Friday, December 19, 2014

Change History

My husband tells a story of when his mom was nominated to be the Bishop of South Dakota. “If I moon the audience will it keep people from voting for you?” I’m grateful she shushed him in a motherly way and went on to win the election because at the age of 16 it landed Charlie in my homeroom. We were dating by the end of junior year and the rest is history. I love him mad.

And I love the people who raised him to seek God, cherish family, and treat women well.

Thursday, his mother Andrea, whose work brought Charlie and I together, retired. After serving 37 years in ordained ministry that has left her mark of hope and goodness on four Midwest states and globally through her position on a malaria campaign, she will retreat from public ministry to start a new chapter in life.

In one of her sermon’s Andrea gave the congregants two words to take empower their faith life lived out. Change. History.

Do you feel like you’re doing it?  

What can feel a grand notion was reduced to its simplest parts.

Acknowledge that we live in a world of need. Wounds of division. Disease and depravity. Empty hearts. Causes that need to be elevated. Education that needs to be championed. Every day we cross need and resolution begins with refusing to turn our eyes away.

Believe you can be a difference maker.  Giving this sermon on World Malaria Day, Andrea used example of her involvement in this cause. When she first began coordinating this initiative a child died every 30 seconds of malaria. As she and her team started getting information out, speaking,  and gathering funds, life for those affected began to change. More education was delivered, clinics with trained healthcare workers to diagnose and treat were built, and, mosquito nets were gifted to families. The numbers began to change, with a child now dying once every 60 seconds. It is still too many, she preached, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

History is changed.

 In simply making ourselves available, The Lord takes what we have to offer in our humanity and multiplies it through the power of the Holy Spirit to breathe newness.

One of the things I most love about my mother-in-law is her brave faith. Throughout her career, she has not only been aware of The Lord’s stirrings, but she has responded to them. Even if the calling has felt larger than her or down right scary. I wish I could tell you I claim the same but the truth is that is a struggle for me. I like to hang in my comfort zone. To be God’s girl in places that feel pleasant to me and situations I, for some reason, feel educated enough to “take on.” I like to know that there is going to be success. My head sometimes does weird “calculations” as to whether or not personal investments will be worth it.  I know it doesn’t look pretty in print, although I'd like to think I’m alone.

What my mother-in-law leaves in the minds of colleagues, pastors, various leaders, parishioners, family, and friends is going to vary from person to person. But for me it is a legacy of radical faith. Of truly trusting God.   Of trying to quiet the “what ifs” to see what could really be. Of believing that any stirring from The Lord is one worth following because somehow in Heavenly calculations this leaves no possibility for failure. At least not from the perspective of wasted time. She inspires me to try.

Friends, it is you and I. It is the scared ones. The people that feel weak and unqualified. The mother and father whose resistant kid wants to moon a bunch of pastors. WE are His people. And He’s asking us to listen, do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

Andrea, Say Anything Jewelry helped us kids design this beautiful custom hand-stamped necklace as the perfect way to honor your ministry.

Wear it knowing you have done probably more than you ever set out to do, and you’ve inspired a watching world to do the same.


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