Mouse in a Cookie Jar
Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives
I have always had a heart for women’s ministry and for my neighbors, so you would think that starting a neighborhood Bible study would just be a natural, and exciting thing for me to do. It wasn’t. I was excited to be a hostess, and even meet new neighbors, but leading a study, and opening it up to my ENTIRE neighborhood was causing a little bit of insecurity.I had met with Debbie McGoldrick and she had encouraged me to have faith! Invite everyone and rest in the sovereignty of God. He would bring just who needed to be there. I stressed that no one would come, or too many people would come, and they wouldn’t fit in my house! After some hemming and hawing, I finally made invites for all 260 homes in my neighborhood.When the day came for my open house/kick off tea party, I was a mess. Not knowing how many would show up was nerve racking! I prepared for about 10, and then, at the last minute, I rushed my friends for cookie donations, and gathered enough for about 40… (This is typical behavior of some one trying to “help” God, or A/K/A control freaks)The doorbell only rang a few times. I was crushed. “What’s wrong with me?” “Doesn’t anyone like me?” “What did I do wrong?” It was hard to focus on the few beautiful women that were sitting around my kitchen table, chatting and snacking on cookies happily, when I was worried about where everyone else was!I was so hesitant to invite so many! I prayed, and prayed through each one of those 260 invites. I prayed for each family as I put those invites on their doors. I didn’t want to invite everyone, but I did out of obedience! How could I have so many cookies left over after all of that!?I tried to be gracious, and I made sure everyone had cookies to take home, and I even gave some to some neighbors that didn’t come. I asked God why only a few? I was ready! (I like to think that I bring my Father in Heaven lots of laughs and I know he smiles and shakes his head at me daily.) Didn’t I just step out in faith? Didn’t I just pray for the entire neighborhood, one address at a time? Didn’t I just plant seeds of fellowship in this community? Um…. Yes…God always has a purpose, and nothing is ever wasted.When the first night of our Bible Study finally came, I looked around my small, but cozy living room and my heart swelled with gratitude... I had just enough seats! It’s funny how we like to think that God’s ways are the same as ours… I praise Him that they aren’t, but oh! they are SO much higher!I bet you have just enough seats too… What does God want to do in your neighborhood?His,Jennifer Jennifer Mottola is a social media team member for NBS2go, as well as a busy wife, mama to adult, and almost adult off-spring, blogger, home-school teacher, gardener, crafter and, obviously, a NBS hostess. You can read more about her adventures at www.reallyjennifer.com
What kind of glasses are you wearing? Have you ever experienced a movie wearing 3-D glasses? How those crazy plastic glasses make such a visual and experiential difference, I will never know. But they do!In Numbers 13 and 14, twelve scouts were chosen to spy out the Promised Land. After 40 days and 500 miles, they brought Moses a full report. I bet you did not know that all 12 wore glasses? Ten of the scouts wore 3-D glasses, but the other two wore God glasses. It’s pretty amazing, both groups saw the same movie, so to speak, but felt and experienced something totally different, based on the glasses they chose to wear. Both groups saw a magnificent land. Those wearing the 3-Dglasses were overwhelmed by the size and number of people they saw living in massive fortified cities. The report: We cannot and will not go into the land, because we are powerless and few. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, in fact, that’s what we looked like to them! Numbers 13:27-33; 14:36 [paraphrased] Caleb and Joshua, wearing their God glasses, gave an opposite report: God will bring us safely into His Promised Land! Let’s go in and take it! We can certainly conquer it, because the Lord will go with us! We don’t need to be afraid of them! Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9 [paraphrased]When I wear 3-D glasses [Discouragement, Despair and Defeat], I tend to see and experience life as a grasshopper. When I choose to put on my God glasses, [by focusing on, believing in ...God’s character and His promises], I have the ability to see and experience life like a giant. What is your present situation? What are you reporting to others? Is what you see and experience a grasshopper’s or a giant’s perspective? Choose your glasses wisely. Invite someone to exchange their 3-D glasses for God glasses today!Numbers 13 & 14; Psalm 54; John 9:35-41As Always, From my Heart,Debbie
This weekend I hosted a party in our new neighborhood for a former neighbor. (A little background on the eight of us hostesses - we’re all in a really fun season of life. We’re all 20 somethings, we’ve been married about five years, and we’re young in our careers and in our adventures in parenting.) Even though we’ve been getting together and throwing little get-togethers for years, this time, somehow it felt different.I felt the tension of being old enough to plan and celebrate new life experiences – a baby shower! – but still so young in the world. As we were setting out the food and arranging the flowers, I still almost expected one of our mothers to pop in and help. I had a vision of all of us girls pretending to be adults, trying to “play hostess” dressed up in our mothers’ heels and pearls. It was a beautiful moment of vulnerability as we outwardly projected confidence in our ability to hostess, while inwardly wondering if we’d ever truly measure up. The moment passed and the shower went off without a hitch. I think our mamas would’ve been proud.All that to say, if you’re waiting to start a Neighborhood Bible Study, don’t wait until you feel old enough or ready enough or prepared enough. “Do not let them look down on you because you are young....” (1 Timothy 4:12a) We have a place in the body, too! And we have a purpose to serve in our neighborhood even if we feel inadequate and inexperienced. Even if you think that when you open the door your neighbors will view you as a little girl playing dress up, pretending to be able to host some big event, the truth is, when you open your door, you open your heart – and that is a beautiful thing for neighbors to see.I’m right there with you, stepping into big beautiful shoes, twisting the pearls around my neck and hoping to create authentic community with my neighbors just as I am – inadequacies, imperfections, and all...Lucy Lucy Duggar is a 20-something fully-embracing life in Atlanta - loving her husband, Grant, and their comical great dane, Georgia. Culture, travel, and art history are a few of her favorite things, having worked for a museum and several non-profits in the Greater Atlanta Area. She was born in Alaska and has lived in Oregon, France, Wyoming, and most recently London, and Shanghai; she and Grant are just back from a year living abroad, but she feels most at home in the South. Where ever she may be, you can bet there's a good book at hand and a delighted introvert fluttering pages.
Feeling Inadequate? … Me too... Always have. Guess I always will. The truth is, I am inadequate. I am inadequate to teach others the Word of God. I am inadequate to lead a group of women in their walk with God. I am inadequate to represent Christ to my neighbors. I am inadequate to do anything good at all. I wasn’t’ raised in a Christian home. I haven’t attended Church all my life. I don’t have a lot of Scripture memorized. I still struggle with sin. I am broken and flawed. I don’t dress right; I don’t always act right; my car is a mess, and my boys are usually dirty! Really, I am the last person you would pick to lead a Bible study! But I do. And I have for the past 7 or so years. Yes, it still surprises me sometimes! Yes, it is still terrifying sometimes. Yes, it is still beyond my abilities—all the time. But, week after week, God meets my lack with His grace, and together we get to touch hearts and spur on life change! It is wonderful. It is a privilege. So, today, I want to encourage you. Just say YES. Just do it. If God has laid it on your heart to lead a neighborhood study, don’t let your inadequacies or fears stop you. God is faithful. He will meet you in your weakness. He will honor your obedience. He will show up for you. He will enable you. With Him and in Him and through Him, YOU CAN DO IT! I know…because I know our Lord. Love, Lisa