Spring Break 2011 is coming to a close.
The family and I had the great privilege of staying a week with eighty college students in Daytona Beach, Florida.
It was so powerful. And I learned so much.
But what I learned, God didn’t reveal during devotionals or morning quiet times scheduled for our students.
No. What I learned, the Lord taught me Tuesday night. During conflict with my husband.
Sitting in our room, on our somewhat sandy, hunter green couch, Brent and I had a little chat.
The boys played on the beds (the beds which fold out of the wall, mind you. In just one big open room. Very little privacy. Unfortunate napping set-up. One small kitchen with a miss-matched coffee maker, a poor Internet connection and, to beat all, I forgot my favorite coffee mug.
Did I mention all five of us were in one big open room? And the beds came out of the wall?
“I think we should leave Thursday.”
Brent looked at me. “We just got here Sunday. I don’t feel I’ve had a chance to connect with many students yet. Why do you want to leave?”
Thinking closely of my phrasing, “The boys will be exhausted by the end of the week. Then they’d turn right around and start back to school. I’d love to have a few days back home to readjust and settle in before a new week begins.”
“The boys are having a great time. They will catch up on rest on the drive home. I think you want to go home because you are uncomfortable.”
“Well, this set up isn’t ideal. Luke has no privacy for nap. The beds cave in the middle. I’m sleeping right on top of you. It’s not easy on me, no. My job is being mommy. And being mommy on vacation is no vacation. It’s more work. So, selfishly, mommy wants a vacation, too.”
Even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I could hear it. Sin. Pride. Entitlement. I was being a nasty four-letter-word…
Brent – “Well, I wish you were being more supportive and a bit more concerned about what the Lord is doing in the lives of the students here verses how inconvenient your circumstances.”
Ouch. That hurt. And ticked me off.
Truth is painful to hear.
Speechless, I sat there. Staring a hole in the green carpet. Thinking.
Lord, he is so right. But my pride is hurt and I can’t tell him he is “so right”.
It was time for the boys to go to bed. So I turned the sound machine on, turned the lights off, put Luke in his pack-n-play, tucked everyone in. And went to bed, as well.
As I lay there, for two hours, I prayed. And asked the Lord, what is really going on in my heart? I kept thinking of Paul, full of joy in every circumstance.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11,12
Content (autarkēs) 1) sufficient for one’s self, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support 2) independent of external circumstances 3) contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest.
Paul was independent. Sufficient for himself. Strong enough to need no aid. Happy, even with a slender lot.
Now, I don’t go so far as to say that I was “suffering for Jesus” here. I had plenty. Luxuries in the grand scheme of life. But to a mother of three under-rested, overly-active boys, my external circumstances were slender. And unfamiliar.
But Paul was content is every situation. In plenty or in want.
I need to be, as well.
The next day, I woke. My heart heavy with DIVA.
Jesus took me for a long walk on the beach that morning. And listened as I confessed. And confessed and confessed.
“Dear Lord, don’t let me be a DIVA!”
He encouraged me. And loved on me with new mercies and an amazing sunrise that reflected His faithfulness to me that day. Everyday.
I went back and told Brent how right he was (which he usually is) and we ended the trip on such a high.
It’s amazing how much ministry can be done when I take myself out of it.
There is only so much ministry a Diva can do. She is far to preoccupied with herself.
In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:2
The heart of ministry lies in this verse. Looking not to your own interests but to the needs of others.
Serving. Loving-well. Encouraging. And serving some more.
We made it back in one piece. And I am thankful for the conveniences of home. Little things, like my coffee mug.
And a little privacy.
Spring Break 2011 will always be remembered as the year the DIVA died.
And thank God she did.