Thursday, August 16, 2012

Leadership, Love and How to Live

So many thoughts lately. Not sure where to begin. I hope this somehow makes sense and brings life to your life like it has to mine.

So, for a while now I've had this guilt growing in my heart. Ugly, ungodly, guilt and shame about not wanting a baby. Zach and I love our life. We love our Allie with every ounce of our beings, but we do not have a desire for more children.

Fact: This has not been my plan for most of my life.

For 24 or so years my plan was to be a mom, specifically a stay-at-home mom. That just was always my goal and ambition. But a few years back that desire slowly started to fade like a colorful quilt that's been in a sunny bedroom too long. At first, I didn't notice my desire diminishing, but then one day, all of a sudden, the colors in that dream for my life were washed out.

I'm not sure why this happened and if it's permanent or temporary, but it did, and I feel guilty. I feel guilty because practically everyone I know has children, is having children, wants children, and wants us to have new, small, baby versions of ourselves too. It seems like the natural thing to do, the thing everyone does, so then... why don't we want that for our life?

I don't know. And I wrestle with this. And the only conclusion I have come to is that... it is not God's plan for our life right now. He wants something else. And like I've written before it's very probable that our life is more about birthing songs than babies and that is ok.

IT IS OK.

And that doesn't mean I don't love kids. It doesn't mean I don't adore all the children I know and am overjoyed when a friend is expecting. It doesn't mean I have abandoned God's plan. It just means... his plan for us is different.

Anyways, recently these thoughts, as well as a lot more about my job/purpose/influence in this world were bouncing around my head and I came across another great post on The Resurgence. It really encouraged me that God designed us to work and that is not limited to the home. If you are someone who works in your home, caring for children and training them up to be independent kingdom builders, that is awesome. God is using you. If you aren't (because you can't have kids or don't feel called to have children), God is using you too, wherever you are working.

On top of this, last week I attended the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit with my team at FHC.
It was so encouraging to me to see a number of women who spent their lives in business, in ministry, working for non-profits, and really making a difference in the world outside their home.

Listening to Sheryl WuDunna Chinese American business executive, author, lecturer, and the first Asian American to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Other speakers included Bill Hybels (Willow Creek), Condoleezza Rice, Jim Collins, Marc Kielburger, Patrick Lencioni, William Ury, Pranitha Timothy, Mario Vega, John Ortberg, and Geoffrey Canada.

In addition to just being encouraged by the speakers, I was inspired. A few quotes from the 2-day summit include:

"Stay curious... stay courageous... and stay experimental."
This was a charge by Bill Hybels, founder and pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. This is how I want to live/work/and do ministry.

"Chronic inconsistency = mediocrity." 
This is true in all areas of life and I so desire consistency and excellence.

"Creativity is the human condition. Discipline is not." 
I love this quote. And those of you who don't feel creative because you aren't artsy or crafty or Queen/King of Pinterest Land should love this quote too. You are born to be creative and creativity doesn't just take shape in the physical realm. Creativity can be the way you approach problems to how you organize a project. Since we are made in the image of the most incredible creator ever, it's only natural that we would all be creative in different ways.

"The local church is the hope of the world."
In Bill Hybels' closing statements he said this and it really addressed the importance of my work at FHC. It's not just a job, it's not just cool stuff for kids, it's not even just so they would come to know the truth about Jesus. It's so that they want to go out in the world and make a difference in the name of Christ because of Christ. Bill also challenged everyone to start their days reading this prayer.
I encourage you to do the same, dedicating whatever you do wherever you do it to God.

And lastly...
"We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love."
Marc Kielburger said this, re-quoting Mother Teresa and I LOVE it. I am trying so hard to live this way and just do small things - each day, each week, each month with great love.

For me, it started with having two girls who are involved in student ministry and volunteer in children's ministry over to my house. Brisa and Emily were both in the student LifeGroup I co-led last year. They also both went with our student ministry to Haiti this summer and I wanted to hear all about their first international mission experience.

Sadly, I did not take pics of any of our food or even of us, but here's the table!
(By the way, I think I want to eat all meals with taper candles on the table. I just love them. :)

Em took this of me
Our sweet treats
Following on the coattails of this Mother Teresa quote, I read Bob Goff's new book called Love Does.
OMG do I love this book! (Thanks Lindsay Knuckles for the rec!) I tore through this book in less than 24 hours and loved every second. The stories, the spiritual significance, the life lived in the moment with influence and meaning reached out from the pages and grabbed my soul. It seriously just reignited my passion for adventure, spontaneity, and set ablaze my desire to live each day with great love.

Now I know we don't have quite the same resources as Bob. I can't jump on a plane tomorrow to go celebrate our daughter's 12th birthday with high tea in London or rush off to India in a moments notice to save enslaved children, but I can love extravagantly even if my resources are measured and modest.

That's the beauty of love. It knows no socioeconomic boundaries. It is not a luxury. It is not earned.

Love is for all and it's free.

I'm not sure what God is doing in my heart and what he has planned for me, but I'm excited to see what rises up and to see the legacy of love that is left behind from small things done with extravagant love.


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