I've been doing some deep thinking. Dangerous, I know. Recently, my husband and I committed to helping a single mom in our church by watching/homeschooling her son while she is away at work 4 days a week, 10 hours a day. I have to admit I had many reservations, excuses, and reluctance to this plan. Ben really encouraged me to consider doing it, but he didn't want to force me, as most of the burden of responsibility would fall on my shoulders. I wrestled for a week, knowing that I ought to do it, but not really wanting to admit it was the right thing to do. My excuses ranged from pregnancy to discipline, but every time I came to the question of right or wrong, I knew the answer. I finally consented to help out.
The past four weeks have been enlightening. They have revealed a few things about myself that I hadn't really considered. Namely, I had gotten very comfortable. I was plenty busy with my activities, and I didn't really want to fit anything or anyone else into that schedule. Especially if there was no benefit in it for me. I profess Christ, but only as convenience allows. My faith is squarely sandwiched between comfort and convenience. I tell others about Him and exhibit acts of faith when I have the time or I don't think I will be embarrassed. I want to change that.
I recently stumbled across the blog of a 20-something young lady living in Uganda, who has adopted 14 children and single-handedly cares for them. She has started a ministry to reach the thousands of homeless orphans with the Gospel and food. I wouldn't say we are of the same stripe or even denomination (I really don't know, to be honest), but I would say that she understands what it means to leave your comfort zone for the sake of Christ. Having one child is, at times, a test of faith for me. I cannot imagine mothering 14 battered and unloved children. She states at one point in her blog that she cannot teach children that Jesus loves them if they have never experienced love. It means nothing to them. But if she takes a child home, bathes and comforts, feeds, loves and teaches these children, they begin to understand the concept of love. And when she tells them that Jesus loves them more than "Aunt Katie" does, THAT is something they want.
I am not making plans to fly to Africa or sell all that I have. After all, the Lord has called me to minister to my family foremost. But I think that I can minister most effectively by teaching my child to love others as Christ does, unselfishly and with purpose. Even when it's uncomfortable. I can love my husband better by loving myself less. I want my child(ren) to live their faith practically and daily. They will learn by my example, not by my words.
We have all heard that JOY defined is Jesus first, Others Second, Yourself Last.