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.

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.

 

Day 14 NaHaiWriMo 2017

a wild rose

grafted to make it stronger

the way of Christ

Today’s prompt was “a way of” I changed “a” to “the” and wrote about the greatest love we will ever know. Christ hung on a cross for us. In doing that He made a way for us; now you don’t have to be Jewish to be a part of God’s family. Once you accept that Christ died for you then you become grafted into the family of God.

And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.  Romans 11:23-24 NLT

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scribbles in a notebook,poetry notebook,writing,blogging,haiku,writer,poet,

Symanntha Renn

Day 6 NaHaiWriMo 2017

an open door
with no lock to shut it
God is my way maker

 

Today’s poem is a senryu, but it is all I could come up with. I kept thinking of verses out of the Bible. Today’s prompt was “a door” yesterday’s prompt was “beckoning.”

Do remember that haiku are usually not written in three sentence fragments, or one complete sentence. There is usually one fragment and a phrase in the other two lines. The fragment is separated by a kireji, or a cutting word. The word should be so strong that the reader takes a mental pause as they are reading your haiku. I am trying to accomplish this with my poetry this year in National Haiku Writing Month. 

If you would like to learn more, then go to my What is Haiku? page. Also, stop by the Facebook page where most of us poets meet to get a prompt and share our work.

scribbles in a notebook,poetry notebook,writing,blogging,haiku,

Symanntha Renn

9 Months through this year.

fog,early morning,trees,bushes,black and white photo,

In the 9th month of 2016, a childhood friend of mine died. She was the first of my Graduating Class to pass away. This is the year we are all turning 30. She was one of the people that went to school with me from kindergarten to 12th grade. I suppose I should be grateful it took this long for someone from our class to pass away, but it is still sad. It was very sudden and very sad. Life continues to knock me off of my feet in a new and horrible way every month.

My toe still really hurts but at least I can walk with regular shoes on now. I am still using the boot thing throughout the day at work. It protects me better. I am hoping that I will not have any pain by next week.

tall purple flame phlox

only flower seen at night

burn bright

  7-18-15

This year has been hard in every aspect. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. At work, at home, at church. I have had road blocks and obstacles on every path, every day. I understand why God gave me the verse “He will not fear bad news;” as the verse to lean on this year. I have had to pray over that verse and say it out loud almost every day this year.

But I am still here and I am bound and determined to work hard for my family and do a good job at work. I am bound and determined to do a good job at church. I am bound and determined to be a good wife and a good mom. My 7-year-old son still wants to hold my hand when we walk into school so I guess I am doing a few things right.

What I learned about God from growing flowers.

If you look through these photos you will see a progression. It is the same progression that we go through with God. First, we are small weak vines and we need a branch to support us. Just like my moonflower vine. As we grow and get stronger we manage to grow flowers and we look good.

Then God cuts us. And it doesn’t seem to make sense.

But after we recover, we can grow stronger in our roots or at our base. After I prune my moonflower vine, it puts out more flowers. Instead of growing in a hundred directions and making no fruit, it thickens up and produces beautiful results. Look at all of the extra blooms in the bottom photos.

The last photo is a photo of the seed pod. We can only produce fruit after we mature and go through pruning and redirecting from God. I realized this one day while I was cutting back my vine.

I added 2 haiku in with the photos.

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does the moonflower

think about its tendrils

as it climbs the trellis

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not wanting to be
judged in the harsh light of day
closed moonflower bloomimg_5451

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Quote

A Quote about the Author

No one ever graduates from Bible study until he meets the author face to face. -Everett T. Harris

 

This is a quote I think of often. I hope you and your family have a fun Halloween.

fully bloomed daffodil,yellow flowers,flower in sunlight,morning daffodil,

Quote

How Beautiful Beyond Compare

fully bloomed daffodil,yellow flowers,flower in sunlight,morning daffodil,

If God hath made this world so fair
Where sin and death abound,
How beautiful beyond compare
Will paradise be found.
-James Montgomery

 
 
As Fall colors surround you, take a moment to think on this quote.

Creation

the rising in the east,beautiful sunrise,pink and blue sky,pretty sky,
 
Creation
 
God did something
so big so fast
that we can’t even
give Him credit
Moses gave us
a book so we
would have an account
but we still say
Evolution
 
 
This small stone poem was written after I read an #ntitle prompt on Twitter.

Quote

Roses Among Thorns

Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns. -Anonymous

 

There has been a lot of complaining about God, but if you look carefully, you will see reasons to praise in that same situation.

fully bloomed rose,red roses,

Holy Relics

king tut's coffin outfit
 

Holy Relics

We search for
holy relics
thinking that if we
hold something holy
in our hands
that it will rub off
and we will be
acceptable in our
own sight as well
as others.

 
 
This was written for a prompt for #ntitle on Twitter.

Child, stop weeping.

Child, stop weeping.
God already knows.
And even while you’re sleeping,
His eyes never close.
-Anonymous

 

I couldn’t find a poem of mine that I felt like sharing; so I dug through my archives and found this little poem that always lifts my spirits.

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