Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Let Your Light So Shine
Yesterday I had an interesting experience at my pediatrician's office that I'm still trying to process through a bit. We were going in for Elliana's one year check-up and all of the usual happened. First of all, whenever I schlep my little troop around town we get a lot of attention. It doesn't bother me one bit. I mean, who can blame the onlookers? I've got four kids five and under. We are quite a sight. Plus the fact that I have three boys and then a girl ALWAYS makes for stares and comments. For the most part, people are really kind and even funny at times.
So back to yesterday. Everything was going along totally normal. Elliana's check-up was pretty brief and simple. After she had been checked out, our pediatrician, who I have a great relationship with, started shooting the breeze with me a bit since we had so much time left in our appointment. He asked me if I had ever seen the show Modern Family. I answered, "No." And so he proceeded to tell me all about it and how it is the funniest show to him because the families described on the show are exactly who he sees in his office every day.
Okay.....but then, he went on to say that our family is not the typical modern family and wanted to know why and what we were doing differently. He said, "Yet you're not like all of them. Tell me, why are you so different?" I was totally caught off guard. My first thought was to scream, "Because we're Christians!" But I know he already knows that. At least I think he does. He knows my husband teaches at a Christian school. And we've talked about church before. But he was really inquisitive. And I was all of the sudden stage fright. He went on and on about how we have a lot of kids but still seem to like them, are still married and seem to all enjoy one another which is pretty different than the typical family that walks into his office on a daily basis.
As he went on, I didn't know what to say. The first thing out of my mouth was that I had a good husband and that he sets the tone for our home. He then responded with, "I bet you do. That does make sense." After that, all I could do was just murmur that God had blessed us and that we try and do what's right (and fail miserably all the time). But I did feel like a failure when I walked out of there. Why didn't I have the courage to preach the gospel to our pediatrician right then and there? Why didn't I have a tract or something ready for him and his questions? Wouldn't that be what a good Christian would do? What kind of a Christian am I? I can't take the credit for anything going well in our family. It's all God's grace. And there's so much we need to work on that he doesn't see. He only sees us for small bits of time. And to be fair, I always make sure my kids have a snack to help them sit through the time!!
Afterward, we went through the rest of the appointment getting shots and getting Elliana's year old lab work done. During that time various other people came up to me with comments about all of my boys and the "little princess". One lady, with a twinkle in her eye said, "Four kids!! Good for you! I had five ya know." That comment made me smile.
On the way home, we got stuck in some major traffic and I had time to mull over the whole thing a bit more. I regretted not giving God more credit and lamented not speaking up more about my faith. As I was chiding myself, God whispered gently to my heart and a light bulb went off in my head. Sometimes I don't feel like I can do much for the gospel. I can't necessarily pick up and go overseas. I'm not preaching on the street corner or helping out at different ministries. My ministry is my husband, my kids and my home and that's fine with me! But, God reminded me, that what He's given me in my children and marriage is a literal banner of light, shouting at this hurting world. Wherever we go, His light can be shone just by us being His-by us being Christians.
I always thought we were the normal ones. I guess since I'm around so many people that have strong marriages and great kids, I tend to forget about the hurting world around me. There's so much brokenness. So much! I can't fix it. But I can take my kids to the store with me and we can show kindness. Sure someone might throw a tantrum but how do I handle it? There are people watching!! That doesn't mean I just do things "right" to put on a show-no, that's hypocrisy. But am I showing Christ to my kids in how I respond? Am I truly loving them with Christ's love? Because if I am, others will see HIM! And they'll know it's different.
God has given all of us different ways to shine His light. For some it is being a missionary to some unreached peoples. Others show love by visiting shut-ins or prisons. Others reach out to at-risk youth or help in various ministries. For me, right now, building into my family is the best way for Christ to shine. Our pastor always says that the world will be won for Christ around the dinner table.
I've always believed that. But I'm really starting to see how true that is. If we can just love our families, who can deny Him? It's SO drastically different from the world, it can't be us? It must be something SO MUCH greater!!
Be encouraged. Love your family. Pour into them all of who you are. And be in the world. In doing so, God will use your ordinary, every day life to broadcast to the world His shining light!
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16