Tuesday, December 31, 2013

love? no loved - I John 4:19 - I wanna 'get' that in 2014

I'm a missionary in Germany.

Coming here in 2006, not knowing the language or the culture, I thought I was coming to love the people into relationship with God, to mentor, to teach inductive bible studies to believing women, and to share Christ with non-believers. My adult kids even said: Mom is going to share her hugs with the Germans.

God gave me a deep desire to love people as a child, throughout my teens, and even as a single mom, teacher of children, and bible study teacher to many. It seemed like the best 'next step', after my children grew into these awesome adults, to step into missionary land.

The first few years were filled with a massive learning curve. Being 49 when I arrived, I quickly realized: my dendrites had to be tethered down to my bedposts at night!

Learning the language, the culture, becoming a part of communities, becoming family to gifted and enjoyable believers, encouraging women to become who God made them to be - God gifted me beyond measure. This was all a blessing...

Women were coming to Him, learning about Him, and sharing Him with their families and friends. Not something common in the darkened European continent. But, in my little yellow nest - God was moving!

But then my spirit began to weaken. Going back to the states for my furlough year in 2011, I began to question if I had the stamina to love as Christ was calling me to love.  I began to question: How can I love people more?

Snapping at drivers, short with my words behind the servers in restaurants, irritable and confused as to why I was so snippy, I asked God, "What is the matter with me?"
Over time, He showed me I could not love enough. I don't have enough love in me to love the way that was needed.

For the last two years I've realized My love is truly not enough. Questioning: how do I love them better? brings me to the reality - I can 't.

I've pondered for months over the commandment in Luke 20:27

"He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Of course, I stopped wrestling with the fact I can't love my neighbor until I really love myself. And loving myself means taking care of this heart, soul, and mind. Yes.

And, it also means taking care of this earthly body, that has been shamed and abused, that has been raped, and shattered. This life that has almost every woman's issue lived out. And this life that has lived into Him.

But - it is still not enough. I can't pull it up and MAKE IT HAPPEN!  I can't do, I can't accomplish, I can't even be. Yes, I said it out loud - you heard it. I figured out long ago, I can't 'DO'. Accomplishments belong to God.

But everyone has told me I need to just 'BE'. What does that mean exactly? I've experienced it before - but how did I get there in my past? I seem at a loss.

Screaming out in my red-prayer-chair on the crux of 2014, God spoke. It wasn't like a whisper. He slid into my heart, tapped really quit loudly on my chest and said kinda up close and personal "loved", "you love because I FIRST LOVED YOU"

 1 John 4:19

So the word for me this year is not Love. No.


What does that look like? Where will He take us in this LOVED life? For me here in Germany to love others, he says I will first be loved.

Now how incredibly fun is that?

Are you walking into being LOVED by Him in 2014?
Share with me. We all need the encouragement.

Because He IS the I AM, i am
your mutating missionary
with HoneyB and Ebenezer

please feel free to sign up to receive this blog via email... I don't write but once a week or less - it won't clog up your email. This blog is my inside thoughts, my heart, my fears, my journey as a missionary. I need prayer and encouragement for this.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas isn't about a past mission, it is about a present

Christ came with a mission.
That tiny baby's birth that in just a few days we celebrate, he came into this world with a mission and an end goal.
-To leave heaven and take on the form of man.
-To be born of a human.
-To feel (hunger, fullness / pain, joy / love, hatred / rest, exhaustion / work, play)
-To grow in a family, in church, in a town, in a country, on a continent, in this world.
-To cry, laugh, run, walk, fall down, get up.
-To love enough to listen to His Father, release Himself to a cross and die.

-To battle the evil one in the darkness and win.
-To rise conquering death, fully completing his mission, and enjoy those who receive Him to this day.
-To come again some day and take all who have received God's gift of Himself to be with Him for eternity

I have a mission as well.

I base the mission I am on today on these three points:

Point #1:
John 6: 35-36 - Recognizing that people without God are insatiable.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall not thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe."

Europe is insatiable. -
The Triune God alone fills the void that is within us all.

Point #2:
John 8: 1-11 Recognizing that I have sinned, I want to walk a different way, I want to help other women walk a different way as well. 

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  

a. He got alone.

He sat down and began to teach them. He didn't teach from some podium. He got in amongst the people and he sat with them and got down where they could see Him.  

b. And he taught.

The Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, in the very act and they tested Jesus. She should be killed by law - what would he say to do????
He silently stooped down and wrote in the sand with His finger
"But then they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you let him be the first to throw a stone at her." they all left.

c. He loved.

Jesus said: "Woman where are they: Did no one condemn you?" and she said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you, go your way. From now on sin no more."

d. He did not condemn. He also encouraged, but not without a charge to walk a different way.

Point #3 John 8:12-42
Europe has known God and yet now seeks to do away with God.  God please use me to turn a few back to Him.

"Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

The rest of these verses give a powerful wisdom to those who know and to those who do not know Him.

Then verse 42 says:
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.

That God sends me into Women's Ministry is my heart. I do not go on my own initiative. I want people to accept His salvation and follow.

I pray for people to be filled with peace.

Helping people to continue to grow in Him, find the peace he affords, and grow into the people He has designed them to be. 

I pray this mission He has given me can be completed well.

Please pray for me in this desire to serve God by serving women.
I need prayers from the faithful.

And you?
What is your mission?
Where has God called you to be a light?

Because He IS the I AM, i am
your mutating missionary
with B and Ebenezer

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grace Grips Me and whispers: Step out in faith.

I read the following on a friend's blog and thought:  She gets it!

"It’s incredible how quickly your surroundings dictate your behaviors. When we travel to the northeast, I immediately want “quowah-fee” in the morning, I’m irritable at the slightest inconvenience, and Heaven forbid I hold a door for anyone! Down south, I’m smiling and waving at cars on my morning runs, drinking my morning joe with a helpin’ of cream and sug-ah, and Lord help me if I try to open my own door!
Our holiday was all that I expected: long runs in the morning, multiple cups of coffee over intense games of scrabble, wine glasses filling up as soon as the sun dipped below the clouds, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby crooning over the surround sound, and the constant stream of laughter and conversation filling the house from morning till night."

Living in a foreign country is difficult.
But it is not impossible. I came here in January of 2006 never having stepped foot on German soil and never having spoken more than Danke or Gusundheit...

I've been back to the states for several reasons: births, weddings, governmental red-tape, and a few times just to be encouraged by my friends and family.

My children have all been here to visit me. Several friends have dropped in for a day, a few days, or a few weeks :-) Pure JOY!

But, my deep yearning is to constantly check the plumb-line: Do YOU want me here God. And He continues to affirm that until other things change, I am to remain here. 

So what does here look like?
Right now I await a knee surgery. Actually, I'm finally looking forward to it since it has been postponed for several reasons. Having an operation in my own home country vs. having an operation in a foreign place is always a bit disconcerting.

I'm not strong.

I'm a ninny most of the time. I fail God so often. I am thankful my salvation does not rest on my shoulders. When I blatantly fail Him I always feel ashamed of not listening to Him, not being alert.

I sat on the side of my bed a few weeks ago, knee killing me, questions about some German country issues, doctor issues, internet questions, recovering from pneumonia blah sickness and asked Him how I should control the problems. Where should I move next, what should I do next...?

And as I wrote out my concerns and my desires to control. I realized:

I am allowing my surroundings to press in and usurp my understanding of Your Grace.

The German Culture sets a high premium on control (mind you not every German, and not all Germans I personally know and love). 

But, the cultural mindset is control. Control your emotions, your surroundings, your life. I've asked my German friends and they agree, this is the desire.

And little by little my understanding of stepping out into the faith chasm of 'fall into My arms and I will catch you" has been chipped away.

Thankfully, the chipping has not gone on for long and didn't sideswiped me. But why?

Only because of His grace. I sat on the side of my bed and stopped up short! 

Father God - WHAT AM I THINKING? You are working out good. Somehow the knee, the culture, the computer, the illness, the doctor issues... these are GOOD because you say they are being worked out for Good. Because I know you and I love you and I am called to be your ambassador no matter where I am or what job I have, You are always working out Your Best. I can trust your infinite Mercy, your abundant Grace.

And He poured out his loving oil of Grace.

And I cry out in this morning of cries: Mercy, Lord have Mercy.
I beg for mercy - for I am simply a woman who loves God.
My failures I lay at your feet. Let me come as a child and receive. Let me receive and pour out to others that I meet, teach, walk side by side with. Pour out what? Your Mercy.
My Joy is in Your covering me. Assuage my sense of failure God. Assuage my sense of failure.

your mutating missionary
and an absent ebenezer