Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You Have An iPhone????

Sort of a funny title huh!! Well, if you are friends with me on Facebook, then you know that I recently met up with some other pastor's wives and went to Paris last weekend. It was something that some of us had been talking about-the need for fellowship and yes, even some laughs and fun time together and Becky so graciously offered to host all of us in her home. Her husband was a most gracious taxi driver-driving for hours on end and at the end of the weekend, he was still smiling. Now that's what I call a wonderful servant of God :)
The trip brought up an interesting dilemma for me. We all know that when something exciting comes about we want to tell others about it and of course being that we are in the 21st century, we just have to write it as our FB status!! I was preparing last minute things Friday morning before heading out to the airport and realized I hadn't written anything on FB yet. I sat down and wrote out my status, erased it, rewrote something, erased it and tried writing it again. I couldn't get anything to 'sound proper'. Every time I wrote, I had this thought in the back of my head that people would read it and think to themselves "wow, doesn't she have the life" or I pictured some saying...'wow, wish I was a missionary and could travel all over the world". So, I opted to write nothing and leave home for a weekend that only God could have arranged as He did and not share it with FB world. I wanted so much to share the joy but was too afraid how it would come off to others. Yes, I am a worry wart about things like that. I tend to take things more personal than I should and worry about what other people think a bit more than necessary.
But, such is the life in the ministry. It is not limited to those on the mission field, it's not even limited to those who serve full time in ministry. Sadly, we are a people who like to judge others and make opinions based on our own understanding and observations.
Let me back track a bit. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had a daughter who was going through some rough spots in life. We offered to have her come and stay with us for a month so she could be away from the everyday temptations of life and try to regroup. When she went back to the states, I noticed she left something behind. It was her iPod touch. I wrote to tell her and she told me she purposely left it as a gift for me. Well, I was surprised at such a gift. To be honest, I didn't even know how they worked except you could listen to music on them and use the internet. It took me about 4 months just to figure it out!!!
I went to the states about 1 year and some months later and brought along my little gadget. I used it to check emails and other things. I happened to use it to write a fb status and unbeknownst to me it leaves a little message that says "Sent by my iphone" Well, wouldn't you know that I get a wasn't a reply to what I wrote, but '
YOU have an iphone?'. I immediately felt a knot in my stomach! 'No, I wanted to hurry and reply, of course I don't. I am a missionary, I would never own such a thing!' I was too afraid to write something back. Not surprisingly, my daughter responded something like "She so does not have an iphone". Anyway, I never sent another message with my little gadget again. It was one more thing I would put in the back of my 'make sure you never own one of these because you will cause stumbling' mind. (funny side note...they were writing from their iphone!!!)
Oh Margie, you might be wondering to yourselves,,,,what in the world is your point???? Well, my point is that I don't really know exactly how to get it into proper words.
A friend of mine visited last year and was able to meet some of my other missionary friends. After a few days, she said 'do you realize that all of you justify everything you have?'. She said she would compliment us about shoes or something in our homes and each of us would justify where we got it, if it was a gift, if we got it at a second hand place, if we bought it on sale, etc. I never realized it before. It is true though. And again, I don't limit this to missionaries, but that is what I am so I use myself and others on the field as examples.
There are those in the world who take advantage, ministers, missionaries, preachers, etc. They think life owes them something because of who they are or what they are doing. I think those types make it so difficult for those of us who don't take advantage, don't want to offend, nor do we want to cause someone else to stumble.
While we were away this weekend, the scripture that came to me was So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time"...Mark 10:29-30.
I stood at the square where Notre Dame is and just thought "wow, Lord" You are amazing! You took this group of women from different spots in Europe who are away from family, friends, culture, all that was once familiar to them, brought them to a foreign land to serve You, and now You brought us here-Paris! A place where so many dream to go and visit and here we were-all giddy, laughing, and taking in every moment of our surroundings.
We don't know what goes on in other's lives. We don't know who has blessed them financially, whether their husband works very hard and is very diligent with the finances and enables them to have or do the things they do. We don't know if someone has gone without something and saved and saved so they could have a special trip together or if God put it upon someone's heart to bless them so they could do something special or buy something new.
It's easy for people to look at my facebook and make a judgement about where I may have gone or what I may have done. But, in all honesty, they don't know that when I look at theirs and see what they consider unadventurous...the family all enjoying Christmas morning together, when I see my friend holding her newborn grandchild right after he was born, or enjoying a special mother daughter moment together that I would give you my experiences, my ipod touch, my apartment in Italy...all to kiss my grandchildren, to stroke my daughter's hair when she is feeling poorly, to be at the hospital with my Mom while she is having cancerous cells removed from her face.
Of course, I hope noone is offended by what I wrote. It has been on my mind for awhile now and I felt the okay to write about it. If you know me, you know where I am coming from. Again, I am not talking about those who expect stuff and take advantage of others. That's not a good thing at all. My point is that God does give gifts and blessings to His children and often we are overjoyed at what He has done and want to share the joy with others. We don't want to stumble others or be misjudged.
I suppose people can have something to talk about the day I bring my grandchildren to Disneyland Paris, write about it on my ipad :) Just kidding!!
Here's our group of ladies that met up in Paris!! A most delightful time was had by all!!! And yes, God provided so wonderfully for each of us to be there :)