Friday, April 15, 2011

The Power of a Baby Step

You know the saying, “It never rains; it pours.”  The last few weeks life has been one thing on top of another.  My husband returned from two weeks of doctoral study abroad, and we needed time to reconnect.  Both of my children had extra-curricular activities that required my involvement: debate and ice skating! My Turkish sister had an important life event, and I wanted to support her.  Two friends had birthdays. I’ve had lots of family business to attend to besides the daily responsibilities of home school and putting food on the table.

Add to the equation an out of town guest whom we were privileged to host for a week, a pastor’s group in for two days from Latin America, and a couple who was in town for one day, and you have one basket case woman! Is your life ever like this?

Of course caring for my family and friends is an important part of my ministry, but I began to feel frustrated about having little time for my other calling: reaching out to share God’s love with M. friends. So I complained, “God, I’m so busy with family.  How can you expect me to reach out to others?  I keep thinking I’ll have more time soon, but that convenient time never comes!”

But God reminded me of the power of small steps. Instead of waiting for my schedule to magically clear up, so I’ll have time to reach out to people, I’d better ask the Lord, “What baby steps can I take to fulfill my vision now?”

So I prayed and God showed me three baby steps for the first week:  
  1. I called a few friends. 
  2. I made two cards with scripture I wanted to share with non-Christian friends. 
  3. I stopped by a friend’s workplace for ten minutes.

The second week I took another baby step. I stopped to see my friend Nalan, whose son was dying of a rare genetic disease. I read John 11 (I am the resurrection and the life.) to her.  We sat together at her son’s bedside,  and I prayed for her, not knowing Emre would die a few days later.

My husband and I are discovering the power of a brief visit. Last Sunday we made three:
  • We took a birthday cake to Ali and Damla, Christian friends who are in a busy season at their dry cleaning business and must work on Sundays.  They were busy ironing shirts when we arrived, but Damla's face broke into a smile when she saw her candle lit cake.  We pulled plastic plates and napkins out of a bag and spent a half hour talking, laughing, and eating cake.
  • Next we visited Nalan and Ahmet.  Knowing that they’ve been inundated with visitors after Emre’s funeral, we didn’t stay long. Just long enough to talk quietly and let them know we care about their grief.
  • Last we visited Ibrahim and Neriman, whose son is leaving this week for his 1 year military service.  This is a significant event for Turkish families, who worry about their young men being sent out East, where there are constant skirmishes between separatist Kurds and the army.  We drank coffee with them, and before leaving, we read Joshua 1:9 (Be strong and courageous!) to the young man and prayed for him.  The whole family expressly thanked us for our prayer as we left.

How does God work through these baby steps?  I'll leave that to Him.  My part is to be faithful to complete the small tasks He gives me.

What baby steps can you take right now towards fulfilling your vision?


Karin said...

Thank you again. I felt last Sunday to bake a lady in our church a bread. I bought a pretty white and red dish towel to wrap it in...but then again wondered if I should really go into the effort. Thank you for cheering me one to do it. I will pray and ask the Lord for a word to go with the gift. As always you encourage me.

Robin W said...

very encouraging post will think on the last question. blessed by you

OliveTree said...

Go Karin! I think taking freshly baked bread is a GREAT baby step that will really encourage someone. Last nightat 9:30, I finished the sutlac (rice pudding) I was making for us, and I took my neighbor a big bowl of it on the spur of the moment. It was one small step in reaching out to her.

OliveTree said...

Thanks so much for your visit, Robin.

Columba Lisa Smith said...

I've recently discovered the power of a phone call. I can't visit my aunt in New Zealand, who is recovering from a car accident, but she was very uplifted just because we got to chat. Same with some other people in my life. While I can't be everywhere and save the world, I can do these little things. And if I start feeling useless, I can always remember that I'm still ministering when I serve my family.
Thanks for this great post!

OliveTree said...

I agree. I make phone calls often when I just can't "be there." As a cross cultural worker, I'm sometimes faced with many needs, but I try to keep my focus centered around my family, so the phone is great for me, too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you canim for giving me (the friend who had a life event :) your time and support. It is priceless!

OliveTree said...

For you, a thousand times over, canim.;)