For a couple of years I went through a season where I felt like I was stagnant. I looked around me, at my life and the people with whom I interact day in and day out, realized I would have a difficult time identifying one person who was not (or at least didn't profess to be) a Christian.
I knew my primary mission field is my home and my children, but I also realized I wanted to model a lifestyle of serving others and reaching out to the needy...and not just the ones who are saved and "safe." I wasn't exactly sure where to start, much less where to serve. So I prayed, "Lord, use me."
An opportunity to spend a week in Honduras with my oldest two girls surfaced and I gladly signed up. But a couple of months later I realized that I cannot leave Mari for a week and go across the world where I risk not being able to communicate with her for days at a time. If I am gone overnight and somehow don't connect with her by phone then when I get home she has regressed. She is completely shaken and old behaviors surface. She is still terrified that I will leave her after two and a half years home. She has come a long way, but I cannot and will not risk her heart. Until she is old enough to go with me, mature enough to serve and help with the work that is being done, I must keep my feet planted firmly on my home turf.
But God knows my longings. He knows how He gifted me, and during the time that I realized I could not go to Honduras...not yet...He firmly entrenched my heart into a local ministry that serves the homeless, the near-homeless who are stuck in seedy motels, and rescues victims of trafficking. This ministry came across our radar over and over until we realized God was trying to get our attention. After serving and loving those that I have passed without notice in the past, I now find myself recognizing faces on the street and scooping their babies up into my arms while I breathe a desperate prayer over their lives. I have watched the director of this ministry, a mighty woman of God, give of herself and love these people into the arms of Jesus. She inspires me. She loves them with a tough-as-nails love. She holds them to a high and Biblical standard and lives are being changed. Children are being rescued. Captives are being set free.
It turns out I didn't need a passport after all. God had work for me right here. He had names for me to write in my prayer journal, filling pages and bringing me to my knees on behalf of the broken women who weep when they are told, "You are beautiful. God loves you so much. You are a precious jewel to Him. You are worth it. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength." Every time I go out to serve, to place food in the hands of the hungry and give a hug to the lonely, I go home filled up. Every time I read the Bible, the stories come alive in a whole new way. I find legalism to be less of a struggle in my mind when I spend time with someone who has come so very far in their walk, though others may think they are far from the standard of Christian behavior or appearance.
I am not out there every week. With kids and sports that is not possible. But I go as often as I can. It is addictive, in every good way, and I am so grateful for this mission field that is practically in my backyard. It feels good to be used.
I hope to share stories here, to guard identities but give you a glimpse of grace in action. Because grace is truly amazing. It is life and hope and rescue. It is the key to freedom.