Treating our Homes as a Mission Field - A Deeper Take

Hello everybody. Welcome back to your favorite podcast blog ever. The Nesting With the Earley Birds Podcast with your hostess, me, Shannon Earley.

Remember, I'm a homeschooling mom of four. I'm a Christian. I'm a hairstylist, a podcaster. I'm now a leader of a MOPS Group, a leader of an American Heritage girls group, and also a leader of a MOPS Mama Meetups group. Basically, I have so much free time on my hands between homeschooling and just being a mom and keeping my house clean in general, I thought, I'm going to add everything else. So welcome to my podcast blog.

I'm just so thankful that you're letting me spend this time with you. I know that being inside of your ears (or minds) is a pretty intimate experience. I mean, I know I'm in my husband's ears all day. But it's because I basically just live journal at him all the time telling him all my thoughts and all my feelings constantly. So I'm so thankful for this podcast. I'm so thankful for my listeners, which means you. I am thankful for YOU.

In this episode, I'm going to talk about using our homes as a mission field. And some of you may have heard that before. But I'm going to give you a slightly new way to look at it.

Today we're going to talk about using our homes as a mission field. And I'm going to tell you, I've heard the same before, and it's honestly really bothered me, and probably because I'm just a selfish person, but there's just nothing glamorous, at least from the face value of looking in, about using our homes as a mission field. You know, we're not partaking in some sacrificial goat from another culture that's trying to welcome us with their lovely hospitality. We don't have any amazing stories to tell about digging wells in jungles, we have no experience that we're sharing with others, where we're walking barefoot through villages and knocking on stranger's doors, inviting them to a community event.

I mean, it's completely different. And honestly, all those really good things that can happen when you are on a mission trip or you are a missionary, it's like you have no problem sharing those with others. But to be honest, I don't really enjoy sharing all my good things during the day. It's almost like I'm embarrassed about it if that makes any sense. You know, when moms are together, or people are together, and they're like, "Oh my goodness, today, my kids drew on the walls. And they fought each other and they were just not listening. And there just crazy", right? It is just so much easier to share those types of difficulties as opposed to letting people know that your children were a foretaste of heaven that day. And they were gentle with each other. And there was 10 whole seconds, where everybody was best friends. We don't really share that with other people.

And I feel like I have an interesting view on this because, well, several reasons. First of all, I've been on several mission trips, several in country, several out of the country, I have a big heart for missionaries. If you're a missionary out there, praise God for you, thank you for what you're doing. It is glamorous work, okay, at least looking in. But I know that when it's your everyday job, it's got to be so difficult and oftentimes so lonely. And I just wanted to thank you so much for your work.

On the other hand there's me and going on different mission trips. There was actually a time that any of you that are my friends might know that my husband and I actually tried to be permanent missionaries on the mission field. We had gone to a country and fallen in love with the people; fallen in love with the mission that was going to go on there for long term. We were willing to uproot our family of six, two of them children with autism, to a Spanish speaking country because we so badly wanted to help with this mission.

And, you know, at first things were going super well. And I'm going to go into detail about this in another episode because it is quite interesting, I think. But things are going so well. And there was about a year of us taking different tests, having to visit different people, you know, being interviewed multiple times, we had a mentorship that actually just ended . It was supposed to last, I think 18 weeks, but because we had to keep postponing things, I think we in the mentorship for over a period of about two and a half years.

There was so much involved! We had to tell our families Goodbye, tell them what we were planning on doing. We started donating all of our items, we knew the area of town we were going to live. And then at the very last moment, we were finally told "no" by the company. And basically it had to do with the fact that I have had previous abuse in the past and previous sexual and physical abuse. And they felt like you know, Shannon, before, it's time for you to really start witnessing to people, we would feel better if you were able to really take care of yourself first and then reapply.

But my husband and I took that as such a punch in the gut, you know, you hear about all these things about, you know, send me Lord, here I am and that the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. And my husband and I are like Dude, we are literally ready to sacrifice our families comfort to go do this. And you guys are saying no, I mean that at first was how we took it, it was very intense.

But we have learned since then that God has so many different reasons for you know, allowing things disallowing things and we're just thankful so much for His providence in it. I mean, first of all, the Coronavirus happened, like two months after, we were told we couldn't go to this country. So that's pretty great. I mean, it's not great, but it was good that we weren't in another country when it happened. Also, my mom ended up having her gigantic, massive stroke last year in November. And if I was in another country with out any ability to travel to see her, it would have absolutely killed me. And then knowing that to be a missionary, you do have to sign a contract that you're going to be in the field to the best of your ability for X amount of years. And I think ours was going to be five years at a time. So it's not like I could have said, Okay, I'm going to go move back to Virginia, you know, just wouldn't happen. So we are really thankful for God's answering that. And we're also thankful that God showed us that we had enough faith that we were willing to do this.

You know, there's this part in the Old Testament where there's a dad, and he is told, if you love God, you need to sacrifice your son, and the dad starts to go through with it, before God stops him. And the dad is then rewarded with this absolute knowledge of the faith that he has in the Lord. God sees his faith. And I feel like with Evan and I situation, that's exactly what happened. And so since then, it's been really encouraging just knowing, Hey, man, God basically reached down, let us know thank you, , I see that you love me. Does that make any sense?

Okay, so that's the background of missions stuff, okay. I love missions, I've got a big heart for it. I love sharing the gospel with people. And I also just love sharing Jesus's love to people without them even maybe even knowing that's what I'm doing. I really like giving people just this comfort and this warmth. And this, you know, Hey, man, we're friends. I love you kind of feeling all the time.

Alright, here's the difference. Guys. There are a ton of places throughout the Bible, that talk about us using our homes as our mission fields. Maybe you're a single person and you don't have a husband or children. But when it's saying your homes, it's talking about the place that you live, okay, your home, your neighbors are not exactly just your neighbors. It's the people that you come in contact with every day. And we're supposed to treat these people the same way as if we were on a mission field. And I actually have a couple verses of scripture that I wanted to go over really quickly with you guys.

First of all, Psalm 96, 1-3 says Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name, proclaim His salvation day after day, declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

1 Samuel 12:24. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Consider what great things he has done for you.

Jeremiah 21:9: If I say I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name. There is in my heart as it were, a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary was holding it in and I cannot.

Mark 10:45 for even the Son of Man to not come to be served, but to serve And to give his life as a ransom for many.

And lastly, 1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you ever received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.

You guys! Obviously all throughout the Bible and there's a good jillion more verses, okay? But all throughout the Bible you hear over and over how it is so important to share God with all different people, all nations, all peoples. And to me, it was like I have such a heart for the Spanish people - And I felt like man, I want to speak Spanish, like I love speaking Spanish. I love meeting new people, what's the deal here? And you know, we did have a great time in Spain, I did have a great time in Belize. I enjoy speaking with people that are of Spanish descent. But the thing is, I wasn't looking at my own children and my husband the same way at all. Let me give you an example of a difference.

When a child from a dirt poor village in Belize handed me over a stack of tortillas that was her family's food for the week, and she gave it to me as a present to thank me for coming; The way that I received that gift. My heart was so full, wow, this girl like is so gracious. I was just overfilled with this love and this joy in this like wow, like you know this all that this little kid could show her love in such a mighty way, right? If my children spend 30 minutes drawing a picture of me, and they give it to me. I'm like, thanks, guys. I love it. And that's it. I'm not filled with this overwhelming , Oh my word. Look at the mighty power of the Lord. Look at this, you know all of this little bit of heaven inside of this little tiny person. I'm not doing that and it is wrong. It is wrong, My children are giving me the same amount of a gift as as they can and their capacity, right? As a little three or four or five year old, they're doing what they can. And though I do love the picture, I'm not looking at them the same as I would, as a person, I'm on a mission field with.

Another example, my husband, okay, if you're on a mission field, and you're meeting new people, and the ways that they live are very different, maybe their behaviors are different. There's things that seem very odd, or perhaps rude or just different, right? You're not going to be critical of it to that powerful umpteenth degree, you're not going to say, Man, that guy is really annoying me the way he keeps doing this, you're not going to tell the guy, hey, I see you left a mess here. You need to get this up. You know, you're going to serve, you're going to clean up after them. You're going to laugh at all their jokes to be polite, you're going to thank God and pray for that person every night and pray for their salvation. I don't do that with my husband. I am not looking at him as this person that I have come to serve from miles away to show him the love of God. And that is wrong.

And when you start realizing, when people say your home is a mission field, it can seem so wrote. To me it's hurtful. And that's wrong to like, why am I being hurt over that? Why? Because to me, I feel like Well, I have got so much more to give. Why am I stuck with just my family? Just my children. That's awful saying it out loud, guys. But if any of you that just can understand that day today, barging through the same thing all the time, I hope that you can understand and some sort of capacity. It's not that I'm unloving to my family. It's that I'm not loving them the way that I should as a missionary of the Lord. We have to remember our children, our husband, our friends, these are not our things. They're basically on loan to us from God. They're God's things. They're God's people. They're God's creation. And I think that sometimes we tend to forget that. We think well, you know, here's another day. My house is really messy. I've got all these things on my plan. My schedule is full. I've got to do X, Y, Z. Instead of really taking that time to share with our children. How do you see the sky today? Did you know who made this sky? Yeah, God made this guide. You know, God loves you.

Hug and hug and kisses and I do do that sometimes. But there is a difference when you're actively doing a vacation Bible school. you're actively leading a Bible study, there is a different mindset that you have, then when you're just doing the day to day with your family. Why? Cuz you let them see your yuck.

On one hand, that's great, they get to see your realness, right? That's all. That's all full of all the people that can tell you how sinful you are, I guarantee it's the people you're closest to. But it's awful. There's a verse in the Bible about basically binding God's words to your hands and your feet and talking about them with your children. When you rise, when you sit when you walk about when you work when you do anything. I don't do that. And it's a confession to you guys. To remind you that I'm assuming you probably don't do it either. And, sure, maybe every night you pray, we pray every night we pray for every meal, we pray every night before bed, we pray, when there's really big things going on, we pray when we're thankful. We praise God for things. But you know what, it's not like, I'm still constantly talking about the Lord. I'm not constantly talking about the Bible. And I'm definitely not continually showing God's love to my children. God would never react the way I do in certain situations, it just doesn't happen. And guess what else? I wouldn't react those ways in a mission field, either. Why? Because you're trying to constantly put your best foot forward in order to show Christ to people.

You want them to see Jesus by spending time with you and looking at you. So you, with all the mite that is bestowed to you by the Holy Spirit, you work through your yuck and your sin, to give these people a glimpse of who God is. And when I'm with my children, and my husband, or my mom and my dad, whoever it is, I let that I let that down. And it's it's, it's something that I've got to work on. And so I want to encourage you guys the same thing, I'm going to challenge you. You know, consider when people say use your home as a mission field, don't just be like, ah, whatever, like me, say, Hmm, like, what would that look like? really take the time to think about it? Like, what would I do? How would I talk? Who would I spend time with? What kinds of things can I do to serve them? Well, how can I point them to the Lord. So that's, I hope that from all of this, you didn't just take away that I'm a terrible person. But that you also took away that I'm a normal human chick, and I'm trying to get through this just like you guys are, I don't have it all together, I definitely don't have it all together. But guys, the minute that we stop trying to change, we've got a big problem. Because if you actually know anything about being a Christian, like, everything is awful about even when all the outward sins are gone, you've still got so much that you need to work on on the inside. And this is one of those big things. It's a hard situation, putting our heart for the Lord first, and letting our children and our husbands and our friends, our neighbors, the people we go to work with. Let them see who Jesus is just by spending time with you.

And I really wanted to remind you guys that God totally loves you all the time.

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