I had the privilege of attending a simulcast of the Global Leadership Summit at Cove Church with Brian on Friday. Wow. What a blessing. Brian had gotten a lot of encouragement and wisdom on the first day, when Christian leaders and CEOs of high-powered companies had been talking about secrets of leading a successful business. He really wanted me to come along with him the next day because he was so pumped about it. We view my role as Mother and Teacher in our home as being very similar to a CEO of a major company :), so he thought I would get a lot of wisdom from it. I did, but probably not the same wisdom I thought I would come away with. The first session was titled "Tough Callings". We heard from the CEO of Compassion International, who told about preachers and church leaders in places like Uganda that are severely persecuted for their faith. The crazy thing is, those people are praying for believers in America. They are praying for us?? Yes. Because they realize that believers in a country like Uganda HAVE to pray all day long and are literally hungry and thirsty for the Word. So they are in a lot better position than many Americans, who might go all day without praying or reading God's Word, though it is readily available. Next we heard from Momma Maggie Golbran, a lady in Ethiopia who sold everything she had to help the children through an organization called Stephen's Children. She went from a teaching profession at a university to working with the poorest children in Ethiopia. She said, "When God wanted to promote me, He told me to leave the richest and smartest to help the poorest and most hopeless." Finally, Bill Hybels reminded us of the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament. God asked Jeremiah to speak His words to His people, which Jeremiah was happy to do at first. But Jeremiah was mocked, ridiculed, and hated. The people didn't listen to his words. At one point, God told Jeremiah to buy a clay pot, gather as many people as he could to listen, and then start telling them that if God's people didn't listen, they were going to be like this clay pot- and SMASH the clay pot into the ground into a million little pieces. The people hated hearing that so much, they beat Jeremiah to a pulp. And yet Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, which says, "Thy mercies are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness." Jeremiah had a tough calling, but in it he discovered the faithfulness of God. Each of us was given a broken piece of clay to write something on about what God was saying to us, or reaffirming our commitment to whatever calling He has on our lives, etc. I wrote on my piece of clay, "Bring it!" and the date- August 12, 2011.
Sometimes I feel like the calling that God has on my life is tough. Everywhere I go, I get the comment, "Wow, you have your hands full!" And I do. Motherhood takes a lot of grit and guts and perseverance. And God has called me to mother a large family, which sometimes multiplies the grits and guts that are necessary. :) At the same time that God called me to trust Him with our family size, He called Brian to start a company, which decreased our income pretty significantly. Now we feel God calling us to go deeper with Him in areas of service and outreach as a family. I have a feeling that when God is done with us, we won't look at all like our neighbors and our lifestyle will be extremely different from most around us. Which is exciting and tough all at the same time. It's so much easier to just go with the flow and do the easy things, the socially accepted things. But I felt God saying to me at this conference, "Does the world really need another woman wearing the latest fashions, sporting the cute haircut, driving the cute minivan around with her 2.5 kids because all of that is "safe" but internally having a heart far from Me? Or does the world need a woman who is sold out to Me, following Me, being different and standing out as a light in her community?" I think I know what the answer is. He wants nothing less than radical obedience, even when it looks so different from the world. Maybe we're not supposed to have a bigger house. Maybe we are supposed to be completely dependent on Him to meet our every need. Maybe I'm not supposed to wear the cute clothes. Maybe we're supposed to turn off the TV and open His Word as a family instead. We're still scoping out all that this will look like for our family. But I do know this: God created each of us as extraordinary individuals. We were born extraordinary, but many people die ordinary because they have succombed to the world's expectations rather than God's. I DON'T WANT THAT TO BE ME. I DON'T WANT THAT TO BE OUR FAMILY. I'm praying Romans 12:1-2 for us, that the Rodgers family would be renewed in the spirit of our minds so that we can approve what is that good, acceptable, pleasing will of God for us.
We were watching the children play at a park yesterday, and I said to Brian, "That Penelope, we need to watch her. She's going to change the world. She will absolutely move mountains." He thought for a minute and said, "Only if we do." Wow. I've thought about that challenge. Our children were given to us, fresh from God, with all this great potential and all this childlike faith and all this God-given ability to change the world. But if we raise them to be ordinary, they will be ordinary. If we accept the path of least resistance in our home and refuse to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, so will our children. We show them the way. What will we do?
A song they sang at this conference really struck me. It's the first song that now plays on my playlist, if you are listening. It's called "Beautiful Things". It says "You make beautiful things out of the dust; You make beautiful things out of us." God is in the process of creating beautiful things out of these pieces of dust. I'm praying that our family will be submissive to His creative process until He has us just like He wants us.