Tag Archives: humility

Whatever. Just Do….WHATEVER.

Grabbing my phone on the way out the door for choir, I noticed the “missed call/voicemail” alerts.  I recognized the number of a friend, but it was uncommon for her to call. Hmmmm.    Retrieving the message, I heard a strange uneasiness in her voice as she wrestled to come up with the right words.

“Lorretta…” Pregnant pause.
“Um… I was wondering…. I mean, do you still…”
Her question dangled over the phone line for an uncomfortable moment.
Then suddenly, “Please call me back when you get a minute?” Click.

Curious? Yeah, me too.
I quickly dialed her number to discover whatever in the world was wrong. Finally answering, I could tell she was still so nervous!     I had no clue.

Whatever

Rambling through the background in her mind, she finally summoned  the courage to ask if I still did “THAT”. “THAT” being the reason she needed my help. And well, since I did still do “THAT”,  I replied I’d be happy to help but inside I was thoroughly bemused by her embarrassment— for herself (maybe?) needing my help with “THAT” or was it for me—the one willing to do“THAT”?     I still don’t know.

Fact is, I did “THAT” then and I still do now.
On occasion.
In fact, I’ll do “THAT” twice this week because I didn’t have time last week.

Yes, I’m here to confess that I engage in what is likely the world’s oldest “occupation”:
I clean houses.  Whew!    I’m so glad I got “THAT” off my chest!

Another confession:  It was not a proud moment when I decided to take my first housecleaning job. But the fact is, as business owners, media missionaries and “self-unemployed” artists,  we needed a little extra at our house to make ends meet. Plus I needed the added flexibility of naming my own hours so I could keep home schooling, volunteering and GreenPeas-business-ing. Let’s face it: there are very few situations nearly as accommodating as this (without having to constantly salespitch your entire friend base). Besides, I get to catch up on all my ministry podcasts while I vacuum and mop!

So, gradually I’ve gotten used to the idea of mentioning that I do “a little cleaning on the side” and I have no problem stating as fact that it’s the way God helps me provide for my family in this season of life. Still, this look-back at my friend’s discomfort and realizing my own, I recognize that there is a certain level of stigma against the idea that someone might choose to earn money this way. I felt it at first, until God gave me peace and helped me to swallow a HUGE chunk of my “I’m-Too-Educated/Good-For-THAT” attitude (also spelled P-R-I-D-E).

A Proud Man

I remember when it happened too. Working  in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya a couple of summers ago, we were filming a ministry series for a water and AIDS hospice project. Our days were packed with one location after another interviewing and filming various people associated with these projects. It was wonderful. Sometimes, we were graciously invited into homes for a bit of hospitality. On those occasions, there was always time to share and pray (whether there was time in the schedule– or not!) and we were always left blessed.

At one home, our guides introduced us to a kind-faced woman and two younger girls. She was the local “church mother” who also trained up Christian house girls. As young Christian women they struggled with the stigma because it was not considered a very honorable profession. Not what they wanted to be when they grew up. However, it was the best they could hope for without a skill set or education. Then, remembering our conversation from the night before, our guide asked if I’d share about my experience with “THAT” line of work.

Speechless.
What I could say? 

True, we had shared our testimonies and desires to use our business/ministry to work full time on the mission field—how we did whatever we could to keep things afloat and in passing, I mentioned I did THAT.  Obviously, the Holy Spirit had orchestrated this divine encouragement opportunity and I was ON.

I wasn’t prepared to say all wish I’d said that day. I remember explaining I was glad to have work allowing me time to do church ministry and to work with my husband. I told them how it freed me up with time to teach my children and provide for my family. Truthfully, how it had been a way to serve God through some difficult times in my life and through it I tried my best to bring Him glory.

As I spoke, I knew in my heart our situations were radically different. I was working for extra money and they were likely working for all they’d have and not much more.  Lack of education and opportunity was not my issue as it was for them.

Still more humbling was the look of confusion and really— surprise on their faces because in their wildest imaginations, no white woman from America would ever have to do THAT. Surely not.
We are rich.
All of us.
Well, that’s always a kick in the pants, isn’t it?

I’m pretty sure I mumbled some other well-meaning encouragements hoping they’d understand it was possible to serve God proudly in their places of employment. Of course God was reminding me at the same time how clever it is that He doesn’t waste ANYTHING from the willing.

Revelation

I needed to remember this NOW. I’ve been feeling discouraged– not despairing but wondering about the whole missions thing and how God wants us to answer the call we said yes to 15 years ago. Just being honest. It’s a big, fat question mark.

These remembrances alongside something I heard this past weekend are helping to resharpen my focus (again).  A young woman was sharing a recent experience and she said:

“Sometimes we are praying so hard for God to move us out of a situation that we almost miss what he wants to do with us where we are.”

No great mystery— just a whole lotta truth. Sheesh. More truth was piled on from 1 Corinthians 10:31 where Paul is teaching about idolatry but the word “WHATEVER” is what got me. It’s found again in Colossians 3— twice but particularly in verse 17:

Colossians 3-17

Whatever.
Just do whatever.
Right here, right now.
All of it for Him.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me a lot to think about as I work and wait— doing THAT or whatever it is He asks of me— for His glory.

Lorretta signature

Linked up with Holly!

Blind Spots in the Heart of Motherhood

There’s no place to hide and no point in denying that when it comes to the ones we love—especially our children, we are prone to developing “blind spots”.

Yes, despite my Creator-endowed super powers of all-seeing-all-knowing mother-ness..I’ve struggled to be fair-minded when it comes to my kids. There’s something deep down in all of us that tends towards denial.     We can hardly help it.

Blindspots

We’re their primary caregivers and first cheerleaders tasked with the dual privilege of drawing out the best in them while rooting out the worst— oftentimes in the same moments, using some of the same methods and always hoping for success in their future.     However, it’s hard to be consistent.      It’s hard to be fair.

Knowing this about myself helps.

I had no idea when I began writing  that this “Tale of 2 Mothers” was about to go viral on the interwebs. It’s an important story on a number of levels but  especially because it has gone so well in all the ways it could have gone so wrong. Beautiful how these two mothers “get it” and have modeled humility, love and respect towards one another because they both have the same goals in mind. Their children can now see what that looks like to be loved in the best of all possible worlds.

I want to be a part of that world, don’t you?

Let’s face it: there are few things that make us more vulnerable than the achilles heel of motherhood. It’s drawn out the best and the worst in me over the years. Whether it’s shrieking like a banshee at the “big kids” throwing rocks on the playground in the direction of my children,  or praising my child for sharing so generously—all that passion and pride tends to be drawn from the same murky well. 

So murky that sometimes at first,  I couldn’t see …that my kid threw the first rock or the candy they were “sharing” so nicely with their siblings was actually stolen from the grocery store the day before. (Sigh) Hard stuff.

When they were young, it was a simple matter of instruction and demanded compliance often mixed with exhausting levels of inappropriate frustration because I not only wanted them to do well, do better and succeed— I wanted to look good too. Sadly, I feared looking like a bad mother.  It’s a terrible pressure we Mommies put on our children, on ourselves…on one another.

Growing up alongside these three I’ve been privileged to share life with, over time my methods have grown softer, more understanding and less fear-motivated. I still want the very best for my now nearly-grown children but I am more able to trust that God does too and He invites— but doesn’t need— my help to do it.

As true as that is, I can’t deny the temptation I face every now and then to “stack the deck” in their favor. I can’t deny how hard it is to fight the urge to rescue them instead of letting them feel the weight of a poor decision or their sin.

It’s hard to watch them fall.
It’s hard to watch them fail.

I can’t deny how it hurts to face someone criticizing your child and refusing your apology because, let’s face it, “we have different parenting styles”.  Hard, hard, hard.  Hard because, deep down, I believe we have the same loving goals in mind despite our blind spots.

Awareness IN faith

As you know, I’ve been reading through the Gospels again and there’s this place in Matthew 20 where the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John) kneels before Jesus asking if they can sit in the places of power on either side of Him in His glorious kingdom. Jesus replies that she doesn’t know what she’s asking. She doesn’t. He gently tells her that these places are taken by those prepared by the Father.  Some indignation and awkwardness between the disciples follows but Jesus uses this as another teaching opportunity to remind them of who they are to be— it’s our reminder too.

I think about that mother and I just feel her. She honestly thought she was making the best move for her sons. She acted out of love…out of ignorance and Jesus was so gentle and kind. I’m not certain about this but it’s occurred to me that the places on the right and left of Jesus that God had already filled… might have easily been the places on either side of him as He hung on the cross. Like he said, oftentimes, we think we can “drink the cup” but don’t know what we’re asking. And God knows best…wait for it.

paradox of humility

A few weeks ago the speaker at our community girls event mentioned how she’s learned the Christian life is not about simple obedience. Instead, she said, it’s found in the joy of abiding. I absolutely agree.  I’ve learned that God really isn’t after blind obedience. He’s truly after abiding because He knows that heartfelt obedience will joyfully follow.

It’s why Jesus instructs us to abide with Him because when we get to the place where we are so deeply abiding…existing for and through Christ alone…well, obedience is no longer a problem.  THAT’s what I’m after with my children— to teach by modeling before them what it means to abide.      I pray it’s working.

I know it’s not the perfect parenting solution. I only know to lean on the perfect Savior and I surely know all about my daily, daily DAILY need for his help to do this thing called motherhood.

I’m nearly done with this season as my last one at home will be launching in a few years. But it’s my intent to be more gracious and grace filled towards other Mommies just trying their best to get it right. I want to do my best to remember that we all have blind spots… because we love and thankfully it’s because He first loves us….and I only have grace to spare.

What do you know about blindspots? Grace?

  from my heart,   Lorretta signature

Linking with Jennifer, and  the Missional Women of Faith.

‘Merica, blessed to be a blessing

It’s our week in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The week when we dust off our patriotism, unfurl our star-spangled banners, and hitch our pride a little higher celebrating the land and country we love.

‘Merica  A people united by an air of fierce independence and the ideal of unrestrained opportunity…

a strange mix even on the best of days.

Somewhere at sometime, someone once said, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” Experience has taught me truth in this and that very often, Hunger is her muse.

It’s a lesson my husband and I learned well through  years of trying to keep a few pennies ahead in the positive column as self(un)employed artists raising and homeschooling a family.

There have been some really “creative” periods over the years and I sorta pride myself in my ability to “make do”…DO.  I tend to think I can manage on very little and find alternative ways to make up the lack. Second-hand is fine; homemade is better. By the grace of God, we’ve always had everything we’ve needed and most of what we’ve wanted as well.

So if you asked about my current state of affairs, I  gladly admit to being humbly content…sweetly satisfied. Blessed….without a hint of materialism or an air of entitlement in my soul.

Not much anyway.
Well…maybe just a titch.
Ok… a titch and a half!

I don’t like to think so. I don’t like to think I’m all that materialistic  or have much of an entitlement attitude  but a recent event has caused me to stop and “check my privilege”.

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Allergies. It began with allergies.

Nasally stuff, you know… dust, dander and the what-not that plagues us here in the South. Nothing major but we’ve kept it at bay with a little red pseudophed in the mornings.

It works.

Sadly, we live in a world where evil seems to have a free reign, so this formerly over the counter medicine has moved up under tighter regulation. Now you have to show ID, sign for it,  only so much can be bought, yada, yada, yada.

So we do it. No biggie…right?
Until it seems we get “profiled”.

Let me tell you more…