Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Mission Field by Angie Frantz

As a new born-again Christian in college, I used to listen with awe and wonder to testimony given by missionaries visiting my church each month. How awesome that God had called these people to 'all the ends of the earth'! Unfortunately, I had neither the time, financial means, or the leading from the Lord to follow into 'the mission field'.

Or so I thought...

A few years ago, I was talking with a friend about missions work. In her 'pre-mommy' days, she and her husband had the chance to go on a missions trip. Now that she was a stay-at-home-mom, she wondered if she'd be able to go on another missions trip in the near future.

I realized in that moment that as moms, our missions field looks dramatically different than those served by our brothers and sisters in far-away lands. Our missions field includes a living room cluttered with toys, sinks filled with dirty dishes, and piles of laundry scattered throughout a house bustling with the sound of children. Certainly, the ends of the earth includes the very homes in which we are raising our children. This field, where our missions work takes place, is just as sacred and meaningful as a field in South America or Africa.

From time to time, we as Christians are called to step boldly forward and say "Lord, send me". When we humble ourselves to His plans for us, the results can sometimes take us by surprise. The missions field in which I am now serving is one such example.

When I was almost six months pregnant with my second son, I had an experience that has changed my life forever. I clearly remember sitting at a stop light near my home in the middle of a conversation with God. (Doesn't the Lord choose interesting times to 'talk' with us?) I remember feeling so humbled and saying "Lord, here I am. Send me." I had no idea what would happen next.

Three months later, Ian was born. While we were thrilled to welcome him into our family, we were surprised to learn that he has Down syndrome. I wasn't sure what to make of his diagnosis. Somehow, I knew the Lord would give us the strength. What I didn't know at the time, was how the Lord would use this situation for His glory.

In the 14 months since Ian's birth, I have clearly seen God use my son (and me) in amazing ways. I am a stronger person now, and have found myself in awe of the true miracle of life. My personal missions field has expanded from beyond the four walls of my home. Every day, Ian and I are teaching those around us not only about Down syndrome, but about the great love of God.

I truly believe my son will have an amazing testimony to give as he grows older. For now, however, we are missionaries in a very 'mobile' field. Every trip we make outside our home - whether to church, the store, or the park - is another opportunity to share with others.

Next time you find yourself looking around the house at the 'mess', stop. Look again. The 'field' you are standing in really is sacred ground. We are raising godly men and women who will do great things for the Lord!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Women of Great Faith

We are women who are mothers. Mothers persevere. We take each blow and keep going, because God gave us a special kind of oomph that keeps us going even when things are hard. We do it because our children need us. They need us so very much. And the praise is very small and limited in our line of work. For someone to say, "You work very very hard and I would love for you to take a break and relax..." would instantly send us into a crying puddle...because it is a hard job, and there is very little recognition and feedback. But, there needs to be time for good honest reflection and moments of quiet love where we meet up with that exhaustion. And realize we are doing a good work.

I'm not saying we should exalt ourselves or make more of ourselves than we ought. We have a very real need for a savior and we are all kind of a wreck at our core. But, we have to also be nice to ourselves, compliment ourselves, give ourselves a hug.

I loved this post and I read it three times, crying each time. I hope you enjoy it too. There are mothers the universe over who go through the same things, the same challenges, the same sadness, the same excitement...we are in this together, even when we are separated by households and differences. May all our love unite in support of motherhood today.

What Will We Give Up For Him?

The verse in my devotional this morning, March 24th, is:

"Then he called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. 'If any of you wants to be my follower,' he told them, 'you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely. If you insist on saving your own life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live. And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? For is anything worth more than his soul? And anyone who is ashamed of me and my message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels.' Mark 8:34-38."

I was just debating how much I was really willing to give up for Jesus this morning...strange.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Because We All Have Hair Issues...

Do you dye?

Ok, seriously, I have the worst roots ever...and I do enjoy being blonde I've decided. How does a gal balance the desire to be beooooooooteeeeful with the desire to save money for her family? Cuz by the time I get out of a salon, it's like $80 a sista out with some good ideas!!!

P.S. For those of you I discussed this ever so vain issue with last week, the renter dealio didn't work out...

The Challenges That Come...

I told Scott this month we should anticipate challenges financially. It just happens that whatever our next topic is, our family gets squeezed and challenged in that area. And so it has been.

A $1,200 van repair bill this week, a month when groceries cost way more than I anticipated because we ran out of EVERYTHING AT ONCE, a grossly expensive propane bill, a new pool sweep, a month of paying medical bills from last month's doctor's visits and lab tests, a month when we could invest a ton in planting and amending the soil for spring crops, and purchasing and feeding a new flock of 20 chickens--an investment for future gain, but we still have to be wise and prayerful is all happening to challenge and give us experiences to share I think, and ways to apply what we are learning.

And then...a $1,000 GIFT from my in-laws who had an unexpected tax refund! And then, a $96 check from the health insurance company for claims that were mis-handled last year...WHAAAAAAT??!!!! And then, the challenge of that was, we have to prayerfully tithe and give off this money!!! (We almost didn't!)

We have felt challenged to continue blessing and tithing how he has instructed us through prayer and His word. I know He has said to test Him in this area, and I know that our faithfulness is what He is looking for...regardless of our fleshly fear or anxiety. I also strive to continue being thankful that we have a house, a pool, a van, a JOB, and health insurance...that we have a home that can be used for ministry and hospitality...I mean, seriously, it could be incredibly, so much, remarkably, WORSE!!! But, normally, our tendency would be to complain, and He is gradually training our hearts to look at each of these things as blessings we GET to pay for!

But, whew! I'm financially worn out. Material wealth is truly the root of evil, as the Bible says. It can take over your thoughts and take your trust away from the Almighty. What good challenges these are. And yet, I feel I am to brace ourselves for more...until it doesn't worry me, it doesn't challenge me, it doesn't cause me to bite my nails each month...

Laying up our treasure heavenward is our focus...but it's so hard in this world of tantalizingly sparkly things...

How do you handle money worry?

It's All In There!

I was so comforted this morning as I read through Psalm 119:169-176. It reminded me that the Word of God affects the mind (v.169), the mouth (vv.171-172), the "will" (v.173), and the emotions (v.174) and conscience (v.176).

As I went back to discover a little more about Psalm 119 (I was struck this morning by its length!!), I noticed that this Psalm really conveys the idea that the Word of God (using 10 different terms to refer to it, terms like "law" (instruction or revelation) and testimonies (or precepts)), contains everything man needs to know.

Wow, I found that comforting!!!

In whatever state I find myself, I would like to cling to God's word. It makes us wise and pure (119:97-104).

All earthly things are limited, but His Word is infinite. (119:96).

I would like to have in my heart the awe, joy, love, and praise for God's Word the psalmist expresses. (119:161-168)

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

As a final note, I have often come across the argument that man has changed the Bible for his own purposes throughout history...that we can't really trust it in its form today. But, I serve an absolutely sovereign God and I believe that He knew exactly what form we would have for believers today. He is not controlled by any pope or bishop or by the evil whims of man. He knew it all before it happened and He knew we would have it exactly as it is today. I am able to trust in His word. His spirit has caused that in me. And for that, I am eternally thankful. I am thankful I serve a God who is sovereign.