When Gratitude Comes Hard

 

Some days the gratefulness comes easy like those lazy days of summer when the sunlight lingers and the breeze flutters warm and balmy. No deadlines looming on the horizon. No crazy schedule.

Those are the days when the kids frolic outdoors like all of the Wild Things that they are. We’re happy and healthy and carefree.

On other days, the story isn’t quite so bright.

The winter lingered a little too long and leftover cabin fever rules the day. Laundry piles up in one messy mountain, and the littlest boy who’s been potty trained for more than a year now, wets himself not once, not twice, but three times in one day for some unknown reason.

Grateful, gratitude, hard times, motherhood

 

These are the days when children bicker and whine and complain, and we find ourselves unable to help them because the bickering and whining and complaining is going on in our hearts, too.

But in Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued, I read about turning that attitude into gratitude, and I know it can be done.  Because who wouldn’t feel grateful for a healthy child, or food in the fridge, or soft beds to sleep in?

So even when the gratitude comes hard and we must dig deep to find the good in our day, it still comes. It still comes.

And I’m so grateful.

Grateful for grace and the promise of a God who will never give up on me, never quit working in my life (Phil. 1:6).

Grateful for the blessing of a Mom (and Dad) who love the Lord and taught me the truth of salvation.

Grateful for a house full of rowdy, messy children who simultaneously make my days exhausting and wonderful.

Grateful for 15 years wedded to a man who continues to seek the Lord and love me even when life gets a little crazy.

And for so many other things,

I give thanks.

No more attitude, just gratitude.

Because He is good.

All the time.

Jen :)

It’s Five Minute Friday once again, where we gather at Lisa-Jo Baker’s place and free-write for five(ish) minutes on a one word prompt. This week the word is Grateful. Join us if you like!

You may find me sharing at any of these lovely places or here:

Inspired Bloggers Network,

Christian Mommy Blogger, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed Life,

Beauty Through Imperfection, Managing Your Blessings

 

Verdict on Your Value Series Wrap-up

Each Thursday for the last few weeks, we have been talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. This Thursday is the final installment of our Verdict on Value series.  If you missed previous posts, be sure to check the schedule listed at the bottom!

Verdict on Value

 

Haven’t we had a rich time over the past six weeks with fellow sisters and the Word of God?! As we wrap up our Thursday series today, we have a final word of encouragement and video to share with you. Please click here to view the video and thank you so much for being a part of this series!

Be sure to catch all of the previous posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free mini Bible study printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This ( Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Ministry Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

3 Important Traits of a Missional Believer

Today I’m honored to share a word from Rosilind Jukic, the author of the newly released Missional Handbook. If you want to know more about The Missional Handbook, be sure to visit Monday’s post with my brief review.

 

The small eBook sat on my hard drive for nearly a decade. It was a project I had begun as a rookie missionary in Tuzla, Bosnia where God challenged every classic notion I had about missions. During my 3-month stay in Bosnia I received a number of emails asking about missions and how one could prepare to become a missionary. The slower pace of that small town enabled me to take ample time to reflect on these important questions, which led to more questions, and what poured out was a small document that was abandoned for nearly a decade while God allowed those thoughts to mature and deepen.

In this complex idea of missional living that today’s church is trying so hard to grasp, there are three things that stand out to me as being most important

Three important traits of every missional believer.

1. Realize that all believers are called be missionaries.

Some are called to foreign missions while others are called to local missions. Some are called to full-time missions while others are called to be missional at the workplace. Wherever we are, we are standing on a mission field and are called to bring God’s kingdom to bear in our realm of influence: no matter how narrow or wide that realm may be.

2.  Recognize the power of motivation

The era of spectatorship is over. It is time for the lay people to arise with the power and authority given them in Christ and fulfill Christ’s command. Pastors, missionaries and evangelists cannot and should not do it all. Jesus spent 3 years training and empowering His disciples to minister, and those disciples trained and empowered the early church to minister. Local people reaching those within their sphere of influence is what the 21st century missional community must look like!

3. Understand the force of multiplication

If one missionary successfully reaches ten souls, then those ten souls have the potential to reach one hundred souls. If those one hundred souls each reach ten souls, one thousand new souls have been won for Christ! If one thousand believers reach ten new souls, ten thousand new souls have entered the kingdom. The concept of multiplication is seen throughout scripture. Unfortunately, it is not prevalent on today’s mission field. We still operate under the old system of missionaries carving out new works on foreign fields. This is not as necessary as it was 150 years ago. However, what is very necessary is mentorship. Most countries need quality, seasoned believers to mentor them in effective soul-winning, ministry leadership and discipleship. Mentorship creates multiplication. Multiplication allows the flood of the gospel to sweep a nation with an atomic force.

After leaving Bosnia in March 2006, I returned to Croatia where I have served in a small local church in Zagreb. Over these past eight and a half years I have watched these three traits in action. I have added to that small abandoned booklet and it has finally been released in what I simply titled “The Missional Handbook”.  The Missional Handbook examines missional living on local, technological, and global levels, each from many varied angles.

A missionary is simply a believer who takes the message of the gospel to the lost, wherever they may be. What is your sphere of influence? The neighborhood park? Your work place? The classroom? That is where Christ has commissioned you to be a missionary.

I pray that as you read this book, that it’s simple challenge will cause you reexamine all you’ve thought missions to be, and find new and innovative ways to become missional right where you are!

Rosilind is an American girl married to a Bosnian guy who lives in a
small village just outside of Zagreb. They have two crazy boys who are
as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn’t writing, she is dreaming
up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. She is
the founder and author of Missional Call – a resource center and community for missionaries and those who are passionate about missions.

 

What Makes a Missionary?

I recently finished reading Rosilind Jukic’s new release The Missional Handbook, a handy guide for those considering a missionary lifestyle and even those simply interested in missions work.  In it, the author addresses a key question that is often misunderstood: what makes someone a missionary?

from Missional Call

 

I remember struggling with this question in my early years of college, when I was searching for God’s plan for my life.      After my years spent as an MK (missionary kid) on the field of Papua New Guinea, I knew the urgent need for career missionaries and I felt a real burden for unreached people groups.  So, of course, I assumed I would be an overseas missionary someday. :)

Oh, how the Lord has a way of changing our best-laid plans!  Once I met my husband, I began to consider a different ministry, that of pastor’s wife.  Even before we married, I wholeheartedly embraced the role of youth leader and helpmeet to my husband, who was a young youth minister.  I found purpose and contentment in this role.

But then our first child came along and I was no longer as free to be involved with my husband’s ministry. Life became busy and more complicated, as it usually does after children. :)  Suddenly, the role I thought I was meant for had to be put aside while I focused on raising our son.  I began to feel like a bit of a failure since I wasn’t “serving the Lord” in the way I thought I should be, one of many undesired sacrifices I offered up in my attempt to earn the approval He freely gives!

Fast forward a year or two and we decided to take an extended break from full-time ministry.  We had marital issues that needed tending to, as well as wounds from the past we both needed to deal with.  It was a difficult time for both of us as we often felt like failures.  We questioned God’s path for us, for our future.

It took me a few years, but slowly I began to learn the truth that Rosilind Jukic shares in The Missional Handbook – we can and should minister right where we are! We should all be involved in missionary work, whether it be in our homes, on our streets, in our churches, or overseas.  Eventually, I began to see that mothering itself is a ministry, a mission field of sorts – we should be missionaries first in our own homes to the young minds we have been entrusted with!

from Missional Call

So, if you are ever tempted to think, I’m just a mom – what can I possibly do?, recognize that as the voice of the Great Deceiver.  He likes us to believe that ministry work only “counts” if titles and positions like missionary or pastor are involved.  He likes to make investing in others more about us and  less about Christ.  He wants us apathetic and discouraged and feeling like failures.  Because then we are paralyzed to do the work God has set before us.

If you desire to reach others with the Good News, begin right where you are!

Ask the Lord to show you those He has put in your path.  Ask Him to bring you someone to mentor or disciple (and then be ready for a possibly surprising answer!).  Or perhaps you are mother to young children?  Begin right there in your home. Be intentional about teaching your children biblical truth (don’t just leave it to the church).  Be intentional about teaching them the importance of missions, too!

It’s never too late to start being a missionary.

In fact, you probably already are one whether you realize it or not. :)

For more information on modern missions work, be sure to check out Rosilind’s new book, The Missional Handbook    (buy before Wednesday when the sale ends!)

The Missional Handbook available now!

In this book, you’ll find first-hand experiences of missionaries entering overseas fields and tips for potential missionaries.  You’ll also find Jukic’s  unique ideas on how missions work needs to be modernized to be more effective, and practical ways that readers can become more missions-minded right in their own countries.  I especially enjoyed her section on “uncommon” missionaries, the question and answer section, and the personal accounts she includes in the bonus section of her book.  You’ll even find a short story from me and one from another MK!

So, be a missionary every da-ay! (Anyone else know that song??)

Jen :)

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy our Much Ado About Missions series – practical resources and methods for teaching children the importance of reaching the unreached.

I may be sharing this with any of these lovely blogs and here:

A Little R &R, Missional Call, Cornerstone Confessions, A Mama’s Story, My Joy-filled Life,

Finding Heaven Today, Wholehearted Home

 

 

Leah’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Insecurity is like an onion. Every layer that is peeled back reveals something stronger and smellier. When peeled all the way to the core, we find Satan lurking there.

Insecurity cloaks itself in many disguises. Sometimes the insecure seem shy and reserved, while others are just the opposite, jealous for attention or envious of other people.

Although insecurity is not mentioned directly, I believe we find some consequences of it in James 3:16 (NCV).

Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.

Your area of insecurity may be vastly different from mine, but regardless of what insecurity looks like, it all needs to be dealt with. May I share from my battle with insecurity?

The Lord called me into a speaking and writing ministry in 2007. The call couldn’t have been any clearer if the heavens had rolled back and a trumpet-blowing angel announced it. I moved forward, writing a weekly email devotional and speaking wherever the Lord opened doors.

Eventually… Click here to read the rest of Leah’s story

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place