We all want to be the next Mother Teresa or Jim Elliott. We want to Peter after the Upper Room, but not Peter the fisherman. We want to give ourselves to something that actually matters. We want tangible results and we want them now.
But I think it must be in the small things. It’s the small moments of self-sacrifice, faithfulness, and surrender.
Reminiscing on this past year, I think this is what God was building in me.
Flashback to Nov 2015 when I started training for a new job working with (what turned out to be) a woman with disabilities. I was a direct service provider, or a well-trained caregiver. My job included driving an enormous wheel-chair accessible van, administering medications via g-tube, cooking, and changing adult briefs. It wasn’t glamourous and at first it wasn’t what I wanted.
But then the Holy Spirit convicted me that if this is the tangible way that the Lord is allowing me to love a family, then who am I to say no. At what point can I state that a sacrifice is too much? Who do I think I am to say no to an opportunity to be light and love? So I said yes.
My experience was humbling and exhausting, beautiful and encouraging. It was difficult, but I faithfully showed up every Saturday and I think in the process I made friends with my client. She gives the best hugs and she and her family love Jesus! They turned out to be a great blessing to my life and I hope I was one for them as well.
Then last summer, I worked at a summer camp for urban youth. That in itself was moment after moment of surrender and prayer, including cleaning up vomit and other bodily fluids. However, the greatest thing I learned all summer was faithfulness in one of the most unexpected ways. At camp we do something called secret sister. It’s like a secret santa, but happens over the course of five weeks. Everyone is supposed to have a secret sister, but some kind of mix up occurred and I went all summer without receiving a single present.
It didn’t really hit me until the big reveal when everyone gave their secret sis something, I gave mine something, and I got nothing in return. Truth is, I realized about 3 weeks in that I wasn’t going to get a present, but I knew that it was my job to love my secret sis to the best of my ability and let her know that her work was valued and that she was appreciated.
Truth is, I didn’t sleep much that night. I spent my night crying to the Lord about how I felt completely unseen, especially by him. But faithfulness does not require reciprocity. Faithfulness requires commitment and integrity.
Then I spent my fall in Nicaragua, leading a team of 18-21 yr old women in discipleship, ministry, and sometimes tomfoolery. This trip challenged me in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be challenged, but one of my greatest obstacles was my own body. I dealt with fatigue from the first week to the last week.
Fatigue brought many unseen moments of surrender. There were moments when I could only rely on God for my strength to get through the day. Many days my prayers were to have enough energy to what I had to do. There were times when I had to save myself so that I could even be able to serve others. And to be honest, somedays giving my all didn’t look like much.
Still, there was no way that could have made it through those three months without absolute surrender to God, his strength, and the truth that he gives us immeasurably more (even when life would tell me otherwise). I had to believe that he is who he says he is and that a heart surrendered to an incomparable God was actually worth something. I abandoned myself to his will and he turned my not enough into his more than enough.
I share those stories in the hope that you realize it is the small things. It’s the moments that no one sees when a powerful yes is whispered in your heart that I believe the gospel becomes profoundly real. I also tell you these stories because it’s easy to get lost in what appears to be mediocrity and miss the glory of the Lord in the mundane. What may seem to be lacking impact, might actually be greatness in the making. The truth is you aren’t bringing the gospel, your living it. You don’t need a five-point presentation to be light and love. You need a heart that says yes to steadfastness.
The Lord honors your moments of sacrifice, your faithfulness, and your surrender.
Just be love.
-A World Changer
My heart is steadfast oh God,and I won’t be led astrayby the things that quickly fadebefore Your face…I have decidedand I have resolved in my heartthat I will go anywherejust to see your face.