I spent 8 days traveling across the country, well up and down the country, this past week to visit my Georgia sister. It was a good trip, 4 days (2 down, 2 back) in the car with mom and Isabelle went quickly and smoothly. I had fun reconnecting with my nieces, experiencing the chaos that happens in a house with 4 girls, celebrating at an orange 4 year old birthday party, helping my sister declutter her bedroom closet for the first time since they moved in, getting in a brief shopping time where I found some new shoes, and all the other fun things we did.
This trip, more so than some, really felt like a break from my regular life. Not so much in the activities we did but just in my not having to go to work, clean, do laundry, etc. I had time to just enjoy the moments and to think about my life and listen to what God was showing me at this time in my life. I was particularly struck by a sense of sharing. Because of sick kids and volunteer schedules I ended up going to church alone while I was there. It felt great to have that moment alone to worship God and there was a great sermon just for me about our mission in life. A couple profound thoughts from my notes, "When you think of God's mission for your life you don't start with you, you start with God." Hmm...interesting thought, what does God want me to do not what do I want to do. Then once we get into our actual mission here is a very simple idea, "What you have heard, share." Oh, so I don't have to know all the answers I just tell people what I know. Interesting. This also sort of goes with something Michele is learning from Beth Moore, "Are you planting the seed or eating it?" What am I doing with what God is giving me?
So as I have probably mentioned before I am trying to see my job, which I have to finance the Africa trip, as a ministry. And while I am doing no preaching at my work I am trying to live a godly life and be a positive influence to those I work with. I have had some small opportunities to simply show love and give encouragement to my co-workers and have appreciated the experience. While I have done nothing exceptional, just making the effort to step into others lives in this way has seemed like a big deal to me.
This past week as I was away from my normal responsibilities and listening to the sermon alone I felt strongly that God was placing on my heart a next step, to start a bible study in my neighborhood. Not the kind where you call all the neighbors you know are already Christians but the kind where you invite everyone you have met whether you know their faith or not to come and learn about the life of Christ for 6 weeks. YIKES! Luckily God also told me who would share with me. You know "what you have heard, share". So Molly is going to tell me what to do and say and I am going to do it and tell them. Sounds pretty simple. I already have one neighbor who has talked to me about starting a neighborhood study so I called her and we are going to work together and see what God does as we simply open ourselves up to be used by Him.
And don't you think it is interesting that God is speaking to me about my mission/ministry as I am preparing for my Africa trip. Or do you think he is always speaking to me about these things but I just have a heightened awareness because of the trip? Something else to contemplate. This is turning into more than the Year of Africa. This is becoming the Year of Mission as John and I also spent an evening talking about how we can better open our lives and home up to others in need. No conclusion to that one yet. What else will God do in our lives this year?