What does a good leader look like?
The question I've been churning for a few weeks now.
What makes a good leader and, more importantly, how do you get there?
I've seen a lot of different leaders in the past few years.
Some good and some not-so good.
Some in the church and some outside.
But what was the one thing that set the good apart from the bad?
Was it how they treated people?
Was it how they taught?
Was it how they managed things?
Was it because they had a position?
In the end, I've decided that it doesn't matter to me.
Not one iota.
Spending my time and energy trying to classify a person as a good leader or a bad one is just taking me away from the lessons that I can learn from them.
Lessons that I can use to change my life and the lives of those around me.
I once heard a saying that I have always loved.
"Get good bricks"
Just like a mason sifts through the bricks he is working with to cast out the bad ones and use the good ones to build a house.
Or a carpenter checks to see if each board is straight before using it.
Each situation and contact with somebody else is the opportunity for another good brick.
As I am in contact with others, I strive to gather up all the good bricks they have to offer and give them to the master craftsman building my life.
And more than that, I hope to provide heaps and pallets of good bricks to help build up the lives of others.
Get Good Bricks.
The frustration. The never ending battle of ant killing, dust sweeping and mosquito bites. Wanting to be miserable.
Frustration because I feel like I am not doing anything helpful on base. Because the baby is having a bad day. Because I feel like I am not serving my husband like he deserves. Because my relationship with God is nowhere near where I want it to be.
The ants will swarm within minutes of letting a crumb fall. The dust multiplies every second, making it seem like you haven't cleaned your house in two weeks, when in reality it was just yesterday. The Mosquitos have no prejudice, biting everyone everywhere and make it difficult to sleep with them buzzing in your ear.
I let it overwhelm me. Drag me down.
At least I did.
El Roi. The one who sees me. Ishmael. God hears Me.
The beginning of last week wasn't so great. I honestly can't pinpoint exactly what the problem was. Maybe it was the fact that Isaac had a fever last Monday night (his first). Maybe it was the fact that I was emotionally and physically drained from the experience. Maybe it was the fact that my house seemed to be a dust-bunny haven and there were ants crawling all over the dirty dishes in my sink. Maybe it was because I was tired of staying home and not contributing to the work on base.
But then I read this: When Mothering is Hard and Nobody Sees
(Seriously, read it. Even if you are not a mom. It will give you a whole new appreciation and understanding.)
You know that feeling like you should be getting a deeper meaning from something, but instead you think "Oh, thats nice" but go on with out a second thought. Yeah, thats what I did.
Later the same day, as I was attempting to catch up on my one year bible plan (don't ask me how far behind I am.... it's sad), I found those same words.
El Roi. The one who sees me. Ishmael. God hears Me.
I don't know about you, but for me when it comes to God and his word, there are no such things as coincidences.
God sees when I am having a bad day. He hears me when I complain and groan and try to be miserable. But right now, I know it doesn't really matter. Even in my bad days I am serving him. By doing what I feel is so insignificant, I am following the highest calling for this season of my life.
When Isaac just wants to be held, and needs me to be close by when he sleeps, I am serving the Lord.
When my husband comes home from a long day being the hands and feet of this mission and comments that the house looks good, even when I feel like I haven't done anything productive today, I am serving the Lord
When I smile at those who I pass on my way to meals, I am serving the Lord.
When I sit with my little man and read him stories, I am serving the Lord
When my fellow staff smile and get excited about the food I make for staff meeting, I am serving the Lord.
When my family feels loved and cared for, I am serving the Lord.
When those who visit my home feel welcome, I am serving the Lord.
If all I do today is write this post as I watch my baby sleep, I am serving the Lord.
Dear friend, you are doing hard work, dirty work, tedious work. Work not seen or applauded by many. But you are doing the most important work, the highest calling. You are raising a generation. And in the midst of that sacred work, God sees. - When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees
Hey guys! Just want to give you a little context on why I wrote this post instead of a regular weekly update. I have been struggling with this mentality of uselessness pretty much since we arrived here in Haiti.
Having waited for years to finally be here on staff, it was pretty frustrating to realize that while Isaac was little, it was going to be pretty difficult to be of any real help to anyone here on the base. Time after time the ladies here on base would tell me things like "Your presence here is such an encouragement!" and " Taking care of Isaac is what you are doing to help" but I was letting it go in one ear and out the other. I continued to be discouraged and kept beating myself up when I felt like I wasn't living up to the standards I set up for myself.
Yeah, thats what I said... for myself.
I was backseat driving, not surrendering ALL of me to the Lord.
So, am I still a missionary even though I am not out in the streets of Saint-Marc every day? Of course! Many people, including myself, tend to put certain perimeters on what a missionary is, what they look like, what the do. But what did Jesus really say?
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Can I be "just" a mother and still fulfill my calling a missionary to Haiti? Yup! For the time being, I am only teaching one little disciple. He isn't Haitian. He can't read, write, or even form words right now. But its my job as his mommy to show him and teach him everything God has commanded us to do, and that is the biggest job I will have in my entire life. And He, my Most High, my El Roi, will be with me always to the very end of the age.
Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise- Andy Stanley
A few weeks back, I was assigned the task of making snacks for our weekly staff meetings. This has proved to be a bit of a challenge for me for various reasons; There are around 40 staff and MKs that come to these meetings, the variety of ingredients to bake/cook with in Haiti is different than what I am used to, the stores/markets do not have everything consistently stocked and, with Isaac, I am not able to just run to the store when I need something. So, in short, I need to think ahead and be creative! I put these skills to the test this past week, and I would say it was a hit! I experimented and came up with some very yummy "Mango Patés" I plan on making them again this week and writing up a tutorial on my How-to Haiti blog, so keep an eye out!
Have have done a few fun things these past few weeks! On the last day the PA team was here, we took them all to the beach resort. This was Isaac's first time to see the ocean, so we were quite excited!
I'm pretty sure he liked it!
Also, we have been spending lost of time this past week with the team from CA. They have been such a great hardworking group, and it has been such a joy to have them spend time at our house playing games and getting our *ahem* "British geek on" (Aka, watching Sherlock) They have been helping spruce up the Ten Commandments monument in the park this past week, and will be helping build a home for a pastor this coming week. It will be a sad sad day when they have to go.
I have lots of ideas for new How-To Haiti posts, so expect one or two of them to make an appearance this coming week!