Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Blessing in Serving: Lessons Learned at Tea Parties

The clock read 3:55pm, and my do-list still sat there untouched.  The kids would be downstairs in minutes, and I needed to make the most of my final free moments.   Sitting down with my computer, my hands were poised over the keyboard when I heard the cry-

"Mommy, mommy, mommy!"  she shouted urgently from her room.

I sighed.  Water?  Potty?  Toy needing batteries?  Hand stuck in the closet door again?

I sat there for a few minutes, desperately trying to remind myself of the truth I knew in my head but didn't quite believe in my heart.

It's better to give than to receive.  There is blessing in sacrifice.  Your priority is your children.   

Those truths compelled me to march up the stairs, but in the moment, duty triumphed over delight.

I opened the door to her room, where her pink table was adorned with plastic plates and tea cups.  She sat in one chair and beckoned me to the adjacent.

"This is my restaurant, and I made this food just for my mommy," she informed me.  "Can we please have lunch together?"

I took my seat next to her slumped-over doll, and smiled down at the plastic hotdog on my plate.

She bowed her head and recited a prayer she had heard countless times: "Dear God, thank you for our food, and please help it to stay in our bellies."

My heart warmed to hear her words, and I wondered how I ever thought that typing away at my computer for an extra five minutes was more fulfilling than a tea party with my daughter.

We nibbled our hotdogs and enjoyed our tea talked about her dolls, her day, and her love of puppies.  It was only a few short minutes, but I came down the stairs smiling.  Energized.  Blessed.

The reality of God's truth had intersected that small bedroom and my heart had caught up.  I had chosen to serve.  But in the end, it was she who blessed me.  God's Word is always true. 

Sometimes the reward is immeadiate -- the blessing is found it sweet smiles and pretend tea and encouraging words and visible fruit.  Sometimes, we will not see the reward until heaven.  But our lavish God declares that there is blessing in sacrifice.  There is beauty in service.  There is reward in giving.

Put away the computer.
Enjoy the blessing of the tea party.

Serve others, and be blessed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Truth That Speaks Louder Than the Rain

The rain came down in sheets and the wipers struggled to keep up.  Cars slowed, lights flashed, horns blared, and the rain kept pounding on the car and the streets.  My brain struggled to think clearly with the noises all around me.  Her soft voice came from the back seat:

"Mommy, can you make it louder?"

I turned up the volume until "Jesus, Thank You" came through the speakers with twice the power.

"No, mommy, louder.  Much, much louder."

I shrugged and cranked the volume.  The music filled the car and she sat in her carseat and belted the lyrics with as much strength as her 3-year-old vocal chords could muster -- "Once your enemy, now seated at your table..."

My eyes and energy were focused on the road in front of me, but my ears were captivated by her sweet praises.  I smiled.

I could see the rain, but I wasn't listening to it.  The steady pounding had faded into the background and the songs of truth had taken over.

Because storms can demand our attention and our ears naturally hear the its noise.  But we can choose to allow words of truth, God's words, to speak louder than the rain.  We can choose to revel in the promises of God above the blaring screams of our harsh circumstances.

God's truth can trump the screams of small children with needs that seem never-ending.
God's truth can speak louder than the laundry piles that shout condemnation.
God's truth declares that we are righteous in Christ, even when we look back a day full of failure.
God's truth says that He is worthy of praise, for He is good, even when our circumstances bring pain.

And when we choose the sing and hear truth louder than the noise outside, there is joy.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  
Habakkuk 3:18