Last week I shared with you my focus word for 2015 and invited you to ask the Lord to give you one for the year, too. Did anything come to mind? This may not be your cup of tea, and that is just fine. But if it is, I would love to hear what God has placed on your heart for this year. As personal accountability, I'm going to write each week about how OPEN has come into play in the day-to-day.
I don't have any profound stories from this week. Perhaps I will not have a single profound story all year. That is not the point. The point is to draw near to God, to listen for His voice, to be moved a few more steps away from always thinking about myself, to love God by thinking about Him and living for Him more today than I did yesterday. Isn't it amazing that the Good Lord has revealed Himself to us? Isn't it wonderful that we can get to know Him through His word? Aren't you astounded that you can walk through this world with your creator and without fear? How I want my mind to stay focused and centered on these truths!
So, OPEN. The biggest step I have taken so far is to invite ladies to join me weekly for a book study of Sally Clarkson's new book, Own Your Life. I encountered Sally and the MomHeart ministry shortly before our youngest started Kindergarten. There was an essay about their family's style of homeschooling in a book about homeschooling philosophies and I was intrigued. I got more of her books and the rest is history. I am indebted to her for her wisdom about loving Jesus with one's life, being a mom, and being a leader. I praise God for that "accidental" stumble into her volumes of writing. I even spent a weekend in her home once with a bunch of inspiring women from all over the country several years ago. What a lady!*
Back to the present. Since we moved to our new town one and a half years ago, I have wanted to start a MomHeart group, but with the time commitment of my husband's new job, I have feared committing to hosting something. But it's the year of OPEN. I need to trust that God will work out the details, right? So, in a very generic and ungraceful way, I cast a net on Facebook to see if any local ladies would be interested in joining a book study. I tagged several women I know who I thought might want to be a part of the group. And would you believe it? Many were! There's no turning back now!
On Saturday, I sat at my daughter's swim meet, next to a new friend whose daughter has befriended ours, watching the boys and girls dive, splash, and swim their hearts out. I felt like I should invite her to join the book study. Would it be too weird to invite her out of the blue like that? I almost said nothing, but then my mouth was open and the invitation was extended. And she said yes!
Being nervous about extending an invitation to fellowship and friendship sounds pretty stupid, now that I write about it. But who likes being rejected or thought of as weird? Yeah, those two things almost kept me from OPENing my mouth.
I guess that's this week's OPEN story and lesson. Being OPEN means extending invitations, not worrying about the response or results.
Time to take action: Maybe you've had a nagging feeling about someone you need to invite over for dinner, a playdate, or a cup of coffee. Will you be bold this week, in Jesus's name, and extend an invitation? Let our little Life in the Valley community know how it goes!
*Get this book asap! Aren't I bossy? Seriously, though, there are many online book studies starting this month. I can get you more info if you would like.