Friday, July 31, 2015

Paying the Price of Being a Missionary

I love this time of my life! I believe I am where God wants me, doing the things He wants me to do. It is expensive, though. There are costs that people aren't aware of. Costs that are provided by the local church for the pastor, but not in the case of a missionary living in Lawra, Ghana. Every little thing, or big thing, I need for ministry, for office supplies, transportation, continuing education, insurance, retirement...everything...all funds need to be raised and continue to come. If not, I would be heading home.

But, there are other costs, too. Over the last 4 1/2 years, I have shed tears over these costs. The cost of not being able to attend a dear friend's funeral. I have had a few very close friends die since I have been in Ghana. When my neighbor in New Brighton, Nancy, died, I think part of me died with her. I still think of her when I have tea...I would watch the sugar melt on the spoon. Dee Dee died a couple of years later. She was my encourager, my prayer warrior. She knew me in good times and in very, very bad times and loved me through them all, speaking the Truth in love. Graduations of my nephew and close friends. Illnesses of family members, some serious. Family picnics. Oh, engagements. And, babies of others. Moving of pastors. Welcoming new pastors. And, weddings.

I was looking through Abby's wedding pictures. And, I started to cry. She was a beautiful bride. Joe is a Godly man. They are a wonderful couple. And, on their special day, I was half a world away. Praying for them and their new life together. Being so proud of them. Wishing I was with them in person instead of in spirit.

Yes, the monetary cost of sending a missionary overseas is great. But, the non-monetary costs are even greater. I am feeling it today.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lessons Learned from a Coloring Book

My dear friend, Tula, sent me a coloring book, a set of colored pencils and the accessories. I have to admit, when I looked at some of the pictures, I thought that I would never color something so tedious. Then, I became almost addicted! 

Coloring does relax me. It is good therapy! And, I don't need to pull out as much stuff to color as I do when I make cards.I feel so good when I finally finish a picture. But, I had to learn to "think outside the box." Leaves don't always have to be green. Flowers can be a variety of colors, not just the "normal" ones. Don't look close, Sometimes, I don't stay in the lines very well...when I am tired, if I try to hurry, or when the pencil point isn't very sharp, or, when I am not being careful!

Isn't that like our Christian life, too? We hurry. We aren't careful. We don't take time to be with God. We aren't as "sharp" because we haven't drawn our strength from Him. And, as we live out our daily lives, we are not showing a good reflection of him. 

As I was working on the above picture this morning, I thought, "What a mess I have made!" when I looked at a particular spot. I got out the eraser and managed to fix it. But, still, there are places that are "messy." Life gets messy, too. My God is the God of second chances. He forgives. I can try again, not in my strength, not with what I want to do, but with His strength, leading and guiding me. Sometimes life stays messy for a spell. God uses those times to glorify Himself, too, if we allow Him. 

My coloring isn't perfect. Never was. Never will be. And, that's OK. I won't stop coloring. It is a reflection of who I am. My life isn't perfect. Never was. Never will be. And that's OK. Because, I have a God, the Father, who loves me anyway. He leads me, gives me strength, gives me mercy and grace. And, because of His everlasting love, my life can be a reflection of Him.