You know that country song that goes:
God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy?
Well, even though I myself do not imbibe...I kind of love those lyrics.
In the weirdest and most simplistic of ways - that song sums up life pretty good for me.
God is great.
Pick your poison. Mine is coffee. So....coffee is good. OH so good.
And...yeah, I think we're all a little crazy. Beautiful messes that God uses for His glory.
That's a good life summary.
All together now...
God is great! Coffee's good! And people are trainwrecks!
Somehow the previous song lyrics just ring a sweeter bell for me...
But, that's the Amy version, anyway.
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Yesterday's blog post contained the content of this month's prayer letter that we send out to all of our supporters. I don't often write about our "ministry" over here in this part of my world - mostly because I really believe that all of our lives are ministry, and also because this little blog book that I daily write in is more of my own personal life story and my journey of motherhood that I want to print off for my boys one day.
But, once in awhile I feel the need to write about the "vocational" part of our journey, as well. And yesterday's blog post was something that's been on both my husband's and my hearts and minds a lot lately -- and it's an area in which the Lord's really been convicting and growing us.
To be honest, I think that over these past thirteen years, we have been on both sides of the ministry coin that I was writing about, so to speak. There have been times where we have been pea-knuckled, down on the ground, begging for mercy, and almost taken out by ministry.
There have been times where no matter what decision we made - it would have been a wrong one in somebody's eyes - so we had to do our best on our own journeys with Jesus, to walk in love and listen to His leading...the best way that we knew how to do.
And there have been times when we have felt vulnerable, naked, and exposed - and the idea of ripping up roots, tucking tail, and running far far away felt like a perfect solution and the only lifeline available.
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But sadly, I also know, that if I were to be equally honest, I can say that I'm sure we have been on the wounding side of this coin of ministry, as well. I can say before the Lord that we have never set out to intentionally hurt anyone - ever. However, we know that it has happened.
Back in the day when we were youth leaders - and just babies ourselves, really - we used to (naively) think that everyone loved us! Now we're a little more "seasoned" and we know way better than that. And while, on some levels this is somewhat discouraging and disheartening, and while we look on in awe - and wonder just how some pastors and missionaries have made it as long as they have in doing what they do week in and week out for so many years on end without getting completely burnt out - or checked themself in to the funny farm, for that matter....I'm encouraged by the fact that God is a whole heck of a lot bigger than any one of us and the happenings in all our lives.
And I'm also humbled and encouraged when I remember the motley crew of mismatched trainwrecks that Jesus chose for His original twelve followers to do life and ministry in His name. I think we would have fit in nicely with the lot of them. Man, those people were crazy...
I guess, where all of this boils down for me, is that no matter what "assignment" God gives us for the rest of our days - be it continuing with U.S. Center for World Mission or a Starbucks barista...or waittressing or whatever.... our children are watching, all of this life is their schoolroom, and we their parents are their most formative teachers.
And this is what I want them to see and learn from me and their daddy.
I want them to see that we loved people well.
And that when tough stuff came up - we handled it in a way that was healthy and honorable.
I want them to see that when we made mistakes, we owned them and made things right.
And I want them to see that we were all about relationships.
I want them to see that, yes life does bring with it a hefty amount of pain sometimes....but Jesus never promised us sunshine and roses. He promised that people would know that we were HIS if we had love for one another. He promised that if we forgave, He would hear our prayers. He promised that when we can't go on another day -- we were never intended to do it in our own strength anyway. And He will carry our burdens for us.
I never want my boys to see perfection in their parents. (All hope is lost there, anyway). But, I do want them to see what really is..... two people madly in love with each other and with Jesus, who are doing the very best that they know how to listen to Jesus' heart, to move when He says to move, to speak when He wants us to speak, to let go when we need to let go, to own our mistakes, to say we are sorry when we need to, to reach out, to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness.....and to walk this brutal and beautiful journey with Jesus with vulnerability, and in a way that honors Him.
I want them to see us take the crazy with the awesome.
The beauty with the ugly.
And the life-sustaining with the heart and gut-wrenching.
Because this is the road that they are each going to have to walk, as well.
They will mess up. They will have successes. They will be hurt. And they will most likely wound.
That's kind of the reality of being human.
And when these things happen - which they will - I want them to walk life raw and real with Jesus.
And the truth is...I think that's what most people are trying their very hardest to do.
Maybe sometimes, we can get a little too zealous for a cause.
Maybe our hearts are so deeply invested in something that we forget that someone else might not feel quite as strongly about it as we do...and that's okay.
Maybe we see the black and white so very clearly that we forget to show a little mercy to those who see a bit more grey.
But, God's grace covers us.
And love covers a multitude of sins.
And bottom line - we all need Jesus. Desperately. Every day.
We are, each one of us, the walking wounded in some way or another.
And we have, each one of us, the power to bind up and heal someone else's wounds.
Because that's what life is about.
Following in the footsteps of Jesus and being reflections of Him.
That's the point of everything.
Always, only Him.