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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smiling With Jesus

As I sit and right this, I am reminded in a physical way that walking with Jesus is very hard work. Some things may come more easily, more naturally, and some will be a struggle. Yesterday was definitely a struggle, and I'm not sitting as pretty today.

The day after I wrote so proudly of my son and his desire to personally clean-up the world, I was approached by our children's pastor, and asked if I would be willing to come help out. They were doing a fundraiser for new sound equipment for KidZone, our K-5th grade Kid's church.

I found it pretty interesting and a bit of a coincidence (not really) that the day after I wrote a post about how I should just be picking up the trash instead of complaining about it, that I was asked to pick up trash on a large scale level. How could I say no? This was very obviously what Jesus had told me to do, walking in His footsteps.

I did the most logical thing I could. I tried to come up with excuses on why I couldn't do it, and I volunteered my husband. Surely, that must count with God, right? The day I was asked to volunteer it had been extremely cold out. I was already in tears a few times that day because I was so cold. I'm a big baby when it comes to the temperature outside. I wanted to make sure I was covered if it was freezing the next week when everyone would be cleaning up the KU parking lot outside of the football stadium. I didn't want to come across like I didn't care, so I made a deal with our children's pastor that the weather would have to be 60° or above in order for me to go. I was laughed off and my husband's name was written down.

KU jayhawk clean up
As the time drew closer, just days ahead of time, my diligent working husband realized he was going to be on call for work the day of the KU Clean-Up. I had no way out, even if it was FREEZING out there. I couldn't very well back out now.

I dreaded it! In fact I was a little perturbed that Jesus had to tell me to do that. I shouldn't say this, but I was mad enough I might have even called Him a name. He should have left me alone, and guilt free. After all, I've turned down helping at this event in years past. Why not this time too?

The night before, I had a nightmare. It was freezing outside, the bus was coming to pick me up for the clean-up, and I couldn't find my clothes. I wanted lots of layers, and I could even find my dresser in the house. The bus was getting angry, and I thought they would just leave me, but they didn't. I was forced to work in the icy winds, with no extra layers, no coat, nothing.

Needless to say, my dream didn't come true. First, there was no bus to pick me up at my front door. Second, the thermometer on the drive to church read 59°. God gave me that! In hindsight I realized I should have asked for 60° and NO wind. Oh, well. Not only was it 60° outside, but it was clean!! Everyone was taking great care of their beer cans this time and for the most part using the trash cans. We were completely done in less than 5 hours. I've heard that past clean-up's were much longer.

So while I'm still very sore from all the squatting, bending, reaching, sitting, standing, walking, it wasn't that bad. I brought my daughter along for moral support, and she was wonderful. If you ever have a job to do, she's the one to help. Ariel is full of positive thoughts and energy! She loved cleaning up and begged to be allowed to do it next year.

I was very glad to have fulfilled by end of walking with Jesus. I wish I could say next time I will do it with a more cheerful attitude, but sometimes He asks things that are not in my nature. I HATE to get my hands dirty in my own home, with my own trash. This was a stretch, but I'm very happy to say that it's over, and done.

I might have gone kicking and screaming, but once there my attitude adjusted. I was pleased to be used by God, and my thoughts were much more upbeat. I did the best I could. I wanted our church to be reflected in a positive way, and I wanted no trash to be left behind. I grabbed the gum wrappers, cigarette butts, bottle caps ground in, anything that didn't naturally grow there. At one point I was told we didn't have to get all the little stuff, just the large trash items. But I couldn't in good conscience, when I was working for God, leave it behind. My back and legs are paying the price today, but my heart is full.

I would challenge you to ask God today what His agenda is for you. And when He replies, don't just do the bare necessities to get by with it. Look for ways to go above and beyond with a smile on your face, because remember, you're working for a King, worthy of your service.

I found it very appropriate that the verse of the day is found in 1 Peter, chapter two, verses fifteen and sixteen.

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people (sometimes this could be yourself). Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”

Life as a slave may be grievous and hard work, but the satisfaction and rewards are totally worth it.

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