Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Being God with Skin On...

Are you a mom with kids still in the home?  Or a mom who has grandchildren?  Whether or not, every one of us has a unique opportunity to be God with skin on.  Jill Savage, founder of the Hearts at Home Ministries and author, views motherhood so practically as the ministry of availability.  Gloria Gaither, songwriter, singer and author, speaks about divine interruptions.  I have really come to appreciate that perspective especially when I get the calls from certain people or meet people at various gatherings.  Women like Jill and Gloria, have allowed the Lord to change their perspective on those (big and little) people annoyances that get in the way of our agenda.  He takes those times that we lovingly respond to and makes God opportunities out of them.

I don’t know about you but sometimes my ministry dreams are much bigger than they need to be! We all know that time is such a rare commodity today and that there is just never enough of it to go around and especially when it comes to ourselves!  I have discovered such a love for writing out my “lessons from the field” being passionate about sharing my heart and all that God is teaching me. But...managing a home, being a wife, mom and grandma and working full-time really makes for skimpy hours left to do my writing. Then on top of it all there are those interruptions from other who also need attention. Here is where ministry really begins.

You see...each one of us who have been redeemed, have been given this wonderful opportunity to reach out and touch others--lonely others, hurting others and needy others--because this journey as God’s child has called us to reach out and comfort those in need from the little people to big people. The need is so great and yes, we have to be careful and exercise healthy boundaries but not for selfish reasons. Here is the Scriptural mandate Paul gives us:

2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Now this can certainly be applied both emotionally and physically as a child comes needing a bandaid to cover a wound or a lonely elderly lady you may meet at the grocery store who would love to have the ‘touch’ of a kind and caring word spoken to her. On a grand scale? Probably more practically speaking through our own hands, arms and words, given to those in our very own sphere of influence.  Mommies, you most likely have a husband and possibly little ones who especially beg for your attention. But oh how we long for our moments of quiet and rest. Mothers, life just seems demanding especially when we are running here, picking up this kid, running that kid there...you probably feel as though you are going to be split in two as you are pulled from every direction. Then the thought enters, where am I going to find time to work on my friendship with my husband and closest friends?

It is rather funny that as I was writing this my husband and I had gone to Florida to visit with my mom and sister over the Thanksgiving weekend.  A quiet moment early one morning gave me this writing inspiration and then my husband awakened. I put down paper and pen and made his coffee (my sister had a new machine he did not know how to run or he could have made his own!)  I proceeded to go back to the writing as I was concluding this piece. Then he started quietly drilling me with conversation and questions. I got a bit perturbed but kept writing although annoyed until the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and basically revealed to me that I was writing about moments just like this. I proceeded to put down paper and pen and zone in on my husband who needed just a little bit of my time to probably just acknowledge his presence!

Now we can look at being used by God to be Jesus with skin on. Practically speaking, every time an interruption comes your way, you have the opportunity to turn it into a ‘ministry’.  You see, ministry may not look like your preconceived notion of what it should be but...when you lay down your agenda and become Jesus to those around you, voila...you can become Jesus with skin on!  Tenderly wiping away the dirt on that skinned knee while you administer love. Helping your husband find that misplaced item (even though you are in the midst of sorting or folding  laundry.) There may be a teenager that comes home hurting from being ignored by a peer group. Stop your supper preparations or ask them to come and help you and be an encouragement to them in their time of feeling very worthless or lonely. There may be Mrs. widow the elderly woman from church in the produce isle. Can you take just a few moments to ask how she has been? We are all in a hurry to get our stuff accomplished but sometimes God wants to use those interruptions to be Jesus with skin on! The following lyrics are the chorus from a song the group Casting Crowns made very popular a few years ago:
But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Father God, I confess that most of the time I am all about me and my agenda.  Will you show me that my “ministry” efforts start in my own sphere of influence--even my own home--and that there are so many that I could reach out and touch with Your love.  Let me see that my family comes first but that it all begins by looking up and allowing You to show me those precious opportunities through Your eyes.  Thank you for the times that I have been on the receiving end of some one’s ministry as they reached out to me.  And for showing me that we are the practical gospel that some will only read and that there are hurting people as well in the body of Christ.  For You have shown me that I am here to be your witness as I wear Your love!

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