A Labor of Love

3. Ribbon CuttingMan, am I wiped out!  I had a busy week, full of planning for a big event. I work as the Communications Manager for my beloved hometown’s local government and absolutely love my job.

On Thursday, we joined some of our Chinese friends to host the ribbon cutting and opening the Sino-U.S. Friendship House. The house is located at 2911 Bonnie Drive in Muscatine and is significant because it is the home where Chinese President Xi Jin Ping stayed in 1985 when he first visited Muscatine and formed relationships with the people here. To this day, he fondly remembers that visit and has spoken highly of his time in Muscatine, so much so that he even returned for a visit of the “old friends” in 2012.

Here is a little more information about the opening of the Sino-U.S. Friendship House.

All that is to say that this week was full, but also enjoyable. I really appreciate my colleagues at the City. We all work hard, but have a good time while doing it.

I am ready for a little rest and am embracing the mundane. Sitting here in my nearly empty new apartment, I have been thinking about how I live my life. As I folded laundry, did dishes and scrubbed the floors this week, I thought about what it means to truly do everything as if to the Lord.

In my past campaign experiences, I would repeat Colossians 3:23 to myself on hot days as I’d go door to door. I wanted to remind myself to “work willingly at whatever [I] do, as though [I] am working for the Lord rather than for people.” While I did not love every minute of campaign work, I wanted to help the candidates succeed because I believed in their message. Because of that, I volunteered to help. And –Whatever I do I want to do fully as if it’s for the Lord.

I thought about that verse as I got down on my hands and knees to scrub the hardwood floors of my new apartment. At first I was excited to have a cleaner place and knew they needed to be done before my furniture was delivered, but after a little time I was tired. I used that time to blow off steam from the relatively stressful week, but after that steam was gone I was wiped out. It was then when I reminded myself why I was doing it.20150918_215951

There’s a greater purpose behind why we do most things. It may not be clear at first, but as you dig deeper and examine your heart there is a reason. For my life and yours, I pray that the reason would be to glorify God.

It would be easier for me to not clean my floors very thoroughly. It would be easier for me to only eat out. It would be easier to hang out at home and watch Netflix all night. There are a lot of things in life that would be easier than what’s most meaningful and purposeful. But, the easier things may not have the greatest rewards. The greatest rewards are ones of eternal significance.

I have decided that I want my new apartment to be a peaceful place where friends can come and connect. I want it to be a place where deep conversations happen and true fellowship blossoms. That’s why it’s important to spend time cleaning, cooking and preparing a place that is welcoming and inviting. Sure, the alternative would be easier. But, the choice I have made is to labor in love.

I have a vision for a greater source of community, where friends gather and discuss the tough issues.

I’m praying for this space to be a gathering place, where true God-designed community happens.

Furniture will come tomorrow, so for now I will cuddle up with a good book and embrace the calm.

 

 

A Different Take On New Year’s Resolutions

Extravagant Love As I prayed over my life to further grip God’s will for the coming year, I was convicted by the reality that most new year’s resolutions don’t last. God showed me that following Him with my whole life should be my focus. Living life to the fullest in 2014 is not about doing all kinds of cool things that make me feel good about myself, but about trusting God’s work in each area of my life.

 He laid on my heart that He loves me and that I am to love Him back. Thus, came the realization that this year isn’t going to be about a checklist.

There’s nothing wrong with to-do list resolutions. I actually find writing tasks and crossing them off to be quite therapeutic. However, that’s not what I’m meant to do this year. God’s asking me to trust him with the small things – something that comes from the overflow of His extravagant love.

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Lessons on Thoughtfulness from a 9-Year-Old

Thoughtfulness LessonsA couple nights ago, I was taking care of my 9-year-old brother, Markus, while my parents were out of town for the evening. I haven’t written a whole lot about my family on this blog in the past, but they are truly very special to me. One of the best parts about living back in my hometown again is getting to spend time with my brother. His faithfulness and love challenges me.

After a full day of being patient while I ran errands, I told him I’d reward him (and me!) with ice cream. I decided to stop in our local Hy-Vee grocery store to pick some up. After gathering the ice cream and checking out, we passed the floral section as we were leaving. I didn’t think much of it as I always pass by without thought. Markus, however, had more intentional ideas.

“I’d like to get flowers for Mom sometime,” he said. 

“Oh yeah?” I replied.

“Yeah,” Markus said.

His comment about getting flowers for our mom made me a little emotional. My mom has been extremely busy and a little overwhelmed lately and I knew she would love the gesture. What a thoughtful brother I have! Read more