Sunday, July 21, 2013

When Weariness Seems to Win

Weariness gets me. I have to admit, it gets me in a bad way.

Last Friday I awoke and my mind was in the middle of singing Building 429 We will not be shaken. Praise was on my heart. But, it was still a tough day. I was making big decisions about our business and working through challenges is never easy. Particularly since we are a family business. Like most families, we have our share of strife and baggage.

If you don't know me, my family raises pigs. Yep, I manage a pig farm. More accurately I manage the people who run the pig farm. We are now 18 months into significant restructuring of operations, organization and finances. I have a super team of people way smarter than me who provide excellent and trustworthy advice. Yet, some days it feels like I barely manage to keep my head above water. Like Wednesday.

Four irrigation pivots were broken down at a critical time for corn. The state was coming to visit and presumably shut off our ability to pump out of the creek. Fortunately, they only put us on a schedule. Major building problems at another unit were a big concern. People's stress levels were as high as the acrid summer heat. To top off the day one of my trusted team, our accountant, gave his two week notice.

That did it. CEO or not, I cried. Not very professional, but sometimes being a woman trumps job descriptions. I cried the rest of the day. I put out a 'help me' message to some of my team, hoping they could talk me back from hormones to logic. No call.

Cling to truth. I will not be shaken. 

OK I thought, I'm hosting a study at my house tonight. Their encouragement will snap me right out of this. We start by sharing our week and prayer requests. Problem was several of us had bad things happen. Their problems were just as important as mine. I will get my turn. But the turn didn't come. I hate to admit this, but half way through the evening I shut down and just wanted everyone to go home so I could have a good old fashioned, therapeutic cry.

Trust in Him. Hide in God.

Thursday, I tried to talk with our consultant who was here. He helps people work with people. Can we say God's timing is perfect? Dangerously to close to losing it when I had an afternoon of meetings to run, I said just enough to keep myself together. He gave me what encouragement he could and knows me well enough to understand my process. Do the next thing until I don't feel so raw. I barely made it through the day.

It was Friday morning again and I awoke puffy eyed, exhausted. I fell into my recliner, bible in hand as usual.

Keep Close to me. I'm here.

From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary beneath the shelter of your wings. Psalm 62:1-4

God heard my cry and gave this reminder and promise. Thank you, God! Still teary, I was now running late. I rushed to get ready, turning on the radio always set to KLOVE. I stopped dead in my tracks. Guess what song was playing? Yep, We will not be shaken

If you feel like this today, do what little you can. Cling to truth. Hide in God. 

Let your tears flow and know he is sheltering you under his wing. 
Allow your pain, but take it to the rock of safe refuge.
Don't deny weariness. Know it will be banished in the fortress of God.

He always hears. He always gives rest for the weary. He is always faithful. 

Is it instantaneous? Not always, and that is all right. I'm still not back to normal, but God is always good. I know I'm not the only one who struggles. Please tell me I'm not! If I can encourage you take a deep breath and reach out. We are not meant to do this alone. 

He walks with us every step and we will not be shaken.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

China: Prayer #3

Are you on the flight to Detroit?

The words broke through my fog of thought as I passed the terminal entrance for the umpteenth time. I looked toward the source of the cheerful intrusion and saw a woman with two children, all blonde. The boy was very young and the waist high girl obviously feeling as sick as I was. Severe sinus cold and fever did not wait for the comforts of my home. Poor dear.

I affirmed that, yes, we were on the same flight and we struck up a conversation. I could tell from the mountain high stack of luggage, a sick girl, and a stroller lost in the bowels of the luggage system, that she was stretched to the limit.

I offered to help by watching the luggage while she found the stroller, but an employee offered to get it for her. We exchanged our stories while we waited. She lived in southern China and her husband  stayed to work while they visited family this summer. She was fascinated I was in China on pig business.

The children climbed into the now found stroller and we gathered luggage, carts and kids heading our train to check in. She told me they never fly that route home. Hmm, I think this is a set up. 

I have to ask, are you missionaries? Her sideways glance spoke volumes. Not officially she said. We don't work with any organization. We live here, and share where we can.

Prayer #3.
I smiled.  As we headed toward security and I told of my hope that being in China could be about more than only selling pigs. I want to support missions in the country, from within the country. She beamed.

It's astounding how quickly you can become friends when you have a common bond. Her children are absolutely darlings and I was amazed at their language skills. They talked my leg off while we ate supper together.

My new friend shared her experiences. Some of the encouraging things God is doing as well as the struggles people in China face to share the truth of God. She and her husband have been doing this unsupported live-in-share-in ministry for 13 years! She named five countries and I think at least three continents. I was overwhelmed with their "Abraham, Go" hearts of obedience. It requires deep love and commitment to live real for God. Linda, take note.

We helped each other in Detroit and shared a warm hug as we parted for our flights. We said we will stay in touch and that is a promise I intend to keep. God is clearly at work bringing two women together at the same moment in a big airport in an even bigger country. We went our separate ways, but spoke agreement.
It will be interesting to see what God does with this.
Many times at the end of a stressful day I wonder, what mattered?  I struggle with so much time and energy spent on pigs and it doesn't seem very spiritual. Frankly, it isn't.  
You may be wondering today too. I'm learning that God uses everything. God uses everything you do too.
Do every small thing, even the seemingly unspiritual with a heart for Jesus.  If God can find a way to use pigs, don't you think he can use whatever you do for his glory also?

Use what you have been given. It is never small or unimportant.
Watch for opportunities. They are everywhere. With hearts wide open, we will see them.

Share where God has you. Most of us are missionaries living right where we are. God needs us more than ever. 

 Because that's what he is in the business of doing, my friend. Using the ordinary, the plain, the lowly, the boring. The willing.
Are you willing today?