I wrote this devotion when my kids were young, and thought you ladies might like it! FYI three years after I wrote this I found myself living in Kisumu, Kenya as an overseas missionary.... the moral to this story is God has a sense of humor :)
We have certain phrases in the Christian church that everyone says and few understand. “We’re all missionaries” is one of those phrases. When I hear a statement like this, it makes me sweat. I’m not talking about a slight glistening that makes you look healthy and strong. I’m talking about dripping, disturbing, get-everything-wet, man sweat. Why would one have such a reaction to a relatively insignificant phrase? Could it be when I think of myself as a missionary, I imagine myself in the bush, thousands of miles from civilization, where the food is what you shoot, and let’s just say I’m not a good shot. It’s a place where you bathe in and drink the same water, only before you drink it you put it through a filter and pronounce it clean. So there I am, out in the middle of nowhere dirty, hungry, and more than likely a host to many of the parasites my water filter gave the rite of passage. In my imaginings I’m very hot, swatting at biting flies, and riding a camel I’m allergic to.
What about telling lost souls about Jesus and leading new people into the kingdom? In my dreams I never get that far, I snap back to reality as soon as the flies start to bite, and try not to go back. Missions isn’t exactly an adventure I want to sign up for. I’m not talking about short term, go-out and come-home missions. I’m talking about sell-the- farm and buy-the-camel sort of missions. My prayers have been, “Lord help them to do a good job so that I don’t have to go”.
Now that I have bared my soul and you see the wickedness in my heart, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. The Lord just recently took this self-absorbed 30-year-old mother of four and taught her something she won’t easily forget. This is her story….
It had been a long morning. All my children were in rare form due to an upcoming waterside trip. I kicked myself for mentioning it a day in advance, the next 24 hours were going to be rather stressful due to all the excitement. I heard a child screaming my name; I stayed where was, thinking if it was important enough, they would come looking for me. My wish was granted, an almost three year old child is at my side explaining the injustice she has experienced at the hand her older brother. I looked down at her, gave my most empathetic expression, and put into words some very wise and insightful advice. She gladly ran off to instruct her older brother. I felt a since of pride well up in me as I had handled the situation so calmly. A distant scream indicated the advice wasn’t well received by the man-child. I ran to the back of the house to find my darling three-year-old repeatedly hitting her brother. The since of pride I had felt earlier vanished and my blood pressure spiked. I pulled the young child off her brother, took a deep breath, and explained Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” For reasons unknown to myself, I looked down at the child and ask if she understood. She looked at me with a blank stare and shook her head no. Feigning patience I waxed eloquent on the importance of kindness. After my speech I left the small child’s room and wonder if she understood a word I said. I seriously start to doubt myself as a mother when I heard her stomp into her brother’s room for round number two. I felt as though I repeated myself every five minutes throughout the day to no avail. A few hours later I gathered up my children to go run errands. As I turned to lock the front door, my three-year-old skipped by me singing, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” My heart swelled with joy as I realized that somehow she heard what I had been saying. And all of the sudden it hit me, the phrase which I had such a disturbing physical reaction to earlier is true.
My job isn’t glamorous, and most wouldn’t consider it adventurous. I take hot showers, and drink clean water, my days are routine and scheduled, I prefer cars to camels and have pest control to take care of biting bug problems. But four young children watch my life and I want them to see Jesus. I am a life that can be used by God to impact those in my day to day; in other words, I AM A MISSIONARY!
Ladies, I just wanted to encourage you, what you are doing everyday with your children is having an eternal impact. Keep up the good work :)