{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 9~My Life is My Offering

We are in the middle of a conference at our church. This means longer hours at the church and lots of introductions and get-to-know you conversations. Brad is all in. He shows up early. He uses the meal breaks between sessions to meet with people. He stays late. He stands and talks to conference-attendees until every last person has been attended to.

 Photo courtesy of Brad Sheasby

For me, it’s a juggling act. I am attending as much as I can. I participate hands-on when I’m needed. I attend his sessions and give him constructive feedback. But there’s a whole other side to our life that still needs my attention. We have 5 children who still have to be fed, driven to school, picked up from school (we have 3 different pick-up times this year). They still have homework and need to go to bed at a somewhat decent hour. We have a dog that has to be fed and let out a few times a day.

We had a talk over breakfast at the beginning of the week, explaining to our kids that we have a conference happening this week and why it’s important to serve people and allow them to come to our church and learn and be refreshed. I laid out the schedule for the week so that they would know when they would be at the church with us and when to expect to see their dad. I finished by thanking them. We have wonderful kids. They love our life and they really enjoy being at the church…something I am so thankful for. When I finished thanking and encouraging them, Caleb smiled and said “Mom, we’re there so much it’s like our second home.”

And it is. Yesterday one of our friends made an observation about our youngest two. They were laying on the floor during one of the sessions, watching a movie on Brad’s phone. (I love technology!) He said, “You can tell these are pastors kids. This lobby was full of people and yet they were comfortable watching their movie. They act like they own this place.” I love that. They are comfortable and they love it and we love them.

Honestly, it’s been kind of hectic. It’s a bit crazy trying to get them all settled after school, making sure that I have a change of clothes for those that don’t like to wear their school uniform all evening. I make sure they have a snack after school. I make sure they have dinner. Caleb borrowed a staff computer (thanks, Shannon!)and did his homework in one of the nursery classrooms last night. They’re tired and I somewhat rushed them out last night to avoid the meltdowns that I knew were inevitable if they didn’t get to bed soon.

And God sees all of it. And I know He’s pleased as He’s watching me carry my too-big-to-be-carried 4 year old to the parking lot. I know He smiles as He watches my children introduce themselves to our visitors. Our family is living out ministry…the hard and the fun and the long and the love.

I entered the worship service last night, after settling everyone in their classes. As I took a deep breath, God reminded me of a retreat a few years ago. We were up in the beautiful mountains of Colorado for a retreat with our School of Worship students. It was the first time in a while that we brought all 5 of our children with us. I remember that during one of the evening meetings, I kept trying to engage in worship and my children kept interrupting me. I finally settled in the back of the room with them and then watched as Brad and the other leaders prayed over the students. I felt a bit of resentment as I sat there…one child in my arms, another on my lap, 3 being too noisy as they played with toys and coloring sheets.

And then I heard that familiar whisper. And He told me He was pleased.

He doesn’t see my ministry and my mothering separately. He sees me pouring out my heart for the people around us, even when it’s through prayers from the back of the room. He sees me caring for our children and loving them and making them feel secure and comforted while their Daddy operates in his gifting and calling. He sees us all making sacrifices…even when we’re doing it joyfully, they are still sacrifices. In that moment, He told me that He was happy with me being right where I was and that it wasn’t secondary to being at the front of the room praying for students.

I now know that it is all my offering. The caring for my children, the praying for people, the cleaning my house in preparation for conference guests, the leading of worship from the stage, the hugs and smiles as we’re heading out the door…it is all my offering to Him.

We as people sometimes elevate certain ministries above others…worship leading, praying, preaching…above mothering, floor sweeping, administrating. But it doesn’t work that way in God’s Kingdom. He sees us all the same. We are all responsible to steward what He has given. Whether it’s a gift for speaking, worship leading, mothering, administration, serving…we are all important and wanted and valued.

And He sees it all and He smiles and loves and accepts our offering. No matter how small in man’s eyes, it is our offering of the heart and intention that He is focused on. He is more pleased with an assistant who smiles and serves whole-heartedly than a worship leader who is haughty and arrogant. He accepts the offering of a life-laid down, whether it is in the public eye or from the rocking chair in the nursery.

We are all the same, though different in deed, the goal is the same for us all. Sacrifice, offering, serving…all done as worship to our God.

 

 This post is part of the series {31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way}. Did you miss a lesson? Catch up here.

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