When I look back on our time in China, one "lesson" rises to the top for me. I was asked to come on this team to take care of our grandchildren. I was delighted to say yes and the moment I was asked, it was affirmed in my heart that this was a calling for me. I am committed to helping our kids, Joel and Rachel, in their ministry and this was the current way they were asking for the kind of support I give.
Every morning my job was to play, teach, laugh, sing, dance, snuggle, encourage, and love on these two little sweethearts, ages 2 1/2 and 14 months. They easily slipped into the routine and knew what to expect when mom and dad kissed them goodbye and shut the door. There were times when another leader and her two-year-old son, Noah, joined us and they all ran, laughed and played in the hallway or in our room. While eating a snack, changing diapers and reading stories, the time just flew! Before long it was time to strap Charles into the front pack and pop Lucy into the stroller and make the long trek to meet the others for lunch.
But, if you know me, you know how attracted I am to spiritual things. The others who came on this trip got to go to class every morning where they studied American and Chinese culture. Our team met every morning to study the book of Mark and to pray. They were divided into small groups that met regularly and on Sundays they worshipped, prayed, and spent the day quietly enjoying rest and renewal.
Most of that was done while I was with Lucy and Charles.
One Sunday morning the kids and I sat in on the beginning of the team's worship time. As we sang and prayed together, I was loving it! But soon the little ones grew restless and I knew they had to be taken out. As I closed the door and escorted them into the hallway, I felt tears welling up, disappointed that I could not stay and worship with the others.
But a thought came to me. Perhaps the Spirit of God was telling me...
Being with the babies is what I called you here for...
This is your worship...
Here is your joy.
I felt in that moment, that God was telling me that doing what I was called to do was a way to worship Him...just as lovely as singing words to Him. I knew that my joy on this trip would be in loving and being present with them, not wishing I was somewhere else.
And it played out to be true. Sometimes I felt compelled to tell Joel, at the end of the morning, "I found joy in these two today! God blessed me today through them. I love being with them!"
I believe this idea has a larger scope than just me in China with our grandkids. Since coming home I have talked to people who are wishing they were somewhere else, doing something else, but they are finding themselves in a "waiting room." They could be doing so much good...elsewhere. And it is true!
But God has joy to give in unexpected places.
He has me here at home now, preparing for a Women's Retreat and there are times I'd rather be working on the baby quilt or fixing some freezer meals for when that new baby comes. But I remember that I've been called to this time and place and my joy is here and now in doing what God has called me to.
May I remember that now is the best time for worship! Doing the task at hand, engaged and focused, has become a pathway to joy for me and a way to honor God.
Blessed is the man who listens to me (wisdom) watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. Proverbs 8:34
In this case, wisdom came to me as I shut the door on what I really wanted and walked through the doorway of the gentle teaching of the Spirit of God.