Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obedience vs Results

Being in the ministry, it is always so encouraging to be able to see when your efforts bring about positive change in the people you are working with. However, the reality of it is that it is more often day after day without notable improvement in many cases. Rey is the one who is "out on the streets" on the daily basis, so he is the one that feels this more regularly. The thing that always impresses me is I've never heard him dragging his feet to go out or complaining about people's less the friendly reception.

The other day, Rey asked me if I could get a small bag of groceries together for a family they had met in the community they were going to that day. The woman's husband committed suicide about 3 wks ago, and left her to tend to their 5 children as best she could. As I was getting the bag together, I asked him whatever happend to "the old man". The old man was a man in his late 70's they had met in another community that seemed to be left to fend for himself out on the edge of town. For several weeks, the team had been taking some groceries and prayers out to him--even though the man was practically deaf and it couldn't be too readily seen how much he was taken in. Rey said, "Oh, we haven't been able to find him these last couple visits." This got me thinking about how often we extend our hand to people and then it seems that we never know if what we did had some kind of impact. I found myself wondering if the bag I was preparing for the family would have any kind of visible results. If it would touch them as we hoped it would.

That is when the idea of "obedience vs results" came into my mind. You see, I am more often the one to analyze: "Was that a waste of time? The person didn't seem affected..." Or, I become offended and less eager to reach out to a needy person the next time around.

"To obey is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15)

"But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices
God is well-pleased." (Hebrews 13)

We all know God's multiple promises of blessing to those who "extend their hand to the poor and needy". What I need to remember, is God doesn't ever speak of "results"! And, that my desire for results as practically always linked to my desire for praise (aka: my pride)--not a true desire for that person to find his hope and life in Jesus.

Can I share some acts of obedience Rey has demonstrated that have born "no results"--but I am sure have stored him away treasure in heaven, while speaking to me?

  • He found an old, crippled woman in the streets and helped her get back to her house. She was very obviously supersticious and closed to the Gospel, but upon arriving at her house, Rey felt that God told him to wash her feet. He asked if he could, and she gave him permission to. He did so, prayed over her--and hasn't seen her since.
  • Last week, we were enjoying the evening at a downtown plaza, when a man with no legs appeared. He was sitting on a crude, home-made cart (basically a piece of plywood over 4 wheels) that he pushed along with his hands. We were eating guayabas, so Rey took about four of them over to him. The man got very annoyed and refused to take them.
  • Almost every stoplight here in town has people (from scruffy kids to adults) asking for money. They have gotta be happy when they see Rey coming, because he always finds some kind of change in his pocket to give them--usually along with a Gospel tract.

And so it goes. Rey is an example of constantly finding love for the unlovely, and the humility to extend himself in ministry--even after rebuttal. I love my man!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


As anyone who has talked to me in the last month or two knows, I have stumbled upon a book that has absolutely revolutionized how I understand people (and how they undestand me)--and helped me to not try to apply my personality to others. The book is Nurture by Nature by Paul & Barbara Tieger. I picked it out from my aunt's library, wondering whether it would be "one of those" dry psychological reads. Turns out, it is just the opposite and I highly reccomend it--especially to parents because it really does help you be patient with your child.

Take our family for example... I am an ENFJ, while Rey is a ISFP and Noah is a ISTJ. Even if you don't know what those letters stand for, you can see that Rey and Noah have a LOT more in common with each other...while I basically am their opposite!! (I'm hoping this baby on the way can throw some "E" my way--help a lady out here!)

But, in learning about Noah's personality, I learned that:

  • His personality is one of attaching to one person, usually his mama. Ahhh, yes.

  • His personality has a very heightened awareness of his 5 senses. Hence his knowing from 3 days old who was holding him, noticing every new thing around him, and being very particular (read: annoyed) about any kind of stickiness. When he was a couple months old, it took us a while to figure out that he wasn't sleeping because we had changed his sheets from smooth summer cotton to a fuzzy winter flannel. He didn't like it.

  • His personality doesn't like changes or undefined/unpredictable things. So, new people's houses, the nursery, people picking him up--basically anything he doesn't feel that he can predict/control makes him extremely agitated. Example: He loves the slide (he can grab on the sides to slow himself) but he hates the swing (can't control it).

  • He needs a lot of time and warning when it's time to transition to a new activity. He is a lad of extreme concentration, so just yanking him out of thought world is a traumatic thing for him indeed.

  • He is not a risk-taker. No indeed.

You have no idea how "freeing" it was for me as a mom to know that so many things really were just "Noah" and not a fault of my not socializing him enough or of not forcing him into new activities enough (things I'd been told). Basically, Noah is his own little particular self who is very happy and easy if he's given time to warm up to a situation and feels very assured that I will be nearby. This can be frustrating if I look at him through my personality--which loves new things, surprises, socializing and CHANGE!! But, when looking at him through his personality, it makes sense and gives Noah space to be who he is--while hopefully I can help mold him into the best "version of his personality" that he can be.

Check out the book... Pretty cheap on Amazon!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pregnancy Apologies

So, a few weeks of battling for more than 4 hours of sleep a night and being uncomfortable 24 hours a day has me feeling sorry for the people that have to be around me.

Sorry, Noah.

Sorry that I can't play in the rough-and-tumble way that you like so much. Little sibling makes crawling around, falling to the floor and any kind of bending over really hard. Sometimes, I am moved by how happy even my smallest attempts at playing with you "like we used to" make you. Sorry I can't do that more.

Sorry that you are watching way more movies. The idea of scampering up and down those 30-40 steps overwhelms me at times. I know I should be providing you with much more stimulating ways of playing, but--for now--it's all I got.

Sorry that for reasons you can't control, I am far less patient with you. Sorry if I get really annoyed with your need for interaction and sorry we don't chat as much (sure can't wait 'till our conversations are "two-sided"!).

Sorry, because I know that sometimes you just want to spend time being held and snuggled by mommy, but I get tired faster and sometimes your sibling-on-the-way starts beating me up because you're sitting on her head.

Sorry, Rey.

Sorry that I'm completely useless to the world by 8:30 pm.

Sorry that I'm not much better in the morning.

Sorry that you have to share the bed with about 100 pillows, and that my constant tossing and getting in and out of bed keeps you awake at night, too.

Sorry that I can really only do one thing a day. You are either getting a really clean house with all the laundry done and everything sanitized. Or, you are getting some really yummy eats. Or, you are getting a son who is receiving a lot of attention. Or, you are getting attention. Some day... maybe never...I'll learn how to get a little bit of everything into a day!

Sorry you get to relax less because I can't do as much of my share of things.

Sorry because I can't promised a bettering of the situation for another... oh... 15 years or so.

Sorry, world.

Sorry that you have to watch a somewhat dazed version of myself shuffle around, bumping into things and forgetting my thought half-way through a sentence. Sorry that you have to watch me shift around into the closest thing to a comfortable position... and that you have to avert your eyes as I 1-2-3 heeeeave myself up off the couch and to the bathroom, for the 83rd time today.

These things should clear themselves up in a fairly timely manner. I think. You hope.