We have made friends in a short amount of time that would normally take a lifetime. We have experienced things that you only experience in the north - like a 'real' winter. We have seen sights of beauty that only the Lord can create and that you only see when your eyes are open to the Lord's creation. We have ministered to people in ways that I never thought of as ministry and we have been given the opportunity to serve people in places and ways that we would have never known existed, had we stayed in Alabama. Oh, how I could go on and on....
But, this is not about me, us, our family, or even our journey to Pennsylvania! This is about the Lord! Sometimes, we, as Christians, get so caught up in what all WE do. We can find ourselves caught up in 'adding jewels to our crowns' and by 'doing good deeds' or even 'serving in places that the Lord has called us' but we can easily miss the mark by doing all those things that aren't bad in themselves.
If, in following the Lord's leading and doing what He has called us to do, we miss the fact that none of this is about us in the first place, though, we have missed it! I have found myself hearing people praise our faith journey to Pennsylvania, praised how great Tony is doing and what all is happening at the church 'now that we are here', and doted over how great Chip is or the sanctuary backdrops are, etc. I have also found myself having to step back and check my heart and mind each time I hear these things.
A simple 'thank you' in response to any and all of the sweet things that I have heard, has started to strike a sense of pride or haughtiness in my heart and I am finding myself finding the simple response of 'thank you' to not be appropriate. I have never felt this way before, though. I was always raised to graciously say 'thank you' to a compliment you receive and to be appreciative of others' appreciation of you. Somehow, though, in this season of my life, and certain parts of my heart, this seems to be an incorrect answer to something that seems so insignificant of me, but SOOO significant of the Lord. The spotlight is the Lord's, not ours!!!
I am so overwhelmed at how much the Lord has blessed me through these opportunities, that I can't seem to simply say "thank you" but instead, I find myself responding by saying something along the lines of "thanks - but gosh, how the Lord has been able to work through me to do this! It's not me at all". I can't help but find myself boasting in the Lord to all of my friends back in Alabama and here at how the Lord has just blessed our socks off since we have been here! I want to shout from the mountain tops how amazing of a transformation in our family and my personal life He has done since we have moved here! This, in turn, makes me want to share how obedience in the Lord does put you in a place that you can minister to those that He has called you to minister to, but how much more the Lord blesses you in your obedience!
We are blessed beyond measure that I can't help but find myself understanding, now, what David meant in the 23rd Psalm by saying "My cup runneth over"! What walk or journey has the Lord called you to in your life (seemingly big OR small) that you are considering the significance of? Maybe the Lord is calling you to a place where, yes, you will be able to minister to others and make a huge difference in the life of someone else. Maybe He is asking you to take a step of faith and go on a journey yourself to somewhere that is unknown to you or uncertain to your friends. And don't forget that something or somewhere that is unknown to you can still be in your backyard! It can be a youth ministry volunteer when you don't even have a teenager, a children's ministry volunteer when you have seemingly 'outgrown' children's ministry, music or praise team ministry when you have never even considered singing outside of the shower, or even an out of country mission trip, where you are petrified of being outside the security we find in the USA. The place that the Lord is calling you likely won't "make sense" to you or others, won't always include an easy or comfortable "first step" and won't always be what you want to do. But please don't let that stop you from, not only blessing others and being obedient to the Lord, but from receiving the outpouring of love and blessing that the Lord has for you in the middle of your obedience!!!
Oh how our cup is running over and praise be to God for His blessings and love in our obedience!