I tore into the driveway and screeched to a stop. My head throbbed. I wrenched my keys from the van’s ignition, grabbed my Bible, and stomped up the walk and into my house. Dropping my things on the floor, I headed for the medicine cabinet. I was rummaging for Tylenol, when my husband, Dave, peeked in.
“How was your meeting with the outreach committee?”
I slammed a handful of expired prescriptions into the sink. “Don’t ask.”
“The members couldn’t come up with a plan?”
“A plan? We can’t even agree about how to share the Gospel. Half of us say we should develop relationships with people before trying to convert them and the other half say we should go door to door and hand out tracts. We spent most of the meeting arguing. I’m ready to quit.” I pulled a tube of ointment out of the cabinet. “Do you know where the Tylenol is?”
I glared in response.
“I’m sorry honey. I finished them off the other day.”
“Fine. I’ll just lie down.”
I trudged to my bedroom. I’d never been so frustrated by a church activity as I had been by this committee. Every one of my ideas had been shot down. If doing outreach would be this stressful, I’d just forget it.
The pillow sank beneath my aching head. No sooner had my eyes closed than I heard pounding coming through the wall from my daughters’ room. I jerked upright and stormed around the corner to investigate.
Throwing open the door, I took in the scene. Five-year-old Chloe was pounding on my good pans with a block, while seven-year-old Cassidy stood on the toy box. Stuffed animals covered the floor. Overhead, the girls had tacked all kinds of things to the ceiling. Dozens of jump ropes, belts and ribbons dangled all over the room.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I exploded. “Why is all this junk hanging from the ceiling?”
Chloe stopped drumming. “They’re vines Mommy.”
I yanked a belt down and shook it. “I don’t care what they are. You clean this up now! And no more banging!”
I headed back to the comfort of my bed. I tried to relax and enjoy the quiet, but my conscience pricked at me over my harshness. I strained to hear some activity through the wall.
“Lord, I’m sorry. Please help me out of this rotten mood.”
I hoisted myself up and returned to the girls’ room. Cassidy and Chloe were obeying my command to clean up. Cassidy stuffed animals into the toy box. Her back was turned but I could see her shoulders shaking. Chloe sniffled and her head hung down as she picked up a pan.
“Girls? I’m sorry I yelled at you. Are you o.k?”
Simultaneous sobs erupted.
“We wanted to surprise you,” Cassidy choked out.
“It was a jungle,” Chloe squeaked through her tears.
My heart constricted. Why had I let my aggravation hurt my daughters? I knelt down and put my arms out to them. “Please forgive me for ruining your surprise. Will you tell me about it?”
Cassidy and Chloe ran into my embrace, ready to forgive as always.
I wiped at Cassidy’s tears as she talked. “Yesterday in Sunday school, a missionary from Africa came. She told us about the jungle and showed us some real African drums.”
“There are bunches of people there who don’t even know who Jesus is!” Chloe added.
“She said that we could be missionaries too Mommy,” Cassidy said grinning.
“So we made a jungle,” Chloe explained, “with animals and vines. I was being the chief of a tribe and playing drums and Cassidy was being the missionary and telling me about Jesus.”
“Could we really be missionaries, Mommy?” Cassidy asked. “Everybody should know about Jesus.”
I squeezed the girls tighter. “We can all be missionaries, even if we don’t go to Africa. You can tell people right here about Jesus—your friends, kids at school or ballet.”
My own words echoed in my mind as I helped the girls rebuild their jungle. I could do outreach whether I was on a committee or not. I started to think of people who could use a loving touch—a widowed neighbor, my hairdresser, Dave’s co-workers…
I grabbed a hairbrush and plopped down in front of a frying pan. “O.K. guys, pretend I don’t know who Jesus is.”
With that, my missionaries got out their picture book Bible and presented the Gospel beneath the vines.
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