending time in His Word daily and taking time to commune with God in prayer! Allow Him to encourage you, teach you, comfort you, challenge you, and strengthen you. As He is walking with you through your life and circumstances — share that God-love, God-wisdom and those God-blessings that He has filled you with others!
Now I love both teacups and teapots. But I have been challenged and I hope that you have been too. Don’t be a teacup — Be a TEAPOT!

 

 

Are you pouring it out or are you holding it all in?
God has giving us so much. How can we NOT share it with those around us?

God has forgiven us of everything! How can we not NOT share His love, forgiveness, the Cross and Resurrection with others?

Make your own list — and keep adding to it — but make sure you SHARE it with others and be a beautiful blessing of a TEAPOT.

Sincerely,
In Christ I am SHE
{Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}
AMEN
Blessings to you my friends!

{HOPE} is Essential

bg13

Hope is essential.

Hope that is grounded in the Lord is a sure foundation.

Here is a link (below) to an article written by my husband that I had to share.

There is no other way to say it better. My heart has been stirred, challenged and encouraged. We pray together that it will be the same for you.

Thank you my Love for being an instrument in the Master’s hand.

I love you, Pastor Richard Woodruff.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hope-essential-richard-woodruff

 

Offense: Ready or Not Here They Come {revised}

Have you ever wondered why believers in Jesus Christ make living the Christian life harder than it needs to be?  I do.

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Before you come to any conclusions that somehow I have a handle on it, I am just as guilty – for the same sinful flesh rears its ugly head within me as it does in anyone who does not daily walk with their Lord. If you are honest with yourself, you’d agree – because it has happened to you as well.

  I recently read a post (on a certain social media site) of an individual who was seriously contemplating leaving their church due to the stupidity of words from another human being. I know how sad, right? Or not?

Before I continue let’s clarify an area of grave importance – there is never a time nor a place where the deed of gossip should be present in the heart or on the tongue of a believer; nor is it “fun” to those on the receiving end.  Therefore, if you are a believer and I mean –  a claimer of Christ as personal Lord and Savior – being a gossiper or listener of gossip ought never to be present in your life.

Before the Throne of God, vitriolic words period are never tolerated nor should they live amongst one believer to another. It is just that simple. Gossip is sin. Sadly, this very act was what had happened to this dear soul in the post I read days ago.

Gossip is SIN!

Now that we have a clear understanding that gossip is both sinful and harmful to all those involved, I am baffled how those who claim Christ justify their choice of disobedience to God yet still claim their love to Him.  How can this be?

Walk with me here for a moment or two as I explain:

SCENE:  Gossip occurs. You get wind of it though the grapevine. You have a choice…

Difference between information and transformation WOWYou react in becoming justified in your hurt. Your response reveals the treasure of your heart. The inward heart response lashes outwardly via the flesh and thus reaction take place – justification of self opts out of obedience to God.

What has happened?

An individual has chosen to turn and walk away from God due to the fallacies of others. 

Does this even make any sense?

Most of us would answer ‘NO!’ yet 9.99% of us have done this very thing at least once in our lifetime.

This is where I question – Why?

Why was I reading such a post from an individual I knew well?

Why would we, as sons and daughter of God, who know that we are individually responsible and commanded to obey the Word of God choose to disobey?  Thinking of my friends post, if you are not familiar with it, in Hebrews it says that, “we are to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (10:25).  Is this not a God-command to be obeyed?

Question:

Is it ever justified to seriously contemplate leaving the church and take a break from God due to the stupidity of another?

There is NO verse to claim for such a justification. It does not fit in accordance to the Scripture — GOD’S WORD, does it?

Despite your or my personal view on accountability, responsibility, submission, and obedience (regardless of whether you are right or wrong – Scriptural or not), this you can be sure of – God said that you will stand before Him one day give an account (see the Revelation for starters) – that is a guarantee.  It is impossible for God to break His own Word.

It is foolishness to think we could live so flipped over our God-given responsibility of walking in obedience by establishing our own self-justification by blaming others. This my friend is not spiritual maturity or strength but rather our own lack of spiritual backbone (it is spiritual weakness) – living in the FLESH can never respond in the SPIRIT…never!   

You will never hear God say, “It’s okay to disobey my Word.”


 IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION

{God-centered & Christ-focused}

     It is time we seriously rethink our own thinking, our position – and/or our reactions towards those who sin against us regardless of whatever offense it may be.  In the New Testament is clearly states that “when” those offenses come; not “if” they come. This can only happen if we are preparing beforehand.

Living a carnal Christian life yet claiming our love for God is impossible.

It brings no pleasure to God nor is biblical.

{How do we handle sinful offenses?}


Are we to genocide our obedience to God because of the sinfulness of others? I think not!

  • Why lay aside what we know is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE and except the lies from the pit of deception and allow our own sinful flesh over the One & Only true and Holy God?
  • In God’s gracious love and mercy He created us with an intellect – emotion – and will.  We are not robots. We are free to choose. If we choose to take the route of rejecting God – the very truth of God’s Word – and not live by faith on His promises through His Word, then we have chosen to reject our Lord. We live a carnal, cold to lukewarm life. The end result: we live in sin. We cannot say before God or others “We love God” when our actions and words tell or show Him otherwise.

Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”  (see Luke 17)

Matthew 18:15-21 “15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

In handling an offense directed toward us, God has wonderfully prescribed the proper method in handling such issues.

  1. Be in prayerful consideration before you go to your offender. Be on your knees before your God. Plead with Him to change your heart first, then prepare your mouth to speak, your heart to be ready to resolve, and a willingness to forgive your offender. (Matthew 6:33; Jeremiah 33:3; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 51; Psalm 56:3; and a thousand more verses to help, support, and encourage your soul.)
  2. Go to the individual that offended you alone in private first. If your safety is in question, please do not go alone. (Matthew 18)
  3. Do not “broadcast” your situation to others or try to create sympathy or a following from others. Is it okay to ask for counsel? YES – Godly counsel is the best but when you “broadcast” you are gossiping. Do not vent your issue to parties who are not involved.
  4. Be honest in your conversation; do not use anger to get your sought result. Allow God to be your vindicator. If your offender is defensive, your God given calmness and tone of voice with His peace will rule over the situation regardless of the outcome.
  5. Reconciliation is the goal. Stand firm in the Lord and His leading. Do not back down on reproving and/or rebuking the behavior or offense(s) that have occurred. Do not be offensive while doing so for this only fuels strife – this is where you will see your time in prayer rules and the power of God’s preparation in you is at work. God will empower you! Seek to gain the brother or sister (reconcile and restore the relationship) rather than to take revenge.
  6. Be aware of your own heart being oversensitive and/or insensitive on the part of the person. Do not over exaggerate or under exaggerate.  Tell the truth!

To see first hand the wondering working HEALING power of God in you is indescribable. Don’t underestimate God in you! You are 100% indwelled with the power of the Holy Spirit!

  • Use this opportunity to seek to grow in spiritual maturity in Christ. Be prayerful and sensitive in how you approach. Be ready to respond and deal with each situation with meekness, God-boldness, reliance and humility in Christ. Be careful about how you treat one another especially when you know how it feels. Seek to treat others as you would wish to be treated – with kindness and respect.
  • Ask for God’s grace to develop the spiritual vision to see offenses coming and not be drawn into them; but rather have the wisdom and grace to handle them and bring Him glory through them. Remember to pray for God’s grace to discern how to respond in a godly way to each specific situations and to each specific person.

The MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION:

“What If?” the offender doesn’t take responsibility for their actions or ask you to forgiveness them – What should I do?

If the problem remains unresolved, take one or two people with you as witnesses “that every word may be established.” The integrity of “objective” witnesses are important in this step. The key word here is “objective witnesses” – these folks will truly help you (for they will tell you when you are doing right or wrong and will help you in the situation you find yourself in with God’s Word). Don’t ask witnesses who only side with you – ask a person or persons whom you trust and that has a solid walk with God. You want people surrounding you that will help you spiritually!

Always remember that the goal is not for you to win or get justice, but to “gain your brother or sister”, by reconciling the relationship.

If the matter is still unresolved, then it must be taken to the church. Hopefully you have already sought the wise counsel of your Pastor. When you come to this stage, you cannot take the matter to the church without your Pastor’s knowledge or guidance in the situation. His wisdom and leadership in of great value and resource – tap into that God-given Shepherd resource! Your Pastor is also a great example of a “witness”.

When the offence is of a nature that it requires this serious measure we must remember that the goal is still reconciliation (to “win the person” back to appropriate fellowship). Telling it to the church would involve taking the matter to spiritual leadership.

Remember above all to stand firm on God Word and His promises. Come boldly to the Lord in prayer and seek His face!  See to the glory of God. 

{Conclusion of the Matter}

I happily report that a couple days later I read another post concerning the individual I spoke of in the beginning. It read of many thanks to those who commented and rejoiced in the outcome that had taken place for the gossiper (or slanderer) repented of what they had said and done then asked for forgiveness. My friend freely gave forgiveness back and the relationship/fellowship was restored. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Seeing the wondering working power of the LORD!  Can I hear an AMEN!

In Christ I am SHE  {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

the Warrior: Esther

FOUR WARRIOR CHARACTERISTICS WE LEARN FROM ESTHER

  • Teachability – Our sweet Esther could have taken on the “I’m queen attitude” and done whatever she wanted, but instead she listened to the advice of Mordecai and in returned followed his wise instructions. Esther valued the wisdom of her kinsmen. Wise woman.
  • Patience – Although the book of Esther itself is rather short in our Bibles, it took place over the span of many years. Just the process alone to come before the King in hopes of possibly becoming the next queen, Esther went through a rather rigorous process which took over a year. Just think, a year of pampering and preparing just to be presented to the king. Esther had to remain steadfast, focused, careful and she followed what Mordecai and the Lord asked of her. After Esther is crowned Queen, we read of her patience even in the midst of her own personal turmoil over what was about to happen to her and her people. In the ultimate act of selflessness she prayerfully, patiently, carefully, in God’s time acts accordingly with precision in place and wording to bring to light the truth to help save her people.
  • Selflessness – Esther risked her own safety and security by approaching the king unsummoned. If he did not find favor in her and accept her, she could have been killed immediately yet in God’s strength Esther laid this aside willingly. With her security not resting in her position, beauty, or reputation, she was enabled to freely trust God’s plan for her life by giving her all.
  • Courage – Under Mordecai’s wisdom, Esther risked her life by keeping her nationality a secret; through faith in God she came before the king unsummoned; and preceded to ask all she did of the king with great strength and wisdom. We see immediately in the beginning of the book of Esther that King Xerxes had no problem dismissing Queen Vashti, so he could have easily removed or killed Esther along with her people when he had the chance but in God’s protection, he didn’t. Her courage and faith in God are what made her a true warrior!

ps 46 5

So what?

As a believer, we deceive ourselves to think we live victorious when we do not seek the very author and giver of eternal life – the Savior, cleanser, the One who truly set free a soul, the heart changer, the One who can bless and protector, provider, the One who gives strength when we are weak, the healer (the list can go on – oh what mercy) there is ONLY ONE – God alone!  

God cannot speak to those who are not feasting in His Word daily. God cannot help those who do not take His promises and act upon them in faith and DO them! Esther wasn’t about herself.

Victorious living does not happen in a vacuum but through the wonder working power of Christ in a soul which makes it gloriously possible.

You, like Esther can be a warrior, it must take a willing inward God-centered Christ-focused change to see any outward result. Esther’s teachable, moldable heart in her faith, trust and courage in God was her crowning jewel. How is your tiara?

 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

the Struggle is Real but so is GOD!

Very honesty, my mind floods with where to begin.  I have longed to blog for the past several weeks yet haven’t had the ability to put thought into words due to the inward struggle of my heart.  My soul is in distress, migraines are intense, the struggle is real but so is GOD!!  

If my flesh were speaking, it would “spill the beans” to proclaim the wrongs done towards us and make them right!  To herald the truth so the truth would be known.  To correct those individuals thus putting them in their rightful place and make them see the errors of their ways.

Yes, this is pure flesh!  To be honest, I have thought about it but spiritually it is what I cannot do (Romans 12:19).

For I know that wouldn’t be pleasing to my Lord nor would it be a testimony that I would long to represent for my Lord.  Nor would it be profitable or helpful for those involved – for their spiritual growth is at stake.  So, in the midst of my own distress, aching, and sorrow-filled heart I am choosing to stand in the shadow of my Almighty – to be redeemed one day, in His time, but for only one glory  —-> HIS!  

The past year has been no picnic in the park for my family and I, but I speak personally here.  In my weak spirit, it trembles in fear, yet speaks in the midst of deep distress and intensely yearns with more passion than I can express to understand and grasp the knowledge with humbleness to grow before my Lord through this trial.  

In God’s graciousness there have been blessings along this road for which I am truly and utterly thankful for.  Believe me, I have been keenly aware of these blessings for I have looked HARD – very hard for them.  They have been those  “diamonds in the ruff”  that have stood against the wiles of the devil, the wiles of man’s sinfulness, and even against my own sinful heart struggling from within. They have been God’s messages to me saying, “I love you” and “I know, I see” or “I understand, I am here” and “I know you don’t understand, but I am still in control…trust me” for these I rejoice over. 

Another cherished blessing has been my precious family. In my weakness, they are compassion and strength. In my time of need, they are understanding and prayerful, wise and loving. I rise up and call them blessed!   

We all have trials throughout our lifetime. We all have choices to make within those storms that are vital to our outcome. qqqqqqqqqqqqq

I don’t know about you, but I for one want to learn the lesson the first time! No matter how hard the trial may be we must choose Christ over self (better or bitter).  God’s plan doesn’t hinge on my feelings.  God’s purposes are immovable because they rest on solid ground — because HE IS solid ground. For without God we are nothing.  Without Him we cannot live.  Regardless of mountaintop or valley, we are to be daily feasting on the Word. 

I must say that choosing to believe the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13);  to devour God’s Word every second whether or not my soul or mind can consume it all or not during these difficult times…has been my lifesaver!

I NEED GOD!  qqqqqqq

Everyday there is a choice we must make. There are actions and reactions that reveal our relationship with Christ and we cannot and should not let that go even when our hearts and minds are struggling to survive!

 

In His beauty and love for His own, God takes us through places that we don’t understand to prepare us for places He has prepared for us.

The Lord is so gracious to us.  For my God is good on the mountaintop as well as in the valley.  There is never not a place where He is not – where I am.

 

 

 

it’s that simple

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It is really that simple. We can argue all we want. Debate. Strategize. Ignore. Complain. Scientifically seek answers. Survey. Seek to change government for or against. But in the scope of eternity, it changes nothing.

We are the creation. We have a Creator. It is impossible for what is fact to change no matter what anyone does or says.

God is God. He is the Creator. Everything is the created.

There is one response to this knowledge: REJECT or ACCEPT.

It is that simple.

Rejection: I choose me! Thus resulting in pretending to live this life as though I were in control and never seeing the fullness of life. Never!

Acceptance: I choose God! Thus resulting in placing this life I have been given back into the hands that created it to begin with. For the Creator knows his creations best.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

James 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

{and hundreds more verses we could post}

  • In Christ I am SHE {SAVED. HOPEFUL. EMPOWERED.}

It’s Strange

* It’s strange how twenty dollars seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping.

* It’s strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a movie.

* It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

* It’s strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel.

* It’s strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts, but they want to sit in the last row at Church.

* It’s strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

* It’s strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God and share it with others, but it’s easy to repeat gossip.

* It’s strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

CMW 04 treasure and heart Col 3 2– Author unknown

Matthew 6:21

Missionaries & Pastors

Sometimes you came across an article that is so good that you just cannot not share. This is one of them. It was written by Amy Medina. Personally, I have never meet Amy but through reading her blog I can relate to her in many aspects. For some, this article may or may not hit every aspect of missionary life, that is not the point. She does an excellent job expressing being on the field. I appreciate that.

What we need is fellow believers falling on their knees before our Lord upholding one another in prayerfully consideration and ask ourselves what can we do and be honest about what we are not doing for our missionaries as a church and as individuals.  

After reading Amy’s blog I began to ponder on a few things. First, as believers in Christ we all are “missionaries.” In First Corinthians 5 it says we are ambassadors of Christ. Second, there is another kind of family that is also a ‘missionary’ that often is overlooked or unseen as one. We tend to forget or maybe just grow comfortable with then take for granted — intended or not. I am talking about the Pastor and his family. I read a Facebook post today that said this:

“Before you judge your Pastor, imagine you are the Pastor and you have to deal with a church full of people like you…every day!

Now, pray for your Pastor…every day!”

I chuckled at first, then grew quickly saddened knowing how true this statement really was. We have heard the replies, “But you don’t know my Pastor” or “You don’t know the Pastor I had 20 years ago.” Believe me, we have first handedly seen the destruction of sinful things pastors have done to congregations; we have also seen awful things congregations have done to pastors and their families. Both are wrong.

To God’s glory, we have been given the opportunity to help churches over the years through some mighty hard situations. So please understand me when I write that I do understand both sides, but this never negates or replaces our personal responsibility before God to obey Him and His Word…NEVER! Before God it is not an excuse. We are accountable for our actions and responses. If we have been hurt, if we have a bitter filled heart, if we have been offended or hurt, unforgiveness fills us, whatever the case may be…it is our responsibility to get it right before God and that person. Leaving the baggage of sin at the proper doorstep brings freedom to your soul. 

Our God-given gifts are to be used in the church (I Cor. 12; Rom. 12; Eph. 4; I Cor. 13). If you are not using them we are living in disobedience to God. We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). If you are not actively serving and worshipping the Lord within our local church then we are in direct disobedience to God. It is that simple – this is just two examples. It is how God sees it. Either God is on the throne of ones life or He is not.

Oh but when a church is God-blessed with a Pastor who has the calling of God upon his life to shepherd and preach the Word; and one who seeks God whole heartedly first above all; and one who is God-leading the flock to the best of his abilities; that is a precious gift from God. It must brake God’s heart when a church fails to see this authority blessing and chooses to reject their Pastor. This ought not to be. For failure to follow and choose to reject with an unsubmissive spirit to God’s man kills the church. 

Are we, the church as a whole and individuals, supporting our Pastor and his family? Are we daily prayerfully supporting them in word and deed as they daily fight against spiritual and physical battles (many are related to you as a congregation), or are we to busy rejecting his leadership and trying to control him because of our own fear, past, or spiritual sickness. 

When we rebel against authorities, which include God’s man, we rebel against God Himself.  

We kill the church when we are unsupportive to our Pastor and reject his family.

We forget that our Pastor is our first missionary to our home field. They are our first responders. Many have moved their families to your land and left their home towns out of love for God and you! Just as our dear precious missionary families are entering into countries to share Christ, labor for the Lord, and give of their lives because of love for people; likewise your Pastor and his family has for YOU. How are you responding?

In Christ I Am S.H.E. {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}


Below is Amy’s Blog & Bio. {enjoy}


dear-supporter

I wrote you a newsletter today. I told you about the success in our ministry, about the lives being touched and the happy stories. Everyone was smiling in all the pictures. But there is so much more I wish I could tell you.

I wish I could tell you that lots of times I feel like a total failure. I’ve asked you to pray for the Big Event, or the Camp Sign-Ups, or the Grand Opening. You might not realize that afterwards, I don’t always tell you how it went. That’s because sometimes, despite weeks of hard work and lots of prayer, the event is a total flop. Five people show up. Or no one.  And I can’t bring myself to tell you.

Then there’s the time when I realize that I’ve hurt a national friend. Or a missionary colleague and I are having a huge conflict. Or I’ve made a major cultural mistake. Or I’m just not learning this language. Or everything blows up in my face. There are many, many times when I wonder why I’m here, or if I really am the right person for this job. But I’m afraid to tell you, because then I think you will wonder why I’m here or if I am the right person for this job.

I wish I could tell you about my personal struggles. Sometimes I feel like you make me out to be more spiritual than I am, but I wish you knew that becoming a missionary didn’t turn me into a saint. In fact, sometimes I think it brings out the worst in me.  I wish I could tell you about the immobilizing depression or the fights with my spouse. I wish I could tell you that my anxiety was so bad that I needed to travel to another country to see a professional counselor. I wish I could tell you about that time my friend was robbed at gunpoint in his home, and I couldn’t sleep for weeks afterward.

I wish you knew that I hate it here sometimes, and there’s nothing more I want than to go home. But I know I need to stay, so I don’t tell you because I’ve heard the stories of friends forced to go home because they confided in the wrong person. I don’t tell you because I can’t imagine you would want to support such a flawed person.

I wish I could tell you about the perks. We live in an exotic place, so sometimes that means that we take our kids snorkeling the way you would take your kids to the park.  Sometimes it means that our conferences or layovers take us to exciting places like Thailand or Johannesburg or Dubai. Sometimes it means that lobster is cheap or the historic castle is just a day-trip away.

But I am afraid to tell you about these experiences, because I’m afraid you think missionaries are supposed to suffer. After all, we often live in poor countries and we always subsist on your financial sacrifice. I’m worried you will think we are being extravagant. And I’ve heard stories of missionaries who have lost support because of their vacations. I fear your judgment.

I wish I could tell you that I long for more connection with you. The first couple years were great because we got lots of care packages and Christmas letters and everyone asked us how it was going. But time goes on and people move on and we realize that we’re really not that exciting anymore. It’s hard to come home and feel like we have to be pushy for opportunities to share.  It’s hard to feel like people are intimidated to talk to us because we are so different now. Our newsletter program tells us that only 60% of our list open our email updates, which isn’t that surprising since we only get a handful of responses.

Part of that is okay because we don’t need care packages as much anymore, and you’ve made new friends and we have too. But I wish you knew how much it means to me when you remember to ask about a detail I wrote about, or when you continue to send me your Christmas letter. When we are together, it makes my day when you ask about my life in my other country—when you really look me in the eyes and want to know how it’s going.  Listening is the best gift you can give me. And the scariest part of feeling disconnected is wondering if people are still praying for us. So when you tell me that you are still praying for me, that makes all the difference.

I wish I could find a way to express how much you mean to me. Despite how hard this life can be, I have the tremendous joy of doing God’s work in the place I am called. And there is no way I could do it without your sacrifice. I hope you know how important that is to me. How important you are to me.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Your Missionary



About Amy Medina

Amy Medina has spent almost half her life in Africa, both as an MK in Liberia and now in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, since 2001. Living in tropical Africa has helped her perfect the fine art of sweating, but she also loves teaching, cooking, and hospitality. She and her husband worked many years with TCKs and now are involved with theological training. They also adopted four amazing Tanzanian kids along the way. Amy blogs regularly at http://www.gilandamy.blogspot.com.

Where Change Begins

 

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I am not only blessed to have the most incredible husband in the world in whom I adore as my husband and the father of our children who is truly a man that is God-focused and Christ-centered in both heart and deed, but I am also blessed to call him my Pastor.

I started a Richard Woodruff/Pastor Quote Journal. I should have started one years ago but just never did til this past month. I could follow this man around all day and write quote after quote. He is wisdom walking though he’d be the first to praise God and tell you it is not him but Christ that liveth in him.

My children and I are daily blessed by Daddy, husband and Pastor.

“Repentance is the place where change begins.”

Do you want to see change in your life?

It can only come from a God-within-changed repentant heart. Honesty with God and self is called repentance. When we call out our sin before the righteous and holy God for what it truly is -sin- that is when repentance begins and only then can healing and restoration start within your life. God can begin to mend and care and restore and teach you the “way you should go” when your heart has been flushed out and preparations have been made to rebuild. What a sweet yet sometimes difficult and rewarding place to be. With God it is worth more than anything this world could offer.

“…With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Christ in you – You are more than conquerors! You are empowered!