Jennifer Gerelds

I guess I was having a mid-life crisis moment. Really, I've felt the "moment" coming on for a while, perhaps in anticipation of my 40th birthday, now past. It's not the age that was bothering me. It was life in general. Looking back, I could see a good marriage and 4 daughters, each with a unique and powerful personality. But they are all now (finally) school age, and I--a stay-at-home mom--began questioning what it was that I was supposed to do with my life now that the season of swaddling babies and setting up pack n' plays is over. How have I spent these years God has given me? What do I have to show for it? What will I do with whatever time I have left in this life? When I considered some of the missionary biographies I had recently read, or the stories from the Martyr's Voice magazine I subscribe to, I felt like my tame-by-comparison life paled in significance. Even some of the best-selling books out there right now by some of my favorite authors like Francis Chan and David Platt can add to my misery. Is my life dynamically purpose-filled or am I letting life pass me by? The accusing thoughts had formed a crescendo in my mind as I sat across from my mom as we shared lunch, our Thursday usual. Fighting to keep my composure, I lamented just a little over how different reality had turned out compared to my dreams. We weren't missionaries in some foreign field winning souls for God. We hadn't even left the bounds of Birmingham. Instead of becoming the psychologist I had envisioned, I was counselor primarily to my kids at home. In fact, I had chosen to stay home as a mom in order to train our girls in God's ways, and had sought every opportunity I could find--day in, day out--to do just that. And yet, at this point in their lives, the fruit of my labor seemed still in the seed. "What kind of radical shift do I need to make to get this show on the road?" I queried my mom. "What's that "big thing" out there that I am supposed to be doing that will make it all worthwhile?" She encouraged me that I was a missionary, and my home was the mission field. I've even had to learn the "foreign" language my kids speak as they talk about computer or phone apps that are out of my league. But as I left, the nagging question remained. "God, Is it enough? Am I supposed to be doing more? Can such small offerings ever be enough?" On the way home, I stopped at my mailbox. Surprisingly, there was a letter addressed to me--a personal letter. It was from my pastor. He has never written me before--ever. But he said, "The Lord has put you on my mind lately and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your faithful behind-the-scenes service to the ladies and children in our fellowship." He even went on to say that my age qualified me as an advisor of sorts to so many younger women who comprise the bulk of our congregation. It didn't even take me a second to recognize it--God's intensely, personal touch. He knew what had been weighing on my mind before I had even grown cognizant of it. He put the thoughts, the words, into my pastor's mind, who mailed the words of encouragement I needed to hear from my Father a day before I would have that conversation with my mom, arriving right on time in my mailbox. Nothing is small in his hands. How could I forget what He can do with 5 loaves and 2 fish? Who am I to say that having a private conversation about God with my 7-year-old is less important than preaching the gospel to a stadium full of people--even in Africa? God's economy is just different. He leaves the 99 to go after the 1. And that day, through a letter in my mailbox, He came after me. Jennifer Gerelds

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