God at Work Testimony (6/19/2011)

Posted by theresa | Jun 20, 2011

On 6/19/2011, Theresa shared the God at Work Testimony  at both services of Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church. May you find her words a blessing. Note: also in PDF.

God at Work

May 2, 2011 (written)/June 19, 2011 (delivered)

Theresa Grosh

When I was asked to share the God at Work segment I admit I was surprised and had to think on it for a day.  Typically what is shared in this segment is a story of God at Work through a particular experience or situation and it’s inspiring and encouraging to the rest of us in the Body of Christ.  I quickly wracked my brain but didn’t come up with such an experience in recent memory so my first thought was that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to share at this time.  I certainly didn’t want to fabricate or pad a story to make it sound better than it was.  My life is pretty mundane according to most standards.  And then it hit me—God at Work in the Mundane!  At the risk of sounding heretical or settling for mediocrity I propose that God is indeed at work in the mundane events of our lives and those things need to be recognized and celebrated as valuable Kingdom work.

Although we all at times have a mountain top experience or even a dessert or valley season, most of our lives are lived on the plateau.  And to discount those times as of lesser importance to our walk with God does a great disservice to God and to ourselves.  I first learned this lesson about 10 years ago.  Some of you know that Tom and I lost our first child, Elise Faith, when she was born at just 23 weeks. 

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There had been some complications in the pregnancy but nothing that indicated her imminent birth.  She was with us for 8 days before she preceded us to heaven.  Understandably this was a very sad time for us.  One way that we worked through our grief was by reading books about grief, suffering and the goodness of God.*  So although it was a time of great sadness it was also a time of great closeness to the Father.  A few months later I found out I was pregnant again, this time with twins!  I was thrilled, but very scared throughout the pregnancy.  And those months too were marked by intimacy with God.  Now, any of you parents know, that as soon as you bring that precious bundle home (or 2 precious bundles as the case may be) your time is no longer your own.  And for the next year and half I struggled with feelings of guilt.  Here I finally had the desires of my heart—2 beautiful, healthy babies!—and yet I felt distant from God and my Bible was getting buried under mountains of laundry, diapers and burpcloths!

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At that point I picked up a new book called God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos by Keri Wyatt Kent. 

Gods Whisper in a Mothers Chaos cover

I had my Damascus Road moment while reading the chapter entitled Guilt.   I had been heaping on the guilt because I couldn’t manage to have a daily quiet time.  And what I learned was that I was using the wrong benchmark or measuring stick to gauge whether or not I was growing in my relationship with Christ.  I had believed the lie that God was only pleased with the “spiritual” or ministry acts I did for Him and that the rest of my life, the mundane tasks, which at that stage was 99.9% of my life, was not of value in the Kingdom of God.  The benchmark I should have been using was the Fruit of the Spirit—was I growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  The means to that growth was of secondary importance.  Here’s where I don’t want to be misunderstood as heretical or settling for mediocrity.  Is reading scripture important?  Yes!  Are dedicated times of prayer important?   Yes!  But too often we fall into the false thinking that there is a sacred/secular dichotomy to our lives.  Tom and I talk about this a lot—with our kids, with students, even with faculty and physicians.  There is no difference—ALL of our life is to be lived to the glory of God. 

When I am slapping the peanut butter and jelly on the bread and patiently waiting for my kids to pick which princess cup they want to use that day I am growing in patience.  When I set aside my agenda for the evening because the last kid to get tucked in that night really needs some Mommy time I am growing in self-control.  When I pack up the snacks, sippies and sunscreen to take the kids to the park for the afternoon I can choose joy over complaining.  When I carefully plan the week’s meals and bargain shop for the family’s needs I am being a good steward of the resources that God has provided (and in our case as missionaries we raise 100% of our support, so I am being a wise steward of what others have sacrificed to give).  When I make a promise and then follow-through with it I am growing in (and teaching) faithfulness.  Hopefully you get the idea.  I don’t believe God intends for us to view our family’s needs as hindrances to our spiritual growth.  Instead we need to look for how God is speaking to us each moment of each day.  And it’s broader than just a family context.  School, work, even ministry responsibilities are mostly filled with the mundane.  Listen for God in the midst of those mundane situations.  Because if you wait for the mountain tops or valleys you’ll miss out on 99% of God at work in your life.

2010 Grosh Family Photo taken by Marci Weidler, Circle of Life PhotographyThank-you to Marci of Circle of Life Photography for the family photo.

*For some of Tom's reflections on the life of Elise Faith visit One More Day.

Updated: 6/19/2011, 9:57 AM EST

5 Comments & 0 Trackbacks of "God at Work Testimony (6/19/2011)"

    recently I have heard the Lord saying to me that my work, my job, is a divine appointment just as much as a preacher or evangelist. I happened upon this site looking for how others are applying this idea in their work. Although this posting is not specific to working life it actually broadened my view of what the Lord intends for our lives. I will keep looking for ways I can grow in the Spirit in the plateau. Thanks for this!

    Posted by "simon", Sep 8 2011, 13:14

    Simon, Off the top of my head, I recommend visiting Amazon & searching for the entries on "Calling/Vocation" and "Career" in "The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity." Related, you may find of value, "Loving God in the Flesh in the Real World," http://www.intervarsity.org/gfm/esn/resource/loving-god-in-the-flesh-in-the-real-world, and "What is your calling?" http://blog.emergingscholars.org/2009/08/calling/ which draws material from "The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life" (Os Guinness. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003). "The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity" (Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997). In Christ, Tom

    Posted by Thomas B. Grosh IV, Sep 8 2011, 20:06

    After posting my above response, I came across two more articles of interest:

    1. Two "Comment" features on job/calling by Dr. Lee Hardy, "The Fabric of This World," originally published in 2000, http://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/2883/.
    2. "Serving Our Work and Neighbours: Which Comes First?" (John Terrill & Kenman Wong. Comment. 9/5/2011), http://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/2881/.

    Enjoy. To God be the glory!

    Posted by Thomas B. Grosh IV, Sep 10 2011, 07:19

    Thanks, Theresa!

    Posted by Nancy Huerter, Mar 5 2013, 23:37

    Theresa, thanks. you made me cry. It's been a privilege to have little glimpses into your life over the years, and see the way that you minister to others. That book came out of a difficult season in my own life, and that it continues to have an impact 13 years later just blows me away. I pray that you sharing your story about precious little Elise Faith, and about being a mom, will encourage others to see all they do in a new way, and to break down that sacred/secular barrier!

    Posted by Keri Wyatt Kent, Mar 6 2013, 08:45
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