It’s 3:00 AM, Give or Take An Hour

It’s 3:00 a.m., give or take an hour.  I didn’t look at the clock when I heard my baby’s cry in the night.

When I slip into the room, I hear him sniffling through his stuffy nose.  He’s been up several times already tonight.  After this, he’ll probably continue to wake every hour or so until morning.

His cry is weary and sad, like he’s asking me to fix what I’m unable to heal.  Like he doesn’t understand why he feels so rotten.  Like he’s apologizing for waking me up yet again.

He scrambles to sit up.  Then he tucks himself into my chest and his head drops down ever-so-slowly onto my shoulders.ortbergquote

I feel his breathing ease into that slow rhythm of rest.  His body radiates warmth and I gently stroke my hand across his forehead and feel the slight fever.

He has this fine, blond dusting of hair on his head.  I comb it down with my fingers, slow….gentle….the lightest touch.

He’s asleep.

With four sick kids, I’ve been up about 4 times already that night.  I know my future, no crystal ball needed.  I’ll likely be up every hour from now until sunshine and the rush of the day begins.

So, the practical side of me knows I need to ease that baby boy back into the crib and slip out of the room again.

Get as much sleep as you can, ’cause, girl, you’re going to need it.

The practical side of me is so smart.

But this baby boy snuggles into me and makes this busy, rushing, speedster of a momma pause, rest, breathe in and out and really listen to the rhythm of breath and the rhythm of life.

Usually, he’s on-the-go (like me).  I try to cuddle him, and he pushes away to pester the cat or crawl after his older sisters or grab at the TV remote, cell phone, or Kindle or whatever catches his attention, which is pretty much anything and pretty much all the time.

I almost never get to hug him.

When he starts walking, what then?

When he’s off to school….off to driving…off to life?  What then?

Better to sit right here in the black of 3:00 a.m. (give or take an hour) and hold my son just a few moments longer.

I think of what I’d been reading that day in Pathway to Purpose by Katie Brazelton.  How she said,

“I now know that the most important stuff that happens in life is often challenging, rarely exhilarating, and frequently frightening.”

and this:

“It is not God’s plan for you to spend today chasing after your future one thing when your many things are right in front of you.”

Surely in this moment, this is the most important thing.

We sure can get caught up in searching from some grand revelation of God’s great plan for our lives.  We want to know His will for us, His purposes for us, how He’s going to use us, not just today but long into the future.

Yet, here in the night, sleep-deprived, zombie-brained momma that I am, I feel that God sees me cuddling a sick child.

I think how too often we miss this truth:

God’s great purpose for us is to serve Him humbly, sacrificially and obediently in the here and now of life.

We don’t have to search beyond that.

I think of Lydia:

 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:13-15 NIV).

Lydia was the first European Christian convert recorded in Scripture, a woman who accepts Christ, shares it with her family, and offers Paul a place to stay while he shares the gospel.

But it began because she said “yes” to God in the ordinary.pathwaytopurpose

“Yes,” to showing up to work.

“Yes” to listening to a missionary.

“Yes” to responding to the gospel.

“Yes” to sharing it with her family.

“Yes” to opening her home as a missions base and church.

Maybe this month, as I’m learning when to say ‘Yes,’ it’s less about joining programs, committees, and ministries, and more about starting with simple obedience and faithful service day after day.

Looking for purpose?  Looking for God’s plan?

Look to today.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Learn When to Say, ‘Yes?’

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

 

Whatever You Do, Part II

Don’t forget the giveaway going on to celebrate the one-year anniversary of this blog!  You can read all about it here and posting a comment anywhere on the blog this week will enter you to win!!

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Just over a year ago, I sat at the kitchen table with my husband.  I told him that I had this insane, totally crazy idea that I couldn’t shake.

And I was trying to shake it.

“I don’t want to blog,” I said.  “I’m not a blogger.  I don’t have time to blog.  I don’t want to talk about me.  What in the world could I say day after day?  I’d probably write for a month and then have to stop.”

I tried to convince him that it was a stupid idea.

He looked at me and said, “If God wants you to do this, you need to do it.  None of that really matters.”

I don’t know what’s next, how long it’ll take, what it will look like.  All I can do is obey here and now, writing these devotionals as God directs.

In Whatever You Do, Part I, I wrote that we need to be faithful in the everyday tasks God has given us, giving Him glory in the smallest, most basic areas of our lives.

Life rolls along in its repetitious way—commuting to work, picking up kids, going to church, supervising the brushing of hair and teeth, making lunches and cooking dinners.

Then one day God asks us to do something crazy—like write a blog that you don’t want to write when you don’t have time to write it.

Or:

Start a new ministry.  Visit the nursing home regularly.  Take a missions trip across the globe.  Feed the hungry.  Foster or adopt children in need.  Make blankets for children in the hospital.  Volunteer at the local school.  Send shoes overseas.

This is the way ordinary people like you and me can have impact in this massive world.  We move when and where God tells us to move and we serve faithfully where He has placed us to serve.

Paul lived this kind of radically obedient life.  He was a tentmaker by trade and he had no qualms about setting up shop in a city and sewing tents during the moments he wasn’t teaching in the synagogue, writing the bulk of the New Testament, or preaching Christ to the Gentiles.

This is what he did in Corinth when he stayed and worked with Aquila and Priscilla—tentmakers and teachers in their own New Testament house church (Acts 18:1-3).

Paul easily could have lived out a tentmaking life with a small-town ministry to the local synagogue.  He could have made himself comfortable, happy and content there.

God, however, told him to pack his bags and get going.  So he did.  In all things, he submitted to God’s direction and timing.

During his second missionary journey, Paul wanted to travel to the Asian church of Ephesus, but “they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6). Then, they “tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them” (Acts 16:7).

After all those “no’s”, you’d think Paul would be discouraged.

Instead, God sent him to Macedonia, where Paul became the first Christian missionary in Europe.  He baptized Lydia there and she started the first European church in her home.

God reached a continent because Paul was willing to do the crazy and unexpected in obedience to God’s call.

Even then, Paul could have settled into life as a missionary to Europe.  But now that the time was right, God released him to preach in Asia and off Paul went to Ephesus (Acts 18).

This world needs us to live obedient lives, just as Paul did, yielding to God and going where and when He tells us to go.

The people in our homes, our neighborhoods, our churches, our jobs need us to engage fully in the ministry God has given us in those places.  When God tells us to settle in and care for our families, we do.  When he tells us to minister in our community, we roll up our sleeves and serve.

But we refuse to slip into complacency, snuggling down into our comfortable nests and spending all our time tending our own chicks and redecorating our own spaces with sticks and straw.

So, if he tells us to pack our bags for a journey in radical obedience, we yank out the suitcase.

How do we discern this?  How do we know what to do when there is so much need in the homes in our neighborhood and in the countries we can’t even locate on the globe?

How can a small-town mom minister to the poorest of the poor?  How can a working woman in a local school save orphans?  How can an average girl serve widows?

How can any of us reach the world with Christ?

Elisabeth Elliott’s advice is just to “do the next thing.”

We don’t need to have a map for our entire mission on this earth.  Paul didn’t even know from one moment to the next whether he was headed to Asia or Europe or just setting up a tent business in town for a while.

But he did the next thing.  And then God gave him the next thing.  Then there was the thing after that.

In every instance, he obeyed, whether it was simple or difficult, logical or totally insane.

Has God given you a next thing?  Have you sat at the kitchen table telling someone how insane it is and how you don’t want to do it?  Has God asked you to do something that sounds impossible?  Has He opened your eyes and heart to need that you never noticed before?

Do the next thing.  Don’t worry about meeting every need or making the project a success.  Just take this step of obedience.  That’s how we change the world, one submissive bowing of the head and bending of the knee at a time.

You can read more devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King