This morning, I walked with a neighbor who has lived in Clarkston for many years. For most of the years, her family lived among refugees in an apartment complex. She is a teacher and became burdened by the lack of access to English classes for moms of preschool-aged children in the complex where she lived. Out of that burden grew a program called “Mommy and Me” that is now a thriving adult literacy program currently held at the Clarkston International Bible Church. Today on our walk, my friend shared details about the new burden God has put on her heart for economic development and its intersection with the adoption world in the Congo. Wow.
(Sidebar: I’m so unfamiliar with this other-world that I am not sure whether the country is best referenced, “Congo” or “the Congo” as I type. There ya go. Ignorance.)
She was clearly struggling to fit huge vision and burden into short bursts of available time to connect, fund, research, raise awareness, and birth this new ministry that God is crafting in her life. I, on the other hand, was feeling awed by the amazing power of God to take a human vessel and pour through it a tiny but profound piece of His redemptive work via a surrendered and willing heart.
Oh, and I was also feeling totally dwarfed by this friend who will have fostered two amazing ministries by the time I’ve figured out how to…fill out forms, master signupgenius.com, procure the longest-lasting manicure, fund camps for my kids, get the mildew out of my shower curtain, and generally avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. I realize this self-analysis is not very gracious, but – face it – shiny, white, magna cum laude suburb-lady with three kids can look herself in the mirror and think these things pretty honestly on a “lazy” summer morning, right?
This is the wrestling I have. I think many of my friends have it, too. We’re full-out family mamas in a world where that job description is known to eat those of us who hold the title and spit us out medication-dependent and hand sanitizer-obsessed. It’s not for the faint of heart.
BUT, there’s that other world out there – the one that we know grips God’s heart profoundly. The orphan crisis. The homeless population. The millions of refugees. The clean water initiatives. The sex-trafficking industry. These causes and needs LOOM (on facebook, no less!?!?). In response, I genuinely ache and then go try a new smoothie recipe since I don’t know what else to do. (This morning: cantaloupe, ice, and coconut milk. Pretty tasty.)
So today, I am both discouraged and encouraged by my amazing friend. Discouraged that I’m not her – that my pro-activity and my surrender have been so often stunted by my fear, selfishness, and the tyranny of the urgent. Encouraged that she starts small, too. She spent two hours yesterday procuring an email address with the right @ “whatever” at the end.
That’s small. And frustrating.
Small is all we’ve got, ladies.
Today I’m thinking about small and how agonizingly profound it is. Not one of us is exempt from embracing the small as we follow the God of huge redemptive grace.
I think our culture tells us that we must (and can) be “profound” (read in a booming, deep voice). So, we buy that lie and look for opportunities to leap tall buildings in a single bound rather than fighting for grace by the inch.
Today, may we embrace the agonizing promise of the small.
Karen, Thanks for sharing. I feel both encouraged and challenged by it. I want to meet your friend, and would love to catch up with what the Lord is doing in you and through you in this adventure. Praying for you and your family.
Thanks, Mary! I miss seeing you – hope all is well and that you are enjoying your summer and your kiddos (perhaps at home?). We’d love to see you – would welcome a visit here or somewhere near you. Just let me know, and thanks for the prayers.
I love this post. Love it! I’ve been musing over the small this week. I tend to think “what can I do with my small efforts?” instead of “God, what can you do with my small efforts?” I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out; nothing has really changed other than my perspective. But maybe–hopefully–that’s enough.
Amen, sister. I’m encouraged!
Thanks for the post, Karen. I love your writing style. 🙂 Your thoughts challenge and encourage –
Karen, your encouragement while walking the other day and the cheerleading in this blog post have been a HUGE boost of encouragement to me this summer to keep taking baby steps of obedience and keep celebrating each little “win” – I love the quality of people who are drawn to Clarkston and the amazing friendships I’m building as we each struggle to give Him all we can and trust that in HIM it’s more than enough. Love, Mary