Monday, December 11, 2006

Strength to Serve

Wow. God continues to make the words of 1 Peter 4:11 a reality for me:

"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

The "strength God provides."

I have found, especially lately, that His strength is almost always accompanied by a degree of enthusiasm for and enjoyment in the task at hand. The enthusiasm doesn't always come first, but (in my experience) it does come. He is so faithful!

I did finally stop procrastinating Saturday night. I finished outlining the lessons, which I believe were God-given because they didn't come from a book or curriculum but came into my head and heart after expectant prayer- I knew He would tell me what to teach! And I knew that if He told me what to teach, He would give me the energy in which to do it. For His glory, not mine!

I know the energy was from Him, because I had no sleep Saturday night. It was one of those nights where I was aware as every hour passed. Isn’t that torture?? So, finally by 6:00 or so I just got up. I had my quiet time, got a shower, and put together an outfit. I had my bag already together, grabbed some breakfast and drove for about 45 minutes in the cold, drizzly rain to another city. Even though it was the one morning of the week I usually stay in my pajamas and enjoy much-needed “down time” with my family and I hadn't slept the night before, I was expectant, energetic, ready and so glad to be going. That’s the strength God provides!

I got to our partner church as they were finishing up the adult Sunday School lesson. Bethany had decided to go with me, so we took our seats on the back row after being warmly greeted. We were the only white faces in the entire church that day, and yet we felt so at home! We learned some wonderful truths about God’s love from 1 John. We worshiped, sang and danced with that vibrant congregation for about an hour, then I slipped out with the youth to the other room for our Sunday School lesson. These precious high school kids (no doubt still tired from being out with friends the night before, if memory serves!) who had already heard part of a lesson in the other room and most of whom would go work at jobs that afternoon listened attentively, prayed, laughed, and learned with me for about an hour and a half. That’s the strength God provides!

At about 12:45 we got in the car and headed back down the drizzly highway back toward our own city, where I knew my Awana shirt was waiting on a hanger. At 1:45 I was hurriedly changing and gathering the supplies we needed for our afternoon/evening and we were out the door just after 2:00 to go to the church to decorate for our Awana leader appreciation dinner and the children’s Christmas party. At 4:00, with candles lit and the smell of fajitas wafting throughout the building, we had 100+ leaders in a beautiful room, eating, fellowshipping, and watching with misty eyes and laughing hearts the videos of themselves working with God’s children. Oh, how Luke and I want them to see what we see- the seemingly tireless energy they bring each week and how it is blessing so many families. That’s the strength God provides!

8: 45 PM found us back at home, watching the last of the Cowboy game beating while munching left-over fajitas and thinking back over the wonderful leader dinner and Awana club night. Any one of the events of yesterday, done in my own energy, would’ve left me depleted. But, done in the very real “strength God provides” they were not only doable, but completely enjoyable!

Now, this morning it’s time for our annual trip to the Galleria for ice skating. It is definitely not what I wanted to jump up and do this morning. It’s a gray, foggy Monday morning after a busy, busy weekend and I would so relish time at home with the kids to get caught up on our reading and just… be. But, we do this with our homeschool group every year, and the kids really look forward to it. It would serve them for me to take them and enjoy this with them. So, you know how I’m going to get up off of this couch, put on something cute and drive down another drizzly highway? You guessed it. In the strength God provides.

I pray you'll have a 1 Peter 4:11 week!


relevantgirl said...

I know we're like the same-ish age and all, but will you please adopt me? I think you're soooooo cool. Can't wait to see you SOOOON.


Laurel Wreath said...

I thought I posted on this yesterday, but maybe it did not come through.

Hey I wanted to tell you I have begun to work my way through the book you recommened "Returning to Holiness". I am enjoying it, I just began reading it. Thankyou.

Also I love the verse you have on this post.