Friday, July 18, 2008

Fourth of July, part 3...or, FREE BEEF- but this ain't no Les Schwab*!

For those of you keeping up on the blog, you might be wondering what happened to parts 1 and 2 of the Fourth of July, or why I am starting with part 3. Well, simply... part 3 is coming to fruition this weekend, and I wanted to tell the story before it happened. The rest of the Fourth was pretty intense and I'm still processing through it, so I'll get to that when I get to that.
Thursday, July 3rd, I'm meeting with my coach for my volunteer leader position as a Two's leader at Imago. I'm telling her the ways that I want to be a better leader, and love on my team more and give them bonding experiences by doing things like...having them all over for a BBQ. But the thing is, my husband is between jobs right now, and we're taking frugal to a whole new level. I'm pretty sure hamburgers for a crowd isn't a real priority for us. So we brainstormed some pretty cool ways that we could get together and bond anyway, and I went away hopeful. But God heard my heart...

Next night...we come home late from watching fireworks out in Gresham, and what is sitting on our porch, but a cooler-full of hamburger patties, cheese slices, buns and chips! I instantly thought, "woah, that's a lot of hamburgers" and then, "now I can have my Two's bbq!" But I didn't want to squander the wealth of food that God had given us in a time of need, and again, I want to keep my priorities straight...feed the family first, right? As we were going to bed, we talked about this blessing of beef...60 hamburger patties in all! David said something that made me laugh and cry at the same time: "God has entrusted us with 60 patties!" I wrote it on the white-board I have hanging in our bedroom (I'm still redecorating). God has entrusted us with 60 patties. That's more than what we need to feed our family; do we really want to eat cheeseburgers for 10 days straight? OK, not that we'd have to eat them all at once, they're frozen of course. But still, that's a lot of meat for folks who weren't big red-meat eaters before. So I thought I'd mention my BBQ aspirations to David. I didn't want to sound self-serving with the provision God had given our family. But David agreed: I needed to have that BBQ. We cried and thanked God as He spoke to us:

  • This isn't my ministry, and the passion in my heart was not created by me. I have already come to a point of doing this because I love God, and He's asked me to do it. Because He has shown me that he loves me, I desire to love others. Because of the way He's created me, I will lean toward loving people in certain ways, like feeding them. God knows I love to cook for people, to gather 'round and take care of some practical needs. Having a BBQ isn't about me and my objectives and how I manage my grocery budget. It's about how God wants to speak into our lives through community. If He wants a BBQ to happen, He will put it on my heart and He will make it happen. He will even shop for the burgers: He will speak to the Cox's because He knows they will listen, and He will tell them to give the leftover 4th-of-July burger supplies to the Vonderahes.
  • Leading the Two's Room is not just my calling. I am part of a family, and whatever I do in ministry effects my whole family. Whatever is happening with the family effects the ministry. So whether or not anyone else is on the front lines of the ministry, we, the Vonderahes, are partnering together to lead the Two's Room. If God has laid it on my heart to have a team BBQ, it is not selfish to bring that idea to the family, it is appropriate. And as is fitting, we will love on the Two's team as a family. This may seem obvious to the spiritually healthy married couple, but for a family that's experienced years of addiction and abuse and plain 'ole cultural brainwashing, this is a [brighter] light shed on the way God designed things to work, and we are seeing what a beautiful creation He's made in marriage and family. We are Team Vonderahe, and we talk about that a lot...but it mostly has a lot to do with cleaning the house and sticking up for each other on the playground. But to think about how that applies to supporting each other in the ways that God has called us to serve's much different (and may I say more special?) than the way we might support a missionary, or support an orphan overseas. To support each other as a family is opposite of the American culture's ideal of autonomy, even within the family. I don't think that was God's intention for family, but I'll let that roll around in your head a bit and see what He says to you......
So that's my free beef story. I'm looking forward to the BBQ this weekend and to what God will do there! Hopefully, the sweet smell of grilling, and the sweet smell of Christ. :)
*If you aren't from the NorthWest, you might not be familiar with the tradition of Les Schwab Tire Center to give away "Free Beef" with a set of new tires. Go ahead and's funny, but so cliche, I think born northwesterners have lost the hilarity of it. But that's just my pov.


Karen Elaine said...

Oh how i love you! this is such a great entry and reveals the humbleness and teachability and celebratory-ness of your heart. you mind if i post this on our imago dei kids blog?

Michelle said...

Wendy, you are amazing. You are consistently seeking and listening for God in you everyday life... it is so beautiful and inspiring. You are awesome.

Kristen Courter said...

I love this story! Reminds me that sometimes God looks directly at the desires of our hearts and says, "Here you go."