Day 12: Interrupted

Day 12:  Interrupted

This was originally posted on January 1, 2013.  I was over a week late with the 12th day devotional.  Read on to see why…

Okay, here’s the deal.  I began 12 Days of Christmas with wonderful plans.  And because I had promised to try to encourage those who read my blog to keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas, I myself did a better job this year on keeping that focus.  The best way to learn something is to try to teach it to someone else.  But then it happened.  The interruptions.  And so, my 12 Days of Christmas turned to 11 Days of Christmas.

What were those interruptions?  I could list quite a few–some were wonderful, joyful interruptions, some were troublesome interruptions, some were tragic interruptions.  After I posted Day 11 on 12 Days of Christmas, I settled in to a wonderful visit with our dear friends from Nashville.  The girls gathered at our house for lots of chocolate, coffee, funny movies, and good talks.  The boys gathered in the Delta for hunting and male bonding.  And it was a perfect visit up until the phone rang.  I knew something was wrong with the first word.  Something about the way he began, “Well, ummm, I have a problem.”  Details, unimportant now, came quickly and culminated with “eye injury”.

Our joyful interruption with dear friends turned to a troublesome interruption, which is still going on.  Bed rest and daily doctor appointments certainly interrupted the plans we had for our Christmas holiday.

And yet in the midst of it all, I have not once felt a pity party.  Why?  Because at the same time Mont’s accident occurred, a much more tragic interruption occurred.  And within minutes of the first phone call, I received a few more.  A tragic interruption in our small town left a community shocked and sad and a sweet family devastated.  A police officer known by so many as a kind, brave, hero was shot and killed in the aftermath of a bank robbery.  This brave individual I have known since he was a little boy and I continue to pray for and grieve for his family.

So as I sat with and nursed my patient this holiday, I had lots of time to think.  And what I kept thinking about over and over is this: these interruptions have a remedy.  And that remedy began at Christmas, when a tiny baby was born, for that baby is called Immanuel, God with us.

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).                                                                         Isaiah 7:14

It doesn’t matter whether the interruptions are filled with joy or sorrow, Jesus is still present, for He cannot deny His very name.  He is Immanuel, God with us.  Every day, in every situation.

I always feel a little strange on New Year’s Day.  It is a bit sad that another whole year has passed.  Did I make the most of it?

And it is a bit strange to wonder what joys and sorrows lay ahead in the coming months.  Yet all the while I know that Jesus is Immanuel and will be with me every step of the way.

This year, let’s embrace the joyful interruptions that God brings our way.  Even while writing this, I was presented with a joyful interruption that led to a movie date with my three-year-old princess.  Sadly, there have been times that I would have missed an opportunity like that for seeing it as an inconvenient interruption.

And this year, if troublesome or even tragic interruptions come your way, know that He is, and always will be, Immanuel.

The first day of Mont’s bed rest, we determined that 10 days of rest could actually be a blessing.  As we end those days, I see them as just that.  A blessed interruption.

No matter what, know that this year, and every year, God is with you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Update 2014:

Strange that a year has passed.  Mont’s eye injury is completely healed.  It has been a great year, filled with many wonderful, joyful changes.  Yes, there have been troublesome times, as well, but that is for another day.

I saw the family of the fallen police officer recently.  I have prayed for them so much lately, and I know that this year anniversary, along with the bitter/sweet of the Christmas season, has got to be tough.  Let’s don’t forget others, friends.  Let’s don’t forget that the holidays can be anything but joyous for some.  Let’s reach out with love and prayers and help.  And let’s pray that they can feel the presence of the One who can to heal the brokenhearted, the One who will never leave or forsake, the One who brings light and comfort in this dark world.  That is the real deal, folks.  That is why we celebrate Christmas.  Merry Christmas to each of you.

Update 2017:

Day 11: Spread the News!

Day 11:

When was the last time you heard some good news?  We hear a lot of bad news every time we turn on the television.  But sometimes there is that bright spot in the midst of it all– a winning team, a feel-good story, a new birth.

Good news makes us feel lighter and brighter.  Some good news can change the course of our life or the make-up of our families. God had some very good news to share and the first to hear were an unlikely group. They were a group of shepherds keeping watch over their sheep at night.  The shepherds were just common folk.

They did not have very much power.  They were poor. They worked hard and tended their sheep.

But an amazing thing happened.  They saw a great light in the sky.  It was a host of angels.  The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were amazed at the light that shone brighter than any they had ever seen.  They stopped what they were doing and all stared at the light.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Luke 2:13-20

 As I look at that passage, I see several actions on the part of these ordinary, uneducated shepherds.

They recognized the Light as a good thing.

They hurried to find the truth of what they heard–they dropped everything and went immediately to seek out this truth.

When they saw the truth, they spread the word.

That is how a great movement of God happens.  People are enlightened to the truth, they seek it out, and then they spread the word.

The shepherds celebrated when they heard the good news.  They rejoiced and ran to find Jesus.  That is how we should react too.  The bright light of glory of the Lord and the bright light of the star shining over the manger were symbolic that Jesus is the Light of the World.  He gives His Light to us, too, when He lives in us.  Matthew 5:16 tells us how we should handle the light He gives us.

                       “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Today, drop what you are doing and seek the truth in the real meaning of Christmas.  Celebrate the greatest news the world has ever heard.  And then go share it with others.


Update 2014:

I ran into an old friend yesterday.  This friend is not a believer.  I remember the day years ago when I realized two things:

1.  She was my friend and I loved her.

2.  Because she was my friend and I loved her, I had to speak truth to her.

I remember the conversation well, though the years have passed by swiftly.  We were chatting pleasantly about many different things when I felt that THING.  You know what I am talking about–the rapid heart beat, the racing thoughts, the knowledge that now was the time He wanted me to speak up, to bring it up though it would certainly be awkward.  I have learned over the years not to ignore the THING.  It is the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  And I have learned that obedience to that prompting is our only responsibility.  The outcome of our obedience is not our responsibility.

So, I spoke up.  I told her about my faith, about how I became convinced of the truth of the Bible and the truth of Christ.  It was pleasant enough.  I didn’t force it, but I did speak it.  She didn’t want the truth.

As I left her house that day, I felt two things:

1.  I felt sad that she did not understand, nor did she want to understand.

2.  I felt free.  I felt the freedom that comes from obeying God and trusting that He will do it; it is not up to me.  One man plants, the other one waters, but God causes the growth.  (1 Corinthians 3:7-9)  Maybe I planted that day.  I hope someone else has watered.

As we caught up briefly on the years that had passed, I still felt two things:

1.  She was still my friend and I loved her.

2.  Because she is my friend and I love her, I hope she will one day embrace the good news that the shepherds discovered, as well as the great joy that accompanies it.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:8-11


Update 2017:



Day 10: Joy to the World!

Day 10:

There is nothing like the joy of a child at Christmas.  I have had lots of experience watching that child-like wonder in all of my kids and even in myself.  I don’t want to lose that.  As I have gotten older, I have at times struggled to maintain the child-like wonder, the simplicity of the gospel, which began on that holy night long ago.  I get so caught up in “the list”.  You know the list I am talking about.  The one that is supposed to make us and everyone around us have a picture-perfect Christmas.  Only it doesn’t always feel like we thought it would.  It feels more like exhaustion.  It feels like stress.  It feels like I have overdone and overspent only to find that it didn’t lead to what I thought it would.

You have to understand that I am one who DOES Christmas, because I LOVE Christmas. I enjoy so many Christmas traditions and I try to do them all.  But years ago, I had a meltdown on Christmas night.  I thought to myself, “This is NOT the way it is supposed to be and I am NOT doing it like this again.”  That is when I began to cheat on my list.  When I felt myself leaning over into the realm of exhaustion and stress, instead of abiding in the realm of Joy-to-the-World and Peace-on-Earth, I just quit the list.  I have a beautiful stack of Christmas cards that simply need a family photo and a stamp.  They have been neatly stacked in my drawer for three years now.  I may leave them there yet another year, as I am creeping way to close to the exhaustion and stress realm.

Scripture tells us that a little child shall lead them.  Sometimes we need to stop and remember Christmas as a child does.  For this reason, the story below is written for children.  Become like a child for thirty seconds and enjoy a child-like view of Christmas.  And then, go share it with a child.  If you do, you will find that Joy-to-the-World and Peace-on-Earth realm once again.

There once was a young girl who lived long ago.

She was a kind, sweet girl.

She was not a fancy girl.

She was not a wealthy girl.

She was just a girl

An ordinary girl.

There was only one thing to set her apart from the other girls.

She loved God with her whole heart.

One day, this ordinary girl woke up on what she thought was an ordinary day.

But it wasn’t an ordinary day.  It’s no ordinary day when an angel comes to visit.

And that is just what happened.

When the angel came, the girl was greatly troubled.  But the angel said what angels always say, “Do not be afraid.”  And he said even more than that.  He said she was highly favored by God and that the Lord was with her.  And then he said something that really shocked her.  He said she was going to have a baby.

What?  A baby? She wasn’t even married yet.  She was just a young girl.  She was engaged, because girls back then got engaged at a very young age—but to be a mother now?  What would her fiancé say?  What would her family say?  What would her friends say?

But the young girl didn’t think about those things for very long.  Instead, she began to think about what God had said.  And you know what she did? She surrendered.

She surrendered to God.  She said, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”

This young girl’s name was Mary.

Mary surrendered to God.  She said, “I am willing, Lord, even if it is hard, even if people don’t understand, and even if they make fun of me or reject me because I follow you.  I am willing because I love you, Lord.”

God knew she would surrender, because He could see her heart.  He knew that really, she was not an ordinary girl after all.

Mary surrendered to God’s plan because she trusted Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says:


Trust in the Lord:  Point up to the heavens

With all your heart:  Cover your heart with your hands

And lean not:  Lean to one side

On your own understanding:  Point to the side of your head

In all your ways:  Form a wide circle with both arms in front of you

Acknowledge Him:  Point up to the heavens

And He:  Point up to the heavens

Will make your paths straight:  Extend both arms out in front of your body, keeping them parallel to each other


Mary was very courageous.  At first, Mary was afraid, but being afraid doesn’t mean you don’t have courage.  Courage is when you trust God even though you are afraid. But instead of focusing on her fear, Mary accepted what the angel said with great joy. Having joy is a little bit like being happy.  However, there is a difference between being joyful and being happy.  Usually, when you are happy it is because everything is going just the way you want it to.  Happiness is based on circumstances.  But being joyful is an attitude of the heart.  Joy is something we find when we trust God.  Joy doesn’t depend on our circumstances. You can be joyful, even when things aren’t going as well as you would like.  You can choose joy by choosing to think positively and look for the good in every situation. Joy is something we find when we trust God.  Choose joy today.

J.O.Y. spells joy.  It can stand for Jesus-Others-Yourself.  We need to learn, just like Mary did, that the secret to true joy is to put Jesus first, then others, and then you last.  Mary thought of Jesus, the baby king to come.  Mary thought of others—how Jesus would be their Savior.  Mary thought of herself last.  Because she thought of Jesus first, then others, and then herself, by the time that she started to think of herself, God had changed her thoughts to see her circumstances through the eyes of God, instead of negatively through the eyes of the rest of the world.

Later, we find that Mary rejoices, full of joy, and sings, ‘Oh, how I praise the Lord.  How I rejoice in God my Savior!  For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For He, the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” (Luke 1:47-49 NLT)

You see, true joy always stirs us to praise God.  And when we praise God, we are filled with joy!  Joys stirs up Praise, and Praise stirs up Joy.

Joy to the world!  The Lord has come!


Update 2017:

What are the things that get in the way of us remembering this transforming truth?  First thing that comes to my mind is simply, life.  You are all busy moms with little kids.  I still have little kids, but I also now have older kids that help me a great deal.  I remember what it is like to juggle little kids, try to make everything perfect and special.  We have dreams of being the perfect parent, and yet we aren’t, nor were we ever meant to be.  We only need to point to the Perfect Parent, our heavenly father.  Right now, I want you to think of that one holiday thing that is stressing you out.  Is it Christmas cards?  Don’t send them this year.  Is it lights in the trees in your front yard?  Don’t put them up.  Just say no.  Whatever it is that is causing you to “miss” Christmas and all its joy, just delete it this year.  I give you permission and the perspective of someone who has lived longer…there is always next year.  A few years ago, my stress was Christmas cards.  So, I stopped sending them.  Until this year.  It brought me joy not stress this year, so I picked that tradition back up.  Another year, it was the stress of buying so many gifts for so many children.  And I realized that I was just doing it for that experience of a room full of Christmas—a holiday picture I had conjured up in my mind.  So, I talked to the kids and told them that Jesus got three gifts, and they were also going to get three gifts.  But, though they may get less presents, we were going to experience Christmas more throughout the holiday season.  I typed out as many fun, easy to implement Christmas things to do—from drinking hot choc to making Christmas cards, to making soup and sharing with neighbors, to watching Frosty the Snowman.  I cut these written activities into strips and placed in a box and each day they drew from the box.  Best Christmas seasons don’t have to be complicated or stressful.  They don’t have to be dictated by what the world tells us it should all look like.  Eliminate and concentrate and you will be much more joyful and much less stressed out.

Day 9: Silence and Praise

Day 9:

These days, my house is very full and very loud.  And I love it every minute of it.  My college girls are home, their sweet, godly boyfriends are here, my other kids are wrapping up exams and preschool programs.  The whole Silent Night thing is not happening at our house.

Trying to catch a peaceful moment, I grabbed my Bible and, prompted by last Sunday’s sermon at church, began to read about Elizabeth and Zechariah.  You remember them.  We don’t always put them with the Christmas story, but they really are a great part of it.  Elizabeth and Zechariah were older, godly relatives of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Here is a summary of their story.

Doubt and Faith

Sorrow and Joy

Silence and Praise

That about sums it up.  About sums up my life, too.  They loved God, but some of the obstacles in their lives caused them to doubt what God was really capable of.  It all started with Zechariah praying for something that he didn’t really think God would or could answer.

One holy day, something amazing happened. He was a priest and it was his turn to take care of the altar, while the people prayed outside.  Suddenly, he saw an angel standing at the right hand of the altar.  He, like every other person in scripture who sees an angel, was very afraid.  And just like every angel in scripture, this one opens with “Do not be afraid.”  Yeah, right.  The angel went on to share good news—his prayers had been answered.  Not only answered in a regular, ordinary way, but in a world-changing, extraordinary way.  After all these years of sorrow, he was going to become a Daddy.  And the angel said that his son would be a joy and a delight to him.  The angel also said that the child would be great in the sight of God, for this child would prepare the way for the greatest Gift the world had ever seen.

And what was Zechariah’s response?  Doubt.  He said:

“How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.  The angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  And now you will be silent and not be able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.’”

                                                                                                                                                                                             Luke 1:18-19

And it was so.  Zechariah went silent.  And Elizabeth became pregnant.  And shortly after, this good news was accompanied by the greatest news of all, Mary would give birth to Jesus and he would be the Savior of the world.

When Mary encountered her own angel, this news was part of the beautiful puzzle that the angel described–Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, who was long past the hopes and dreams of a child, was going to be a mother.  For nothing is impossible with God, the angel said.

So Mary took off to see and rejoice with her relative.  Mary went to the only person that might possibly understand what was happening in her life, in her womb.  And when Mary arrived, the baby within Elizabeth leaped for joy.  And Elizabeth declared to her, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”  She was talking to Mary, rightly so.  But I suspect she was talking to herself, as well.  For now, six months into her pregnancy, her belly declared that she, too, would experience what the Lord had said would be accomplished.

And where was Zechariah?  Still in silence.  Just as the angel said, he spoke not a word.  He could only see, think, and pray.  And I suspect that in those months of silence, God did a great work in his heart.  We see the fulfillment of that silent work when Elizabeth’s baby was born.  On the eighth day, it was by custom, time to name the baby.  The leaders insisted on naming him after his father, Zechariah, despite the insistence from the new mother, Elizabeth.

Zechariah requested a writing tablet and wrote out the words that his mouth could not speak, the words that showed his faith had returned and his belief was restored.

His name is John.  Simple words revealing great understanding.

His name is John, because that is what the angel said, and that is what the Lord intends.  His name is John and he will be all that God says he will be.  He will be great in the sight of God.  He will be a delight and joy to me.  He will pave the way for the Greatest One of All.

My friends, if you can’t speak it out, write it out.  Pour forth your words in the silence of your mind, in the silence of the pen and paper that only your unique hand can hold.  In time, like Zechariah, you will be able to come out of the silence and speak in joy and truth and praise.

Zechariah spent months in silence.  Right now, in a houseful of kids, and plenty of friends and family coming and going it is an effort to get a moment of silence.

But I will strive for it.

Because I want my heart to prepare the way for a true celebration of the Silent Night, Holy Night.

I want my heart to experience the turning of

Doubt to Faith

Sorrow to Joy

Silence to Praise.

After silent reflection, comes time of praise.  Like Zechariah, we too can proclaim,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us … to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

Update 2014:

Like Zechariah, I can understand the doubt that comes when God tells you to do something that seems unlikely or impossible.  Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mont and I can understand what it feels like to be called to parent young children when you are no longer young.  Like Zechariah, we, too, have experienced doubt and faith, sorrow and joy, silence and praise.  When we first became aware of Charlie awaiting a forever family, I felt doubt.  Could I handle another?  Wasn’t I too old?  Did I have the energy and stamina?  But in a short amount of time, my doubt turned to faith.  If God had called us, then it was His responsibility to see us through.  We simply had to obey.

As we progressed through the adoption process, I did experience sorrow.  The adoption agency called three times to make sure we still wanted him because they didn’t think he could walk.  I remember discussing the situation with my 19 year old daughter, Ellie.  Her reply?  “Mama, that should make us want him even more!”  As the months passed, I prayed.  I prayed that he would be able to walk.  And each update, which confirmed that he couldn’t, brought a little bit of sorrow.  The sorrow stemmed from the struggle I knew he would endure…and honestly, from the changes that I knew would take place in my own life, for the rest of my life.  But even in the midst of it all, there was joy.  Joy that God was in control and that He would be strong in our weakness, and in Charlie’s weakness.  Joy that a precious little person with endless possibilities was soon to join our family.

And then there was silence.  I kept pretty quiet about his physical situation.  I did not want to talk about it very much.  This was not denial.  I did confide in several close friends and family. But I did not want the negative talk.  I did not want this sweet boy to be defined by his disability.  And I did not find it helpful to dwell on what I could not change.  So, I was silent.  But in the silence, I prayed.  I fasted.  I learned to trust.

As many of you already know, my silence turned to praise.  Charlie could not walk when we got him.  His caretakers confirmed it when we asked, and it was evidenced in his weak and flaccid legs.  We discussed therapy and surgery while on the drive back to the hotel.  But I also prayed over him.  Prayed the prayer that God had put on my heart just before we went to China:  “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”  In case you missed it, check out the answer to our prayers in this short video.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

Charlie the Walking Man

Update 2017:


Day 8: The Family Name

Day 8:

These people we have been studying represent the insecure ones in the family, the unworthy ones in the family, the misplaced ones in the family line of Jesus.  And yet they were chosen by God as part of the Royal Tapestry woven to bring about the Glorious Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Each of those adjectives—insecure, unworthy, and misplaced– I have felt myself at one time or another, and I would guess many of you could say the same.  Yet, we are chosen by God to glorify the Son through our own royal tapestry.

I wish we had time to study some of the other names in the family lineage of Jesus.  Some of the names represent other things to which we could relate.  Some of the names I can’t even pronounce!

Family names are a funny thing.  When I joined the Berry family 22 years ago, I had quite a time conquering all of the strange family names.  My sweet mother-in-law is named Jimmie.  They thought she was going to be a boy and they were going to name him James Arnette.  So when she surprised them with her girlhood, they stuck to the plan and named her Jimmie Arnetta.  Her sisters are Shug, and Toodlum.  Her first cousins are Punk, Sheck, and Kink.  I am not kidding you.

Yes, names are a funny thing.  But we are in the family of God and there is one name that is the most beautiful, most powerful of all.  That is the name of Jesus.  Lately, God has been pressing on my heart constantly the beauty and power of that precious Name.  The One that was prophesied hundreds of years before that silent night in the manger has fulfilled every meaning of  every one of His names.

I witness to the fact that He IS  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I love how the above prophesy of the Coming Savior is worded in the translation of the Bible called The Message:

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
 light! sunbursts of light!
… For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
 He’ll take over
 the running of the world (our world!).
  His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
  Strong God,
Eternal Father,
  Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
 and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isaiah 9:6

That is my Savior, my Jesus.  That is the lover of my soul, and yours.  That is the one we celebrate at Christmas.  Let’s don’t miss it this year.  Let’s don’t let the urgent things swallow up the important things.  Let’s remember that one day, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.  Let’s be the first to bow down and worship, the first to confess that He is our Lord.

Update 2014:

Well, Charlie is into names, just like Sally was.  He is learning all of our family names, names of objects, and common expressions.  I love to hear him say “Mama” and “Daddy” and all of his siblings’ names.  Yesterday, we had a birthday for Jesus for 25 toddlers.  Much fun and chaos!  Charlie was a little confused when he met our new neighbor who is a little boy from China named…Charlie!  Two Chinese Charlies in the same neighborhood!  Yesterday, we were looking at a snow globe with a manger scene tucked safely inside.  Sally and I were talking about the beautiful Reason for the Season.  Charlie was listening and watching as we discussed all the different characters of the best story of all time.  There was a pause in our happy chatter when I saw Charlie’s lips move and his sweet little voice whisper what he had just heard.  The word he whispered?  Jesus.  That name above all names.  That name that one day he will confess as Lord and Savior.  I will treasure that sweet first whisper for as long as I live.

Udate 2017:

Wow!  I love reading back to see how I felt, what I was learning, a few years ago.  Alot has changed.  Our family has added two sons-in-laws, whom we adore.  We have sent two more kids off to college. Our older ones have now begun to make a life of their own. We are busy raising the three kids, still at home.  My plate is full, but my heart is fuller.  Sometimes I feel that I can’t “get out there” and do as much hands-on ministry as I would like to.  Recently, I was driving down the road taking the kids somewhere and I thought, “When the kids are older, I am really gonna get involved in more ministry.”  I began to think of all the “ministry” I wanted to do.  And suddenly, a very clear thought popped in my head, which I believe was from the Lord.  And it was this:  “You have a big ministry right now, and that ministry is to your children.  I have called you to them so that they can feel my love and know my truth.”  Right after that, I was talking to a dear friend was casually said these words to me, “I have learned that God has purpose in the present—every moment of the present.”  Your purpose is not in the future.  Your purpose is right now.   So, “get out there” if you are able.  Do something for someone else, including all the ones within easy reach, for that, too, is ministry.