Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another snippet--- out of order... like my house, at this point...;)

Below you'll find another snippet of my project "Missional Mom".... just for fun... the bits and pieces I share here, are roung and not ready--- but just here to let you take a peek into what I'm working on;) ts

What is a “Missional Mom”?

In the middle of the night, the missionary closed her eyes in silent prayer. “Oh Jesus, I need your help.” Since responding to the call to missions, her nights had become times of struggle, tears and exhaustion. The natives were most needy at night. It was also at night, that the missionary was most tired.

All day long, she fed the hungry, clothed the naked and bound up both broken bodies, and the broken hearted. Over time, she had gained the natives’ trust, and they requested her judgment, in their social squabbles. In meeting the needs of those she ministered to, she cleaned, she cooked and she served. She also spent time in working to support her ministry financially. It was exhausting, and exhilarating at the same time. Boring and adventurous.

“Oh Jesus, I need your help”

The same prayer was on her lips the day she discovered God’s call on her life, to join the mission field. There had been a rare, visible sign, that day. One that had made clear to her, what He was planning for her.

A visible “blue double line”, sign. Blue double lines, in the tiny window of her home pregnancy test. “Oh Jesus, I need your help” She prayed then, too.

I know this, because the missionary, is me. Those blue double lines, were one of the most concrete messages God, has ever given me. It was my “Clear Blue Easy” calling into the mission field of mothering. Since that day, it has been an adventure that has been just as dangerous, thrilling and sometimes as mind numbingly boring, as any other mission field.

I am a wife of 18 years. I am a Mom to 3 boys, 17, 14 and (surprise) 4. I am a neighbor, and a friend.

I am a missionary. I’ve clothed little naked children, I’ve fed hungry stomaches. (Sometimes, I wonder if teenagers have some kind of strange mission field parasite, that causes this never ending hunger!) I’ve been the judge over countless “native counsels” where wisdom was required. “Who’s turn is it on the computer?” is a common one, at this point.

I’ve had to learn their changing cultures, from Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, to online gaming and internet safety. I’ve grown in my skill of understanding their languages and meeting their needs. Mostly, I've learned it the hard way.

FYI: “What up, Dawg?” sounds ridiculous when it comes from a mom of teens mouth.

I’ve been supportive of my husband, through struggles and job changes, sickness and health. I’ve tried to make sure there is (at least occasionally) time for sex, in a marriage crammed with responsibilities. All along I’ve prayed the same prayer as the day I was called. “Oh Jesus, help me.”

There are languages and cultures I’ve had to learn to understand and respect, like the world of Dora the Explorer, and online gaming, The culture of a business man, and the language of a marketing executive. I have learned the socio-cultural ritual of deer hunting. I have learned to live with and love my native neighbors, whether they are Muslim, Hindi or cranky yard gestapo members. There is no doubt, that I am a missionary. Right here in my home.

If you’re reading this, I say with confidence, so are you. Regardless of how you came into mothering, whether conventionally, through marriage and pregnancy, finding your “Clear Blue Easy” double “calling” line, like I did, or through single parenting or step parenting or adoption, you are called.


sue said...

Ok,Ok, now you have me hooked line and sinker!! You go Girl! Blessings

Margie said...

wow, that was great! Praying for you. i think I am a missional mom too

Amydeanne said...

I had a surprise... actually 2/3 were surprises.. it's amazing God's sense of humor sometimes isn't it?

I love it!
Keep writing!!!

The Imperfect Christian said...

Wow, you make SO much sense!! Maybe my Laced With Grace post was God's way of leading me to this site and the idea of how to be a missionary in my own home! Thank you so much for sharing. You have touched me with your words!!

Vicki Sue said...

You're awesome sister, I love you.
I can't wait to see what you and God do together on this project.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on your website--I did a search on "missional family" and found you!!

I am a dad of four young children, and a minister at my church. The church is suburban and very successsful, whatever that means. We home school our children and have realized we have been living a rat race. Back and forth to church, back and forth to small groups, etc., etc. Compared to the world, our children have it all. We want our children to be missional.

So--I am working on a doctorate in worship studies. My doctoral project is "The Mission Driven Family: Leading Young Families to Discover their Unique and Radical Missional Calling through the Practice of In Home Worship." I am taking a group of families (busy and "godly" ones) and practicing family worship with the hope that missional living will ensue.

Reading your post was interesting because I sense that you have come to the conclusion that you are missional simply by showing mercy to your children, caring for them, entering into their world, understanding their culture, etc.

First, I would love to know if you have any ideas on leading missional family worship. Second, I still wonder whether or not it is "enough" for us to comfortably move through our lives--yes, we are reaching out to our children, clothing them, feeding them--but are we really teaching them to be missional?

My family is a lot like yours--I know exactly what you are saying--and it is comforting to think, "yeah...I am missional because I constantly give of myself to my family"--but is that enough? Is that taking up our crosses? I don't know the answer. In fact, I am afraid my thesis might "fail"--most people I talk to are not excited about notching up their missional activity (adopting a child, feeding the REALLY hungry, clothing the naked orphan, reaching out in mercy, perahps going overseas, etc). Most of us don't even invite friends to church--and most churches aren't real conducive to bringing in the lost anyway.

Well, I hope you get this.

Tracey, in MI said...

Rusty- very interesting points.

This blog is a place to "try out" some of the themes I am working on for a book project. It's being written to give women both a vision for God's calling to minister to their family- adn value that call- and to encourage and equip them to reach out beyond their front door.

Many women feel overwhelmed by the global needs- and so- do nothing. Others, devote their time to larger global needs- missing out the opportunities with the neighbor next door.

The book has two distinct parts:

One- a womans primary ministry is towards her family- living the Gospel in that context first. (This encompasses both her example- what she does towards those outside her family- feeding the hungry etc and meeting the needs of her family)
That is evidenced first in her ministry towards her husband- then her children.

Two- she is then called out- to those around her. In her localand then global context-primarily through relationships.

I do think I get what you're saying- I have been working with women in an International Ministry- (MOPS Intl. for around 17 years. In working through this project- I think it's important to model balance and biblical priorities. Often times, when one becomes passionate about reaching out and loving others- the home (primary- mission field) can become neglected- leaving the children and spouses God has blessed us with negative views of God- (they may think: " my parents cared more about the homeless than they did about me" or something to that effect) because of this neglect. Not the representation of God's love I want to live before my guys;) Nor- is it one that will draw them into a deeper relationship with God.

A chapter I'm currently working on- is how my kids are learning to live missionally- in the context of our public high- school. First- we have the opportunity to teach them through listening and countering some of the messages they recieve- but more exciting- THEY are taking the Gospel into the context of their school- speaking truth where only current cultural understandings are being communicated... etc. I'm just glad that they had a foundation to stand on before they went into this context. It can be brutal.
Another point I think is important, and have tried to communicate on the blog- is that the "poor, the hungry the destitute" to whom we're called to share the Gospel- take a number of different forms- all equally important to God - and desperate for His touch. Some are physically hungry- others are "fat" physically- (have their needs easily met by their income) but anorexic spiritually. Those are no less important to reach out to. Some are widows in a physical sense- and some in the context of unhealthy marriages. I also think it's important to see all the orphans around us- those near- far and next to us - those without healthy amilial relationships--- can find connection in the body of Christ- whether they are "legally" adopted or not.

That being said- I hear what you're saying--- the above perspectives COULD become excuses not to move out of our comfort zone to reach out in love to those with the most basic needs. I think it's imperative to do BOTH.

I guess one of the concerns I have in general is- that we not miss the opportunities that God has for us RIGHT where we are. I live in the suburbs. The Gospel is desperately needed here- where people live empty lives of "pretty" desperation. That's the place I START..... but then- there is so much more.

Hoping this makes sense-