The Little Things

My weekend in Florida was great. Thanks so much for your prayers. The retreat I did was around the theme of “Joy in the Journey.” God’s timing was perfect. My joy was being drained by too many things to do and decide last week. I knew I had to set some things aside until I got back in town. My brain and my heart were dividing and God was calling me to wait and trust Him. So, I tried to clear out the distractions by focusing on what He had previously assigned to me – time with Him, preparing for and speaking at the retreat, helping Joshua with a big school project, laundry, packing, and the usual. The thing I had set aside was us making an offer on a house we found last Monday that’s just what we’ve been praying for (to make room as we prepare to adopt a daughter from Ethiopia this year). More about that soon!But before I go there… I wanted to answer the rest of the questions left from the post I’d written about being faithful in the little and big things God calls us to.

C.J.

said…One question I have is of timing. I wonder if there are seasons (because of raising children, etc.) that God only asks for smaller investments of the gift.

Yes, you are right on C.J. If we’re married and/or have kids, our most important ministry is at home. I used to think that being a wife and mom was a one-talent kind of assignment since so many others had the same calling but I was wrong. It’s a 10-talent assignment that God called me to be 110% faithful to before He ever let me out of the house :-). We have to guard our hearts and make sure we serve Him well behind the scenes caring for our family, doing laundry, cooking, changing diapers, reading stories, playing with dinosaurs, teaching young ones to read and write. Also as they get a little older they need us close by to coach them in the things of life like friendships, dealing with conflict, fears, adademic challenges, etc.

Ministry beyond the walls of home had to fit in with our family’s schedule. Writing notes, prayer ministry, administrative roles that I could do on my computer, etc. worked if I could do them while the kids napped or on a weekday evening when JJ was home. I needed to have an outlet for my creativity and extrovert energy so my husband and found ways for me to do small things. JJ traveled a lot when our boys were young so most of my serving was from home or on a weekend. I didn’t start speaking regularly or serving in leadership at P31 until both my boys were in school full-time. JJ also switched jobs eight years ago. He now has a non-traveling job and is home by dinner almost every night. He and the boys do fun stuff like father-son camping trips and other guys stuff when I’m gone so it fits our family in this season of life.

MaryLu said…
Sometimes I think…There are so many wonderful writers and authors out there, how could I possibly contribute? But maybe in some way, with God’s help, I can be an encouragement to others.
MaryLu, I completely understand how you feel. I felt that way for so long, and I still do when I walk through a bookstore. How could I say it any better or different then all of them? I had to come to a point where I was writing not for publication but simply for remembrance…simply to leave a legacy of my everyday journey with God. When I feel doubtful or discouraged, I remind myself that it’s biblical to tell of the wonders of our God, to record it for a future generation, to leave markings along the way the way that others can follow as we follow Him.
The truth is, there is no one who can share the story God is writing in your life – but you! There is no one who can tell it the way you can. No one who sees Him the way you do, hears His thoughts towards you. And if He’s gifted you to write then you need to write. Even if you are not sure you’re gifted, ask yourself this: Does my heart come alive when I write? Are others impacted or encouraged by my words? If the answer is yes, then write girl write!

April said…

Honestly, I have heard this parable countless times, and this is the first time I have really thought about it this way! It made me stop and think…”Am I making the most out of my time here on Earth?” “Am I being a good servant and reaching people for His kingdom, telling others of a wonderful savior who died for them, and wants to wash their sins away?” “Am I being a good steward of what God has given me?” “Am I being “all that I can be” as a woman, wife, mother?” So many questions, so much soul searching.

Preach it sista! We’ve got to share the message God’s given each of us and only use words if necessary. I once heard that we may be the only Bible someone reads. That may have been the case for me this weekend. I was flying home Saturday night and the man sitting next to me was very talkative. He asked about where I was going and why I was in FL. After telling him I was speaking, he asked about my messages. That opened the door for me but I wasn’t really wanting to walk through it. Didn’t want to be available. Didn’t feel able at all.

I was tired. I had shared three messages in less than 24 hours. I didn’t want to share another one (just being honest here). Yet, as I opened my mouth God filled my lips with a love story about a girl who found unconditional love when she was ready to give up on life and herself. A girl who’d lost all hope and found herself in a pit of darkness. A girl who had all that she wanted but it couldn’t fill her empty heart. A girl who fell in love with Jesus – the one who offered love that wouldn’t fail even if she did.

We talked for the whole hour and a half flight. He shared that he is Hindu. It was amazing to watch God take a tired women and fill her mouth with just the words she needed when she needed them. As we talked I remembered conversations my husband had shared about sharing his faith with his co-worker/friend who is Hindu. About how they believe in reincarnation. God reminded me that He’d make me able if I’d be willing to be faithful with the little I had to give. I am praying that Jesus will continue to pursue “Jerry” (his American name) and make others able and available to share His love with him.

So, what assignment does God have for you today – right where you are? Is there someone that needs to hear your story? Is there someone who needs Jesus with skin on in your home or in your office? What words will God give you today to share with someone along the way. All you need is a heart that is willing to be available and He will make you able.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Mocha with Linda says:

    Wow. What a testimony and inspiration! The whole post was fantastic – can’t wait to hear more about your upcoming adoption! – but then the story at the end about your conversation with the man on the plane.

    Your availability even in your tiredness is a great example to me. Thanks for sharing that. (And thanks especially for sharing the “didn’t want to” part instead of just sounding like “Miss Perfect Witness!”)

  2. Hi Renee,
    I’ve been praying for you. Glad all is well. I’ll be praying about the house and the adoption – WOW – anticipating hearing more about how God is leading in both of those directions.

    Amazed at your “Jerry” story. Praying God will continue to speak to his heart.

    The thought that captures and excites me in this post is: Does my heart come alive when I write? YES!!! The desire to write is so strong, I can’t not write. Praying God will use it somehow to encourage others for His glory.

    Question for you: Is your story of going from the pit of darkness to falling in love with Jesus on CD or in a book? I’d love to read that journey. I’ve travelled that path and I’d enjoy hearing how God rescued your heart.

    Thanks again for being you.
    Blessings,
    Joy

  3. Amy Wyatt says:

    Thanks for sharing you sometimes don’t
    “feel” like interacting with others; but if you are led to… and ask God to use you and do it anyway when an opportunity comes up… blessings flow. It helps us to realize that people in ministry are real and they don’t always “feel” like doing ministry…they are human too. The difference is they are willing to be used by God no matter what. Glad your trip was good and glad you are back.

  4. Renee,
    I needed to hear this today. I needed to be reminded to be faithful in the little things and also to “be” Jesus to those in my sphere of influence.
    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for sharing…that post was uplifting! It is the cry of my heart to “have a heart that is willing to be available”.

    Jamie

  6. Charlene Kidd says:

    Renee,
    I am so glad the trip went well. I applaud you for being willing when you were worn out. I often feel that way after speaking or serving in some way. I will be praying for the adoption and the new house.
    Blessings,
    Charlene

  7. Renee,
    Thank you for your encouragement. I do enjoy writing, and for a while I only wrote for me, in my personal journal never thinking that anyone else would read it. Then I found bloggin, and I was still thinking that no one could possible want to hear what I had to say, everyone I read was so witty, charming, funny, and inspirational. I couldn’t possibly contribute anything. So my “blog” was an off-line journal Word document for a long time. Then I felt free enough to bring it online, out in the open. That was very scary, sharing things that I felt were only between God and me.
    I do know know that others are encouraged by what I write. (Amazing!) So I will continue to write and to share my struggles, and be blessed by others’ writing as well.

  8. Thanks for sharing…that post was uplifting! It is the cry of my heart to “have a heart that is willing to be available”.

    Jamie

  9. Renee:
    I am too moved for many words. Safe to say, your Godly wisdom with all of the questions speaks a mighty word to my wearied soul this evening…especially your words to MaryLu’s question about writing.

    Thanks, also, for visiting the blog. Soon after receiving your words, my computer crashed. It’s never…I mean never done this before. My technological “baby” has been relinquished to the dr. and I hope for her (along with countless files) safe return soon. What perfectly and seemingly awful timing. God bless!

    peace for the journey~elaine

  10. Amy L Brooke says:

    Glad Florida went well! Can’t wait to hear about the adoption stuff!

  11. MrsProverbs31 says:

    Thank you so much for those responses. They are what I needed to hear especially the one about the family ministry-awwwww! Beautiful. Thank you! Thank you!

  12. elaine olsen says:

    Renee:
    I am too moved for many words. Safe to say, your Godly wisdom with all of the questions speaks a mighty word to my wearied soul this evening…especially your words to MaryLu’s question about writing.

    Thanks, also, for visiting the blog. Soon after receiving your words, my computer crashed. It’s never…I mean never done this before. My technological “baby” has been relinquished to the dr. and I hope for her (along with countless files) safe return soon. What perfectly and seemingly awful timing. God bless!

    peace for the journey~elaine

  13. Lelia Chealey says:

    Thanks Renee.
    Thank you for the gentle reminder that my family is my #1 ministry.
    Love stopping by to visit with you. 🙂
    Love,
    Lelia

  14. Michelle says:

    Your post is so in line with what I am experiencing this week. I know it has to be another message from God to encourage me to share my story. Thank you so much for being a vessel for the words I needed poured into me.

  15. WOW! I just wrote a post today about being faithful in the little things! I think it’s easy to think, Lord what BIG thing can I do for you? But it all goes back to spending time with Him daily and obeying each little nudge He gives us (which I unfortunately shove aside at times).

    God is GOOD and He wants to use us… Thanks for your posts and your heart! Can’t wait to meet you at She Speaks!! 🙂

  16. Hey Renee! Thank you so much for helping in answering the cries of my heart! Thanks for reminding me that sometimes in life we are to be a “silent” witness to others, and not always are supposed to use words. I absolutely loved your “Jerry” story. I will be praying for him.
    How exciting about your adoption! Can’t wait to hear more about it! God Bless! April

  17. So glad your trip to Florida went well. Praise God too for providing you with what you needed on the flight home. Our God is faithful!

  18. Digging for Pearls says:

    So glad your trip to Florida went well. Praise God too for providing you with what you needed on the flight home. Our God is faithful!

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