And in order to fully embrace these two missions entrusted to me, I had to relinquish control, and put the job of saving the world, or even just Grove Park, back into the Hands of the Only One who can do the saving,
I scrubbed pots, and planted that seed of desire-
Lord, I long to be used of you to reach and impact people who have never met you. But this too, I relinquish. I bury this seed in the dark, but rich soil of your sovereignty. I entrust it into your Lord-of-the-Harvest hands. I let this seed fall to the ground and die, while I diligently care for this tiny corner of the planet that you have entrusted to me.
So, I worked on schedules and rhythms for our household. I actually planned and made nutritious meals for my family (before 8 pm!). This disorganized mom tried to establish some order and predictability in our home life….all the while using each task as an opportunity to commune with my ever-present Savior. The world may not see the labors. But He does.
And then, sooner-than-expected, He allowed me a glimpse of the sprouts.
of a seed.
buried in the hands of the Savior.
For I found myself on my front porch with a swarm of children chanting Bible Verses after me during our first prayer meeting. And He spoke and said, “see, I have brought it to you.”
A bundle of energy and souls chanting Bible verses on my front porch. They came to me.
“Let us keep our eyes on Jesus! the Author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 They might not be so enthusiastic about it now but the seeds are getting planted.
And football in the yard….
And then a single mom and her two kids in need of a home moved in with us. And then her other son joins us. And He spoke, and said , “See, I have brought it to you.”
My girls, their adopted “sister” and our neighbor, Mike.
And then another mom with two kids, reeling from losing everything to mold issues in her slumlord’s rental property moved in with us. We welcomed her with open arms, knowing full well the reality she was facing. And He again spoke and said, “See, I have brought it to you.”
The house that was so mold infested that it was taking over everything she owned in it.
A leaking roof and flooding basement…and mold all over the place.
Dale, one of our “intentional neighbors” who has moved in with us in order to help, rented a haul so we could try to salvage some of the sentimental items
So here I find myself. With 11 children and 4 adults living in our Shalom house. 15 people gathered for family devotions most nights to study the Word with. And cry out to the Lord with. And get frustrated with. And learn to repent with.
Dinner time is QUITE full as 11 kids gather around the kitchen island.
And here I find myself each Sunday night, with an additional 20-30 kids and adults that join us for dinner, worship and Bible study…all people who are brought to us.
Its crazy and fun and hectic and joyful….taking joy in the Word of God teaching us!
It gives me chills each night when this whole crew is singing, “We love your Word….We love your Word, Oh God.” (see video below)
The adults have worship and Bible study downstairs while the kids do the same thing upstairs
And those people “out there”, that seemed so beyond my capacity to “reach” as my hands are so full of immediate demands, needs, spills, teethe (the TEETH brushing around here! could be a full time job!), little bodies and diapers and hearts that need to unload the struggles of the day, and selfishness that needs to be discipled out of them…well, even in the midst of all the mundane, God started bringing those people “out there” to me, to us, in this Shalom home….so that the Gospel conversations could happen amidst the teethe brushing. And the Bible could be studied, around our large kitchen island that I had to serve my own children at anyways. And crazy family devotions could be had, utilizing these videos, while not just six, but 11 children bounce around. And the moms and I can support each other, and pray for each other, and spur each other on, and yes, get testy with each other, too, all while we are doing what we would all be doing anyways-wrangling small people.
Malachi and one of our “adopted brothers” during family devotions (and No, Malachi is not a prodigy at guitar…he just THINKS he is)
Yes, the Lord of the Harvest, knows full-well how to BRING the harvest. He just needs laborers that are willing to listen to and obey His instructions on how.
And it might not all make sense.
After all, who knew that hunkering down in our little Shalom home and focusing on being faithful in the little things would lay a foundation of basic rhythms of household life that would minister not only to this family of eight but to two additional families, making us a household of 15. When we make ourselves available to be used… We don’t get to choose the purpose. We just need to be a yielded, albeit broken, tool whether it be in the quiet of obscurity coupled with fervent prayer or in the hustle and bustle of a home overflowing with souls, also coupled with fervent prayer.
Either way, the Hands that hold the instrument are more than capable of bringing the task for which we were designed to be used.
Whether it be through the gentle promptings He leads us in, or people literally showing up at your doorstep.