May 04 2013

Living God’s Call to be a Missionary in “Ordinary Life”

It is so hard to believe that May is already here.

This past week, we had weather in the 80s and the boys even snuck out the sprinkler and made a mud slide in our backyard.  The next day the temperatures dropped to the 40s.  Tonight it is in the 30s with very, cold rain and snow showers.

There has been so much happening in my family this past week as we had our week of relaxed learning. (We homeschool year round and take a week of relaxed learning away from our formal curriculum every four weeks.) Through the week, God has made it clear to me His Call to share the Gospel is still very real.

Annie's senior picture

One of Annie’s Senior pictures

Our Annie got huge news last Friday.  She is Salutatorian and will be making a speech at her high school graduation on May 11th. We are all SO proud of her! This is such a huge accomplishment, and to do it after losing her Daddy right after her 17th birthday and before starting her senior year.  Wow.  I am so, so happy for her and I love watching what God is doing in her life!  Not only did she excel in her classes again this year, she organized and led her first Youth Mission Event and invited all the surrounding churches. Her passion for her Savior and for sharing His saving grace and love with others is powerful. God is growing her into an amazing, young woman on-fire for Him with such an incredible testimony!

She left at 1am on Sunday morning to head off to Hawaii for her Senior Class trip.  They have been fundraising and planning for this for four years. She had an amazing week and shared pictures on her Facebook page so that her family and friends could see what she was up to throughout the week.  AND this sweet daughter of ours even called me a couple of times. I have to say that she is such a precious gift to me from God and my Will.

puppet ministry collage

Last Saturday, the boys and I enjoyed a wonderful time at a nearby town’s Christian Bookstore had a guest puppet ministry work with children.  Josh and Michael had a blast as did all the children. This dear woman has done puppet ministry for sixty years!  She was so wonderful with all the children who were there. She brought her smaller puppets that day and taught the children how to use them to tell about Jesus.  It was such a blessing!

While I was there I had a chance to visit with one of the people from the store. He asked me to pray about talking with the owner about my testimony of God’s faithfulness through our accident last summer and throughout the ups and downs of life. Grieving with hope. He told me that they would like to consider offering a class in the meeting room at the store and having me teach it sharing from my testimony of God’s faithfulness…running to Him and with Him in times of tragedy instead of running away from Him. Wow. I am so amazed at how God is working through this very painful time for His glory. He said the hope and love of God in my eyes and voice as I shared with him were evidence of the Holy Spirit’s transforming love in my life. This was an answered prayer for me. I asked God to make it clear if He is calling me to begin teaching and speaking with groups about His faithfulness. All by His Grace alone for His glory!

On Monday we took a day to head to the town where my PCP Nurse practitioner’s office is located.  I had a good talk with her and their office manager and they are going to take the lead in making sure no one has to go through the experience I had with the Spinal Surgeon last Friday again.  My nurse practitioner has known me for three years now. She told me that the changes in how I handled myself in that very difficult and inappropriate (on his part) situation were dramatic. She was so proud of me.  I was able to share with her that I am so grateful for her help in getting treated for my disorders over this past year and for the incredible work God is doing transforming my heart through this difficult time. She smiled and gave me a big hug. She is always telling me how blessed she is by how God is working in our lives…never stop sharing it.  She told me. I was so blessed by our talk.

We spent some time at a nearby park for a picnic and for the boys to have some time to run off some energy while we were in town and God worked again…there was a group of homeschool families there playing.  The boys had a blast, and I left my camera at home!  So sorry!

Wednesday we had a VBS volunteer meeting to go to.  I am very excited about working with the skits to publicize our VBS to the congregation.  And the boys and I are going to go door to door sharing information and a bag of popcorn with the families with children at home in our town in June to help spread the word. Getting Josh and Michael involved in volunteering and finding ways to help them get involved in sharing the Gospel is very important to who we are as a family. 

American flag

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer and that afternoon we joined with our pastor and other Christians from our little town to pray for our town, community, state and nation under the American flag outside of our City Hall. This was the first time our boys have had the opportunity to be involved in praying for our nation with others from our community.  In past years, we have had our own time of prayer at home, but this year I decided that Michael was old enough to take part.  We were so blessed by the experience and a few of the folks even commented on how good it was to have children joining them in prayer for our nation. We were the only homeschooling family in our small town that was able to join them this year. Those comments really touched my heart and reminded me of the importance of the work that God is doing through the testimony, prayers, and lives of our children and the children in all of our Christian families.

Thursday night we set out for our weekly trip to the library. It is a regular part of our week and something we all look forward to doing. Our library has a family story time on Thursday nights and this week we enjoyed hearing two books from one of our favorite children’s authors and illustrators, Eric Carle. This week’s focus was on butterflies and the process of going from a fat ugly caterpillar into the cocoon and breaking free, transformed into a beautiful butterfly! So fitting the message that the Lord has sent home to me.

Michael foot collage

Friday we had a bit of an unexpected field trip to the ER, again.  This time it was for Michael. He had an accidental encounter with a grocery cart at the store Friday morning and by afternoon he was struggling to put weight on it and it was swelling. I wasn’t sure if he had broken his foot or not so I took him in to be checked. Praise God it is just a bruised bone. The medical staff in the ER was wonderful! The EMT who wrapped Michael’s foot even cut a quarter in half for the boys using one of their medical scissors to reward Michael for being so brave.

My biggest challenge at the moment it convincing him that it wouldn’t hurt as much and the swelling would go down faster if he stayed off of it. LOL But he is barely five and rarely stops moving! Josh has been an amazing help with Michael through this injury. As soon as he heard me say we needed to go to the ER he packed up some of Michael’s favorite travel games and books to take with us. When I asked him what they were for he told me it was so he could help distract Michael from the pain in his foot while we were at the hospital. He did a great job.

And he didn’t stop when we got home! Today, keeping Michael down was really tough.  Josh volunteered to keep him occupied here at home while I worked in the kitchen and then I read aloud to Michael while Josh did his chores later. He even moved Michael’s toddler bed into his bedroom so that he “could keep an eye on him” if he needed anything tonight. (tears) He is really starting to get the hang of being a good big brother! I rewarded them both with a movie night!

God is showing me the impact that involving them in ministry not just having them attend ministry activities is already having on their lives. Our little family is a missionary family at heart. Sharing the good news of Jesus’ love and grace starts at home with our families. I am beginning to see servant heart behavior beginning in both of our sons…and Annie’s passion for serving and reaching people with the Gospel inspires me every day.

Every day, the Lord is helping me to see that just because Will went home to heaven a month after being ordained as a missionary pastor doesn’t mean that God’s missionary call on my life ended.  How we live out that call may change, but His call in my heart is clear. It is through letting God work in our hearts and lives to transform us in our weakest times that He can grow us stronger through the power of His Holy Spirit. I am not the same woman I was a year ago. My life is not the same…but the God I serve in love has not changed.

Because of what we have been through, my faith is even stronger than it was a year ago. It is God who has and continues to carry me through and it is God who is continuing to help me to surrender more and more and grow my faith and transform my life each day. I still have such a long way to go, but I am so thankful to see how His transforming grace and love can shine through the challenges we face to draw others closer to Him for His glory.

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Unwrapping His Grace,

Mary Joy



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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

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