Lost On My Own Street. Literally.

Bailey…need I say more?

You hope it won’t happen, but when it does  you’re faced with the reality that life will never be the same again. First, an anvil smacks your chest, then a quarter-sized knot forms in the back of your throat and flashes of horrible places materialize in your mind. You bite your lip and try to figure out a way to keep it from happening.

That’s right. The moment you realize your daughter is as directionally challenged as you are. 
Here’s how it all began…
The party foods were purchased. My house was clean and candles burning. The wood was stacked by the fire pit and I had decided to let my daughter and her friend go outside and down the street.
Let me be clear. I never let my daughter wander around the sub-division. The fact that she’s out of my sight freaks me out a little. But she just turned 13 so when she asked if they could go across the street, I thought she meant down to the stop sign and back or hanging out in front of the house.
I went on about my business. Other friends were about to arrive along with one of my BFF’s “Jane.” I texted my daughter.
“Come home. Em is going to be here soon.”
“Yes, ma’am.” 
10 minutes went by.
“B, come home!”
“Yes, ma’am.”
What I found later that happened in these moments between texts was this:
Bailey calls “Jane.”  
“Jane, can you tell me if Pintail and Windsor is close to my house?”
“Why? Where are you? Is your mom lost again?”
“Um, no, but I am.”
“Where are you?” Jane asks.
“I don’t know! That’s why I’m calling you!”
“Call your mom. I’m on the way there now. I don’t know where Pintail or Windsor is.”
Not wanting to call her mother, Bailey and her friend wander aimlessly until she spotted a man and his friend in their yard. She took another look and realized he was a teacher at her school, but not one of hers, so she walked up and asked, “Could you help me?”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“I can’t find my house.” OMG Seriously? She’s 13! I’m pretty sure I died a little when I heard this.
I can only imagine his face or thoughts at this point. “What’s your address?”
She tells him. 
“Oh, sweetie, you’re way off.” He proceeded to give her directions and apparently she took one turn more than she should. Finally she decided to call when she got this message.
“If you don’t get home ASAP, I so will ground you on your birthday and take back all your presents. Try me. I dare you.” 
My phone rang. “Mom…uh…where’s our house?”
It took a second for her words to register. 
“I’m at Pintail and Windsor.” Which she didn’t even pronounce right. It’s not Windsoar. It’s windzer. And I wasn’t exactly sure. 
“Please tell me you aren’t lost in our subdivision? Really, Bailey? I can’t leave! Guests are coming!”
“Miss Jane doesn’t know. I tried her first.” 
“Are you facing the sun or not?”
“I am now. But when I turn around I’m not.” OMG! 
“I guess I’ll have to call Cheryl and tell her to go on in the house, hopefully she’ll get here before a robber since I have to leave it unlocked. Don’t move.”
I called Cheryl. “How far are you away?”
“Oh not far.”
I explained I let my daughter and another child wander off and get lost. I’m sure she was feeling confident about leaving her granddaughter. She laughed. I didn’t miss the slight shake in it. I hung up and started looking at road signs. 
Two minutes later, they were standing on the corner (God help us not that kind of corner) waving at me like a couple of complete goofs. They were literally straight down the street.
I get to the house before Cheryl and then Jane drives up. “Where were they?”
“Down the street. Literally.”
She laughs. “Like mother like daughter.” And I remember when Jane and I got lost going back home to IL. We went 4 hours out of the way before I realized it. Yeah, I blogged about it.
Will I ever let Bailey get her license when she can’t even get herself home in our subdivision? I don’t wanna, but how long until I absolutely have to cut the apron strings? 
Her defense: “Mom, if you ever let me hang out in the subdivision I’d know my way.”
But maybe not if she really is like me. 
Do you see the terrifying things about yourself in your kids?
Ever see a hint of your parents in you? 
By the way, Jane and I did survive the party thanks to locks on doors and tons of TIVO’d shows and my laptop. Starting the bonfire was interesting to say the least. I’ll have to buy more lighter fluid…

Shake Your Ministry-Maker

Have you ever compared yourself or dare I say, your ministry with someone else’s? Have you ever wondered aloud, in question form, much like Sarah on CSI…(Why does that woman always speak in questions whether she’s asking one or not?) I just don’t underSTAND? 

“God, how can I be doing anything for you when I have a Bible study group of 3? And two of them are only here for free childcare because their kids are driving them nuts. Duh, haven’t they heard of MOPS? Oh wait, they go to MOPS, too.”

“Lord, is there nothing else I can do but rock babies every 6th Sunday? I mean look at (insert name), she’s leading Women’s Ministry and it’s pushing 200 women on a slow night! I don’t matter. I have nothing. And this baby is slobbering on my brand new Goodwill shirt. Yeah, yeah, I’m thankful….for the shirt”

“Okay, I can bake another casserole, but did you hear (insert name) on the stage today? Singing like an angel, engaging the entire congregation, tears running down her face. It just doesn’t make this tuna-noodle seem important.”

“Lord, I’m barely hanging on with this one WIP and look at (insert name), she’s not only selling books left and right, she’s going all over the world speaking! I can’t ever be her!”

No, you can’t. You won’t. But you are YOU! And you, righteous one, are special. Holy to God. Set apart for a unique purpose. 
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure…” Deuteronomy 7:6 NKJV

I’m gonna go Old Testament on you for a minute. Walk back in time with me for a second and bear with me, I have a point. No, really, like I do.  Way back, after God freed His people (Hebrews/Israelites) from bondage (Egypt), He made a beautiful covenant with them. I am Your God, You are My people. I love you. I want to do wonderful things through and in you. If you’ll obey me and love Me back. (Paraphrase)
Now, they wandered in the desert for a really long time, 40 years (that’s another story but I’ll leave it with, they had it coming) but they needed a place to worship God. So God gave Moses some very detailed instructions.
There’s a lesson here: God is detailed. He’s in the details and if you’ll pause long enough, He’ll give you clear direction, detailed directions on how to accomplish something for Him.
He gave Moses instruction on how to build a traveling tabernacle. Tent like construction that they could put up and take down as they journeyed to their Promised land. You can read about those amazing instructions in Exodus chapter 26.  Particular colors, fabrics, sizes, settings, a way to break it down and a way to raise it up. 
AND…how to carry it as they traveled. This is important!

First God made sure to put people in the bunch who had the ability and skills to construct and create the pattern given.
God always gives you resources when He gives you a task! He does not set you up to fail. 
(Although we do stumble at times, we are not utterly cast down. Even in times of stumbling, God has a plan to get us to where He wants us to be. Take stumbling as a learning experience to get you closer to THE plan!)
Don’t call it failure! Call it a stumble. Failure means staying down; it means I didn’t make it. Stumbling means tripping ALONG THE WAY!

Let’s jump forward. The tabernacle is built. The articles that go inside, finished. Everything is prepared and ready. The details have been followed exactly. By the way, a freebie for you, the reason God made everything detailed was because each article down to the tassels of the priests robes pointed to Jesus Christ! Oh, yes, friend. Everything about the Old Testament is about our Awesome Savior! Don’t think for a second it’s dry history. Even the desert wasn’t always dry! Not when  God was making rivers through it!
Gifted artisans constructed the tabernacle. Hey, maybe you know how to sew so you make costumes for the Christmas play. But you don’t sing the solo that receives great applause. You did put that person in character, you took the crowd back in time and placed them right there at the manger. It wouldn’t have been as believable had they been in skinny jeans and a hoodie at Jesus’ birth. YOU were gifted. YOU were used. YOU are important! 
God put the Levites in charge of the tabernacle.
I know Levi 501’s. I know Levi Kreis the singer. I know Levi so and so from across the street, but who is Levite?
Levites were men from the tribe of Levi. Levi one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Jacob the Patriarch. Levi the head of the Levite tribe. And his boys were set apart as priests. Not all Levites were priests, but all priests had to be a Levite! (Except Jesus but that’s another blog!) They were set apart for service to  God.
What’s that got to do with you? 
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NJKV (bold letters all me)
The whole point of priest in the OT? A picture or foreshadowing of who WE are to be today, ministers to God (and Jesus is our High Priest)! 
Now let’s do a breakdown real quick so we can understand a couple of things:
Levi had 3 sons: Gershon, Kohath, & Merari 
Any boy in any generation born from these three men were Levites and could be a priest.
Why is this important? I’m getting there.
 Hang with me! 
Each one of these tribes had a specific job when it came to taking care of the tabernacle and carrying it on their journey in the desert. FYI, Moses & Aaron came from Amram who was the son of Kohath. Just sayin. And no, I don’t get the horrible names either.
Duties of Kohath:
The sons of Kohath (sons meaning generational not literal) served the tabernacle by taking care of the most holy things: the veil, the ark of the covenant, the Testimony, the table of showbread, and the golden altar. Each man assigned what to carry. Pretty important isn’t it? Wow, to be close to the most holy things? You can read about all of their ministries in Numbers 4:1-20.
Duties of Gershon:
They carried the curtains of the tabernacle and the tabernacle of meeting with its covering, the screens for the doors, the hangings of the court which surround the tabernacle and altar, their cords and furnishings for service and all that is made for those things particular things. Each man assigned what they were to carry. Not the most holy things, but definitely a big job, right? Numbers 4:21-28
Duties of Merari:
These guys served by carrying the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, and the pillars around the court with its sockets, pegs, and cords, with all the furnishings for this service. Each man was assigned what to carry. Sound like grunt work doesn’t it? Far from the most holy and even a step down from what the Gershon boys were taking care of. Numbers 4:29-33

Here’s my point: It doesn’t matter which group you’re in. You are vital to carrying the love of Jesus around. Without you and what you do, something gets left behind.

Maybe you’re rocking a baby. But Mama and Daddy get to go to service and be refreshed. Maybe during that one service, their failing marriage is restored. All because you carried a tent peg. Nope, you weren’t on the stage leading them into worship, you weren’t Kohath. But had  childcare been cancelled because no one would volunteer…?
Maybe you bake casseroles for sick families or when families lose a loved one. You may not be leading 200 women at a Bible study, but you’ve done them a great service by carrying that curtain and giving them something they couldn’t give themselves at the moment. 
No, you don’t travel the world and speak to millions. You don’t pump out best-sellers every six months and have a twitter following of 1 million. But you do write quality work and it does get in the hands of a few thousand. And in that few thousand a wife realizes she’s been neglecting her husband and repents, a daughter sees her past mistakes as a chance to minister to others, a mother awakens to the idea of a second chance with her children. And a few women realize they can keep moving forward. 
How is that not important, righteous one? The veil, a curtain, a socket. It matters not. 
“I tell you the truth, when you did it to the least of these…you were doing it to Me.” ~Jesus (Mt.24:40 NLT)
“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. 1 Corinthians 12:10-12 NLT

I’m hosting at Living By Grace today! Come on over and let’s talk about ministering to the church! 
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