Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What a Weird World

NYC might be the epitome of the working world. It's the city that never sleeps--and not because it's busy with good works or random acts of kindness. No, it seems like most people are running around with a cup of coffee in each hand so they can climb the corporate ladder a little higher, make a few more dollars (afterall, overtime pays more!), and be a step closer to a life of luxury. I know a girl who just graduated from med school and her work has been "limited" to 80 hours a week. 80 hours! And this is the American dream?

Living in a place that values money so much, and where jobs that make lots of money are valued over jobs that are unpaid or low-paid, some things are starting to be so clear to me:

-- It's cool to be a nanny. That's a respectable job. But if you're a nanny to your OWN kids (a.ka. a stay-at-home mom), you're not as cool.
-- It's a respectable profession to be a personal assistant to a C.E.O. or businessman, shopping for their clothes, writing thank you notes for gifts, making phone calls, and shopping for their groceries. But if you do these things for your own hard-working husband, you're considered a doormat.
-- It's fine to work as a private chef or housekeeper, but when you do these things (even preparing a gourmet meal) in your own household for zero pay, people tell you to "get a real job."
-- It's honorable to volunteer a night a week at a soup kitchen, but when you volunteer your entire LIFE to serve in the kingdom of God, that's considered too extreme and radical.

All that to say this: I enjoy being a wife and homemaker way more than going out to my part-time job. Yet people have told me, "I wish I could afford to just work part-time." I usually just smile and say that I'm blessed, but I want to say... if you don't get your hair and nails done every week, or eat out three times a day, or live in a 4000 sq ft. home, you might not "have" to work all the time.

It boggles my mind that so many mothers have an "important" job so they can pay someone else to do the "unimportant" jobs of raising their kids and managing their household. Why do they even HAVE children if they don't want to ever be with them? And when children are old enough to stay at home by themselves and no longer need a nanny, we're essentially leaving them to be raised by the world, their friends, and the media. What a scary and horrible thought. How is any amount of stuff or money worth the soul of a child?

What a weird world we live in. It's full of C.E.O.'s and doctors who can succeed in their own fields, but they have forgotten (or never been taught) how to do simple things like wash dishes or cook a meal.

In the eyes of NYC, I don't have an important job. I'm not needed by a corporation 80 hours a week. But in the eyes of God, I have the most important job in the world: being His servant. And I'm needed in His army more than 80 hours a week. Try 24/7.

And if we do our own laundry, we've got something these zillionaires in New York can't even claim.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Prayer Requests

When I began this blog, I had no idea if anyone (besides my parents!) would be interested in hearing about city stuff. But it's been so encouraging hearing from different people who read it! Thanks to those of you who have shown support and love for the work here. I like to picture encouragement like a chain: if you encourage me, I can encourage Jady, and together we can try to encourage our NYC brothers and sisters. So thanks for being a vital link in that chain!

One of the biggest helps to the work here is through prayer. Because through prayer, we know that God can do so much more than we can ask or imagine or even do ourselves. If you're interested, here are three prayer requests I would put before you to put before God:

(1) Did I mention how a year ago a few Christian women started having a children's Bible class in the corner of the room where the adult Bible class was going on? They just hang up sheets and bring all their materials, and even though they never know the age or number of kids they'll have, it works just fine. Well... recently we've been having a few teenage girls in our assembly. (This is rare!! But great!) One girl is part of a whole family that's been visiting, one girl has a mom who's a member, and one girl has a mom who's really close to becoming a Christian. I would love to hang up my own sheets and start a new class for these young ladies, if the men of the congregation approve it. Don and Cami and Jady are encouraging me to pursue it, so please pray that God will guide these efforts!

(2) If you drive to school or work in a quiet and climate-controlled car, go ahead and thank God for it. I don't miss driving, but I miss that feeling of having your own space! I ride the subway each morning, and wow. If it was just me and the train, no big deal. But add a couple thugs with headphones blaring the most obnoxious music ever composed. Add a lady blowing ALL her germs into a kleenex that's literally centimeters from your face. Add a mother condescendingly accusing her child loud enough for the entire train car to hear. Add the smells of a homeless guy who slept there. Add a bunch of people in puffy coats fighting for elbow room... or even better, a SEAT! Add a conductor who yells at the passengers over the intercom ("Get outta the closing doors!!"). When you add all those things up, it equals a seemingly complain-worthy commute. Please pray for me to have patience and to glorify God even then/there.

(3) There are so many situations needing prayers here, but I'll ask for one specifically: Michelle is a young woman who moved to NYC from Tampa around the same time we did. She had been studying with a Christian couple down in Tampa and (according to them) was on the verge of baptism--right before her job brought her to the city. After several months of living in the world and learning how unsatisfying that was, she started coming to worship with us. And after continuing to study and talk to Christians, she was just baptized last month! Now, I'd like to ask for prayers for Michelle to continue studying and growing more rooted in God's Word. This city is surely one of the hardest places for a new Christian (especially a single one), so she will no doubt be fighting a hard battle just to stay a Christian. (Aren't we all?!)

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Challenging Quote

(author unknown)

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made.
I am a disciple of Jesus.

I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or back away.

My past is redeemed,
My present makes sense,
And my future is secure.

I am finished and done with low-living, sight-walking, small-planning, smooth-knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane-talking, chincy-giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no long need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, or popularity.
I don’t have to be first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.

My face is set;
My gait is fast,
My goal is Heaven,
My road is narrow,
My Guide is reliable,
My mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice,
Hestitate in the presence of adversity,
Negotiate at the table of the enemy,
Ponder at the pool of popularity,
Or meander on the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up ‘til I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus.
I must go ‘til I drop,
Preach all that I know,
And work ‘til He comes.

And when He comes to get His own, by the grace of God, He’ll have no trouble recognizing me. My colors are clear.