When I think of my beautiful children and grandchildren, I long to live life with them, watch them grow and learn, teach them so much, tell them about God's greatness and love. Be there when they are sad, laugh with them with joyful abandon. I've missed birthdays, 1st days of school, graduations, plays, baseball games and swim meets.
I have cried to The Lord for comfort on many occasions, and I know He hears my prayers. He also has known for ages that I, by His grace alone, would commit to serve Him in ministry and not consider the cost. However, I must confess that so often, even though my eyes are focused on Jesus and this ministry I love with all my heart, I feel weak, so very weak. I cry out to The Lord for strength, and always without fail, He comforts my heart with reassurance that He "has them" all, all my children - my entire household - in His ever-loving sovereign hands. He wants the very best for them and will not let them suffer while I serve. During these times, I recall the beautiful vision He has given me of my literally placing them in His hands! Each beautiful and exquisite detail is in place every single time I hit the replay button. Nothing is lost and as it plays in my mind, how can I be anything but comforted? There is no better place for them, me, or you than in the loving and protective hands of the Creator and lover of my soul.
Additionally, He often brings to my mind the story of Hannah as told in the 1st chapter of I Samuel. She literally gave her beloved young child to The Lord, only to see him once a year. I only totally surrendered my children to The Lord after having them to myself into their adult years ... and I can see them and the grandchildren several times a year! Just as He knew Hannah’s heart, He also knows my "mothers’ heart" with all its desires, and He will give me all it longs for someday. Yes, He will give me the desires of my heart, all of them… for certain to enjoy for all of eternity if not before! The joy will be unimaginable just as He has promised in Psalm 37:4.
The Holy Spirit comforts me with His Word and my tears are always replaced with songs of praise as I wonder at the depth of His love. Once when I was dwelling on His faithfulness to me while serving in the ministry of Mama’s House, I turned to one of my favorite devotionals and found the following:
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself. Acts 20:24
It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the commonsense basis.
What do I really count dear? If I have not been gripped by Jesus Christ, I will count service dear, time given to God dear, my life dear unto myself. Paul says he counted his life dear only in order that he might fulfil the ministry he had received; he refused to use his energy for any other thing. Acts 20:24 states Paul’s almost sublime annoyance at being asked to consider himself; he was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God, because practical work is based on this argument—“Remember how useful you are here,” or—“Think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the Guide as to where we should go, but our judgment as to where we are of most use. Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His.”
“. . . so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus. Acts 20:24
Joy means the perfect fulfilment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. The joy Our Lord had lay in doing what the Father sent Him to do, and He says—“As My Father hath sent Me, even so am I sending you.” Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of that ministry. Think of the satisfaction it will be to hear Jesus say—“Well done, good and faithful servant”; to know that you have done what He sent you to do. We have all to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord. In order to do this we must have companied with Jesus; we must know Him as more than a personal Savior. “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My sake.”
“Lovest thou Me?” Then—“Feed My sheep.” There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s commission; loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it does mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines.”
Both of these devotionals are from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I share this story to inspire and encourage you who serve and or walk alongside me in this ministry or another, “When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know! Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only— “My Utmost for His Highest.” (Again, Oswald Chambers)
My prayer: Lord, by Your grace I will not consider the cost of ministry as it is indeed priceless. My husband, children and grandchildren love me and support me 100%. This too is priceless. I am blessed immeasurably.
Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of The Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in The Lord. Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong! Let all that you do be done with love. For we don't have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do. I Corinthians 15:58, 16:13-14 (nkjv), II Corinthians 3:5 (cev)
I, Jan Lupia, will forever be in awe of His matchless grace.