Someone said to me recently that from my blog posts it seems as if deputation is a big vacation. I usually just post the sunny side of things, so as not to be a complainer. The truth is that, like anything, there are very hard moments in deputation. When I choose to focus on the good parts (and writing a blog post helps me to do that), I can easier choose to be joyfully despite the challenging moments in all of this “fun” travel.
I had a long post written with some of the challenges that I face on each trip. I thought maybe I should be “real” and transparent. I thought it might help my praying friends to pray better. But after sitting on it for a while, I scrapped the post. I don’t think it would be productive for me to dwell on those challenging things. I dwell on them enough as it is. I am learning that “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” means even those dissatisfied, complaining thoughts.
There is a big part of me that looks forward to Feb. 1, 2015 when we “hit the road” until May 3rd. Because then I will just be focusing on deputation. Right now it’s like two full time jobs – wifey/homemaker/mommy from Monday to Friday, and missionary on deputation each weekend. I want to be able to focus on just one thing. But that’s not been the plan this far, and I’m learning some things along the way (some easier than others).
One of the books I’ve been reading is a little devotional book by Marjorie Parker called “Bread from my Oven.” They are very short thoughts with a verse and a poem, but they have been tremendous for me, especially as I’m stretched to the limit and need reminders of the basics. I thought I might share some excerpts from the ones that have been most helpful to me lately.
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:8-9.
“A mature Christian is one who can say “Thank You” to God when her husband fails to get that long-hoped-for raise in salary; or Johnnie brings home an ‘F’ on his report card; or the baby comes down with measles in spite of all precautions.
“When troubles pile up around us we can easily forget that He knows the end from the beginning and that this thing is going to work out for our good, no matter how dark the picture looks at the present time.
“We forget that one must suffer before he can be healed.
“If our gratitude depends on outward circumstances, it does not occupy a permanent place in our lives. When the winds of adversity blow, and we are in trouble and need help and still can say to God ‘Thank You,’ we have gained spiritually.”
Bread from my Oven by Marjorie Parker, pages 38-39
It seems there is a theme to what God is teaching me lately. I must be thankful in all circumstances, not just when things go my way. When I am thankful, then I respond to my children with more love and patience, and I am more flexible in each situation. Also, the messages at last week’s mission’s conference centered on the theme of being “Laborers Together with God”, with an emphasis on suffering with Christ. I have been resisting the suffering part (however minimal) of what God has been trying to teach me. I wanted to learn it without suffering, but I know that it is not His plan. If Christ was willing to suffer for my salvation, then surely I can be willing to suffer with Him in order to reach others with the Gospel.
Through several different sources recently I was challenged to begin a Gratitude Journal. With some birthday money I purchased a simple “line-a-day” journal that covers five years. Each day I want to record what I am thankful for that day, especially in these deputation and church planting years. I need to focus on what God has done for me, so that I do not bemoan the difficult moments.