Why I Bother

The below article was written by me for our church members last year. I have noticed a lack of passion in the women in our churches lately and thought I would share in case I might inspire some of my readers. There has been a noticeable decrease in attendance across all churches of all sizes and this saddens me. Please consider this post the sign or battle cry that you have been looking for.

  Written July 31, 2016

Last week I saw an article that National WMU had shared on their Facebook page. I got so excited, thinking that this is the article that I have been waiting for! It was entitled _Why Bother?_ The tagline asked “So, why bother? Why not spend those precious moments and dollars on ourselves and our families?” I read the article, it was less than a page long, and I was disappointed. The author simply stated that during an interaction with some younger people she remembered being called by God to spread the gospel, and that is why she keeps going to WMU meetings and events. I was surprised that she stopped there when I could have shared so many other things. I shared the article on our Women On Mission Diamond page because it is a little helpful if you have already been answering that call, but it was definitely not the battle cry I was expecting.

roygbiv,rainbows,rainbow in the clouds,bright rainbow,

Double Rainbow

And it does need to be a battle cry. We get asked to do so many things every week, and they are good things. We get asked to birthday parties and Pampered Chef Parties, to meetings at school and conventions at work, we get asked to volunteer at the multiple shelters near our town. To say “Yes” to one is to say “No” to at least one of the others. I have quickly accepted women’s responses when they tell me no, they can’t make it to Women On Mission meetings. Sometimes their reasons are good! So, I have examined myself and the way I direct my church’s Women On Mission. I have thought about moving the meeting day to a day other than Sunday. But the truth is there is always somewhere else we could be, rather than church. And no matter what time I set the meeting, 4:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 7:30 pm, the ladies will always have to find a sitter for their kids, and they will have to make dinner for their family before or after the meeting.

half of a moon
all of an hour
meeting night

I have discussed this with one of my officers at length, several times, and the conclusion we have come to every time is: that it is a sacrifice you have to decide you are willing to make. Families sacrifice having dinner at a normal time when they drive to Springfield to see a ball game. Women sacrifice time with their kids and money that they worked hard for when they go to a Thirty-One party and buy totes (or whichever party is popular this month). It really does come down to: are you willing to sacrifice one more hour a week, one more interruption in your schedule, so that others may know Christ? If you can find someone to watch your kids while you are at a party, or if you can travel for miles to see a ball game that you have no stake in, why can’t you travel back to church after lunch to make sure that the gospel is spread to people in your community? (And please don’t say it’s up to the Preacher, he can’t reach the 30,000 unsaved people all by himself.)

 

The word “Missions” seems to be scaring women. Maybe I need to explain what we do a little better. We do not stand on the street corner trying to get passersby to take Bible tracts. We do not go on Missions trips overseas, or out of state. We don’t literally walk up to people and start preaching the gospel to them and ask them if they have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. We use the holidays that our church celebrates to introduce people to the church, and let them see what it’s like to be surrounded by the love of God. 

 

For instance: we collect, stuff, and hide eggs on Easter. The missions part is that we have the kids listen to a story about Jesus before they can hunt the eggs. And if their parents are paying attention, then they get a lesson on Jesus as well. We make all of our events free so that any parents struggling with being able to provide for their child can bring their kid to FBC Diamond and get some snacks and/or gifts for free, while hanging out with other kids, in an environment that is safe and loving. Sometimes we have events specifically for adults, or sometimes we just do small projects where we try to show people love in small ways.

  our church
  our kitchen our buses
  everyone’s God

The statistics say that a person has to hear the gospel over 7 times before they accept Jesus as their Savoir. WOM tries to take the gospel to our community several times a year so that the people in our community can come closer and closer to knowing Christ. There are several unsaved people in your area, and it is your job as a Christian to take the story of Jesus dying on the cross to them. You can find a map that shows the stats for every county in the State of Missouri and it shows there are over 10,000 unsaved people in every county. I am willing to bet that you might even have an unsaved family member.

cross,church,church hidden,christian cross,

Maybe you’ve tried to talk to your unsaved family member about God and coming to church, or maybe you were too afraid. A family member is the hardest person to witness to. Very often we are dismissed by them. But if I witness to your brother, and you witness to mine, we can witness to all of our family over time. And, I will not be personally hurt or offended when someone who I don’t know shrugs me off and doesn’t respond to the gospel. With a family member or friend, it is hard to go back to them after they have rejected your efforts. You fear causing a rift with your loved one. But when we work as a group to show our community the love of Christ, it’s possible to see people learn who Jesus really is.

 

I can’t promise you that you will see a person fall to their knees and yell “I repent.” and then become a model Christian. In 5 years I’ve never seen anything close to that, although I had hoped to at first. Now I realize, this group of women does not host these events, and pray for people, hoping that they will see people dramatically come to Christ. They make meals, they make trips to supply stores, and glue things together, hoping that at least one person this weekend felt loved by God. This is a great reason to partner with someone, and that is why I bother.

Advertisements

How I Hate Crafts and Became Leader of a Group of Women Anyway.

This will be the first of two articles. Check back next week for the second part.

I tell people that I’m not crafty. I don’t think they believe me at first. But after spending time with me, they quickly discover I probably should have been born in the 50’s when everything was cookie cutter made and it was cool to buy it straight from the store instead of making it yourself.

the night dark and cold
but she rises anyway
full moon shines brightly

I don’t totally hate crafts. They look pretty when they are done. It’s just that if you burned your hand on the glue gun, and your kid is whining for dinner, and your husband is trying to wash the glitter off his arm for the third time, I can’t help but think that buying it would have been easier.

five o'clocks,johnny jump ups,violets,self watering,moss,container garden,

This is as crafty as I get. 2 flowers with a watering thing in 1 planter.

Also, I stink at crafts. I’m terrible. And yet I lead a very craft loving group of women. I lead WMU at our church. We call our particular group Women On Mission because it sounds more contemporary and we are a new group of ladies who wanted to start the group over. Crafts are not all we do; we also do prayer walks and other activities. While we have stopped the Bible Study portion of our meetings we still learn about missionaries.

cross,church,church hidden,christian cross,

We still do some of the same things. We still host an Easter Egg Hunt, and a Christmas party, and a Ladies’ Banquet. It’s just that now the banquet is for all women in the church, not just mothers and daughters. The Christmas party is not for our group, but for foster children. The Easter Egg hunt is held at the local park for over 100 kids instead of at the church for 30.

Unfortunately for me, this means that we still do crafts with the children. We still get out glue and glitter and chocolate and then pray that it doesn’t get in the carpet. Unfortunately for me, we still have to ask people to give us money. WMU has promoted and sustained the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Annie Armstrong Offering practically since we named those offerings over 125 years ago.

Yes, over 125 years ago. I love tradition. And so the nostalgic part of me accepted the office of Assistant Director in 2011 when I was asked. The smart side of me woke up later that week and said “What did you do!?!? They’re going to ask you to give glue bottles to kids, and then supervise!” But I just haven’t been able to walk away.

I was asked to be the Director but resisted being the actual leader until 2015. Then for that next year, at least one night a month, I would sit upright in bed and think to myself, “You idiot. You don’t craft. You don’t cook organic meals from the garden because you don’t even grow vegetables! Why did you take on this responsibility?!”

And yet God. God gave me some ladies who not only like to craft, but they are good at it! He brought women to me that aren’t afraid of making bows out of fluffy material. They don’t flinch when they hand glue and glitter to children, they actually enjoy it!

They also enjoy cooking. We regularly cook for over 100 people every year, after we have decorated tables, and made signs, and made or bought gifts. And that really, is how I am able to lead this group of women. Not because I have done all of the projects on my Pinterest boards, although I have done some. Not because I can make beautiful wreaths out of the stuff lying in my yard. I can’t. Not because I can whip up gourmet cakes or because I make the best brisket, no that is why God invented catering. I am able to lead this group because when I envision children hearing a story about Jesus, their smiling faces covered in chocolate, the ladies of Women On Mission are there to give them the chocolate, and clean up after they leave.

They make my decorating ideas come to life. They can interpret directions on my pins, and sometimes improvise to make an even better thing. Glitter is just another accessory to the ladies in my group, and that is how I am able to lead them while hating crafts.

 

Wednesday Bible Study

crepe myrtle in winter,crepe myrtle in the snow,covered in snow,weighed down by snow,

  Secrets

She talks
while we listen,
but she isn’t saying
what is really bothering her
tonight.
 

 
 
I am pretty sure I wrote this for a prompt. I know I wrote it on a Thursday after I had gone to a Woman’s Bible Study on a Wednesday night. It’s been a while since I wrote it so I can’t remember all of the details. I am thinking about sharing my cinquain with you on Wednesdays. Hit “Like” below if you want to see cinquains. Go to the “Poetry Definitions” Page at the top if you don’t know what a cinquain is.

Counterfeit Dollars

I saw a peck of counterfeit dollars once. Did I go to the window and throw away all my good dollars? No! Yet you reject Christianity because there are hypocrites, or counterfeit Christians. –William E. Biderwolf

 

I have a book of old Christian quotes. I don’t know who most of the people are, but the sayings in the book of 10,000 positive quotes are amazing.

daffodil, yellow petals, spring time flower

Spanish Proverb about Mom

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.

-Spanish Proverb

 

I just love this proverb. What is one of your favorites?

Quote

What is Sunday for?

God’s altar stands from Sunday to Sunday, and the seventh day is no more for religion than any other—it is for rest.—The whole seven are for religion, and one of them for rest, for instruction, for social worship, for gaining strength for the other six. – Henry Ward Beecher

 

I really like this quote and used to share it all of the time. I haven’t shared it on my blog yet, so here ya go!

A holy place where I can be honest.

church

At the Altar

My heavy head lies on my arms

Tears stream down my hands

And pool on the glossy wood

I know I will have a red spot

On my forehead when I rise

But I cannot lift my head

It is too heavy with sadness

I have failed yet again

I was angry, jealous and selfish

But humility worked its way in

After conviction put a crack in the door

I am embarrassed to be here

But so thankful that I have a place

To fall to my knees in surrender

To have a holy place where I can be honest

Where I can start over

I take a deep breath and finish praying

Making a commitment to God

I will not be back here again

But in making that promise

God knows He has more work to do

Because He does not need us to be

Feeling accomplished and complacent

He wants us to be in a state of urgency

Running and hurrying to advance His work

Before the trumpet sounds

He wants us to know

The power that sin has

That people do stupid things

In times of weakness

So in bringing a hurting heart here

In laying down my sins and presumptions

I am picking up a piece of holiness

 

 

At or in what holy place do you most feel the presence of God?

The hard part of parenting, in a poem.

There are a lot of hard moments in parenting. Here is a poem about one of them that I had this weekend.

Easter, Easter Bunny, Easter Craft

 

The Easter Balance

Fake grass falls out of your basket

and tangles with the real

much like reality and the story you were told today.

We told you not to look out the window

as the Easter Bunny hid eggs for you to find.

I watch you run gleefully from spot to spot.

You’re amazed at the sudden appearance

of candy filled eggs through-out the grass.

They are quickly piled in your fake grass

inside your pastel wicker basket.

You are obviously happy right now, so I let it go.

I will make sure we pray to Jesus later,

and read a story about him.

You’re too young to understand the preacher

when he preaches about Salvation and ascension,

but I will make sure you acknowledge Christ today,

and pray you don’t think he’s just another story tomorrow.

As you eat your chocolate my mind wonders…

Will you have that moment some atheists have had

where suddenly every happy giving figure in your life

becomes a cute story that is no longer valid?

Will you sneer at Jesus and dismiss him

as another tooth fairy you were supposed to give to.

God forgive me if I have confused you.

When you find out about the Easter Bunny and Santa

I pray you will have spiritual moments that confirm

Jesus isn’t just an imaginary figure that loves you,

but a God that physically died for you,

and gives to you still today.

I hope someday your heart stirs at the word “cross”

more than it does at the word “chocolate.”

 

All Humans Grieve

Fred Phelps was human, just like the rest of us. His family is hurting just like any family would hurt when a loved one dies.

gypsies & sinners.

Hi, Grandpa.

I love you. I miss you. My heart aches to see how you’ve been laid waste in the media by our own family. Everyone talks about you as if you’re already in the grave; I know your heart is still beating & I hope you live up to your stubborn legacy & live for a long while yet.

To the whole world you were only ever the face of an evil entity. But of course to me you were always my Gramps. My kind, sweet, adoring Gramps. I miss you so much. I wish the sisters & I could meet you & Granny for another shake party up in your room (we’ll even bring your favorite strawberry one from McDonald’s).

I’m sorry for every second we’ve been apart this last year and four months. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you more when you were mine. I’m sorry our…

View original post 158 more words

Writing Tanka

A Tanka about Sin

notebook and pen

my bible laid open

now to pry open my heart

sin is warm and soft

I’d like to lie in it a while

 

Tanka is supposed to be personal. So is haiku, even though I think a lot of people write haiku about things that sound poetic, and not just about what they have personally experienced. A tanka poem is almost supposed to be autobiographical, so I wonder if its okay to write vague tanka?

church candle, single flame, white candle

Haiku in sawdust.

Image via The Graphics Fairy

sawdust

new church building

new souls saved

 

The smell of sawdust cannot be ignored. Don’t you think sawdust, or the smell of wood in general is amazing?

In the Silence

worship service, church, pew, sitting in church, house of God

In The Silence

In the silence I find you.
Not in the humming of the church choir.
Not in the shout of a preacher.
Not in the rustle of paper
as I read my devotional book.
But in the silence.
Your voice comes soft.
It eases my soul
and fills every void
left by this raging world.
It washes over me
like the cold creek water
that washed my body
the day I was baptized
in Your name.
In the silence I find you
I hear you call my name.

*God’s voice can be heard anywhere, but in the silence I hear it clearly.

 

Being a college student I do not have the money to enter poetry contests so I’m going to start sharing my poems on here again, where they will actually get seen. I think I will keep sharing Emily Dickinson on Wednesdays and share my long form poetry on Tuesdays. Scroll down and sign up with your email to have my poems come to your inbox. It would also encourage me to share my poems more if I get more likes and shares. 🙂