Monday, June 23, 2008

God's Warrior Work is Often Done Queitly and in Obscure Places

There's a woman whom I've never met who has taught me so much about being a God-loving, gentle, strong woman of God. Her name is Laine, and I have no idea where she lives, and I know very little about her except that which she's put to pen (so-to-speak) on her computer. Some years ago someone talked to me about this woman and her wisdom. Laine's Letters is the compilation of some of her thoughts regarding loving Jesus and living a life of ministry in her home. I'm not talking here about Official Ministry but rather the ministry of being a wife and mother.

Just today I received an email from Laine in which she expressed her thoughts regarding the woman of Proverbs 31. As always, Laine's words are filled with gentleness, love and grace, yet they are powerful and thought-provoking. Something she wrote about really caught my eye:

And so often, He does His best warrior work quietly in an obscure place. Think of John the Baptist who was raised in the desert all of his life. Joshua who was also raised in a desert for forty years. Samuel who was raised apart from his mother in the temple run by Eli and his evil sons. Moses who was raised apart from his mother (most of his life) in a pagan's home. And Jesus, Himself, Who spent thirty years in His earthly home. God raised warriors in some very insignificant places on earth. (emphasis mine) The most insignificant place of all was Nazareth. Who would have believed Who God was raising in that remote place on earth in the home of a carpenter and his loyal wife?! And God used a woman in her home living a normal life of serving her husband and children to raise Him! That is so awesome to me. It shows me how very much God values the home to put His Son in one for thirty years under the care and leadership of a hard working man and his homemaking wife. God picked "choice hearts" when he picked these two. Let's look at her role. A role that Jesus probably saw exemplified in His earthly mother.

Often times serving our families can feel lonely and obscure. We tend to see only the here and now as parents, but raising our children is a super marathon, not a sprint. We really don't know when or how the Lord may use our children in the lives of others over the spans of their lives. We may never know.

Recently I had a chance to take a peek into how my oldest son's life has affected others. We hosted his high school graduation party yesterday. What a lot of fun that was for me! I loved having friends and family in my home. It was a joyful occasion to have my dear ones here sharing in my son's accomplishment. I placed a spiral bound notebook at the cake table in which guests were encouraged to write great words of wisdom and advice for Jon's future. Some were quite funny, like our dear friend Lynnette who wrote "May the force be with you." Others took a more generic congratulatory tone without Jedi references. But there were a few entries wherein these adult friends of my son wrote to thank him for being a role model for their own children. Honestly, I had never thought about any of my children being role models for anyone, as they themselves are children. It was sobering for me to realize that my sons' and daughters' lives, even as teens, have the potential of affecting the lives of other people either for the Lord, or against Him, or completely neutral.

While it's true that our children make their own choices, we cannot underestimate the profound effect our warrior-raising done in obscurity may mean for present and future generations. How I raise my children may affect the lives of your children, and vice-versa.

My prayer is that we may not lose hope in our long days of chasing toddlers, changing diapers, bandaging boo-boos, and praying our hearts out. Life ministry is gritty work with few accolades, but it is in and of itself the essence of true ministry. In my opinion, there are foundational ways in which we may strengthen our young ones. One critically important key is to stay sweet to your spouse. Treat him or her gently. Remember also to smile at your children today and every day - squeeze them and thank God for giving them to you. You'll blink and they'll be graduating ;-) and you may find out that they themselves have already begun to reach others in ways in which you had never dreamed.

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