Thursday, June 9, 2016

Labor of Love

This morning I set my alarm for earlier than I had to and went outside on the balcony. Most of the kids were still sound asleep, and as I munched on Captain Crunch I inhaled the greatness of God and thought about just how small I am.

Then I thought of how the God that I serve created this whole earth. A verse Dana had read to us came to my mind again, staring out at those majestic mountains. "The heaven declares the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

And while I seem tiny against that huge backdrop of blue skies and towering mountains, I was reminded by God that as humans, we are the only part of the creation that bears His image. What an honor! What a responsibility!

As I drove home today, I was reflecting on the body of Christ and how we all have our own parts. Each of us in uniquely made, with a specific purpose. Too often I think we make that purpose complicated. It's easy to look at someone else and see how they are contributing in a big way, while we sit on the back pew each Sunday and occasionally go up front to sing with the Pastor calls on us.

And y'all... God spoke to me. Not like in an audible way, because He probably knew that since I was driving I didn't need to be startled... but in that still small voice that made tears prick my eyes.

Sometimes, the very thing that seems so small to us (or even to others) is a big deal to God because He desires obedience.

See, I don't like to drive.

In fact, I detest it. I wrecked a car when I was four and failed my drivers test not once but twice (And yes, I'm still friends with my insurance agent!) and get nervous when I have to merge. So as we set off to Tennesee Tuesday morning, I was a little bit nervous. I dreaded going through Knoxville because switching on the interstate, but told myself I had to learn because what if Kami needed me sometime??? No time like the present, right?

So as we neared one of the trickier places I told the three tween/teenage boys chatting about video games and energy drinks that I needed them to be quiet for just a few minutes, and Deacon said, "Don't you like to drive?"

"No, she doesn't." Caleb answered emphatically. "Last year she cried."

I went on to tell Deacon that it was a labor of love for me to drive that car to Tennessee. "If I didn't love y'all, I'd gladly stay home."

But you know how God has a way of taking how you're trying to be a blessing and giving it back to you?

Well, if I hadn't performed that "labor of love" I would have missed out.

I would have missed out on riding a water slide with Caleb three times in a row, each time screaming my head off while he laughed behind me.

I would have missed out on Deacon's grace, "God, we've got some Pizza Hut and it's going to taste good, so bless it for our nourishment."

I would have missed out on holding Audrey Jones while her Mama rode some of those slides, playing "this little piggy" and almost coaxing a smile from around her pacifier. At one point, she almost forgot that she didn't really know the person holding her and leaned back in my arms for just a moment, and those little curls rubbed against my cheek, and I thought about how close little children are to angels.

I would have missed out on smiles from Braylee.

I would have missed out on seeing how caring my Caleb is around younger kids.

I would have missed out on listening to splashing in the pool and laughing and "Marco Polo".

I would have missed out on hiking up to Clingman's Dome, taking in the awesome view at the top and being reminded of how great God is, and reflecting on His miracle working as I watched Lisa Gross hike back down the hill.

I would have missed out on Lily rolling her eyes at me and Haley saying, "Why do we have to take so many pictures???"

I would have missed out on whizzing through the hills at night on the Coaster, listening to Deacon scream in front of me and seeing him at the bottom proclaim that "That was awesome!", and hearing how Brittany kept hers wide open so that Amber could have the ride of her life.

I would have missed out on stuffing marshmallows and chocolate and Reeses pieces and caramel sauce into waffle cones, and getting marshmallow in my hair, and seeing bright eyes glimmer as they bit into that gooey concoction. (And I would have missed out on my own waffle cone s'more, which would have been a tragedy!)

I would have missed out on laughing so hard my belly hurt as Deacon told us how he fell off the float on the Storm Chaser.

I would have missed out on sitting on the bed and talking with Sophie and Sabrina while their Mom got ready for bed, and telling Sabrina she better not snore too loud, and having her come right back at me with ,"You better not, either!"

By staying in our comfort zone, we miss the fear and anxiety of the unknown... but we also miss those blessings.

And too often we can let Satan convince us that it's not good enough, or it's not that big of a deal...

But then I thought of my Mamaw Na (which I do a lot). I thought of how many church trips she'd made to the Smoky Mountains, and how many lives she touched just through those simple, small things.

All because she made herself available, and served her part in the Body.

(And also because she had a trusty van driver, but we each have our part. His just seemed to be what Naomi told him to do a lot of the time.)

And I'm pretty sure she'd join me in saying that every trip she took blessed her more than she blessed...

Because our God's like that.

And I'm reminded that it's a cycle, that we're told to tell our children of the greatness of God and His many blessings, and how we all have a little bit of the generations before us that make us who we are...

And we have Christ in us.

Who helps us perform those labors of love even when we think they are impossible.

Because His grace is sufficient. Always.

And also I made it back through Knoxville to live to tell the tale!

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