Sometimes - many times - it's the little things that matter.
Ten days ago, my husband went in for outpatient surgery. Today, he is still in the hospital. He came home twice, only to return due to multiple complications. We've felt like we have been in a whirlpool of quicksand that has threatned to suck us under. As a minister, he has been so frustrated because he feels he has left his congregation dangling. My writing files have remained unopened on the computer. There have been days I've done well to do little more than keep my eyes open and my head on straight. Our faith has been tried; our marriage vows to love "for better, for worse" have been tested. So many people have ministered to us and carried us through this difficult time. I've wanted to represent Jesus well but have despaired at times, thinking I've let him down terribly. Right now, neither Jack or I are doing the work we feel God has called us to do.
Today, I stepped over to the church to take our secretary a video file for tomorrow's community Thanksgiving service. I found her and the youth minister discussing their inability to call a mom about a child with an earache. Impulsively, I said, "Let me take care of her. I'll find a couch for her to lie down on and I'll play Mom until the session ends." So I did. We got her to lie on her side, we talked about school, about books, about her. Pretty soon, she said she felt better and ran to join her small group.
It's the little things that count.
I walked over to a volunteer who was talking with a parent. The parent told us how her little boy was learning so much about the Bible. One day, the father, a carpenter, was griping about how difficult and unimportant his job was. The child said, "Well, Dad, I think carpenter do amazing things. After all, look what Noah did!"
You never know what children are picking up, how they are processing what we are teaching them. Our ministry is not just to children - it's to the parents as well.
As I prepared to leave, I grasped her hand. "Tell Mia," I said, "to tell her dad that Jesus was a carpenter too." Her "Ah ha" smile and the light in her eyes was reward enough. In spite of my own overwhelming burdens that siphoned my energy and held captive my time, in spite of my failure to be at my best during a difficult time, God still chose to use me in the small moments.
Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."