I hope you (whoever you are) are enjoying the multitude of posts lately. I feel like I've done posting overload recently. But, we've been super busy. And, it's been fun to go back through each event, reflect, and share the joy.
So, my post today will be a quick 'break' from the event recap. (sigh)
Sorry to disappoint those of you who just want to see pictures of my kids!
By the way, make sure you take the quiz on the right hand side. I'm just curious what kind of readers we have. (I know some of you who come check out my blog, but I'd love to know why you read it. Hence the title "who are you?")
When God called us to join staff at Gospel for Asia, He made it very clear to me that He wanted to use this place (time in my life, leadership at GFA, circumstances, etc) to break me. Those words were extremely clear. They were so clear, in fact, that when I was asked what I thought my role would be in the ministry, I told the leader what I would like to do but then followed it with a statement that was something like this: "But God has made it clear He's going to break me here. So, He may very well give me another set of twins and then tell me I have to homeschool them all!"
Okay, I realize I might have a divided readership here. One group of you might be saying "Uh, is she planning to homeschool?" The other group might be saying "well, what's wrong with that?"
No and nothing.
You see, at that point in time the last thing on earth I wanted to do was homeschool my kids. I felt like it would be torture (for me and for them) and would certainly break me of any high thoughts I had of myself.
I still don't feel called to homeschooling. Neither does Joel and he's the one who ultimately decides. So, we aren't planning to homeschool. But, if the Lord clearly told us to do it, I would not be opposed to it as I once was.
But, I use that story to illustrate that I understood the breaking was coming. I also use it to illustrate that I had no idea how it would happen.
I've been in process since the time we said 'yes' to the Lord's call to serve here. I would have to say one of the first chips to my pride was support raising. While I know it is biblical and I agree with it, it's still humbling! Literally, we live off what others generously give to support us. That's humbling. In reality, we all live off what others give. Some sell cars and live off the profit from that, thereby living off what others give. But, I guess it feels different in ministry because you aren't selling anything or 'earning' that money. It was even a little different being on church staff since it came out of the 'budget' and people gave in a general sense to the church, not earmarking it for us. It's pretty direct right now. And, it's humbling.
Second was the whole homeschooling thing. Leadership at GFA made it clear that there is no expectation of homeschooling. However, lots of staff families do homeschool their kids. So, it was still something I wrestled with. I thought about it, prayed about it, read about it, and talked to others about it almost the entire 7 months we were raising our support. I still think about it regularly, but the Lord has done an amazing work in my heart on the subject. He basically brought me to a point where I'm willing to do whatever He tells me to do. I think that's what He wants in any area of my life, not just on one subject. But, it was part of the process.
Then we arrived in Texas. I was expecting some big hardships to come my way. I was mentally bracing myself for the breaking. I was bracing so much, that I didn't even realize the rubbing, heating up, and reality of breaking that was happening as I was parenting my kids. Slowly but surely, I began to see that the Lord was going to break me as I was parenting my three children. I started to see that we needed a firm plan for discipline. Joel and I needed to get on the same page and really ask the Lord how He wanted us to parent.
We found our church as we realized this need and saw that a class was being offered. We participated in a study of God's Word through Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart. It was great. It was hard. But, it was freeing to be broken of my plan (or lack thereof) and replace it with God's plan.
During our first year on staff we read lots of books. One book that was particularly impacting to me was Touching Godliness Through Submission by Brother KP (Yohannan). It came on the heels of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. Both of those books challenged me in big ways.
Just recently, I finished a study by Beth Moore that chiseled away more of my pride. We learned about When Godly People Do Ungodly Things and I was humbled to realize how desperately I need the Lord. It's so easy to think more highly of ourselves than we ought! The Lord showed me more of my wicked, ugly, prideful heart. Only near the end of the study did I realize just how much breaking was happening throughout the study.
It's been neat to stand back recently and see how God has been steadily breaking me. At times it is very obvious to me that He is using my children and parenting. At other times the words on the page of a book will jump out and it's clear as could be that this is part of it.
I'm nowhere near completion. But, it's fun and beautiful to see the Lord's hand. It's such an honor to know He cares enough to work on me!
And, I thought about all this because I'm currently reading a small book by Pastor Damion Kyle titled The Place of Brokenness in the Life of the Believer. Just today I read this great quote and I'll end with it so you can ponder too!
"...I am a danger to His people and not a blessing to them apart from His continual breaking in my life. Sometimes breaking can happen over things that can seem small in the overall scope of things, for instance, over a careless word. However, if God takes the time to send His 'Nathan the prophet,' the Holy Spirit, to speak to us, then the issue is never small--not for Him, not for me, and not for others."