Summer has been quite an adjustment for me. It's not as if I've never had a summer with four kids before, as this is my fourth with four, but it's the first one during which I've traveled so extensively. Here is Summer '10 thusfar at a glance:
- Week One - Ease into summer with Cheer Camp (3 days) and Pom Practice (6 days)
- Week Two - In Dallas for the Week for Niece's Graduation
- Week Three - Drive to NW Arkansas to Retrieve Hannah from Pom Camp, Catch-up on Laundry, Leave Two Days Later to go Back to Dallas to Have Hannah's Braces Taken Off
- Week Four - VBS Everyday in the Morning; Practices, Appointments, etc. Every Afternoon
As you can imagine, I've been quite a ways off of my usual daily cleaning and laundry schedule. By day four of Vacation Bible School, it appeared World War III was upon us and the origination point was my home. I am very committed to the principle that as a woman, you don't run off to volunteer at church if you're leaving your home a wreck. I prayed and gave my home up to Jesus that morning, admitting I wasn't on track and asking for His help. He whispered in my heart that I had thirty minutes before I absolutely had to get ready for Vacation Bible School. Why not use those thirty minutes for His glory to bless my family with a clean and straight home?
As I literally ran through the house, dripping with sweat, and singing to myself about cleaning my house for Jesus, here is what got accomplished in those thirty minutes:
- Picked up clutter off floor of every room on the main floor, including all the "camp-out" gear from our indoor family spend-the-night which had occurred the night before last
- Vacuumed the floors of every room on the main floor
- Unpacked a suitcase
- Made my bed
- Gathered up the laundry
- Sorted the laundry
- Traded out the laundry (folded a batch, transferred a batch, started a batch)
- Gathered the trash
- Took out the trash
- Cleared the table
- Unloaded the dishwasher
- Washed the breakfast dishes
- Dried the dishes
- Put the dishes away
- Washed the countertops
Giving an absolutely ordinary thing in my life like cleaning my house, enabled me accomplish more in thirty minutes with Jesus' help than I could have all day doing it on my own. It really is all about Him.
Today's reading is Acts 4:1-22. Peter and John have just healed a man crippled from birth and Peter has preached a convincing sermon about why Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah (Chapter 3). Chapter four opens with the religious establishment rising up against them, armed with indignation that they were preaching about Jesus and teaching the truth of His resurrection (Verses 1-2). Peter and John are arrested and put in jail overnight (Verse 3). In the midst of Peter and John's difficulties, their faith is unwavering. They continue in what they know they've been called to do without hesitation, relying solely on Jesus to work through them. I am not an apostle who walked personally with Jesus for three years. Could God possibly work through someone as unlikely as me? Jesus whispers in my heart to read on and hear from Him how that very thing is possible for every one of His redeemed.
- I've Got the Power (Acts 3:12) - When the crowd pressed around Peter and John to inquire how they were able to heal this crippled man, Peter asks them, "Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?" I too need to realize that it is God alone not my abilities, determination or even dedication that accomplishes anything. I have a choice and don't have to rely on God. I could probably have accomplished a few items on that list in my own strength the other morning, but God's power was required to super-charge my morning chores for His glory. It's all about You, Jesus.
- I Ain't Afraid of No Opposition (Verse 4) - Anytime a person takes a stand for Jesus, he or she will face strong opposition. Peter and John had been thrown in jail. Had that been me, I would have wanted to throw in the towel. God continued to work while Peter and John were incarcerated and another 2,000 men believed in Christ. There were plenty of things working against me that morning - tiredness after three days of VBS, selfish thoughts trying to crowd my mind and a strong desire to procrastinate to name a few. When I gave God those thirty minutes and let Him decide how I would use them, He worked against all that opposition to accomplish far more than I could ever do on my own. It's all about You, Jesus.
- Don't Look at Me, I Didn't Do Nuttin' (Verses 9,12) - The next morning the temple leadership met with Peter and John to inquire by what name they had healed this man (Verse 7). They could have easily taken the credit themselves, but again Peter boldly states that it is Jesus alone through which the healing was accomplished. Peter goes on to declare that there is no other name in heaven by which anyone can be saved. If someone asked me about my house cleaning routine, I could credit my discipline for doing it even when I didn't feel like it, or the various women in my life who have taught me tricks through the years, but like everything else in my life ultimately it is only Jesus who deserves the credit. It's all about You, Jesus.
- Only the Ordinary Need Apply (Verse 13) - The religious leaders were astounded by Peter and John's courage and realized they were completely ordinary, unschooled men who had been with Jesus. Back in Verse 8, the text notes that Peter was filled with the Spirit. It was not any extraordinary skills or significant talent they possessed but Jesus alone who worked through them. I am just an ordinary mom and wife. I have moments of frustration and anger where I really do wish Calgon would take me away. I have days where a girls' getaway somewhere beachy seems far more appealing than dealing with the girls' stay-vacation I live daily. It is because I am completely ordinary that when I surrender my absolutely mundane life to Christ that He can work through me and in me. It's all about You, Jesus.
- Just Do It (Verse 19) - Seeing no other solution, the temple authorities ordered Peter and John to stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus. Peter refused, noting they could not help speaking about what they had seen and heard. Peter and John said yes to God, then God continued His work through them. No matter what challenge I am facing, no matter how unqualified I feel, God is still sufficient to accomplish His purposes and He wants me to agree to being used by Him. The other morning, God eagerly waited for me to say, "Yes", and then worked through me to pack hours of housework into minutes. It's all about You, Jesus.
Jesus, thank you for teaching me today that every day You have special assignments You want to accomplish through me. So often those assignments are in the very ordinary happenings of my day, that You can make extraordinary when they are surrendered to You and Your plan. Today my day is Yours. I pray that I hear You when You call and say, "Yes" to Your plans for me today.