Monday, February 11

Pondering Encouragement, and a few random thoughts

I'm back! I went to a retreat this weekend with the lovely, lovely, wonderful ladies from my church. We were up at Camp Tejas, outside Giddings, so I didn't even have to drive very far-it's only about 25 minutes from my driveway to the inn we stayed at on the campgrounds. Our speaker was Melana Hunt Monroe, and she was fantastic. She spoke on seeing life from Heaven's view, which, coincidentally, is the title of a book she co-authored with her father, T. W. Hunt. I highly, highly recommend that everyone who has ever struggled with anything go out and buy it.

I drove a friend of mine, Anne, home. She lives a few streets away from me, so it worked out very well. Anne has had diabetes since she was a little kid, and she was recently in the hospital for heart surgery. She developed an infection in her foot (which I think is fairly common in people with diabetes), and ended up losing like half her foot. Me? I think I'd probably be fairly upset. Anne? Not upset. She is the most positive person I've ever met. I'm an upbeat, glass-is-half-full kind of person, and she makes me look like a depressed recluse. Seriously. I'm crazy about her.

On the way home, Anne and I started talking about witnessing to people, and how God uses each of us in different ways. She asked me if I ever feel like I'm not doing enough to reach out to people, and talk about the wonderful gift of salvation that we've been given through Christ. (Not her exact words; I'm adding a little here so you can get the gist of a fairly long conversation.) She wanted to hear my opinion, but she also was asking because that's how she feels at times.

She didn't know it at the time, but she really hit a nerve in my. Well, something that used to be a nerve. I am a shy person. I can chat with strangers in line at the grocery store (I am my mother's daughter, no denying that!), but me? Walk up to someone I don't know/barely know and start 'witnessing'? Yeah. No. Not going to happen. The mere thought makes my heart race and my palms sweat. Now, let me say something. I am in no way embarrassed about my God, my Saviour, my faith, or anything involved with any of those things. I just don't have a gift for speaking to people. I stutter, bumble, babble, forget everything I've ever been taught since I was 2, or, more likely to happen, I just don't talk. I am not good at articulating things on the fly. I am good at emails, snail mail, blogging, whatever. I need time to compose my thoughts. More than anything, I don't want to be a poor witness for Christ, and have people think, 'Yeah, if this is how all those fundamentalists think, no thank you!'

So yes, back to her original question, I used to struggle with that issue enormously. But after studying the Bible for many years, and after wise council from some lovely Titus 2 women, I have come to realize something. I don't have to walk up to people and say 'Do you love Jesus?' to witness! I am witnessing to my kids and husband every day. I may not be good at talking to people, but maybe one of my kids will be. My behavior and my attitude are a witness to everyone I come into contact with, from my intimate friends and close relatives, to the way I handle myself at the grocery store and on the highway. And, at least for now, my ministry is my home!

I think many women, and moms of younger children in particular, struggle with this. We feel like we should be doing something. Guess what, ladies? WE ARE!! If you want a truly glorious example of this, track down Marriage to a Difficult Man: The Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. (A post on this book coming soon.) But I somewhat digress.

As I was telling Anne, she (Anne) is a lovely example of things Christ spoke. She loves people that other might overlook. She always has a kind word, or a sweet smile. She might not be able to remember my baby's name, but she always asks about him, and how his cough is, or how he's doing with walking, or something else random I mentioned to her previously. She is an encourager!!

My heart is lifted every time I talk with Anne. I come away from every conversation feeling mildly guilty, though, because I just know that I got the better deal! There's no way that she could get as much out of a chat as I can! She gives and gives, and I always walk away knowing that I've seen a little piece of Christ shining through her. She thinks she doesn't witness?? She does, more than she'll ever know, more than any of us could ever tell her. She'll be laying so many crowns at Christ's feet one day, he'll need help picking them all up. For real.

We all have different gifts, different strengths, and different abilities. I believe the key is being open to what and where the Spirit calls you, and being able to accept what He says.

Anyone have any thoughts about any of this? Any experiences in your own lives about how someone has touched you, or ministered to you, without even knowing it?


Anonymous said...

My husband ministers to me all the time through the grace he has for me even when I'm being a jerk.

My friends have recommended that book on Sarah Edwards to me, too. I look forward to your post about it.

At A Hen's Pace said...

I own that book, but haven't read it yet. I'll have to move it up closer to the top of my stack now.

A pastor friend of mine once said that he thought moms were the great fulfillers of the Great Commission (Go into all the world and make disciples). I think ministry to your family is a witness, and the ministry of a healthy family (just by its presence and example) can speak to the world! We had a babysitter whose parents were divorced, and she told me later (at HER wedding) what it had meant to her to hang out with our family over the years she babysat for us. She said it gave her hope. And we had no idea, of course!