Monday, October 27, 2008

The Mission Trip

My husband and I went away two weekends ago for a much needed getaway together. We are coming up on our 8th year wedding anniversary. What a FABULOUS time we had together! One woman we met thought we were newlyweds. Another man, while over-hearing our side-splitting laughter in the shoe store, said "If shoe shopping had been this much fun with my ex-wife, I wouldn't have divorced her!" (what do you say to that?) Now granted, it was quite the ordeal trying to get out the house. Then it took us the first couple of hours to decompress, but the remainder of our time together was filled with laughter, satisfying silence, deep conversation and, well, other things. :-)

While we were away, I was thinking of all the other couples of young children who could benefit from time alone together for more than 20 minutes while falling asleep in bed. We all need time away with Jesus alone (check out this post) , but time away with your spouse and Jesus is also essential for a happy and healthy family! One of the best things we can give our children, in my opinion, is time alone together with our husband or wife. So much of our family "issues", struggles and triumphs are a direct result of this covenant relationship, whether we want to admit it or not.

So, for those of us who see the value of such an investment, but have a hard time coming up with the necessary funds, I "decided" we should start a missions fund of money and childcare! If we can all pitch in money here and there to send someone to Mexico, Brazil or Jerusalem to minister, then surely we can do the same for those needing a time of renewal and refreshing in the most impacting relationship in their lives after Jesus! Okay, so I am only joking, well, maybe. But regardless, isn't it time we start better prioritizing this covenant relationship that brought our little ones into the world to begin with? They deserve our investment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Rat Race

Recently I had an hour to myself while my daughter was at her ballet class. I was running, listening to Misty Edwards and talking to Jesus (thank the Lord for the ability to multi-task!). My thoughts wandered through many topics as I listened to Misty's songs to the Lord. Many of her lyrics bring me back to a place of humility before Him. In those times, I am reminded of what an honor it is to be chosen by Him to be His kid despite my sinful state. As I ran, I was thinking about how far I've come in my relationship with Jesus and how much crap there is left in me.. Augh! How can He find me lovely still? This road to holiness sure can seem long sometimes! I then had the thought "I wonder if we could overcome our issues, hurts and bondages more quickly and easily if we all weren't so tired, busy, hungry (does anyone else forget to feed themselves and then their family pays the price by your grumpiness?) and just down right stressed. The lack of the latter would promote, besides the obvious, more opportunity to actually hear Jesus whisper to me, to just sit with Him and say nothing or to simply laugh more often among other things. And history has proven to me that time with Jesus means a cleaner, more free me - not to mention more joyful and relaxed.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Before You Shop...

This post may seem a bit out of place on my blog, but thought it might be worth passing along anyway.

My husband and I are small business owners within a network marketing company. A dear friend of mine has a similar business, also in network marketing. She loves Jesus too, so discussing business and trading tips (well, actually, she passes more along to me than I can to her) always ends up being a spirit stirring event. Even though we represent competitive companies, our hearts are united as sisters in Christ. I know that her goal in business are to become independently wealthy so that her and her husband can fulfill a dream of owning and operating a rejuvenation center where weary members of the Body can come and be refreshed and healed in the presence of Jesus at this B&B of sorts. The business goals of my husband and I are similar in that the end result is to see the body of Christ built up and the kingdom of God advanced through financial freedom, among other things. As a result, I buy things from her that our company doesn't make and she reciprocates!

This friend and I had a conversation a couple of years ago that lit something in me. She was sharing with me how, when she is shopping for gifts or even just daily needs, she always tries first to invest her money in people or places where she knows her money is going towards things on the heart of the Father. Obviously this isn't always possible or even easy. I have yet to find a friend in the business of selling tampons! But there are many people and organizations out there, following the call of Jesus in the marketplace to take money from the world and put it back where it belongs, in the kingdom.

I like to call this "redirected spending". You're going to buy a wedding gift anyway. Why not buy it from your friend who is selling Pampered Chef to help support her calling as a foster parent? In all honesty, I have found that my money doesn't always get as much product as it would at Wal-Mart or Target, but it has potential to get a whole lot more fruit. And sometimes I do find a good deal. Even Ten Thousand Villages, whether they know Jesus or not, is doing something that is on the Father's heart - taking care of the poor!

It's all about sowing and reaping. No matter how hard you try, even if you don't know Jesus yet, you can't get away from this principal. It's like gravity - it's affecting your life whether you're aware of it or not. Oh, I better save that topic for another post...or series :-)

So this holiday season, give it a try! Don't stress over it. I'm sure Jesus likes L.L.Bean too - I know I do! But ask Him for creativity and God connections to businesses that are in the business of advancing the kingdom.