There is much beauty to ponder at Christmas. The beauty of the Christ Child coming to earth to save the souls of men–His name shall be called Immanuel, God with us.
As the holiday season comes to a close, it is so wonderful to remember that Jesus is with us every day of our lives. He is in the warp and woof of the everyday life; He is the fabric of our essential being. This is one of my favorite parts of Christianity, the fact the we have the Holy Spirit who dwells in each of us and helps us to walk out the Christian life. We are never alone; Christ makes His home in our hearts.
As I reflect on the New Year, I find myself thinking about the days to come and wondering what my heart desires to fill each of them with this coming year. At the core of my thoughts and dreams is a desire to make a difference for the Lord. I think that, as Christians, most of us would say this is our desire, but for the most part our daily lives get in the way of what we think holiness and serving the Lord should look like.
So much of the time, our hearts want to minister, to make a difference for the Lord, but we find ourselves knee-deep in the music of the everyday life: laundry, cleaning, meals, sibling squabbles, sick children, discipling our children, listening to our children, helping in-laws to feel connected to the children, meals needed for friends, and making time for our sweet husbands… just to name a few.
My desire is to challenge each of us to readjust our thinking, to realize that these things, the seemingly insignificant things of life, are the notes that make the music of our ministry. This is the time in our life where we are creating our greatest symphony of ministry, our grand Opus.
What if we all looked at our lives differently? What if we all could be like Brother Lawrence, a monk who live 300 years ago and taught about the presence of God being in the ordinary life and said “The time of work,” he said, “does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.” Brother Lawrence had the uncanny ability to look at each activity or chore he did as worship unto the Lord, as his ministry of the everyday life.
Scripture says this perfectly in Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
And Jesus simplified this concept of the ministry of the everyday life when he said, “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Beloved, may I suggest that we all look at our lives differently this year? May I suggest that we walk with Jesus, one day at a time, and pray for God to give us a heart for everyday, ordinary ministry? We could all pray at the beginning of each day for the Lord to help us to be others-centered, humble, and aware of the needs of those around us, to see the hearts of the people God has placed us with, and to know how to minister to them in a way they feel loved.
Here are some simple ways I have found to truly bless the people God has placed in our lives:
1. Hug your children and tell them each something you love about them. Look them in the eyes when you talk to or listen to them. Make time in your day to just be available for your children. A good saying is “Put down the work and pick up the child.”
2. Text your husband at work and tell him that you are so proud of him and some of the reasons why. Better yet, make known the fact that you are very attracted to him.
3. Take your teenager out for lunch or coffee and ask them how their heart is doing. (Ask God ahead of time for the ability to see your child’s heart and what they might be struggling with or concerned about)
4. Try to get in the habit while your children are young of asking them to sit with you at the end of each day to tell you all about how they are doing, and what’s on their minds, even if it’s trivial or silly. This habit comes in handy when your children are old enough to drive, and will automatically know that when they get home you will want to sit with them and hear all about their day. It’s important to know the details of your children’s lives and how their friendships are doing and how their hearts are.
5. Call a friend or family member to pray, even if it’s just a quick 5 minute prayer. Let them know that you will be keeping them in your prayers that day.
6. Send a note to a friend telling her what you love about her and how she has blessed your life.
7. Double one of your meals to keep in the freezer to take to a friend when she is having a bad day.
8. Pray a silent prayer for people you see when you are out and about during your day- the cashier at the store the next time you buy groceries, the mom of the child that is throwing a fit at the mall, the homeless man on the street corner, or anyone the Holy Spirit brings to mind to pray for. Ask God to give you a heart of compassion for the people around you so you will know how to pray.
9. Have the children make a card for their Grandparents. Also, Skype can help them to feel connected to their grandchildren if they are far away.
10. Make time for your friends. Pray for your friendships; for God to strengthen and protect them. Ask God to heal the ones that are strained or broken. Have a friend over for a quick cup of tea. Light a candle, put on some beautiful music, and have a cookie or simply a piece of delicious chocolate. God-ordained friendships are worth the effort, and close, lifelong friendships are a blessing.
These things may seem small and insignificant, but they make up a beautiful life and encouraging ministry to those the Lord has entrusted you with.
What are some small ways you create beautiful and minister to those in your life?