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Entries in Service (2)


Other kinds of goals in 2016

I don't have any particular reading goals this year other than I want to read. I'm not good at keeping lists, so I'm just going to go with the flow. I have the syllabus for my hermeneutics course this semester, and there will be a lot of reading. I will basically be immersed in hermeneutics, and I can only see myself reading anything else at bed time, when I read fiction. 

But what about other goals? How about creativity goals? One year, it was my goal to take a picture every day; and I did. I may do a modified version of that and take a picture every week. It's a good way to practice composition. This year, I have some knitting goals. I want to make both my husband and son cardigans. I also want to make a blanket for no one in particular; just something to have on hand in case a gift need arises.

This past year, I've been really convicted about the amount of conspicuous consumption I participate in. When I look at the crammed bookshelves in my house, and many of those books unread, I feel a little guilty. Stewardship of our resources is a serious matter. I want to use our resources wisely. This year, I am seriously considering buying some coloured stickers and putting a red one on the spine of every book on my shelf I haven't read. That will give me a daily visual reminder that I don't need anymore books at the moment.

I want to be more helpful to people. There are young families who need babysitters; older people who need practical helps; women who need friends. I want that to be something I am paying closer attention to. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular. Just being open to the prospect of helping others is the place to start.

I want to make the most of my seminary time. I will be at school every Tuesday from 8:30-11:15, and I want to develop friendships. I want to take advantage of the seminary chapel days, and make connections with my school community. I'm taking a Masters of Theology, and I'm a part-time student; I'll be there a while.

I also want to be more physically active this year. I was pretty much a big ole couch potato last winter, but this winter I want to be out more, walking. My next door neighbour is 91 years old and very active. I think he's always been active. As I get older, I want to stay healthy and be active, keep extra weight from hanging around, and have a healthy heart. It won't happen if I don't get up and move.

Most of all this year, I just want to know the Lord better. I want to think more deeply on God's truths rather than just giving a cursory glance. I want to mull things over, ruminate over them, and drink deeply. I was quite convicted by this passage in a the boook God's Battleplan for the Mind:

Shallow Christianity has become the blight of the modern church. Success is no longer measured by Christian maturity and discernment. Rather, it is judged by the quality of the praise music, the comfort of the building, and the increased size of the congregation. Godly meditation is the answer to this superficial religion. Meditation broadens the shoulders and deepens the experience of God's people. It sobers foolish minds and matures childish reasoning.

If thinking more means I speak less, perhaps that is a good thing.


Why everyone ought to take a turn in the nursery

Tomorrow, I will be going into the nursery at the young moms' bible study. It will be my last week this year because starting on February 17, I will be sharing teaching duties with another woman. The usual teacher for the class is ill, and help is needed. When the young moms' bible study first began, I was the original teacher. When I had to step down because of other time commitments, I offered to work in the nursery instead. There is always a need for nursery workers. It seems like many churches have a great need in the nursery, and I think that's a shame. We all agree that babies and toddlers are cute, but it seems like it's hard to get people in there to help out.

Some churches don't provide a nursery, instead wanting the children in the service. I think that's great. But I also think it's okay to have a place where children can go and be cared for. To have all of the children in and among the young moms' bible study would quickly eliminate any possibility of study.

Here are three reasons I think everyone ought to take a turn in the nursery:

It's not glamorous

It can actually be kind of messy. Diapers, runny noses, spilled juice, Arrowroot biscuits crushed into the ground. It can be noisy and tiring. One of the last times I was in the nursery, our little ones had a chance to spend fifteen minutes in the gym to use the riding toys. In the gym, there was a children's basketball net. I spent most of the fifteen minutes picking up toddlers who wanted nothing more than to put that ball through the hoop. The smiles on their faces was worth the sore back I had later. No, nursery work is not glamorous, and that's good. Service is not all about being front and centre, or being the teacher, or the one influencing everyone. Sometimes, service is about staying in the shadows, getting dirty, and then feeling sore and tired later on.

It's insight into human nature

There is nothing that convinces me of human depravity more than the nursery. When I go in there, another woman and I, if there are temper flare-ups or conflict, look at each other and say, "Original sin in action." On one occasion, one of the almost-three years olds (when they are three years old, they leave the nursery, and go into a program for pre-school kids) had gathered about ten different toys and put them on the little picnic table. She sat at the table, encircled her little arms around her store of toys, and looked up at the other children defiantly, crying out, her brown eyes flashing, "We have to share, we have to share!" She's three years old, so she did not get the contradiction of the situation. She's a toddler, though, and she'll learn. But it's fascinating to watch. And it's a reminder that these little ones need Christ, and ministering to their hearts right from the time of their  infancy is a good act of service.

It's a way to minister to their mothers

This hour of time together for the young mothers is more than just social time. There is discussion about spiritual truths, reading of biblical passages, and a time for prayer. It's time to be grown ups, to feel refreshed. It's only once a week, but it's a time I know they appreciate. It's a ministry to these young moms. When we give them that hour, we are investing into their lives. No, we're not doing the teaching, but we are giving them the freedom to participate without wondering how the kids are.

Sometimes, I read women's blogs and I hear the sounds of a longing voice to serve somewhere. "Oh, that there would be a place for a woman such as I to serve!" I am frankly perplexed as to why a woman would be at such a loss as to find somewhere to serve. If there is a body of believers, and things happening in a church, there are places to serve. What I suspect is often the case is that there is a regret that there is nowhere for a woman to lead, to be in charge. You know what? I've been in charge of things before. It's not always all it's cracked up to be. And that's not true service. True service doesn't worry about whether one leads or not, or whether one can be an influence; it's about humility. I don't want to be someone who is more interested in leading than I am following Christ.

So, tomorrow, I will get dressed in something I won't worry about getting dirty, sit on the floor, cuddle some kids on my lap, resolve a few conflicts, and then go home, knowing that I've served the Lord in a legitimate way. 

And if that doesn't convince you, another reason for being in the nursery is that it's just good fun!