Thursday, February 16, 2012

"A "stay at home" ministry workers harvest"

This morning THIS was in my email inbox:



"Today I took the opportunity to take the dog for a walk after I dropped the kids at school. As I walked up the footpath I was greeted by a man who has his own lawn mowing business and who’s daughter goes to school with our children. He was tackling someone’s deep grass. He said, “Dropped the kids off, now you have the day to yourself, huh?” I laughed but it got me thinking. How do I spend my day? Is it that different to yours? On furlough many asked what I did do with my day. I don’t usually add to Russ’ updates on our website or Facebook page, but today I thought I’d share what my days look like.
Not long into our first term on the ministry field of Australia, I began to struggle and wonder if what I did mattered or helped in any way. At the time we were homeschooling, and yes, I know that was very important and vital, but it was more than that. I spent most of my days at home.
How did that help? My truly wise husband helped me to see that as I did my “job” well, it enabled him to do his that much more effectively. Coming home each evening to a clean, orderly home, dinner waiting, happy children, washing done…well, those things freed him to study, prepare, or even stay late at an event sharing the Gospel. But now the children are “in” school. That means I have approximately 8:30 am to 2:30 pm to fill as I please. Not much has changed and as you’ll see, my day isn’t that much different than yours. It is still my responsibility, one of my highest callings and I might add a great pleasure to be a manager of our home. Getting the washing caught up, grocery shopping, and even dusting or cleaning a toilet (two of my least favourite things) fill my day. Baking special treats for lunchboxes or after school is a highlight. There’s also the chauffeuring that a mum gets to do. As the year picks up Bible study starts. Friday afternoons I have the privilege of reading and helping in Caroline’s classroom. As opportunities present themselves or as I organise them, I build into other women’s lives. Maybe sharing the truth of the Gospel over the back fence. Or having a cup of tea with a fellow believer who is struggling or just needs some encouragement. Sometimes its preparing a Sunday School lesson for the little ones in our church or preparing a brief devotional to share at a ladies night.
But its not all work, work, work. I do allow myself some down time. I have regularly found ways to get out in the community and connect. Weight Watchers, karate classes and at the present, going to Curves. When I’m out and about and I pass a second hand shop or antiques shop, I love to stop if I have the time and peruse the shelves. I have enjoyed collecting a variety of tins, both Australian and American to decorate the top of my kitchen cupboards. I’m no master gardener, but there is something very satisfying about getting my hands dirty and making something grow in the earth. That first commission God gave man in the garden still rings true today. A good read on my Kindle is always a good escape. And finally a real luxury is the occasional afternoon nap.
Why do I share all this? Besides the fact that it may satisfy some curious minds, I hope it encourages those whose days are similar to mine. Just done in a different country or culture. Today I read in my devotions:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
This verse can be applied on so many levels. But today it encouraged this wife, mother, daughter, friend, ministry worker to keep on keeping on. My harvest may be different than yours. But God isn’t into the comparing game and I shouldn’t be either. So as I sign off and get ready to hang a load of washing, thanks for letting me share. I hope a page from the book of my days encourages you in yours.
(Russ had to comment- I am so thankful for the incredibly talented partner in ministry that the Lord has given me to work with daily. Your hard work makes me able to do my work more effectively. Cath, thanks for your transparency and I hope this encourages many who do the work you do for the sake of God’s glory. Well done and I love you!)"


And then I closed my yahoo account and cried. Big ol' fatty, hot, tears. Because THIS, this wondering if what I do matters... THIS poison that the world feeds me that I'm not DOING ENOUGH sometimes slips through the cracks of my Proverbs-a-day mindest. And I doubt. So I slack off. I don't clean rooms for days... I get bitter at little girls who need help with EV-RY-THING. I forget my true calling. I forget truth. I fail. And Satan loves those little times to drag us away... like a newly killed whatever. Dragged away after defeat.

This email was written by one of our missionary wives serving in Australia. I wanted to reach through the screen and hug her. Thank her for sharing her life and truth with the readers. And I hope it benefits and challenges you today as it did me. Now you'll excuse me...
I have a dining room that needs serious attention, because it DOES matter. :)

2 comments:

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Ah, wish I could reach through that email and say a big "I LOVE YOU" to this missionary wife! She does *know*! I often struggle with the "not-doing-enough" syndrome...not volunteering at school enough, not shopping or doing lunch with other moms enough, not doing anything big that seems to really matter. BUT I am thankful, too, for a wise husband who encourages me and appreciates the ministry of being keeper of our home and caretaker of our children. Now...I have a billion loads of laundry to fold! ;)
Thanks for sharing this!

Steve Finnell said...

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