Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pour It Out

Four years ago right now Curtis and I were having our big adventure in Northeast England. We spent five months trying to build a youth group at a small Baptist church that was being interim-pastored by a retired American couple. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. Sometimes when my flesh feels tied down and weary of every day being much the same, I remember that great big adventure I had with my husband when we were younger. It does my heart good to know that we went out on a limb and did something (that I would call) crazy. I don't feel that I wasted the years when I was so free to give others my all. I know that there will come a day when we do something like that again. Maybe we will be one of those "retired" couples serving all over the world. I want us to be the kind of people who pour it out until the very end, you know?

For now we, actually I, am in a season of serving Him most effectively in my home. Sure, I serve in various ways that are not in my home, but my focus is here. Curtis and Jackson are my ice cream and anything else is just chocolate syrup. When we were living in Irving and I hadn't had Jackson yet, I went to lunch all the time with my college girls. I loved doing that. It became very hard and then nearly impossible after Jackson was born. Having deep and meaningful conversations with a baby or toddler next to you in the high chair is a bit of a challenge. I will never forget the time that I drove out to meet Sarah C. at a Chili's across town and Jackson, maybe three months old, really did not want to be there. I tried everything, even to the point of nursing my baby under a hooter hider in front of one of my college girls at the table. (Do I need to tell you how desperate I had to be to do that? I was so embarrassed.) Not even that worked. I had to get my food to go and leave. Ugh. I could cry for myself thinking about how hard that day was, realizing that things had seriously changed. I have so many stories of lunches gone awry. I hated to see that part of my ministry basically dissolve. I am a quality time person and not really a teacher, so meeting one on one with the girls was where I felt most useful.

I hope it goes without saying that I absolutely love my husband and my son and it is my greatest joy in life to get to serve them. I pray that I communicate that through this blog. I would not go back for anything! I'm extremely thankful to be Curt's wife and Jackson's mom.

Okay, when I started writing this post I was going somewhere completely different. I don't know how I ended up here and I have no idea how I will finish this. I guess I will conclude by saying that if you are single or married without children, make the most of your freedom by pouring it out for the Lord. Let Him take you on an adventure. Use it for the kingdom. It excites me when I see ladies I know doing this. They will never look back and wish they had spent more time on the couch waiting for xyz to happen to them. I mean, let your future husband catch you in the act of serving! He will love it!

Check out these verses. The Apostle Paul agrees with me, or rather I with him, that the single woman has a unique ability to devote herself to the Lord. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord; But the married man is anxious about worldly matters--how he may please his wife--And he is drawn in diverging directions [his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God]. And the unmarried woman or girl is concerned and anxious about the matters of the Lord, how to be wholly separated and set apart in body and spirit; but the married woman has her cares [centered] in earthly affairs--how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:33-34, AMP)

Huge props to Sarah C. for pouring it out for the Revolve tour, to Alicia for pouring it out for Southeast Asia and CBU students, to Angela for pouring it out for Eastern Europe, to Jane for being a huge light at a big law firm in town, to Nat for sacrificing nearness to friends and family and a healthy paycheck to disciple girls, to Mari for her huge adventure coming up, to Vonda for pouring her blood, sweat, and tears into World Changers, to Amy Beth for pouring it out for her ministry so fabulous, and to all my friends who are doing their thing for the Lord. I'm so proud of them.

53 comments:

Holly said...

You are a gem, you know that? I love your heart for the journey and the journeyer. Bless you, Sister!

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

I was just on the phone with a girlfriend this afternoon talking about this...about being content to serve where we are in the season we're in, rather than looking back (or more often ahead) to someplace else down the road.

Joanne

P.S. I used to live in Harrogate (near York) and would move my family back in heartbeat if they'd all come (that means my parents, my sister and her family--ALL of us!).

Mary said...

How neat that God was teaching two (and I'm sure many more,) the same lesson today. I was just telling a friend of mine who is single that she is lucky...Not in the sense that I long for those days but because she can go anywhere, do anything, for anyone, at any time. I, too, am in the phase of planning around naps. God can do beautiful things in our homes but He uses single people in huge, immediate ways. Blessings to you and thanks for your honesty.

Gabby said...

I can not believe that you mentioned World Changers. Today my SS class (in SC) was in charge of taking a meal to a house they (World Changers) are re-roofing (can you say extremely hard work and HOT). I was so excited about taking part of the meal, but I could not stay too long to serve. Let's just say my two children were "not having any of that" for various reasons (some valid).
Anyway, I left sad that I could not pray with them, or clean up afterwards, but I also had that tug inside knowing that all of my kid's needs came first.
I totally understand where you are right now in life. We have to find a new way to serve sometimes, and right now, I have to be content with what I do at home. Even when that does not sound as cool as Missionary or World Changer.

dreamingBIGdreams said...

I agree! I tell all my single friends to do LIFE. Everything changes when you get married and even more when yo have kids. Life doesn't have to stop, but it does move slower. :) I can't do all that i could before.

:)Jamie

debra said...

Oh Girl, I loved reading this post. I understand so many of your words. I can feel the emotion in my own life matching that of what you are writing. It is a crazy wonderful to know that God shares different seasons with us. He is fully aware of your amazing service to Curtis and Jackson as well as young women all over the world. Your blog is reaching them.

You rock.

Jen said...

You are an encouragement :) I'm glad you're back. I've missed me some baby bangs!

The Bergers said...

Amen, sista! I am so thankful that I didn't let my "non-marriedness" stop me from doing a great adventure.

Julie Robles said...

Thanks, Amanda. This blog is speaking in stereo to me. I seem to be waiting for the day when... You know "the day when", when timing will be perfect, when Bert's out of school, when business is effortlessly booming, when I've finally set up some kind of retirement plan! And on and on. I'm missing this journey. The Care Bears on my little yellow suitcase (when I was a kiddo) said "Getting there is half the fun!" Really, however, it seems like getting there is ALL the fun. And I'm missing out. I need to start POURING it out! Thanks, friend. I miss you; you are a wise owl in the body of a young happening sophisticate.

Corrie's Blog said...

Thanks for that good word reminder! :)

AntiguaAng said...

And huge props to you, Sister, for serving your family with all you have and then serving us college girls with what little you may or may not have had left! Those times were precious and for sure marked my life! I love you!

connorcolesmom said...

Amanda,
Oh!! My friend and I just talked about some of this tonight!

As a mommy I constantly struggle with wanting to do MORE for God
I LOVE being a mommy but sometimes I just wonder what am I doing that is helping others - that is when God gently reminds me that my ministry is raising my boys to Love and Live for Him!!

It was great to meet you Friday BTW not because of who you are

but b/c you are baby bangs, Jackson's mommy - a blog I stumbled upon a year ago that had a young mom just a few steps behind me

A blog that makes me laugh and remember all the journeys and stages we just finished :)

A woman who LOVES the LORD and wants to let His love shine!

You are beautiful inside and out and it was a blessing to talk with you and give you a hug
(I posted the picture of you and Janelle on my blog and on the Siesta Fiesta blog - it is Really Cute!)

God bless,
Kim (connorcolesmom)

Dionna said...

I love that Curtis and Jackson are your "ice cream." That is such a great way to put how delicious they are in your life. I just might use that. :)
And I know what you mean about serving on the homefront in ministry even when you also serve elsewhere. They ARE the priority. I love to write. I am pretty ambitious about where I want my writing to go - but it's not worth it right now. My family is my priority. My girls are 9 and 11 - changing and growing up so quickly. In just a whisper they will be out the door. I want to soak in every minute left I have with them.

Because they are my ice cream. :)

twinkle said...

And I thank you for being the silent woman behind The Blog. Just exactly how many posts do you publish in one day?!? I'll share one thing with you...in Christ's body of believers...some are hands, some are feet, some are mouths, and you, dear Amanda, are a heart. Not visible as much as the others but so vital! Your family is blessed and so are we all by how you touch all our lives.

Nancy Mon said...

This is one of my favorite posts. Love your heart and thoughts.

Hope to run into you Sunday. Or I need to find you on Sunday. I brought you back something from Alaska that may amuse you. It will be a remembrance that you want to make the journey.

Jaclyn said...

amanda...you are so thoughtful. i know i dont REALLY know you..but i can see your compassionate heart as you are always so sensitive to notice single friends, women who long to be mothers and even strangers who are hurting.
i am always learning from you :)

Marla Taviano said...

Thanks so much for this, Amanda. I had the neatest opportunity last Saturday to speak to a group of college singles about the opposite sex. (fun stuff!) One of my big points was to "maximize your singleness for God." I can't even remember being single or married without kiddos. Eek! I don't know that I maximized my time for God. In fact, I know I didn't.

Anyway, I meant to say that you are having a HUGE impact on people as a wife and mom from your home. I love you to bits and have never even met you.

I've been trying my best lately to love on my hubby and girls. The "big things" for God will come along in His perfect timing.

Hugs to you!

Angela said...

I know how you feel as a Mommy. It was tough to still do what we used to when the baby came. I felt bad because I wanted to be with my friends, but this baby wouldn't let me. I love my kids more than anything. The transition was the hardest. Now I can hang with my friends and my kids and it works. I also have found time to be without either one and be OK too.

Holly said...

Amen Twinkle! I do believe you have an exceptional ear to the heartbeat of God--I agree 100% with your words for Amanda.

courtney said...

from one who is in the same season: i understand feeling the loss of a season that is coming to an end, and struggling with how to live outside the walls of my home and find my place in ministry. numa said something so profound to me at camp, while i was frustrated with not being able to do everything with moriah hanging on me. he said, "court, these kids need to see a mom loving on her child. some of them never see that. and they never see a mom loving her child while ministering to them." that totally freed me up to do rec with a toddler hanging on my leg if need be. one day we will be like some of my friends - kids in high school or out of the house, and we will be able to do something new once again.

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

I love this post. I hear ya, friend. And right now, you're serving right where God wants you!

lori said...

I know Just what you mean. Now my kids are getting older, and things are coming full circle, so while we shouldn't waste the "available" years, YOU are so right on to enjoy your "unavailable" years.. They fly by.

alicia said...

Thanks for the sweet encouragement! My soul definitely resonated with everything that you wrote. Thanks for the sweet shout out and enjoy the ministry of your family! I love how as single women we can serve the Lord and then he also gives us the ministry of our families. They are both beautiful when fully surrendered to the Lord. Miss you guys.

Katie said...

From a single girl, thanks for this encouragement. I truly want to use this time in my life to serve the Lord! Its easy just to let the days float by, so thank you for this reminder to use this time wisely!

Judy said...

Amanda,
I have read your blog for a while now. First time commenter.

Those years of planning your life around naps seem like they will never go away, but before you know it you'll be sending your youngest off to college. (I'm sure your mom can attest to that.) This is a great reminder to be content in whatever season of life God has us in Right Now. I have a brand new season coming up of no kids at home. I'm kind of excited and kind of scared at what lies ahead cuz I have NO IDEA what that is.

I always enjoy what you write. I'll keep being a reader and an occasional commenter.

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Amanda,

Hey. I totally get what you mean, I mean not totally, like I have a child and all...but I get what you mean about living for the season you are in now. I REALLY struggle with that.
I mean I am engaged to be married, but this is the BEFORE of everything, and it is SO hard trying to pour it all out to the Lord, and still not be eaten up by the flesh....

Patience...hmmm, don't you love it.

Anyway, have a great day, and you stick exactly where He's got you:)

Be Blessed:)

Angie

Teri said...

It took me a while to embrace the "at home" phase. I was so used to being available at a moments notice when I was needed to help out the youth pastor and his wife. (I was on the volunteer staff.) I would love to tell you the change was effortless, but it was H.A.R.D.! The lessons from the Lord were so rich. Now, after three kids, my home is my happy place. I know how blessed I am to have this time with my kids and serving my husband is truly my joy.

Teri

Lynn said...

Thank you, Amanda, that was a beautiful post and so needed.

It reminds me of a quotation from Erma Bombeck that I read once... "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ''I used everything you gave me.''

May we all use every bit of talent we have been given for the sake of the Kingdom!

Blessings -
Sister Lynn

Susan B. said...

Amanda, you have such a beautiful heart. There is nothing more important right now that your family. You have had adventures BC (before children) and I feel sure you'll have them AC! :) I struggled when my son was younger with the day-to-dayness of it. But it is so worth it. He's getting older, life is changing, and I'm able to have some time to reconnect with wonderful friends. It's a fulfilling journey! Amen to Twinkle's post. We thank you for your ministry at LPL.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for speaking to us single girls, Amanda, and for giving us an encouraging word! Sometimes I feel the church caters to young marrieds. Please don't misunderstand me--this is a great and wonderful thing that is needed. I just feel us single folks get left out frequently! Thanks again and I'm glad you're back to blogging!

taralous said...

You are so right! I have had many lunch dates that went really bad and it was sad to see part of that go but serving at home IS a blessing and it's the season we are in. I love that you are encouraging singles to serve well. I tell others without kids that it's their time. It's so easy to want the 'other' or 'next' season in life and never be content with the one we are in but you are reminding me I need to have FUN right in the home serving! Thanks for your posts! They are encouraging :)

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Amen sister.
I love my family so much and I know that my first and foremost calling is right here, within these 4 walls, ministering to my hubby and training 4 sweet little hearts about their Jesus....
I will say that this is the area where the enemy attacks me most. Isn't that typical though? One of his biggest most wicked games is to whisper how much more contented we would be "in the greener field".
Lies.
God has us each right where He wants us for this day, and He'll use us here if we'll let Him.

bahead(mimi24) said...

Back with a big force! I love you, Amanda!!!

valerie said...

I so well remember how much my life changed after having children.
You're right...it's the most wonderful experience, but I was young when we married and then started having children very soon and had them 19 mo. apart at that.
None of our friends were even married, much less had children.
I didn't work and everyone else did. I can remember being so exhausted sometimes and feeling very alone. I nursed and am very modest so if we had company I would always go to the other room. (I think it's different now & think I'd be better about it now)
The older the kids got the more fun it was and NOW...they're grown & we have an empty nest and we're still young enough to really enjoy our life. We love our kids and are very close to them & they are close to each other.
Yes, there were hard times and one of mine was a little more demanding than the other, which was hard.
Hang in there all of you with little ones. I promise the older they get the more fun and relaxed you become as a parent.
Bless you for all you and your husband do for the Lord and for others.
Valerie

Cassandra Stafford said...

Great post. very true and hope it encourages everyone - no matter their season in life- to give all they can and be all they are meant to be.

Kelly said...

AMEN to this! I wish when I was single I would have spent a lot more time serving Him and going on mission trips and a lot less time wallowing in my sadness and wondering when God was going to send "him" to me.
I think God might have blessed me a little quicker if I would have been more focused on Him than on me.

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

What's so interesting about you mentioning me is that my laptop was dead last night, but I pulled up Bloglines on my phone. I was reading through your post and could only see one line at a time. As I slooooowly read through the post, I started crying cause I kept thinking "I wish I could be the type of person she's describing." I'm still not sure that I am, but thanks for reminding me of several things I needed to hear today. You, my friend, are fabulous.

Kimbirz said...

Amanda,
Thanks for sharing. I'm wife, mom, teacher.....etc.

I have a full plate with my husband and daughter, not to mention my bible studies, church, and helping others around me.
Summer's here and I'm trying to get relaxed. I've been thinking about fall and fitting my women's bible study into a crazy school schedule that my daugter will have. It has been looking as if I will not be able to attend in the fall, makes me very very sad......But I do know I have a call to my home and my family FIRST!
So, I appreciated your words that just encouraged me that now is my time for my home and family and those needs. Sometimes its hard because you want to do more and be more envolved. And I have been, but it's hard to pull back when needed. And I know God will fill me in other ways. Family is a blessing and it doesn't come around again. Thanks for pouring out your heart for us to hear!

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Beautiful post, Amanda. I loved those days of ministry when we could pick up a carload of highschoolers without moving car seats. And then I loved the days with four carseats even though my ministry role looked different. Even now, as my kids are getting older and I'm freed up a little more to "do" ministry, I find myself missing the days you are in. Enjoy your ice cream, girlie.

Kimberly said...

If I do nothing in this world but to raise a daughter who loves the Lord with all of her heart and who is tender to His call, then I will have accomplished a great deal.

Your work in raising Jackson is so valuable. It is indeed a different season, but one with tremendous opportunity and hopefully reward. I'm reminded of the MasterCard commercial.

Diapers $15
School supplies $30
Prom $250
College $50,000
Raising a child that Loves the Lord - Priceless ;o)

Kimberly

Angie said...

Oh, I'm right there with you, Amanda. Serving alongside my husband in student ministry came to a screeching halt (or so it seemed) when my first daughter was born. I tried, like you, to bring her along to as many events and lunches as possible, but she tried, like Jackson, to squelch whatever conversation was taking place!

I've had to pray a lot to be content with the shift of my ministry being here at home, and you know what? I think I'm way more effective here. I serve my hubby and kids first and feel like it's right where God wants me. When I can support my hubby the way God wants me to, I've seen how it helps him do his job better. It's been fun to have our home open and ready to host events and drop-in students... and THAT'S my ministry. Just like you, I look forward to the day my ministry shifts again and maybe we'll be there with you as one of those "retired couples!" :)

The Barfuss Family said...

Oh Amanda - now your ministry is just growing up with you as you have so much insight for young moms and moms to be. Thank you for letting God use you where you are. You are a blessing!

CarolinaMama said...

Awesome! I would totally agree and it is wonderfully encouraging to hear from another mom that being a mom is our highest calling. And of course, serving where we are - like Joanne said, being content there.

Lindsee said...

Oh, to be one of those girls that had lunch with you! I am sure they were blessed! :)

Amanda, seriously though, it's posts like these that I am so thankful you are a blogger. As silly as that sounds! Thank you for encouraging us single girls where we are now! What is so "ironic" is I just wrote a post about this whole thing, being single and in ministry. Sometimes its just so stinkin' hard. So, thank you, thank you for this encouragement.

Much love to you, imaginary friend!

And, glad your back!

Lindsee

Sara at Miller Moments: said...

You know what? I'm also so proud of your sister for the work she's doing. I know as a mom of 3 that the intense research she does wouldn't be quite so easy as a mom - and although we're all sure her mommy days will soon come, I'm incredibly blessed by her ministry - all her posts are so "knock-my-socks-of-refreshing."

POUR IT OUT, Amanda and Melissa! We're all behind you, being spurred on by you!

Nicole said...

how'd you know I've been dealing with this lately?

Kathleen in TX said...

What a great post Amanda! I know that my ministry is my family right now (love the comparison to ice cream BTW!).

MoziEsmé said...

Great post! It is interesting how your focus changes as you get married, and then again as you have kids. So perfect advice for the unmarrieds and childless - seize the day!

Sherry said...

Great post! It's amazing how God takes us down different paths throughout our lives. Each new road mapped out by Him holds wonderful and exciting adventures. I love serving Him.

May God continue to give you much joy and contentment on this new road of servant hood.

Blessings,
Sherry

Michelle Bentham said...

Amanda... And when you get to the other end of motherhood... you get to pour it out all over again... You just have to keep getting filled up to pour it out throughout your life. Whether to your family at home or into a ministry out there somewhere... God is doing good things in your life! You are a blessing and an amazing woman. Blessings to You.

Michele said...

What an encouraging post to both married and unmarried women out there! I think many at-home moms do not realize their value in serving the LORD by serving their husband and children, probably in ways we do not even realize. I've been at home for 10 years now plus adding homeschooling the children to the ways of serving my family and the LORD. There are many, many days when I ask the LORD, "Are you sure I'm doing the right thing?" He always confirms with a yes. Investing in your family is definitely an investment you will get with a return!!!

Catrina said...

This just blessed my socks off! I have not looked at your blog - any blog - for weeks...because it's summer you know...and I have priorities, right?! Well, maybe it's because I'm in the thick of this delicious mommy thing with my two baby dolls! And I do so much fighting with this issue so much of the time, but God has lovingly and tenderly slapped my big fat head with the realization that this time will slip away so fast...I refuse to wish it away anymore with delusions of grand adventure. When quite possibly this season will prove to be the grandest of all! You are a good gift from our Father, fellow walker! Hang in there...we can't even imagine what the Lord has in store, right?!!!
Kisses,
Catrina :)

katiegfromtennessee said...

Thanks Amanda!:)

It is always good to get new perspectives from people who are in different life stages than you are in:) I am getting to the place where I am really just living in the reality of the present and at the same time, very cognizant of the ultimate end. I am getting to where I am resting in HIM. Praise the Lord! LET'S JUST POUR OURSELVES OUT IN THIS GREAT ADVENTURE OF LIFE! No matter to whom or how or what we are ministering to, it's all about HIM.

By the way, I think being a mom is one of the most important if not the most important blessings of a ministry that God could ever gift us with! I mean it. Be that a spiritual mom or a biological mom or a foster or adoptive mom-it's all good and it's all to His glory:)

Love and ((HUGS)),

katiegfromtennessee