He Sees You

*This is a repost from the archives, one that I return to again and again*

Today, I want to encourage you to be God’s YOU.

And,what if you feel like you work hard and no one notices? You pour out your heart, your time, your life, and you are not seeing the results that you want.  You feel like no one sees you.  

Well, I want to introduce you to a friend…..

She goes by Tinang Kule, which means simply, “mother of Kule”.  Her real name? I don’t know….I have never heard it.  It, like her personal identity, has been quieted….never to be spoken again.

Her life is given in total sacrifice to others, even her own name is sacrificed and she is known only as the mother of her first-born.  Her day begins early.  She starts the fire to begin cooking so that others might eat.  It is hot and laborious work.

She smiles and sweats.   She is happy that everyone likes her cooking.  The satisfied nods of appreciation are enough for her.

She stokes the fire and carries on.

Task runs into task as she continues to cook and clean, care for and nurture.  She hears the MAF airplane overhead and she rushes to get a brown paper wrapped package full of fried rice for the pilot….my husband.  She is intent on having it there for him when he arrives.  Each day she does this, for whichever pilot might land in her village to serve her people.

She rushes down the dirt road with a thermos full of hot tea and the brown paper package.

I am humbled.

She asks me if I have any laundry.  I sheepishly say yes.  She picks up the bag of filth and we walk to the river.  She crouches down and begins to beat the clothes one by one against a rock, a rhythm of beating and twisting and soaking and twisting again.  I try to help….the kids bathing nearby in the river giggle as I, the white lady, try to do it right.  It is difficult and monotonous. 

I whisper to the mother of Kule, “This is so much work…it doesn’t matter, you don’t need to wash our clothes.”

She replies with a big smile, “Oh no, I love to wash clothes.”

And she means it.

Seriously? She loves to wake up early with the only thing to look forward to is serving? Where is her recognition, her moment in the spotlight? Where is her identity?

She doesn’t even have a name to call her own.  Tears spring to my eyes.  Am I willing to do the same? To go unnoticed? The answer….embarrassingly is no.

NO.

Sure I am willing to sacrifice, to serve my family, to go mostly without recognition.  But, there is that little part that wants to be known, to be recognized, to be called by my name.

She smiles and I see Jesus all over her.  His is the name that she is known by….it is her identity.  He sees her.  And it is enough.

It is E-N-O-U-G-H.

He sees you.  He is proud of you.  He adores you.  His praise is the only praise we need.  His love fills our need for identity

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “He will rejoice over you with singing, He will quiet you with His love.”

Do you believe it? Is it enough for you?

 

Thanks for visiting! I invite you to subscribe to GraceFullMama here.

 

Chickens and Social Media

A few weeks before Christmas, I got a message on Twitter from Stacey asking where I live in relation to Borneo. Her daughter wanted to give a Christmas gift to someone in Borneo {really? How does a 5 year old even know what Borneo is?!!}. Well, I told her, it just so happens that we live on the island of Borneo, and I would love to help her little girl’s dream come true.

 And, in the midst of a little girl’s dream, a family had one of their dreams come true as well.

You may remember my dear friend that needed an eye operation.  As I mentioned before, she is one of the hardest workers I know. She is always finding new ways to earn money so that she can buy her children the important things, which are, as she says, “milk and fruit.”

So, when Stacey contacted me I knew immediately what gift her little girl could give.  Chickens.  A gift that will keep on giving.  My friend already had a male rooster, now she just needed a couple of hens to make a complete egg and chicken operation.

When I mentioned to her that there was a little girl in America that wanted to give her a Christmas present of chickens, she cried.  She was touched and overwhelmed.

Then spent the next 3 days researching the very best chickens to be had on our island to get the most for her money! In the end, a little girl’s gift of $30 bought 3 hens and some really nice chicken feed {the best, my friend says}. 

                                                           

It is truly amazing to see how God can knit hearts together of two bloggers, having only met once at a blogging conference, and use the two of them together to bring God’s glory across the miles.  Thank you, Stacey, for instilling a heart of service into your children, and for using social media to invest in God’s work around the world.

                 Make sure you visit Stacey today to hear her side of the story! You won’t want to miss it!!

 

My Grace Story

Today I am sharing my grace story at Stacey’s place, 29LincolnAvenue.

I’ll be honest, it was not an easy one for me to write…..

It starts like this:

Grace. It was a word for “those” sinners.

I was a first-born pastor’s daughter. I felt I had to be perfect.  All eyes were on me. I sang beautiful songs about grace, but it never got down to the heart level.

I figured that if I looked perfect, spoke spiritually, and plain ol’ never let anyone get to know me, I’d be all right.  After all, I was saved, right?!  Now I needed to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.  I’ve always been an excellent rule keeper, and I thought grace was for ”those people” that lived by no rules at all.

It wasn’t until I realized that I was just as vile a sinner as the rapist, the thug, the drug dealer that grace got a hold of me.  I realized that I was as full of sin as they were, maybe even more.

My big sin wasn’t the flashy kind.  It was a more insidious one that looks good but burns hot and deep in a soul.

Come read the rest and find out what my big sin is……. thank you for your grace as I bare my soul. 

If There Is Anything Here That Is Good….. {Vlog}

….it’s all Jesus and it has nothing whatsoever to do with me.

For those reading in a reader, go here to see the video.

Thank you for grace. The audio doesn’t exactly line up with the video, but an imperfect video is better than no video at all, I guess!

Sisterhood….The Finale

On this journey toward understanding sisterhood we have covered a lot of ground!  We have talked about the call to sisterhood, embracing who God has made us to be, risking getting real, learning to accept each other’s differences, encouraging one another, how comparing ourselves with others steals our joy, and lastly, rejoicing over the fact the He sees each one of us.

And, so as we end this journey I want to ask you a few questions that you can ponder in your own heart:

-What is your greatest hindrance keeping you from getting real?

-Where have you been comparing yourself to others?

-Do you really believe that He sees you? Are you finding your identity in Him?

As I shared this at the Relevant conference, I asked the ladies to put their hand on the shoulder of a woman near them.  Let’s do this virtually!  Think of someone, a friend that you can pray for right now….

-Pray for her heart, that she would rest in who God has made her to be.

-Pray over her ministry, that she would be so filled up with His love that it would spill out of her both online and off.

-Pray for her friendships, that she would seek to love others as He has first loved her.

As we end, just this:

The world is watching us. They arewatching how we love one another, to see if we truly practice what we preach. We have the unique privilege and responsibility to be missionaries to a watching world. We can present to the world a picture of unity in Christ, and be a shining testimony for Him to a world that is lost.

This is our Esther moment. Let us not waste this opportunity to stand firm together in a beautiful picture of sisterhood, unity, and a true picture of the body of Christ. Each of us using our unique callings, abilities, personalities, and gifts to reach a world that is lost.

Let me pray for all of us:

O Lord, you know that we are weak and frail women. But, O Lord, we do so want to be used by You, to shine Your glory. Lord, I pray that You would bind us together, to become a picture of the unity of Christ to the world. May we stop looking at ourselves, at our insecurities, our failings, our mess-ups, but rather only to You. Use each of us with our unique capabilities however you will.  We pray, O Lord, that you would mold us into Your image and use us as a sisterhood of women. May we only seek your applause and rest knowing that we have followed You. Amen.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!! You can read all the posts in this series here.  And if you want to hear the audio of the talk, go here.

I invite you to subscribe and join me here every day or join me over at the Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Darcy

I’m linking up here today:

Weary Mama

Has it been a rough day? Are you worn out? Do you feel as though you have failed in your mothering once again? 

“Do you feel the need for more grace to love your children and see the gospel in your daily life with them? Then rest in His arms and admit your brokenness.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace

I am there with you, sister.  There are days I feel like I have messed up so miserably as a mama, and I feel too weary even to begin again.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

The biggest danger in times like these is that we think we are all alone.  But, there is good news…..

Come join me at The Better Mom today to read the rest and join me as we sister-moms lift one another up in prayer today.

 

Poverty Lives Right Down the Road

Poverty lives right down the road.  She is my friend. She works without end to care for her family.  She is younger than me, but seems much older.  She has lived far more life than I can imagine.  She smiles and laughs, but in her eyes I  see pain.  At 32 years old, her vision is blurry. She has cataracts.  Through the haze she labors on in hopes of one day earning enough to pay for her surgery.

I add it up.  At the rate she is going it will take her more than 3 years to earn enough for the mere $200 it costs for a life-changing surgery.  I think.  I pray.  $200 is really nothing to me.  By US standards we are poor, 5 children on a meager salary, but over here we are the extremely wealthy.  The uber-rich.But, it is always an interesting dance, giving money.  We want to be careful not to enable others, make them dependent.  In this case, we decide to go ahead.

I gather friends to join me in paying and praying for the surgery, not because I couldn’t do it myself, but because there is joy in joining together for a common cause. Joy in community.

The night of the surgery finally arrives…..

Please join me over at (in)courage today to hear the rest of the story.

Be blessed today, friends!

 

Sisterhood….Comparison

Source: elembee.com via Joy on Pinterest

 

So, we’ve talked about the call to sisterhood, embracing who God has made you to be, learning to get real with one another, accepting the differences of others, and then how we need to encourage one another as sisters.

And here comes the doozy….

In order to build a true sisterhood of Christian unity, we REALLY need to stop comparing ourselves with others. Seriously.

Each one of us is an important part of the body of Christ.  Each person adds something beautiful.  Let’s join our individual songs together…all of us together in unity and praise of our glorious Father.

Don’t let comparison steal your joy.

What is your thing? What has the Lord put into your life that drives you?  Whatever it is that the Lord has given YOU to do, do that well, and relax and enjoy it! Do it well, and do it for the glory of God.

And don’t compare the results of your work with another.  And for bloggers, in God’s economy there are no subscriber numbers, no page views, and no follower numbers.

For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ and if the ear says, ‘because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ is it not for this reason and less the part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now, God has placed the members, each one of them in the body, just as He desired.” 1 Corinthians 12:14

And, here is where I get really honest.  Last year, I was asked to speak at the Relevant conference as one of the speakers.  I was flattered and humbled and I said yes.  That was when I blogged at The Stay at Home Missionary.  I was excited and nervous and slightly overwhelmed.  Then, when all of the speakers were announced, and I found my name among them, I was terrified.  I looked at the list and felt overwhelmed and small.  It seemed that nearly everyone had a book published, had a ginormous following, and I felt small. I’m not saying this was right, but it is honest.

I let comparison steal the joy of my being asked to speak.  It ate me up so much that I ended up backing out of speaking and eventually quit my blog all together.  Me, measuring myself, comparing myself to others, instead of what God had called me to do.

Well, you know the rest of the story.  I think God has quite a sense of humor, because not only did He have me go back and speak at the Relevant conference, but as a keynote!

God has made each one of us with a specific purpose.  Are you going to fulfill the purpose He has for you by following His lead?  Will you use your gifts, talents, and stories for His glory?

I am, how about you?

Check back next week for the conclusion of this series….the last bit makes me cry every time.

{This series is a slightly edited version of the keynote I gave at the Relevant conference.  If you would like to listen to the audio of that session, you can download it here.}
Here is a list of the previous posts in the series:

1. The Call

2.Embrace

3.Get Real

4.Accepting Differences

5. Encourage

I’m linking up here:

A Mom Heart and a Giveaway!

******THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*******

As I mentioned last week, one of my biggest highlights of traveling to Relevant {and let’s just be honest, a big highlight of my lifetime} was having the opportunity to meet and spend time with dear, sweet Sally Clarkson.

Shortly after my first child was born (11 1/2 years ago) I received her book, The Mission of Motherhoodand it {along with the Holy Spirit} changed the entire course of my life as a mom.  I saw my parenting as a mission, not one to be taken lightly, and I realized that I wanted to be a fully intentional mother, training and discipling my children for the Lord and His glory. I then read many of her books and loved each one: The Ministry of Motherhood, Seasons of a Mother’s Heart, and Educating the WholeHearted Child 1st Edition {which gave me a vision for homeschooling}.

So, I was beyond thrilled to meet face to face one of my heroes of the faith and a lady I consider to be a mentor to me, through her books, these many years.

I attended an early morning mom’s tea she hosted, and my mama heart was filled.  As we left, she told each of us to pick up one her books of our choosing for free….so I made a beeline for the brand-new and improved version of Educating the WholeHearted Child written by both Clay and Sally! Woohoo!  I started reading it on the airplane ride back and haven’t been able to put it down since.

{This picture is in the airport, enjoying my very last Diet Coke….sigh}

Since coming home, my journal is full to capacity with quotes, wisdom, and instruction from this incredible homeschool book!

Just one little tidbit from the book I’ve been mulling over…

P-pray for your children regularly
A-accept your children unconditionally
T-teach and train your children diligently.
H-honor your children purposefully.

I’m only part way in, and I am completely enamored with this book.  Even if you are not a homeschool mama, I highly recommend getting this book to use in the training and instruction of your kids!

One other thing I want to mention to you is Sally’s upcoming Mom Heart Conferences.  The title is, The HeartShaping Mom- How to Open, Fill, and Hold Your Child’s Heart.  Doesn’t that sound amazing?! I am sad that I don’t live in the States, or you can bet that I’d be at one of them!! I encourage you, if you are a mom who wants to be more intentional in your mothering to do whatever you can to attend one of these conferences! 
 
And now, I want to offer you a chance to win a copy of Educating the WholeHearted Child.  I have 3 copies to give away and entering is simple, just leave a comment! {giveaway is limited to US residents only, and giveaway will end on Monday, the 27th at 11pmEST}
 
{just so you know, it probably sounds like I’m an advertising fool for Sally Clarkson.  She didn’t ask me to do this, and other than giving me 3 books to giveaway, I received nothing for this. I just really believe in her heart, her message, and her walk with the Lord, and I feel like mamas need to know!}

Sisterhood….Encourage

After we begin to accept the differences in others, we need to come alongside of one another and encourage one another.  We need to be willing to reach out and speak love to one another.

Ephesians 5:19-21, “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord: always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father, and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

I have seen this happen so many times, sisters encouraging sisters, and it is a beautiful thing.  But what if we stepped it up a notch? What if we as a group of women actively pursued encouraging and promoting one another? Look around and ask yourself, Who could use a little encouragement? A little help? A little boost? Maybe there is someone who is struggling and we are so busy taking care of ourselves that we cannot even see it. “Let us not look only to our own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Stef wrote a great post on this very topic!

In the blog world, what if, rather than focusing on our ourselves, our blog, our numbers, we go about the business of promoting others?  Their blogs, their posts, their endeavors?  And when others “succeed”, what if we truly rejoice with them?

While I was at the Relevant conference I was overwhelmed to receive a package from some of my friends and co-workers in Indonesia.  They had taken the time to write me encouraging letters to be given to me on the day of my keynote (and mailed them all the way to the US prior to me going to speak!).

Talk about rejoicing with someone else.  I am sure that they would have gladly traded me places and enjoyed some beautiful fellowship at the Relevant conference instead of staying in Indonesia and helped watch my kids…but no, they chose to rejoice with me and encourage me.  That is a beautiful picture of true sisterhood….wow!

And this beautiful sign arrived for me at the hotel at Relevant.

Monica from The Homespun Heart saw something I had pinned on Pinterest and made it for me to encourage me on the day I was speaking! Now, Monica and I have never met in real life, but she is a true picture of a dear blog encourager.

So I want to challenge you:

Who can you reach out and encourage today? 

Here are the previous posts in this series:

Sisterhood…The Call

Sisterhood…Embrace

Sisterhood….Get Real

Sisterhood…Accepting Differences

If this post has encouraged you, might you be willing to share it with a friend and encourage them as well? I’d love to have you subscribe and join me here every day!

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