A few weeks back, I touched on this subject - just a little.
An online friend wrote something that I also felt approached this same idea. I made a comment on her post (Her blog has become one of my top two favorite blogs. Here's the blog post, "When you land in a dramatic story," if you wanna go and read it. I highly recommend you do.)
In her post, she asks questions like:
- As missionaries telling our stories, is it pride that likes "that recognition of story that sets [us] apart, that makes [us] 'brave,' that screams of drama?"
- Is it wrong to feel good about ourselves as "the missionary returning home after a season of noble work?"
- When a missionary hears herself with this attitude, should "pride catch... in [her] throat and makes [her] want to throw up?'
- Are Christian women, instead, supposed to be "...mumbling and rushing. Hiding and minimizing. Turning the tables and the questions back around, deflecting attention and spotlight?"
- "Isn’t humility constantly pointing elsewhere, love continually asking the questions rather than answering them?" (emphasis mine)
In her post, Laura comes to this conclusion:
"To hide my journey... how does that glorify God? Because didn’t he do the miraculous back there? Didn’t he redeem broken, awful things in and around me... my story hould never trump the value of another’s just because some of it took place in the realm of the humanly-speaking dramatic, neither should my story be negated for the same reason. Because to refuse to own the journey, regardless of if it might lead to applause or anonymity, is to hide glory that was fought for in the heavens."
What was my comment?
"I've been asking myself [a similar] question - Does God appreciate me and the service that I offer, or those sacrifices I've made? Am I arrogant to even ask that question? Does He ever feel gratitude for those times when, by His grace, I get it right? Does He ever whisper... or say... or shout, 'Thank you, dear! It just thrills my heart as I watch you being, doing and striving for me...'
And if He does, shouldn't my heart response be a simple, 'You are so welcome, Lord.'
Could that be what we are doing, saying 'You are so welcome, Lord,' when we share those dramatic stories and then fight that battle inside between glorifying God and our arrogant tendencies to make a name for ourselves?
And why would I even expect for the answer to fall on a neat, clean line that is obvious all of the time when His Word repeatedly tells me that moderation and gentle, quiet spirits full of the grace to accept God's thanks - are things I'm going to have to work and fight for? And that they are so worth that fight?"
Sometimes, missionary-mom ministry is exciting and dramatic.
More often, at least in my experience, I might as well be a donkey. (Especially when airport travel is involved, my claim to fame is that I am the family donkey. I find it a tad humorous. No one else thinks it is funny. Probably because they recognize it to be true...)
I sometimes feel like the unappreciated, forgotten missionary, Jesus follower, wife and mama, sequestered away to the back side of the desert where I don't even get to leave town for years at a time or to see my grandparents on their birthdays. I clean dishes, wake up early to bake bread and make donuts, do load after load after load of laundry, prepare Bible studies that the women forget to attend, sit with my friend who just lost her daughter but really can't say much of comfort because I can barely communicate, sweep and dust just so that I can sweep and dust all over again, design education plans for struggling students who seem like they could care less, write requested radio drama scripts that may never be broadcast because funding is just not available to produce them....
Then, out of the blue is one of those dramatic moments. God does something amazing and I am somehow, for some reason known only to Him, an integral piece. It is amazing to be in that place.
And people notice. And I don't feel so forgotten. I remember that it is all worth it because He is worth it. And I start to feel good about myself and what I'm doing. And I am re-energized in my walk with the Lord and my commitment to all aspects of this ministry. And I dive right back in, looking to repeat that mountain top success experience. And I forget and start thinking I am integral to what He is doing. And I'm tempted to get a big head and think that everything balances on me and my contribution. And I start believing what is important is what I am doing. And I might just follow my own independent agenda instead of seeking the Lord and joining Him in His work, His agenda...
It's a pendulum careening from exciting movie star drama to the donkey doldrums.
I'm asking myself some hard (for me) questions:
- Could I hop off that roller coaster ride if I wanted to?
- Do I want to?
- If I learned to hear and accept the Almighty's whispered thank you and bask in that, might either the abundance of excitement and drama or the lack become unimportant?
- Why would I even expect for the answers to fall on a neat, clean all-the-time-obvious lines when His Word repeatedly tells me that moderation and gentle, quiet spirits full of the grace to accept God's thanks - are things I'm going to have to work and fight for?
- And that they - moderation and a gentle quiet spirit - are so worth the struggle?
Could He, Would He, ever say "Thank you, dear," to me?
What do you think God's Word says relative to this question?