After all these years of being a follower of Christ, you would think that I would cease to be amazed by how God moves when I listen and obey. I mean I learned James 1:22 probably before I could read it. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves (New Living Translation). Unfortunately there are many times in my life when I have listened and for whatever reason I did not follow through and obey. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt God telling me something (like invite someone over for dinner or drop a hurting friend a note or go invite that person to church) and I simply did not obey what I heard.
I have fooled myself many times, just like the book of James says. . .listening to what God’s word says or what I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to do, and then failing to do what I have been told to do. Much like my 5 and 6 year old, I am really good at justifying my disobedience. There is always something to which I can shift the blame. I, like most Christians, can get really good at coming up with excuses for why I don’t obey. “We just don’t have the money in our budget right now to give.” “When the kids get a little older, I can have people over for dinner.” “I’ll sit down and write that note to her tomorrow.”
Earlier this year I clearly heard God as I sought Him to give me goals for my life this year. I was determined to listen AND obey this year. I have already shared about how God placed it on my heart to rekindle my passion for Jesus and to ask others to join me through an online bible study. You can read more about the Bible study here. I have been blown away by the number of people interested! (again should I be surprised…God told me to do it!) God also began speaking to me about intentionally using my spiritual gifts. I know some of you reading this may not understand what that means. Put simply, when you become a follower of Christ you become empowered by the spirit of God to do certain things. The Bible teaches that every believer has a gift that they are to use with the purpose of ministering to others.
Over the years I have taken several spiritual gifts inventory tests and all of them have revealed my two strongest gifts as ‘teaching’ and ‘evangelism.’ My gift of evangelism prompts me to turn everything I do into an opportunity to reach people who don’t know Jesus with the love of Christ. I prayed that God would give me a fresh idea as to how I could touch people this year.
I was sitting at a women’s ministry event at our church a few weeks ago and God clearly spoke to me. The wife of one of our pastors was sharing ways she has used her crafting to minister to others. I honestly have never had the privilege to get to know Ashley personally, but I have heard her speak and visited her website and blog and I ADORE her passion. You must go to www.ashleyannphotography.com and ‘meet’ Ashley.
As Ashley was showing pictures of some of the things she has done, my mind turned toward the hundreds of rolls of ribbon that are stored away in boxes in a closet. A few years ago, I watched my dear friend Andrea (my God-send friend during my years in Missouri) make hairbows for her daughter. As I watched her I decided that I would never again pay the astronomical prices boutiques charge for hairbows, and I, the self-deemed ponytail princess, would learn to make hairbows for my daughter.
I bought a few rolls of ribbon and the other supplies I needed. At the time Joe was a full-time seminary student, and I was working as a full-time middle school teacher. To detox from my days with middle schoolers, I would come home every night and practice my bow making skills. Eventually my ribbon stockpile grew and as other seminary wives heard of my new found skill, I began making hairbows for them and teaching them how to make them for themselves.
Over the years I have probably made a few thousand bows and on occasion had the opportunity to make a little extra money selling them. However, I never found fulfillment in making my bows for profit. I honestly got greater joy out of giving the bows away or teaching other gals how to make them.
So….as I was sitting listening to Ashley, I knew what I had to do. The ribbon lying dormant in my closet began clouding my thoughts. How could I use my ribbon and bow making skills to further the kingdom of God? My brain started swirling with ideas. And I believe God helped me to sift through the ideas and narrow my thinking down to the ONE thing that I want to do with my abundance of ribbon.
This Mother’s day the women’s ministry at our church will be doing an outreach event honoring moms in our city. Local elementary school principals will be given tickets to the event to give to moms in their schools that deserve a break. Our women’s ministry will host these women in a gathering that is similar to Oprah’s favorite things giveaway shows. Hundreds of moms will go away with lots of goodies, but most importantly they will be encouraged and be given the opportunity to begin a relationship with Jesus.
My heart for evangelism jumps for joy at the thought of what God is going to do at this event. Ladies in our church have been asked to help sponsor a mom and donate $12 to cover the cost of a ticket. I will definitely sponsor one, but have a desire to sponsor many more. So here’s my plan to help me do that….
Hairbow Making Nights info…
I am going to have a couple of bow making nights at my house over the coming months. For $10 a person, each lady will learn the basics of making hairbows and go home with two bows (one they made and one I make for them). For every two ladies that attend, I will sponsor a mom to attend the women’s event at our church.
So if you are interested in this, please let me know. If there is enough interest I hope to have the first one in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t nailed down exact times and dates but am working on that. For now I am just getting the idea out there to see what kind of interest there is in coming.
So if you live in the Tulsa area and are interested in getting a few of your girlfriends together for an evening of fun bow making, let me know by signing up with your email on this blog and then commenting after this post. Even if you don’t have a little girl or granddaughter, hairbows make a fabulous baby shower or birthday gift to have on hand to give to someone.
For those of you who live other places, I don’t want you to feel left out. If you are interested in helping me sponsor moms to attend this event, I can make and ship you a few hairbows for the same price of ten dollars…just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am thinking that James 1:22 may be my theme verse for 2010. No more listening without doing. I’ve done a lot of listening….now it is time for the doing!