Sunday, April 23, 2017

A New Season

You may have  noticed that I have written less in the past few months. You may also have noticed that I have written almost nothing about stained glass in the past couple of years. Life has changed quite a bit; I think of it as a new season of my life.

This season has little time for glass. I've been homeschooling our 10 yr old since she was four. As she has gotten older, it takes more and more time to get through all the subjects she needs to get learn. In addition, I'm helping with the ministry here in Dulce. Each week, I mow for about 6 hours, spend 2-4 hours in our children's ministry, and teach 11 students science for 4 hours.

This coming summer, we are hosting at least four mission groups for about a week each. We love mission groups and are deeply grateful for the work they accomplish; it's just busy! And it seems the longer we're here in Dulce, the more groups we host. This is awesome and positive, but busy.

In addition, I am now full-time homeschooling four Jicarilla children in addition to our own daughter. It's good. It's meaningful. It's important, and I love it. And it's busy.

A few months back, our family was preparing to adopt three of our daughter's birth siblings. It looked like they were in need of a permanent home, and we were adjusting our lives to include a 4 1/2 year old, a 3 1/2 year old, and a 10 month old. It turned out that they were able to return home safely, and we are delighted about that. But while we were in the process of preparing for them, I decided that my glass studio, which wasn't being used much at all, could be given to someone to make room for extra children.

I asked some friends if they knew of anyone who wanted to do stained glass, especially someone who would honor God in their work, and I met a man who wanted to expand his wood-working to include glass-work. He is a Christian, and he was ecstatic to have a ready-made glass studio. So, when we realized we weren't going to expand our family, I prayed about it and decided to go ahead with the bequeathing of the studio. My new friend insisted on paying me, and it turned out that my daughter and I needed to make an emergency trip to Minnesota to help my parents after surgeries. Without that money, we couldn't have afforded to make the trip. God provides.

So, the bottom line is: I am no longer a glass artist. And that's more than okay with me. I have many, many other interests and pulls on my time. I loved being a glass artist in its season, but I am very excited to have the space for a reading nook. My students and I need a little more space for our daily silent reading!

I have already legally closed my glass business and taken down my website. I will be closing my Facebook page for A Glimpse of Grace within the week. If you want to follow my life as a missionary, teacher, kayaker, Christian, mom... Please "Follow" me on my blog if you're not my FB friend. I will continue to blog!

I thank you for your loving support and interest in this blog and my glass work. I look forward to this season of my life, too. May God bless you in every way.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ministry on the Rez

Did you ever wonder what ministry looks like in Dulce, NM?

I can guarantee that it often doesn't look much like ministry in many places I've attended church. Sure, some things are the same: Sunday services, children's programs, the occasional wedding, hospital visitations, and funerals. My role, as pastor's wife, includes parts in some of those events. I help lead the children's programs and sometimes read Scripture or greet on Sundays.

However, much of what happens in Dulce is quite different from how I've seen ministry in other places. A good example of this kind of ministry happened a few weeks ago. It started with a knock on the back door while my husband was away...

I stopped my lesson plan preparations and went to the door. Seeing a man who occasionally stops by for some food, often while intoxicated, I grabbed my house keys and told my 10 year old, "I'm going out to talk to someone. I'm locking the door." I didn't lock the door because I'm afraid of this man; I locked the door because I am protective of our daughter. Alcohol affects decision-making, and I never want her to pay the price for my choices.

The man did want something to eat, so I left him on our comfortable patio with shade and a bench and came back inside to make some sandwiches. I told my daughter that I was making a lunch for this man, and she pitched in to peel some carrots. I left her back inside while I took a plate out to our visitor.

I pulled out a lawn chair and sat opposite the man after I handed him the plate. He said, "You're going to sit here with me? You don't have to." After reassuring him that I indeed wanted to sit with him, he made comments about how nice I was. I tried turned his thoughts to why I chose to sit with him: This is what Jesus tells us to do in the Bible. Feed the hungry. Visit the prisoner. Touch the untouchable. I sat with him because it is what Jesus wants me to do, and I am being changed by Jesus every day. It was not a burden to sit with the man and talk to him while he ate.

And that is the biggest experience I've had with ministry on the Rez:  I  am being changed. I didn't begrudge the two hours I spent talking with this man. I don't sit with my lonely elderly friend wishing I were somewhere else or that I could extract myself quickly. I don't bemoan my commitment to the time our children's program fills.  Jesus is changing my heart, opening my life to service that I never expected.

During those two hours on the back patio with this intoxicated man, we spoke of the Bible (He knows a lot about Scripture!), his life choices (He knows that he could do so much more.), and death (He was grieving the loss of a friend.). I don't know if those two hours made any difference to his eternal state, but I know they made a difference to mine. Christ used my humble sandwiches and time to serve the needs of another, and blessed me in the process. I pray that He will continue to work in my life to serve others here in Dulce.

Praise God!