My Sweet Evening

Good Morning, Afternoon, or Night. This morning I lay in bed, as I imagine many mothers do, unable to completely fall back to sleep after getting up and down with a child, a bathroom trip, and what I thought was a child getting up only to find they must have been talking in their sleep. I have found that God uses the early mornings for sweet moments with me. So, though a little weary, I was able to have a date with the Creator of the Universe before the sun even peeked its head up.
I lay there sharing thoughts with the Father of my truly blessed evening last night. The minister’s wife at our “Momma-Church”, Sunnyside Christian Church has all of the other minister’s wives over about every 2 ½ – 3 months, and boy was I ready! Nathan kind of caught on to my excitement as I giddily announced at 5:42 p.m. that I would be leaving in 8 minutes. Then at 5:43, “I will be leaving in 7 minutes!” So off I went at 5:50 to Mrs. Ruth’s house for a sweet time of fellowship, and sweet is was!
There ended up being only 5 of us total, but at the end of the evening I think we could all see how God used our small size to infuse BIG thoughts, feelings, and dreams. As we sat together our conversation quickly turned to mission work and our missionary friends. Mrs. Ruth’s daughter Anne and her family have returned from working in China for many years and are now in the midst of raising support for work in Italy. Carol and her family spent some years in Honduras as missionaries. My friend Sarah and I have both been on short-term mission trips. And so the sharing began. We talked of living situations whether scary, hot, strange, or admirable. We discussed the way people had to live and what determined their futures. We discussed the spiritual states of many we had encountered and others we knew of. We talked of those people that God so blessed us by letting us know them. We talked of the way God worked – because He so does, you know – in the hard and easy economic places and in the hard and harder spiritual places.
We then shared how many times here, in the US, we take forgranted all of our physical blessings. Talk to any of these ladies, my friends, and you will realize this in a few short minutes. Yet, with all of these physical conveniences I think we all came to agree that it seemed so much easier to stay focused on our purpose, to “Go make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19), when we were in the other countries; for, when there, we no longer had the distractions that we are surrounded by, and sometimes surround ourselves with, here in America.
Through these thoughts I was reminded of an email a friend of mine sent out when she returned from a short trip to Africa. While there she began wondering what she had truly given up to know and serve Christ here in our country. In other countries people give up there livelihoods, their acceptance with their families, their freedom, and/or their lives. So what have we had to really give up besides maybe some bad habits? (I’m not down-sizing our salvation stories; we are truly saved from so much!) God helped her come to this conclusion: Those of us who are choosing day in and day out to lay down our lives, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Luke 9:23) here have in every way given up the “American Dream”. That dream that says go do what every you want. Go satisfy your every dream and desire, no matter what it takes. As a mom those childhood dreams can pop in your mind when you are exhausted at the end of the day and you’ve changed the last diaper and you think everyone’s in bed for the night and then a child awakens sick. Or when you, a single mom or dad, have worked all day, come home to a messy house and children who need the rest of you that’s left. Or when you, a dad, who is working one, two, three jobs to support your family and you get home and they all want to see Dad, hang on Dad, talk to Dad and though you want the same things, all you have the energy for is to sit.
These dreams are not unwarranted. Quite frankly having these dreams got me through some tough times and situations when I was growing up. As I have grown in my faith, though, and matured in the knowledge of Christ and what He was and is about, I see so very clearly how there is a lot to be given up in His name where I’m at. It may not be nice, convenient facilities. It may not be food I can get down without cringing. It may not be living in fear of rats scurrying around in my house. It may not be that I can’t openly express my faith and what I believe. But what it may be, and I believe is, is the dreams that make me number one. For His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours (Isa 55:9). Whatever we may dream or scheme to accomplish, it will never compare to the greatness of our God’s.
I don’t know if there is any great lesson to be learned from these thoughts but maybe some questions we can think about are: Where/With Whom do our dreams lie? What have you given up for the sake of Christ, to be called children of God? Have you ever thought about missions…about being a missionary? Do you realize that as often as God has called us to “Go Out” He has also called us to “Go Among” (go among those we currently live with)? Do you realize how great our futures are in the sight of the God who has planned them? Are you following His plan?
Needless to say I have been refreshed, Friends, and I do pray that some of what I’ve shared has done the same for you.

2 thoughts on “My Sweet Evening

  1. Thank you, Anastasia. It’s funny how we tend to go through some of the same spiritual journeys together. I think a lot of us tend to underestimate the “cross” we are to pick up in order to follow Jesus. And I believe that we all think it is only those things we cherish most. But the cross represents everything we are, everything we think about…our entire livelihoods. Our focus should shift when we pick up the cross to follow from ourselves to Him. What have we really given up? Have we really given up anything?

  2. hey anastasia, my name is jenn bycroft and i am a friend of one of your new friends…kim jones. ironically, my husband applied for the job at falcon. God has other plans for us…wish WE knew that plan! 🙂
    i liked your new blog. i have also been on mission trips, never out of the u.s. tho’. very eye opening! thanks for making me think.
    and by the way, i think that’s totally cool that your momma church preacher’s wife hangs out with all you guys…i would LOVE that!
    tell kim “hey”!

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