Do you ever find yourself caught up in the duty of life so much that you emotionally check out from your children, and even from God? Sometimes lately, I have felt dry in my heart from too much work and responsibilities. I don't want to just think of God in my sleepy, not long enough quiet time. But I hope this summer, I will cultivate a "present" heart--one that chooses to engage in worship in His presence as I go about my day. My long-time friend Pam was talking about this from a first hand experience. Reflect on how to make this real in your own life.
This past summer I was able to travel to Africa for the second time to participate in missions work in Kampala, Uganda. Our church supports full time time missions there and both trips have provided numerous lessons for me to bring back home, teach to others, and incorporate in my own spiritual journey. The more available I am to receive from the people of Uganda, the more impact has been made in my personal faith.
One lesson I brought home this past summer occurred in the slum of Banda. I call it a “city on a hill." Banda is the only slum in Kampala which is situated on hill. Normally slums are crammed into urban areas where terrible drainage issues exist. Therefore the slums are susceptible to flooding regularly.
The Banda Artisans, our bead makers, reside on the hilltop alongside a rock quarry where many have lost loved ones. The ladies who make up this thriving ministry are given an opportunity to develop a sustainable income through the crafting and selling of beads.
Our missionaries disciple and minister to the women while making a monthly purchase of beads, which then travel back to the United States to sell. The salary the women receive provide school fees for children, home repairs, and medical expenses. If you want to know more about this unique ministry, you can find it at www.aggiesarts.org
During our mission trip we spend many days in Banda growing our relationships with these precious women, learning from one another, and enjoying the oneness in Christ we share together. This has become one of my favorite points of ministry while in Africa.
This past summer while visiting Banda as we were celebrating the Lord with music and dancing, I had the perfect view of people leaving the city and walking up the hill into the slum. I noticed a woman heading back to her home place gracefully balancing a basket of bananas with her skirt flowing with each step she made. The nearer she got to our little circle of praise the more determined she looked. She directly approached our group and as you can see from the photo, passes off her basket to a nearby available woman.
Next, the lady joins into our circle of praise, song, and dance. She worships for several minutes, then turns to take her basket, places it back on her head, and goes on her way. As I processed my trip and all the Father taught me, this picture kept coming back to mind.
What if everyone, including myself, was that available to drop whatever we were doing at a moment’s notice to worship the Lord when the opportunity presented itself?
This lesson came to me when I heard a teaching on John Chapter 4 where Jesus is speaking with the Samaritan woman. As Jesus is revealing Himself to her, he says the following:
“Believe me woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…. A time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.”
This is what God is doing. He is raising up worshippers!
We get to decide, by faith, whether we will lay down our work, our circumstances, and our trials to participate, in the divine calling to worship.
It changes everything because it places God on the throne of our lives in place of our momentary burdens and afflictions. It changes everything because when God is on the throne of our lives rather than our agenda, He is glorified in and through our lives, others are drawn to Him, and His kingdom advances.
Will you lay down your basket of worry, fear, anxiety, heartache, you name it, today? Will you choose to worship God who rescued, redeemed and is restoring you? It is my prayer for each of you this day.