I met a man yesterday who was very good at his job. He was knowledgeable, friendly and could answer all my questions that I had when I came to get service from their business. I love when people do their job well, whatever job it is, glamorous or not. I know on several occasions places like McDonalds get a bad wrap, but when I have gone there and people do their job well I am always pleased.
But yesterday, this worker seemed to want to let me and several other people know that he wasn't JUST a front office worker, he felt the need to let me know that he had multiple houses, lots of stuff to put in said houses, several Mac computers and how much he paid for them, 4 iPhones...and the list went on. Honestly, I don't know how we even got there!
I'm not sure if it was to impress me and his new co-workers, but it was very clear that he wanted to boast about all his "stuff." But here is the thing, the more he boasted, the more distracted I was, the more unimpressed I became, the more I couldn't wait till the job I came in for was done and I could go home.
Too often, we (I'm putting myself in this category) feel the need to list the things we have, the accomplishments we have attained, how hectic our lives are all in an attempt to maybe make ourselves feel better as we compare our lives to those around us. What the heck-it's crazy, right? Or we think our jobs aren't as great as others, we think everyone else is looking down at us and judging what we don't have, so we puff up our chests creating an environment where it's hard to breath... do we dare exhale and let people see us as we are?
People, I am so over it. I'm not impressed. The fancy job titles, the exstensive list of "ministries" one is a part of, the perfect house, the latest phone... It doesn't impress me. Does it impress you? Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with these things, but when we allow them to dictate our worth as humans, it's nauseating.
I have been stuck in 1 Corinthians to the point of tears. I tried to turn the page and God just said, "Sit here, with me." So I did.
"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30
The only boasting that is of any value is boasting in the Lord. It's not about our titles, where we drive off to each day, how much money we bring home, it's about being willing to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ, dare I say the Gospel of Love to those around us. There is no need for lights, no need for a microphone, just a surrendered heart that is willing to know NOTHING except Jesus Christ and Him crucified and is willing to speak that truth even if one speaks it with trembling and fear because they are enabled to do so by the power of God.
"And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power." - 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
SIMPLY, SPEAK - Don't hesitate
If you want to add a ministry to your "job title" how about this? Add the ministry of simply loving people. My friends, I love you in the Lord! And more importantly, He Loves You and sent His son, Jesus, to die so that you could live in Love eternally.
It's difficult for me to fall asleep. I can't drink caffein or consume sugar after noon if I want to go to bed before 1am and I'm super sensitive to noise.
My husband, well, he doesn't have that problem. The other day when we settled in for the night, he turned off the lights and went to sleep. I wasn't even close to being tired so I did some work on my computer with my headphones on. About 10 minutes later, he pops out of bed turns the lights on and proclaims that he can't fall asleep.
Oh Bob! If my sleep battles were 10 minutes long, I would count that a victory. Instead it takes hours of staring at the ceiling sometimes before my body finally wants to shut down. Some of you may know this struggle.
Thankfully for my husband, after he put on his headphones to listen to some music, he was knocked out within the next 5 minutes. Victory!!
Because of my sleeping pattern, I have sadly cut my coffee intake to 6oz of coffee that I drink early in the morning. 6 OUNCES!! - It breaks my heart, and honestly I'm a bit ashamed as it feels like a coffee betrayal, but it had to be done. Know this, I will NEVER cut it out completely, even if I have to go to 3oz, 2oz, 1oz... NEVER!!
What I have learned though is this: each morning I sit with my 6oz and I savor each sip like it's my last day on earth (literally lol). I enjoy every moment and treasure the time we have together as I hold this sweet warm cup of black, bold and a little bit sweet (just like me) cup of heaven in my hands.
Reality Check… it’s only coffee, I know this, but man oh man, do I love it! Today in the stillness of this morning, it’s a reminder to me to hold those I love close, to treasure moments, to embrace the inconveniences, and appreciate any bit of time that I have with the ones I love. Moments… I will take whatever scraps that my people want to give. Moments. I love them.
Yesterday, I went to church. The first words I said to my husband after walking in and going directly to my pew was. "I don't want to be here. If it were up to me we would get up and go home."
I was in a mood. Nothing inside of me wanted to be around people. Nothing inside of me wanted to sing. NOTHING. I just wanted to go home. The things going on in my heart and life simply caused me to focus on the circumstances. I was going down and I wanted to bring everyone along with me.
Thankfully my husband just looked at me. I knew what that glance meant. It meant we weren't going anywhere and I needed to put my big girl panties on and suck it up.
As the service went on, I was pretty comatose. My lips couldn't sing, my eyes and my strength were gone and simply standing was the best offering I had to give. It was then, looking back that I saw how powerful it was to have a congregation that could sing over me when I was not able to muster up a shout of praise. It was then that I saw Zephaniah 3:17 come to life as the Lord rejoiced over me, even when I was unable to rejoice myself.
As the service went on, our Pastor preached the Word of God, the promises of God and and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Word was read, I could feel it penetrate my heart, I could feel my heart softening to receive. His Word accomplished what it set out to. His Word was alive.
I may not have been able to sing yesterday, but I was able to receive. And maybe that is simply what I needed for the day.
Now, here I am. The circumstances have not changed but my prayers have. Today, I didn't just put my cares in Jesus' hands, I literally threw them with all my might! I love that He can handle my frustrated prayers and take them on as His own. It's a new day!
And if I can add, it's also helpful to grab a medicine ball and whip it against a wall. Yes, people may have thought me crazy as with each hit a bit of my prayer to the Lord was released, but by the time my workout was done, the wall was still in tact, my soul was lighter and my vision and peace restored. No prayer shawl here... just a prayer medicine ball :) Such a great way to pray without ceasing!
Last night we celebrated the birth of our oldest son, Chris. He turned 28. He's amazing! He's smart, funny, quick witted, loves Jesus, his wife and his family. He works hard. He gets down at times, but he gets back up. He's not a quitter. It has been a joy and honor to raise him (imperfectly at times) love him and watch him grow into a super tall and loving guy! He's kind of a freak of nature, not sure how he got to be 6'4", but it comes in really handy at times.
As our kids are all now married, the plans for their birthday celebrations fall onto their spouses and we just hang back. When we were invited to join them for Chris's 28th birthday dinner, we jumped at the opportunity to celebrate his life.
I am a little more emotional this year as I see him closing in on 30, married and working hard. You see, when I found out I was pregnant with him, I was kind of a wreck. I didn't have my life together. I was single and partying non stop.
But in the midst of that there was one thing that kept me going...VOLLEYBALL. I was good, really good. Granted, today I can't jump 2 inches off the ground, but in my hay-day, I could get up there.
Volleyball was everything. Finding out I was pregnant halfway through the sophomore year of my college volleyball season, with a full ride scholarship offer from another University, sent me into shock.
I didn't know what to do. The school looking to bring me on thought I could swing it, get back in shape, do school, motherhood and play volleyball all while moving away from home. I just didn't see that happening. It was all so overwhelming.
The other advice I was given was to abort. Abort my baby, abort Chris. I remember that voice as if it were yesterday. "You have so much going for you, you should have an abortion." But the thing was, it wasn't just one voice. It was several voices. Several voices telling me to end the life of my beautiful child so that I could play two more years of volleyball. To them it seemed like an easy exchange.
Yet, there was a voice that was buried in my heart that said, "You can do this, I will give you the strength." It wasn't as loud as the other voices. But it was still and small and I wanted to hear more of it.
I remember sitting and telling my parents that I was pregnant. I remember their hearts aching for me, because they knew what my lifestyle was like. I remember my Dad, with love in his heart, suggesting adoption as an option, but I also remember my parents both saying that no matter what they would be there for me, they would support me. And that's what they did.
As a single mom for the first 2.5 years of Chris's life, I was anything but single. I was loved and supported by my family, my parents and my community. That love is what amplified the voice of truth when the voice of the lie seemed so loud.
As someone that always considered myself Pro-Life, even at 19 years of age... I recognize there is a challenge when you are faced with that choice in real life, when you are alone, broke, and people are telling you what you should do, when it is all still legal and accepted.
My point is this: May we be the kind of people that walk alongside others to amplify God's truth into the darkness, truth that is hard to hear in desperation. Sometimes the choice that people would make might be different if they simply felt loved and supported. Maybe it's not enough to simply say 'Choose life", maybe we need to BE LIFE and DO LIFE alongside the hurting.
So as I celebrated the fact that my son turned 28 last night, it was much more than that for me. It was a lifetime of being thankful that He is alive, that he "made it out" (that's an inside joke, but so very true), that he was loved and supported by so many people all throughout his life.
And the most amazing words I heard from my Dad, who was an advocate for all life especially life of the unborn; my Dad, who looked at a broken messed up 19 year old, not imagining how on earth I could parent and care for a human being, let alone, myself was the day that he said to me "Mia, I am so glad that you didn't give him up for adoption. I am so glad you kept him. I love him so much."
Little did my Dad know, I could not have done it without him. Chris, my son, his little boy, was the apple of his eye. Grandpa was the first daddy that he had, until Bob, my husband and his Father, walked into our lives.
So, to my son, Chris, Happy Birthday, I am so glad that you are alive. I am so glad that you made it out!! I simply cannot imagine a world without you ever having been in it. You changed my life.
Before I posted this, I asked my mother for permission. More moving to me than the writing of this blog is my mother's response. Please read her response following the written piece. My portion may not be very eloquent as I had actually written this in my private diary, but I felt compelled to share it with you. . .Strong language is alluded to (well for me it is).
And now, the blog.
"......You didn't grow under my heart, but in it. . . ."
I was adopted and my mom loved me with an everlasting love.
My mom pursued me to Christ, prayed me to a right walk with Him, yet her pursuit of me is nothing compared to the pursuit that Jesus had for my soul.
I remember when I was a teenager, making some really poor choices. I always thought that my mom was nuts, crazy; I didn't get it. She was on pursuit. I had the ability to bring out parts of my mom that no one could have ever imagined. My mother was disgusted with sin. Sin brought out in her a holy anger, propelled by the mandate to raise her children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it. She was a lioness, protecting her cubs. I just didn't get it.
I didn't get why she cared where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, who I was "messing" around with. She just bothered me and got in my way.
I remember one day vividly, like it was yesterday, thank God it wasn't. I was up at my High School hanging out with my boyfriend, who by the way was a drug dealing gang member who thought it was ok to hit me. My mom came marching across the field this day and went head to head with him and said "YOU WILL NOT F*!# MY DAUGHTER!!" She then grabbed my arm and marched me, a junior in high school, home. I have to note that the only time I ever heard my mom use the F word was in dealing with me and the outright visible sinful lifestyle that I led. Nothing else got her riled up like my sin.
At that point, after my mom just verbally declared a battle for my life, all I was thinking (and probably saying) was how embarrassed I was, how dare she come up to MY school and talk that way to MY BOYFRIEND. I know there were giggles and laughter at this lady marching across the field like that, but had I known at the time what was driving her, I probably would have backed off. She was driven by something greater than herself, fully armed with the love, driven by the word of God and the Holy Spirit was paving the way.
I still to this day don't think she knew who she was going to bat with, but it didn't matter. I was her child, she was called to protect me, be wisdom for me, love me to Christ and raise me in the ways of the Lord so that when I got older, I would not depart from it. That was my mom, my "crazy" little mom, who wouldn't let me be. Man, I love her.
So the battle didn't end there. Many more times, I strayed. It took another 15 years after that for me to grasp the reality of who I am in Christ, where my identity lies, and that God's passion for me to walk in His ways isn't just a cute phrase, but a desire that drives Him, who created me, to pursue me unrelentingly every day to the point of sacrificing His own son, Jesus. If I thought my mom was relentless, Man oh man, she doesn't come close to the love and relentless pursuit God has on our lives.
This life is not about me and what makes me happy and comfortable, this life is serious, it is the beginning of eternity. My eyes are on eternal things. And how awesome that in those eternal things, God grants a deep Joy in walking it out. God has a great command and commission. We are to go, teach, reach, and love people for Christ's sake. It's not a game. This life is serious, this walk is serious, it is eternity, life or death.
So as I now stand in my mother's shoes' having raised three children, (ok, she had seven and sometimes more depending on the foster kids) I remember that pursuit. Nobody messes with my kids. It's enough that Satan is out to lie to them, steal from them and destroy their relationship with Christ. He's NOT messing around and neither am I!!
Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross, so that we all could be restored into a right relationship with the Father and be given freely the gift of eternal life. Thank you for faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone. Thank You for Your word, God, Your true Word. You are God alone. Thank you for Your Spirit that guides. Thank You God!
MY MOM'S RESPONSE WHEN I ASKED HER FOR PERMISSION TO MAKE THIS PUBLIC. SHE IS AMAZING!
"Oh, Mia ... whew! ... yes, I did know who I was going to bat with, it was the Evil One ... and if he won with you, it was going to be over my dead body. My small bible has all kinds of verses circled ... lots of markings ... from those days when I needed His comfort, wisdom, and strength from above. I felt like such failure, that I had failed Him and failed you. I poured out my heart to God, for you - because I knew He loved you even more.
And I loved you with all my heart. I definitely was not concerned with my popularity! I wanted to be loved by you, but if that was not to be in those years, it was not so important to me. I loved you unconditionally - and "through it all" - but that would have been hard for you to understand at that time in your life.
I knew what we had promised God, at your baptism, and long before that. You were an incredible gift from God, dropped into our family circle like a little miracle. We weren't sure how long you were staying, but in about 2 hrs we knew we wanted it to be forever. In fact, Julie wrote a note and put it on my pillow the evening of your first day with us - saying "Mom, can she please stay with us forever and ever???"
Until you lay me in my grave, I will forever be amazed at God's remarkable redemption and HIS unconditional love. Dad and I are thankful forever for what He did to turn your life around. He was the one 'who would not let you go"!! Then I will be in heaven praising Him forever for bountiful blessings and tender mercies beyond belief.
I don't think about those troubled days very often - I really don't care to go there as 'the slate is wiped clean', praise God. Often Dad and I will marvel at the joy you have brought us, and the blessing you are as a godly wife and mother ... loving Bob and being wonderfully loved by him, and raising 3 precious gifts from God 'in the way they should go'. No wonder you can write your music, over and over pouring out your praises to our Awesome God.
Yes, you may do with your blog what you wish. I have no secrets from my Lord, or any one else, and what others might think of any of this, it simply doesn't matter to me. You not only write wonderful music, Mia, you also have the gift of writing (and speaking) from your heart of love and thanksgiving, to reach and help others in their walk towards eternity. I really have to find another word for my vocabulary besides AMAZED !!!" -Joan Grotelueschen (my Mom)
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.