Send me…

“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people?  Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am.  Send me.”

Isiah 6:8 NLT

A reminder that God's blessing rests in our home

A reminder that God’s blessing rests in our home

This Christmas season has been one of reflection for me. I am experiencing all sorts of emotions that are whirling within my head and heart and robbing me of the peace that this season should provide.  I started the month of December with a prayer that I would truly experience God’s great love for me in a new and meaningful way.  I believe that God has answered that prayer but along with it brought confusion and questions that are still unresolved.

I work in our Children’s Ministry department on Sunday mornings.  We have three age divisions and I wanted to teach the importance of giving to others during the Christmas Season in a way that all the children, regardless of their age would be able to participate and understand the concept.  The curriculum we are using emphasizes generosity and to help put generosity into action, I chose to partner with Innercity Church in Oklahoma City with their Christmas program called “Christmas in the Hood”.  To help with this project, we filled shoe boxes with all sorts of goodies including candy, school supplies, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, gloves, hats and toys.    My two sons went with me to the church to deliver 50 shoeboxes.

My trunk was completely full of shoeboxes!!

My trunk was completely full of shoeboxes!!

As I was driving to Innercity church and driving in the neighborhood it was easy to notice that this is an old part of the city that is long neglected.  I drove past run down businesses with bars on the windows, abandoned buildings, neglected houses that are not taken care of, and children roaming the streets.  It was not a safe area and it made me a little nervous. As i approached the church, it also showed the same wear and tear.  It was an original brick structure with lots of buildings added on to it or adjoining it.  We parked and went in and met with the people to deliver the shoe boxes.  The inside of the building was a stark contrast to the old exterior.  The inside was clean, well taken care of and warm and inviting.  We unloaded the shoe boxes with the help of 4 men.  The four men were of various ages and ethnicity and their faces were a reflection of a life of hard work, poor choices and most importantly the joy of Jesus.

I was only there for less than 10 minutes, but that experience haunted me for the remainder of the week.  As I was driving away, I felt very aware of the difference of myself living the gospel contrasted with these church members living the gospel.  While neither is better than the other, it opened my eyes to what else I could or should be doing.

My sharing Jesus is based on teaching  children about God in a small rural town.  I help with the Women’s Ministry, I serve as a youth sponsor in our Youth Department.  Our family helps feed the homeless and needy at the City Rescue Mission.  Several times during the year, the kids and I load up and drive up and down the streets of downtown Oklahoma City and pass out bottles of water and crackers or granola bars to the homeless people on the streets.  It’s one of our favorite things to do (except for one of the kids – they are a little scared by it all).  We give to missions and pick tags off the Angel tree.  I enjoy each of these things and believe that they have great value and meaning to the people that I am reaching but it still doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t feel like enough,

What Christmas is all about...

What Christmas is all about…

Innercity Church’s Christianity is being the  hands of feet of Jesus every day to the needy.  To the people that don’t have enough food, they may not have a loving family or a warm house or a clean bed.  It seems wrong for me to go home to  my spacious, warm house that has plenty of food and lots of love to share.   My emphasis is getting great presents for my kids and family members and buying cute decorations for the house.  My Christmas seems so shiny and bright while the needy is so painful and raw.  It seems so selfish….

So I am struggling with where I fit into this picture of being Jesus’ hands and feet and knowing what else he wants me to do. My heart says “Yes, Lord. Send Me.  Here I am…. Use me”.  But I don’t know what that looks like other than what I’ve been doing.  So I’ll keep doing those ministry things and wait for more opportunities to share the love of Jesus.  I don’t ever want to get comfortable with where I am at and what I am doing.  So use me Lord, even if it’s messy or uncomfortable.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Jesus is the reason for the season!

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When fear is bigger than you…

When fear is bigger than you…

Have you ever felt paralyzed by fear?  I have.   I remember feeling so overwhelmed with the hows and whys and all the unknown questions that I had no answers to.  Feelings of  failure and inadequacy that were so much bigger than me; almost bigger than my faith.  Almost… It was so much bigger than me that it almost took my breath away; that it was felt all throughout my body.  I felt like I was at the brink of tears so many times while going through the everyday motions of life.  Feeling so unbalanced;  just. on. the. edge.

As a person that has prayed my whole life, it was almost that I didn’t have the words to pray for myself.  The heaviness of worry was crushing my spirit.  It was at those moments, when I couldn’t move past the worry and fear, that I asked others to pray for me.  Few knew the reason for the worry, but all knew that they don’t have to know, that God knows and that is enough.  I soooo believe in the power of prayer.

Sitting on my porch drinking coffee days later (one of my favorite places to be!), the worry settled in.  It was like an unwanted shadow that pervaded my thoughts and emotions.   As I was sitting there and reflecting on all the questions that I had without answers, fighting the worry and fear, I felt God’s presence.  It was in this moment, that I felt peace.  True peace; one that didn’t provide answers but rather a whisper of assurance that said, “I got this LaDonna.  You don’t have to carry these burdens because I am.  The journey will still be hard but the end will be okay”.

Can you say life-changing??   The complete peace that I felt is beyond description.  It has carried me through so many ups and downs and sleepless nights.  The journey has been hard and it probably still will be, but in the back of my mind and in my heart, I know that in the end it will be alright.   And that is enough for me.

I still don’t have the hows or whys answered, but I know that His whisper was exactly what I needed to help me on this journey.  Because in the end… it will be alright.