I’ve Been Taking Clean Water for Granted

If ever my kids are whiny, achy, arguing, or restless, I give them this admonition, “Go take a drink of water.”

It’s become a joke around here, as if water is my answer for everything. (Kid: “I can’t find my math book.” Me: “Go take some sips of water.” Perhaps I’ve taken the water thing just a little too far?)

watersm

Hey. I’m right you know. Drinking water really does help many an ailment. Cranky kids really might simply be thirsty, you know? Any time we’re struggling to focus, we take a water break and it almost always helps.  (Unfortunately, drinking water has yet to help us find motivation to clean the house. I find that coffee works better for this. But I digress.)

I heart water. I drink water all day long. I encourage everyone to be sure they are drinking enough water. And I’ve recently come to realize that I take the gift of water for granted.

It’s just right there at my sink, all day long, you know? It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to fill my glass full of clean water and drink it as needed.

I’ve known that other countries don’t have it as easy as I do, but I haven’t learned much about this problem until recently. How about you? Here’s something I just found out:

6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) is the average distance that people in the developing world – often women and young girls – walk for water each day. This walk can be dangerous, and the water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.

OVER THREE MILES!! That’s how far little girls walk every day just to collect (contaminated) water for their families. This news causes me anxiety, which at my house means I need to pause, re-group, and take a sip of water. Oh, the irony.

Many, thankfully, are doing what they can to help with this global drinking water problem. I’ve started by doing this:

Each time I take a sip of water throughout the day, I pray for God to provide clean access to water to those for whom it is a struggle.

It’s a simple thing to do, letting my water drinking habit become a prayer trigger. And what else? Well, what are you doing Saturday, May 6?

This is something we can all do to help!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, people from around the globe will walk or run 6 kilometers to support World Vision’s water initiatives through the World Vision Global 6K for Water.

The Global 6K for Water is organized by Team World Vision, a group of passionate people who run, walk, and race to help children get clean water. Team World Vision’s water projects run in harmony with World Vision’s work in other key areas of development: health, education, food, and economic development. This approach tackles the root causes of poverty, enabling children to experience fullness of life.

Team World Vision was founded in 2006, and since then, they have helped more than 30,000 people cross finish lines to raise $30 million for World Vision’s work around the world.

Did you read that? $30 million! When each person does a little, a LOT of help can be offered!

How you and I can help

World Vision is on site in different parts of the world to make clean water accessible for many. We can partner with them to help – no matter where we live and what we do! Here are some options to consider:

  • Become a host site: Work together with your church, school, community center or run club to register as a host site (it’s free!) and spread the word about how fun and easy it is to support clean water programs around the world! Whether your goal is 10 people or 100 people, World Vision will equip you with all the marketing materials, race day signage and staff support for a successful race day.
  • Join a local host site: Walk or run with other Global 6K for Water participants at a host site near you.
  • Start a virtual team: Invite your friends and family all around the country to join your “team” even though you will each be walking or running from your own neighborhoods on race day. <—- This is what I’ll be doing. Stay tuned!
  • Individual race: Walk or run the Global 6K for Water from your own front door – whether on a treadmill or around the neighborhood with your kids, you’ll be taking part in a global effort to support clean water! (Note: Thanks to our generous donors, the registration fee for kids (15 and under) is only $25 – a discount of 50%!)

Each participant’s registration fee of $50 supports World Vision’s water programs. After registration, you will receive a World Vision Global 6K for Water t-shirt, a race bib with a photo of a child you can sponsor, and a race medal in the mail.

Who wants to walk with me?!

I’d love it if we all took a virtual walk together! Even better, promote this to all your friends so the word will spread and more can become involved in helping!

Register here and mark May 6 on your calendar. Watch for more details coming soon as we plan this fun and beneficial event!

Now, everyone go take some sips of water. And while you do, pray for those for whom drinking clean water is a challenge. How exciting that, together, we can be a part of making healthy opportunities around the world!

I was compensated by World Vision for my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.

Women with a Mission: Compassion International

womenwithamission3sm1.JPG

As we’ve seen as we go through this series, there are so many things we as women can do to minister to others without neglecting what absolutely should be our main ministry:  our families. If you haven’t already, be sure to catch up on the rest of this series here.

Today I want to talk about a different ministry opportunity:  Compassion International. I love this organization for so many reasons…

  • I trust them. If we’re going to give our money “to help children” we want it to help children. With Compassion International, you can trust that it will. I love that.
  • Not only are they working to meet a child’s basic physical needs…they teach the child (and family) about Jesus. They are truly feeding the children.
  • They make it easy to sponsor a child. They communicate well and their program is just “user friendly”.  
  • This ministry is perfect for you and your family to work at together!

We chose to sponsor a little boy a few months ago (yes go figure…we chose a little boy!). The entire experience has been delightful for us. We picked someone who practically shares a birthday with Asa. That made him seem even more real to the boys. 

We looked on the globe to see where he lives and learned about his country. His picture is on our refrigerator.  We get to sit down and write him letters together. We pray for him together. The boys ask us questions about him from time to time. I love that they have a “brother” across the globe. I think they love it too.

If you have a few minutes…take the time to watch this video.

And then consider if sponsoring a child through Compassion International is a ministry that you and your family could take on together. You won’t regret it.
————————————————

If any of you have experiences with Compassion International that you can tell about…please share in the comments!

Women with a Mission: Ministry with Food

womenwithamission3sm1.JPG
Be sure to catch up on this entire series here. 

One of my favorite ways to serve is with FOOD.  Eventually I’ll share some of the ways I use food as a ministry, but today, I wanted to share these ideas sent in by two of my readers…

Nancy’s ministry:  I love to bake bread from scratch. I bought a grain mill a few months ago so now I can even grind my own grain and then bake my bread. =)  Anyway, when I bake bread I bake double what my family needs and then give the extra loaves away. I live in an apartment complex and so have lots of neighbors with whom I can share. People really appreciate it and I can sure tell that they are surprised that someone would give them something with no strings attatched. =)
 
That’s my way of reaching out while I have 2 young children at home and no car to take me out into the big wide world.

Serenity’s ministry (as told by her mother Jill):   

Our daughter really wanted to reach out and serve others but felt that her primary ministry was her husband and children. She decided on a wonderful ministry that would give her the ability to reach out but not neglect her young family. She called the local Ronald McDonald house and asked if they could use a homemade meal once a month for the guests there. They were quite happy to receive that call. 

Ronald McDonald houses allow families that have a very ill child in the local hospital to stay for a very small fee per night. It is set up like a home. They can come and go as they please. There is a kitchen for them to use while they are there. They are almost always very close to the hospital so the families can walk which is very handy for them. Many of these families are facing lengthy hospital stays with critically ill children. 

So, our daughter would make a delicious meal that included homemade bread or rolls, a yummy dessert along with the main course. She is a fabulous cook so she really out did herself. She would cook while the babies were  napping. When her hubby got home from work she would pack it all up and take it over to the house. I am so proud of her for finding a way to serve while still having young children. I am certain the families were blessed by eating a good home cooked meal.

What other ways have you been able to serve others with food?

Women with a Mission: How Are YOU Serving?

womenwithamission3sm.JPG
Catch up on this series here.

Several weeks ago, I threw out the question to you…What are YOU doing to minister to others?  I loved hearing from you and plan to share your ministry ideas as I can.  I hope reading these will inspire you all toward searching for how God can use you best!

———————————–

Kathy wrote:  I have the distinct pleasure of working with women who are recovering from different forms of abuse. Specifically so far it is just domestic violence and sexual abuse. We hope to expand to as many different types of recovery as possible (Eating disorder, grief, divorce, infidelity….the list is endless. We are all recovering from something and need spiritual support along the way). It is amazing to see the sovereignty of God in the lives of these women who have endured so much! My “job” is mainly to train leaders who have been through this type of abuse to lead spiritual support groups for those who are in the midst of recovery.

————————————

Jeannie wrote:  I am still trying to figure out how to balance mothering, being a wife and serving God in a meaningful way. To that end, my son Roman signed up to serve in a local nursing home. We will help with Bingo for the first time on Monday – my true hope is that we can in some way participate in reading the Bible or singing with the residents. I also believe it is vitally important for my son to understand the circle of life and serve those who go before him.

————————————

Jennifer wrote:  I have found hospitality to be a great way to minister to others while having little ones at home (I have a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and a 15-month-old). Our major focus has been a dinner before a church meeting on Wednesdays. We have at least 4 people over, often ones we don’t know (or even know they were coming!). This is followed by a prayer meeting we host twice a month with around 40 people. Mind you, we have a 1400 sq. ft. house! We’ve also had a kid’s klub in our home, though my children aren’t at the age to really be involved.

I think too often mothers of little ones get caught up in their own lives and the lives of their children. Having people over regularly, and none of them being moms, has challenged me and forced me to think about others. My children help cook and clean for our company, and have built relationships with others we might not have ever talked to before. It also allows some in our fellowship to be hospitable when they couldn’t otherwise (they invite people to our house).

This form of ministry is not easy for me; it is a sacrifice. Our home is small and gets “invaded” every week. My husband makes very little money and feeding all these people stretches us. But, it is a way we can serve the Lord now. And it is a way my children can begin to serve others along with us.

————————————

Laura has an ENTIRE BLOG dedicated to sharing how she and her son minister together. Please go check out Willy Toole!!!

————————————

I plan to share more of your ideas in the coming weeks! (Thanks for your patience as I work my way through them!)  I LOVE reading what you’re doing for God’s kingdom! If any of the rest of you would like to share your ministry, please email me! (laura at heavenlyhomemakers.com)

Women with a Mission: Loving on Children

womenwithamission3sm.JPG

I have several friends who have opened up their home to foster children…many have even adopted some of their foster children. I’ve watched my friends struggle, hurt, be completely worn out, and continue to love on these kids.

I am absolutely convinced that being a foster parent is not for everyone. But, since we’re talking about how we as women can minister from our homes, I asked my good friend Tana to share her story with us.

For those of us who do not choose foster parenting, at least we can be made more aware of how we can pray for those who do.

Here’s Tana:

My husband and I spent 8 years fostering. We have adopted 2 children during the course of those years. Our oldest child is 25 and our youngest is 9.

We thought we were done having children when our biological children were 3, 14 and 16. I had read an article about children in orphanages in Romania and was literally brought to tears for the condition of these babies. I spent 2 more years praying for the safety of our next child and doing research on adoption. Eventually we decided a less romantic, but more feasible way to adopt was through the state’s Fos- Adopt program.

We finished foster parent training classes on a Friday night and I told the caseworkers I wanted a baby. They practically laughed and told me, “Tana, we rarely get babies, and if we do, they’ve been badly damaged.” I went home feeling very discouraged. But God is good, and on Monday morning we got a call that a newborn baby boy was to be dismissed from the hospital and needed a Fos-Adopt home. We scurried around trying to find things for a nursery and they brought a beautiful baby to me that very day.

Now am I going to leave you with that beautiful happy moment? No, sorry, that only happens in the movies. I soon came to realize that fos-adopt did not mean easy-adopt. The way the state works for children in foster care was far from my romantic dreams about adopting a child. We spent the next 3 years fighting for that baby’s life with us. I walked the floor with him at night praying for his future. During the days I wrote letters to the Governor, legislature and legal figures. The Lord had answered my prayers, but not without holding me to the fire for His purpose.

I wanted a quick adoption, but God had other things in mind for us. While we waited we had several opportunities to promote change in the laws governing foster care and adoption in the state of Nebraska.

We went to court date after court date, right up to an appeal with the Nebraska Supreme Court before our adoption was complete. That baby’s middle name is now Samuel which means, God has heard. He has never been hurt outside of a skinned knee. He has never seen a drunken or psychotic parent (okay, briefly psychotic), and he has never gone to bed hungry. He is a well adjusted, happy little boy.

We went on to foster more children and to adopt one more time. The second time we adopted an 11 year old girl that had been badly damaged. After the adoption that we thought would make her feel secure, she was suddenly threatened by her permanency. She has severe reactive attachment syndrome, which love and security is not enough to heal. For 2 years we tried different methods to help her attach. Her behaviors became increasingly alarming and dangerous for herself and the other children. She fought the adoption, fought the idea of having parents, and continues to fight all those around her that want to help her.

My heart, is of course, broken. She is in a residential treatment center now, and will probably need the structure of that kind of care for a long time. I am sad that she will not accept what we have offered her, but I am reminded that God adopts all of us. Even though we are given everything we need, we sometimes reject Him and refuse that love. But he stays constant.

When Laura asked me to write about our ministry in fostering I had some reservations to say the least. We no longer foster. All of our energy is put into getting services for this child who will not be loved. I found myself wanting to say “Don’t do it!”

But God did not call us to second guess what he asks us to do. I had to remember that the Bible says, “All things work together for good for those that love the Lord.” Even though I do not understand how the problems we are facing in our life right now can be woven together for good, I believe what He says, and I trust that this too will work together for Him. Because of our earlier trials, I have been refined, possibly to make me strong enough for this battle. So of course, I said, “Yes, I will write an article about the ministry of adoption and foster care!”

I would like to tell you that this is a ministry that we all should do, but it is not. It is a ministry for few. It needs to be approached with much prayer, and full knowledge that the road is a rough one. Adopting and fostering are often heart wrenching, full of fear and disappointment along the way. I have also come to realize that it is a journey that requires rest as well. Deciding to stop fostering was just as prayerful for me as beginning the journey.

One of our biological kids has Asperger’s Syndrome, which also requires much from us. I now home school him and his brother. I struggled to give myself permission to stop fostering and focus on the children who God has entrusted to me. The nature of fostering is so exhausting that few do it for a life time.

It is important to know your limitations if you decide to foster, it is okay to say no to caring for a child that is beyond your ability to help. Your own children must come first. Position in the family must be preserved by choosing age mates and gender wisely. You must remember not to choose children who can victimize your children in any way, because you can’t take it back if an innocent is hurt. You must protect your mate and not put him/her in a vulnerable position. And you must nurture yourself as well as others.
There are other ways to help kids in need without fostering. Some of these include being a CASA (court appointed special advocate), providing respite care for foster families, being involved in the Big Brother program, and speaking out when you see an injustice in the system.

We still have former foster children that call us or stop by from time to time, because they care about what we think. Many of them have gone back to the dysfunction they began with. Some have been adopted by another family or relative. Others have aged out of the system and have children of their own.

Sometimes we feel that what we did was for naught, but I cannot tell what God will decide to do with the seeds we planted. Sometimes all we could do was to show a child that there was a better way, a way that involves God in our decision making, and solving conflict without drugs, strife and abuse. We hope that someday they will remember a family that showed God to them a long time ago.

In Christ, Tana

Women with a Mission: The Great Clothing Exchange

womenwithamission3sm3.JPG
Be sure to catch up on
the rest of this series here!

My friend Kim organizes a clothing exchange twice a year at our church for anyone in the community to come and get free clothing for their families.  It has been a HUGELY successful ministry and SUCH a practical and obvious opportunity to bless people around us.

I love this “Mommy Ministry” and asked her to write some details about it for you.

Here’s Kim:

HOW IT BEGAN:

As a first time Mom, I was overwhelmed with the task and expense of keeping my daughter clothed in the correct season and size. Several other moms in our congregation mentioned that they had things I could use. So it came to mind to organize an exchange. It began as a group of Moms getting together with the things they would be willing to part with (or loan) to someone else in the congregation.

An exchange of children’s clothes grew into what is now a community event. Twice a year, in April and October, we take donations of any size or season of clothing, shoes, coats, boots, and bedding to freely distribute to the people of the church first, and the community second.

ORGANIZATION:

The fun begins on the Wednesday evening preceding the Saturday event when tables and clothing racks are set up and all the donations are brought in from their storage area.

Thursday morning, the sorting begins. With all the rows labeled, each person can take a bag or box and put the appropriate items on the appropriate tables. This generally continues all day Thursday and Friday with breaks for meals. Clothing from size newborn up to adult are sorted, organized, hung and folded.

clothingexchangesm.JPG

Friday evening, the congregation is invited to come and take what they can use. Then Saturday morning from 8-12, the doors are open to the public. People can come and take what they can use without restrictions or strings attached. As people walk in the door, they are given an empty bag and asked if there is anything specific they are looking for. If there is, they are guided to that area. If not, we point out the labels for each row and let them begin the hunt. At the end of the event, leftovers are boxed and given to a local thrift store or charity, as they are available and willing to take them.

THE REASON BEHIND IT: I cannot tell you how rewarding this project has become. It allows us to make contact with people in the community that we might not otherwise meet. It allows us to meet needs without people having to ask, thus allowing them to maintain some dignity. Plus, it allows us to clothe our families for little to no expense. Most importantly, though, it allows me to do what Jesus commanded and clothe those who are “naked”. Who knows, maybe he or one of his angels have been through those doors a time or two and picked up a couple of things!
—————————————————

If you’re interested in organizing a clothing exchange ministry similar to this one, email me and I’ll send you more information. No need for you to re-invent the wheel when she’s already got a wonderful detailed explanation of how to run an event like this one!

Also, I’ve already heard from several of you telling me what ministry you’re involved in. If you haven’t shared your ministry ideas with me yet, please email me! (laura @ heavenlyhomemakers.com)
—————————————————-

Thanks Kim for taking the time to share this with us! 
—————————————————-

Sharing what we have is definitely a finer thing, don’t you think?

Women With a Mission: Guest Post

womenwithamission3sm.JPG

Please welcome our guest poster today, my friend Jill. She’s been a mentor to me for several years and I asked her to share her thoughts on ministry with you… 
———————————————–

First, let me say thank you to Laura for giving me the opportunity to write for her blog. I have known Laura several  years. Our husbands were ministers together back in Security, Colorado. I counted her precious mother as my friend. She was a wonderful example to me. Laura was blessed with such a godly example of true womanhood. She is now carrying on her mother’s legacy of service.  
 
Just a bit about myself before we begin since none of you know me. I have been married to the same guy for over 31 years. We have been blessed with 6 boys and 1 girl. We are in full time ministry here in Michigan. We have had 30 foster children over the years. Three of our children are grown and gone and have their own families now. We have 4 granddaughters and one grandson. 

The question then about “ministry” is near and dear to my heart. Laura started out this series by saying our husbands and children ARE our ministry.  That is probably the hardest concept for us Type A’s to wrap our brains around. If we fail at these two tasks we have lost. I have seen this concept abused. Some women feel that they can never reach out to others because it will get in the way of their main ministry. Their children in particular become everything to them, a kind of idol worship if you will.   Their children and their children’s accomplishments define these moms. How very sad. Our children are given to us a gift and as a loan. Trust me, we only get them for a little while. Some of us have had the gut wrenching experience of having our children taken from us much too early. We have a limited time to instill a servants heart in these precious gifts called children.

My husband and I recently discussed once again my role outside the home. We are in full time ministry. I have been a stay at home mom now for 31 years.   There is SO much I want to get done. We have an active ministry in the women’s shelter in town. There are so many ladies who need mentoring and the gospel shared with them. We have ladies in our congregation that need encouragement, they also need study of God’s word. I still have three boys left at home. We have been homeschooling now for years and years and you get the idea  :). I have only 5 years left to instill in these boys everything we hold to be true and dear to us. I get easily distracted. It is easy to hand them their work and then go off and study with some woman who “needs me”.   Each time I have to be kicked in pants (figuratively) and focused once again to the task at hand.  

We want our boys to have a servants heart,  so how do we balance that with the task of running the house and raising these boys? God  came up with a great solution. He  laid on my heart after one of the discussions with my hubby that I can still be an encouragement to the ladies through the internet. I could write a daily devotional about a particular scripture and its application for us*. What a great idea. I can still make a difference in the lives of the women I serve by reaching out to them through the blogosphere.    What a great feeling to know that I am not neglecting my husband and children but still serving those along with my children I feel called to serve. 

Ladies, we want to raise Godly children that have a heart for serving. That is my passion. There are many creative ways to minister. These are just some of the ways that I have found to be a blessing. My hubby reminds me that in just 5 short years I will have all the time I want to minister outside of these walls. I already know that it is SO worth it to invest in your children. All of my older children are such a blessing. Each in their own way reaches out and serves those who need it. I will never regret all the years I have spent serving them. When I get home I just want to hear those sweet words of the Master, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.” 
 
God Bless each of you as you look to ways to “minister”.
————————————————

*I receive Jill’s email devotional thought in my inbox each weekday morning and find them to be so encouraging! If you would like to be included in this list, please email her (jill6758 at cablespeed.com)  You won’t be sorry!

Also…if you are involved in a ministry that does not take away from your important role as wife/mother…please email me (laura at heavenlyhomemakers.com). I’d love for you to share your great ministry ideas here!

Women With a Mission: Serving With Your Kids

womenwithamission3sm2.JPG

To those of us with children…. 

Here’s what I’ve discovered as I’ve been trying to love on and minister to others while I raise kids:  Kids make it easier.

Usually. 

Sometimes they make it harder. (Like, it’s harder to load everyone up and take everyone to an event when you have a nursing baby and two in diapers and one who’s potty training and one with a runny nose…)  Your family comes FIRST, so make sure you’re meeting their needs first before you run out and start ministering to others.

But…if you have kids…please don’t use that excuse to avoid all other ministries. There are simple ministries you can be involved in and your kids can make it easier for you because their cute little selves can break the ice with the people you’re ministering to. They give you something to talk about besides the weather. 

In case you missed it, I wanted to share Kari’s comment from this post

Let’s not miss the fact that our children are little ministers too: children with a mission. I find all the time that my baby is a “conversation starter” if you will. I get to say things like, “I am so blessed to have this baby in my life” and “God is so good” just in response to some simple questions about the cute kid in my cart.

So, if you have kids…minister with them.  

The first time I realized that kids were little ministers was on a tragic day that our friend’s husband was killed in a farming accident. Asa was a baby at the time and we went to see the grieving family. I was trying my hardest to keep Asa quiet and still in my arms while we hugged the family and visited. Finally I decided to put him down to crawl because he was getting restless in my arms. He immediately crawled over the the woman who had just lost her husband. Inwardly I cringed, thinking that the last thing this woman needed was a wiggly nine month old to crawl into her lap and slobber on her.

She reached down and picked him up, snuggled him, talked to him…and then guess what she did? She smiled.  

Asa, as a nine month old innocent baby, brought joy and comfort to this woman who had just lost her husband.

After that moment, I have worked to involve my kids as much as I can when I do something for others.

If you are taking a meal to someone, let them help you cook. Talk with them about what you are doing. Ask them questions like, “We’re taking dinner to Johnny’s family. What kind of yummy food do you think Johnny would like?” 

Encourage them to make cards for people. Who wouldn’t love a homemade card from your kids?

Help them learn to be comfortable around older people and sick people.

Use wisdom of course in involving your kids….but I really think that the best way they will learn to see people’s needs and meet them is by watching you and working with you. By the time they are adults, serving others will be natural to them.

Have you found that your kids (or someone else’s kids) are good conversation starters when you visit with people? What are some ways you’ve involved your kids in ministries?
———————————————-

Join Amy for Finer Things Friday.

Women with a Mission: When You’re at Church

womenwithamission3sm1.JPG

Here’s a topic that I feel very strongly about. Very.

There are people all over the place within your church walls on a Sunday morning (or any other time you meet together) that need something. They might need encouragement. A hug. A smile. An acknowledgement. A prayer. A conversation.

Someone to just notice them. Someone to say hello to them. Someone to help them find their way to a Bible class. Someone to sit with. Someone to hold their baby for them. Someone who needs to hold your baby for you. 

Someone who needs to cry with somebody. To pray with somebody. 

I don’t care how shy you are or how much of an introvert you are.  I. Don’t. Care. 

The people who need you don’t care…if you’re shy…they just need you.

Challenge yourself, practice and learn. Pray for courage and strength. Let God be strong for you when you are weak. 

Look around you and notice who needs you. Pray for God to show you who needs you. Then, GO. Just go. You can do it.

Don’t leave it up to your ministers or elders. Don’t leave it up to the “greeting committee”. That’s hogwash. <wow, laura. why don’t you tell us how you really feel?>

It takes an entire church body to meet the needs of the people God loves.

Break away from your comfort zone of friends (the ones who are easy to talk to and hang out with).  You can call them and get together with them later. (For that matter…take your friends with you and reach out together.) 

Focus instead on the people who may not come back again unless they receive a warm welcome. The people who may be lonely. The people who are hurting. The people who God puts on your heart if/when you are listening. 

Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s not. But it does take practice. And hard work. And sometimes you will be worn out from the effort. Ah, but it’s a good tired. And I promise you that the more you do it, the easier it will be for you. 

Can I challenge you to work on this one if it is a hard task for you?  I really, really think it’s important. Showing God’s love to newcomers is important. Listening to someone who is hurting is important. Letting God use you as a part of his body is important.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10  Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Guess what? When you move beyond the fear and shyness (or just plain ol’ indifference) that is holding you back and let God’s power work through your weakness…you will be amazed at what you can do. God’s power is made perfect in your weakness. 

And in mine.  He’s proved that to me over and over.

I LOVE it when God proves his power.

Do you consider yourself to be introverted or extroverted? Is going up to newcomers at church hard for you? Do you feel like it’s easier to hang around your closer friends than to step out and visit with others?   Or, does this idea come naturally to you?   In what ways can you improve when it comes to reaching out to others when you’re at church?

Women With a Mission: Giving

womenwithamission3sm.JPG

Catch up on the previous posts in this Women with a Mission series here.

So, today let’s talk about giving. Giving is another ministry we can all participate in no matter what our life circumstances are. No matter how much (or how little) money you make. No matter how many bills you have. No matter what is going on in your life. We all have something to give.

Here are the common questions:  Does God want us to give 10%? More than 10%? Should the 10% go to my church…and then what about other needs? Should I only give part of my 10% to the church so that I can have some leftover for “other needs”? There are SO many “other needs” out there. Which ones should I choose?

And what in the world does it mean to give sacrificially? 

I’ve been a part of these discussions often…and it’s a tough topic. But here’s a conclusion I’ve drawn after studying this topic recently:  I think we’ve limited our ideas of what giving means.

I think that when we hear the word “giving” we think of a tithe…the check we write to the church…the occasional food we take to the food pantry…the money we might choose to give every once in a while to an organization we believe in. All of these areas ARE a part of giving and we should absolutely be doing this.

But, what do you think about this idea…

The idea that when we use every bit of our money wisely and for a real and godly purpose…we are actually giving 100%.

We use our house for hospitality and to take care of our family. Therefore, our mortgage and utilities are a part of our “giving”. We work to eat well and take care of our bodies…as well as feeding others in our home and outside of our home as much as we can. Therefore, our grocery spending…that’s giving. And on and on about all of the things we spend money on. (Kinda makes you look at toilet paper in a whole new way, huh?)  :)   

On the other hand, if we buy a bunch of “stuff” and waste the money we have…that results in nothing. It isn’t living sacrificially…it isn’t using our resources for God. 

I haven’t figured out “how much” is the right amount to give and how often to give and who all to give to. But I’m coming to the conclusion that giving like God wants us to give might just simply mean living wisely…spending frugally…not wasting what we have…always being willing to share…

So, no more excuses about not having enough to give. And no more guilt about not being able to give more. 

No matter how much you have. You can give 100%. 

Just do what Jesus did. I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t have a very big bank account. Yet he came to earth just to give. He gave of himself. He gave what he could…his healing…his compassion…his time…his touch…his love. And he fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. The five loaves and two fish one hungry little boy was willing to give.
——————————————-

Share with us. What do you think?
——————————————-

Check out Finer Things Friday!