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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rest and Trust


Racing thoughts spilled over the rim of Nicole’s mind. The annual ladies retreat was only a week away and the musician was suddenly unavailable. Her two teenagers were getting out of hand. Prayer meeting was in an hour and dinner wasn’t near ready. She dropped the vegetables on the counter and pulled out the cutting board.

Grateful the church was only ten minutes away, she considered other ingredients on hand to throw into a summer salad she could call dinner. The leftover chicken would add protein. Fresh pecans would delight her husband. And she was pretty sure there was a bottle of everybody’s favorite dressing in the fridge. It just might work.

Her hands flew as she started chopping. Clack, clack, clack. The knife’s rhythm somehow calmed her breathing. By the time she broke open the bell pepper and rinsed it, she was absorbed in the task. Her palm pressed into the handle as she sliced through the red vegetable’s skin. Bite-size pieces materialized.

She didn’t notice the blood until she rested the onion on the board. Dropping the knife, she reached across and grabbed at her injured thumb. Exerting pressure to close the wound, she stepped to the sink and pushed at the faucet with her elbow. The scarlet stream sent balls of light floating before her eyes. Her forearms caught her body weight against the counter’s edge. What now?

Once her head cleared Nicole inspected the injury and decided to treat it herself. While she alternated between applying pressure and wrapping gauze around the gash she turned to the Lord for solutions to her dilemma. Surely He created her for more than the incessant pressure that drove her.

She called her daughter to come finish the salad. When her son appeared to announce his hunger, she had him set the table. What would happen if I took on less?

They joined hands as her husband prayed. “Eat up, kids. We don’t want to be late.” The ping of forks on porcelain kept a bustling pace.

“Jeff, my hand is sore. I think I’ll stay home.” Nicole paused to check his reaction.

“That sounds like a good idea. Are you sure you’ll be all right by yourself? Caroline can stay with you.” Anxiety laced his words. “Can I pick up anything for you at the store?”

She closed her eyes as she took a cleansing breath. “No, dear. I’ll be fine.” Concern left his face and teased out a smile on hers. “Would you mind asking Joan Bennet to find a replacement musician for the retreat? I can’t think of anyone.”

“Sure. I’ll be happy to take care of that. Joan’s got connections. I’m sure she’ll find someone. Don’t worry.” He wiped his mouth with the checkered napkin. “Okay, kids. Let’s go.”

Peace I [Jesus] leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).


Brief Bio
Sandra Allen Lovelace is a continuing missionary, a pastor’s wife emeritus, and a homeschool pioneer. She’s a well-respected speaker and author known for her candor and warmth. Sandra’s current manuscript invites wallflower women to enjoy the life God created them to live. She enjoys hiking with a camera in her hand, best done on an international adventure. Sandra and her husband Curt are transitioning to South Carolina.

Get to know Sandra at her website, http://sandraallenlovelace.com/
You can also connect with Sandra on Facebook. If you contact her at Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ she’ll be delighted by a reason to practice.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FOMO for PKs in Small Churches


I want the best for my kids. We all do. It’s part of being a mother.

When God called us overseas, we had to forsake a loving nursery where every worker had a background check, followed by a well-structured, modern children’s program, and culminating in a large, energetic youth group. Without these, I was anxious about the spiritual education of my children.

·         Who would teach them the Bible stories?
·         Would they be “normal kids” without pizza parties and emphasis weekends?
·         How would they learn how to battle PEER PRESSURE?!?
·         What if they never learned “Jesus Loves Me”?!?!? (I was happy to avoid “Father Abraham,” because that song just drives me crazy.)

Maybe you’re in the same position. Maybe you live in a place with no churches or you serve in a small church with no “quality” programs for families. Maybe your FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has kicked in, too, and you think God might be short-changing your children for the sake of the unreached people around you.

I did.

One day, I was almost crying as I walked through the narrow streets of our city, torn by my conflicting responsibilities, when the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks. Literally; I stopped walking and may have stopped breathing for a second there. In prayer, I realized something I should have known all along: God loved my children just as much as He loved the lost person I was going to visit. He was equally interested in the spiritual development of my children and my lost friend. Sure, I knew it intellectually, but this fact hit me at a heart level. I knew His purposes in bringing us to this far-away place included my children. I knew their souls were not sacrificed on the altar of service.

Over the next few months, I began to notice the depth of their spiritual understanding. I taught them “Jesus Loves Me,” but they loved and trusted the Bible at a deeper level than that. They prayed incredible prayers, and they spoke of faith issues with confidence.

Another mom in church planting felt the same way. She watched her children learn how to pray for lost people. She saw their faith deepen from sitting in small groups with adults because there were no children’s programs. She, too, is glad for the lack.

There are many great things happening in larger churches with children’s programs and youth groups, but don’t bemoan your church’s lack of such things. Don’t think your children are missing out because your church plant, small church, or house church lacks programs for kids. God will place people and events in your children’s lives that strengthen and expand their faith in unique ways. He loves them just as much as He loves the people you’re trying to reach with the gospel.

And as far as I know, my kids still haven’t learned “Father Abraham.” Whew!



Question for Reflection: Are you anxious about some aspect of parenting because of ministry? Relax into God’s faithfulness and watch Him mold your children for good in that exact area.

About the Author:

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.comor on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


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