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Today’s Truth

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Friend to Friend

As a high school junior, I decided it was time to take Homemaking 101. I can still see Mrs. Johnson’s face as she naively gazed at her new students. Bless her unsuspecting heart! She had no idea the challenge I brought to that class or to her career as a teacher. For weeks, I muddled through each lesson with a respectable, but less than stellar performance, until we hit the section on sewing. It would prove to be her undoing where I was concerned.

Being the veteran teacher that she was, Mrs. Johnson took a deep breath and doggedly plunged ahead in determination, vowing she could teach anyone to sew – even me. I decided to make a blouse, and chose what I thought was a simple McCall’s pattern.   Mrs. Johnson was thrilled with my selection, competent that even I could make a blouse requiring approximately seven straight seams.

The pattern looked so simple and even pretty in the package. Then I opened it, gingerly unfolding and carefully arranging each delicate pattern piece, staring at the foreign documents before me. They were simply beyond human comprehension. I concluded that the pattern was actually a sinister trap of some accomplished but sadistic seamstress, and quickly stuffed the flimsy entrapments back into their package. After all, I was creative. I didn’t need a pattern. I knew exactly what I wanted to make. How hard could it be? Ignorance really can be bliss.

When I presented the completed blouse to Mrs. Johnson for a grade, her eyes widened as she stared in silence at my first and last attempt at sewing. “Interesting,” she muttered, obviously in shock. I made a “C” in her class, a sympathy grade if there ever was one.

And the blouse? I buried it in my back yard – literally.

Since that day, I always make sure I have at least one friend who can sew and the name of two seamstresses on hand at all times. However, in all my years of ministry, I can truthfully say that my inability to sew has never hindered God’s work in my life.

Some have even dared to suggest that since I have a daughter, I should not only sew, but that I should teach her to sew as well. Danna is a very bright and talented young woman, but sewing is not on her radar. So I buried that proposal like I buried that dreadful blouse I made.

Another line of thinking proposes that because I am a pastor’s wife, I should drag out my silver (if I had any) and host dinners and teas for the women of the church. Please know that those of you who actually enjoy these tortuous events have my undying admiration and respect. Seriously!

In our first full-time church, I actually invited the entire church to our home for a Christmas open house. Since there were several hundred church members at the time, I concluded it would take three nights to accommodate them all. Looking back, my only defense is a complete loss of sanity.

My family eventually grew to hate the month before the first open house. They had good reason. I put them all to work, cleaning and scrubbing every square inch of the house. I bought and hoarded food, and threatened to hurt anyone who even thought about infiltrating my “stash.” I even managed to destroy Thanksgiving weekend by insisting that we decorate the house, inside and out, for Christmas – not in anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth, but in preparation for the “open houses” to be held the following weekend.

For three years, I tried to be the consummate hostess until my husband put a stop to the madness by asking one simple question, “Honey, why are you doing these open houses?” The answer that popped into my mind and out of my mouth was absurd. “Because that’s what pastor’s wives do!” I feebly responded. “Where does it say that, honey?” he asked. Dan went on to set me free. “We have done our last open house. Please don’t ever do anything else because you think it fits the man-made profile of a pastor’s wife. Do what God has gifted and called you to do – period – and never apologize to anyone for doing it.” I do not have the gift of hospitality, but in every church we have ever served, there have been women who do and delight in using that gift for Him.

What do you love to do? What energizes you? What is your heart passion? What gifts and abilities do others see in you? What did God create you to do? Ask Him to make His plan for your life clear. Trust Him with all your heart. Submit your will to His, and choose now to walk through the doors He opens.

Let’s Pray

Father, I praise You because I am made in Your image. Please help me live my life on the basis of that truth and not on the lies of the world. Teach me how to see myself through Your eyes.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Here is your assignment for the week. Read Psalm 139 at least one time every day. In your journal, write each verse in your own words. At the end of the week, set aside time to celebrate who you are in Christ. Have a praise party – just you and God – or invite a few girlfriends to join you in celebrating how special you are to Him.

More from the Girlfriends

What does it mean to trust God? What would your life look like if you were walking by faith and trusting God with your whole heart? The 10-Day Trust Adventure addresses decisions you make and how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and really trust God.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

3 Responses to “The Wonder of You”

  1. Mandie says:

    I needed to hear this today, Mary! I often struggle with the reality I’m not a wife who likes to cook and I often try to cook more than I should to live up to the ideal women in my head. This pressure is especially strong during the holiday season. My mother enjoys baking, so I think I should too.

    When I’m focused on what I don’t enjoy and don’t do well, however, I take time and energy away from what I do enjoy and do well. In other words, my talents are buried while I’m trying to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. Instead, I can spend time writing or playing with my daughter.

    Ironically, whoever is going to eat the pie will be glad if a buy a pie from the grocery instead of baking it myself.

    Less stress, better pie.

    Thanks for reminding me that what God has called me to do is enough. Period!

  2. Lois says:

    Mary,
    Thank you for your refreshing encouragement. I am a missionary in Cambodia. Every time I meet someone they ask me in a very friendly manner, what I ‘do’. I try hard to explain that I mentor mostly young adults. We also make ourselves available to meet off the radar kinds of needs, usually involving an open home approach. Examples of things would be having a young missionary under close scrutiny in Vietnam stay with us suddenly for a week or two until it was safe for her to return. We taught English at a Chinese school for two weeks so that a friend could accept a position at our church’s school which overlapped schedules. We have had mission team members spend a night or two when their return flights did not mesh for sharing a hotel. We have a spare room if someone needs a quiet place to write their prayer letter or study. Invariably, the person looks at me with a confused look and says, ‘But what do you do?’ Their intentions are good but I do what God has gifted me and burdened me to do. I am a very flexible person in a difficult culture. Life here is very unpredictable and often not easy to navigate. My husband has always valued and honored my gifts and I am forever grateful. This month marks fifty years together for us. We are independent, self supporting on retirement and Social Security, so we have a great deal of freedom in our ministry here. That makes it possible for us to serve other foreigners, but mostly Cambodians, in whatever way needed. Following God’s plan is an incredibly freeing and adventurous life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Thank you for validating living God’s way instead of any other. What a creative and awesome God we share!

  3. Pam says:

    I do not have the gift of hospitality nor do I like to cook.

    This devotion was very freeing as I have spent years feeling guilty for not enjoying these things and not being able to do them well.

    Thank you!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8