07 April 2010

Why am I Working?

This is the question my husband posed to me earlier today. It's a question I confront myself with occasionally. Unlike my darling husband, I don't have an intrinstic need to work. There are honestly plenty of things at our house that I can do that make me feel "fulfilled" and un-lazy.

Of course, there is the practical aspect - in order to save money right now, I need to work at least a little. We will not be in a healthy financial position to have children in the near future if I am not at least somewhat gainfully employed. It is also pretty stressful (health-wise) to not have savings; I know it's taking a toll right now on the both of us that Stephen has not been receiving full paychecks (and will not again this month); we've had to deplete our savings almost entirely and will have to rely on this year's tax return until we have more GCM support in the account for which we are responsible.

I know that these are things we often, as a society, don't talk about except vaguely, but I tell you them because they are important to me. And, because we are entirely supported by people who believe in the ministry to which God has called us, I think it's good for some to know that, although so many of our supporters, the large majority, are faithfully giving and getting us in contact with others who may be excited about what God's doing at Texas A&M, this is a hard season we're walking through. I will not receive a paycheck for the work I have done in March, and probably will not receive one for April, either. I'm so greatful to have health insurance, and to have that almost covered by now.

Why am I working this job? Full-time ministry, at least as I know it from watching Stephen, is not a cake-walk. And, when you add the burden of being financially support-based on top of that, I honestly think most people could not do it without having a strong sense that God has called them to it. I couldn't. I can't currently make anyone a promise that I'll be able to complete the inital support-raising process. This is more difficult than any other job I've had by far.

But. I really do believe God told me to. and if He tells you to do something, it's in your best interest to do it. God's not a jerk (even though I have called Him that name in recent days); He doesn't make us do things we don't like just to watch us squirm. He doesn't call us to the hardest path there possibly is just to make things hard on us. He's not a drill instructor or an intimidating coach or even a parent that "believes in you" a little too much. I do know, I know He knows what's best for me, and I know He loves me more than I will know until I see Him face to face. I know my Redeemer lives, and yet while I am in my flesh I will see Him, I and not another. I know.

I miss doing ministry desperately, and that's one aspect that has made my life currently miserable. I miss my girls. I miss my home group. I miss being at my home church every Sunday. I miss being able to set aside quality time for people instead of having to work them around meetings with others I have not yet met. I hope I am blessing the people I'm currently spending the most time with, but I'm honestly not sure I am; most of the time I feel like I'm working to make them not feel uncomfortable with me or what I'm challenging them to pray about. I'm also spending the majority of my time alone, which is not very good for me. So there are a lot of factors that are currently hard. But. I know He lives in me. And He won't take me into something without going with me. So here I am.

06 April 2010

Generations and Tattoos

So. There have been a lot of conversations to which I've been a party that have focused on generational, cultural differences among believers. I trust or hope that it's not only me that sees interactions between the generations as sometimes strained and at least not ideal.

There's just not a lot of understanding going on, I believe on either side of the line. Or even a desire to understand. Young people think the grown ups just don't want to "get them," and I think the grown ups think the young people are just rebellious. I think, personally, that this is a travesty that is keeping the Church from reaching her full potential.

Beloved young ones, we NEED our elders. Who else can we learn from - what to do as well as what not to do? We stand on their shoulders. It was never God's intention that each generation start over again. That's also just a dumb idea. We need to know what we will face as we grow up and older. We need examples. We need idea springboards. We need, occasionally, a good dose of practicality. We need them.

Beloved wise ones, you NEED young bloods. You need their alternate way of viewing things. You need the another perspective on how to do things. You need ideas that may not have occurred to you. You need to remember that the Church does not belong to you, even though you may have spent the majority of your lives sacrificing for her. You need us.

What I want to see, desperately, are young people submitting to older people. And I desperately want to see older people respecting and validating younger people.

For me, recently, this has come up in the area of tattoos. Yes, I have five tattoos. I got three of them before I was a believer, but I really love having permanent reminders of things I've gone through and things I know I'll always believe in. I love taking art with me on my body. It's okay if you don't. It's okay if I do. I have listened to the Lord about it, and for me, I honestly believe He's okay with it.

Most of all, I love the conversations that start that would never have come into being without having "ink." College kids will (gasp!) turn off their ipods to ask me what my tattoo means. It's AWESOME! It's so hard to get strangers to talk to you nowadays. Not kidding, grown ups. It's not like it was on campus 20 years ago. or even 10.

People always ask me about my tattoo on my wrist. It says "fraternite'" (sorry for the lack of accents in Blogger), which roughly means "brotherhood." I love it because, when I shake hands with people, I'm reminded that really, we're siblings. I should love them like I love my brother and my siblings in law. They're frikkin important to me. But it's not about Jesus, or not really. I want a tattoo people can see that will lead me right into a conversation about the living God. I want it so badly I'm willing to pay money to undergo pain for it.

It's not for the attention. Or not in the way it seems older people may think.

It's not so I can look cool or tough.

It's not so people will think I'm hip or rebellious or attractive or anything else.

It's a fantastic tool to promote daily doses of evangelism. And it's gonna be PRETTY! :) :) :)

But it does put me at a loss as to what to do. Does it cause the older ones to stumble if I get another tattoo in a visible place? Paul became all things to all people for the sake of the Gospel. But I'm primarily reaching out to young people, and not empty-nesters. What do I do that's honoring without cowing down? Seriously, what do I do?