A devotional I wrote to present to a lovely group of business folks:
Hi! I’m Erica Grogg and I’m a house aide at The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home. We are a home for teenage girls who are pregnant and/or mothering. In my role as a house aide, I am a mentor and a teacher. We get vulnerable with each other, praying God’s redeeming love shows through at all times. At The Sparrow’s Nest, Christ’s love, grace, and mercy are central to our ministry. We have the opportunity to lead and disciple girls from many walks of life, and ultimately we pray for their salvation. Working in ministry can definitely be trying, but that shouldn’t be surprising. The enemy absolutely hates the furthering of God’s kingdom here on earth. Even so, the victories we have are so worth the trials.
In my time at The Sparrow’s Nest, I have noticed three characteristics appearing almost constantly: perseverance, patience and prayer. In my time with you, I would like to go a little deeper into how these three play a part in life at a maternity home and also life in general. So buckle up and here we go!
Perseverance: From a simple Google search, I found this definition of perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Working with teenagers definitely takes a lot of perseverance. I find that we at Sparrow try so hard to persuade our girls to make good healthy choices, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Or better yet, we’re met with resistance. Oh goodness can it be trying and taxing on us when the girls don’t complete our requests in our timing or when they don’t see how things benefit them, but we persevere. I can’t say this perseverance comes naturally, but rather these are times we lean more into God to carry us through. Romans 5:3-5 discuses the joy of perseverance: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” It is our joy to have trials so we can persevere in Christ and feel God’s love. This leads me to Ephesians 4:11-16: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” In our humanness it is so easy to fall victim to our emotions being tossed to and fro, but it is the reliance on God that allows us to be steadfast through the trials.
Patience: Oh, patience… This is a good one. What I have personally learned is that patience does not come from me, but rather comes from God. I can very easily be quick tempered, but at Sparrow, as in daily walking with God, those are not characteristics I want to portray and be known for. That said I have to fairly often pray for patience. I can get very aggravated with girls not pursuing opportunities that would only benefit them, so I have to pray for patience in meeting them at their needs, not where I feel like they should be. I feel like that’s something to be said about interactions with anyone in life… praying to meet them where they are. This can take a lot of patience, but I promise you patience is possible. If you’ve ever been to a wedding, I’m fairly certain you’ve heard the infamous passage from 1 Corinthians 13 starting with “Love is patient, love is kind.” Love is not pushing, annoyed, or rude. Love is patient and kind. To be patient is to love. Patience is also a fruit of the Spirit, as stated in Galatians 5:22-23. Due to the Spirit being in us, patience can and will shine through us. Literally, praise the Lord for patience!
Prayer: Above all else, I believe that constant communication with God is vital to a relationship with Him, and there are so many opportunities to do so in daily life. At Sparrow, prayer is the foundation of all things. We pray for decisions that will be made, girls we don’t know yet who might need our services, girls who are with us, girls who have left the Nest, amongst others. Just the other day, I was painting in some of the rooms and while doing so was praying for the girls who would eventually live in each of the rooms. As a staff, we also pray for each other. Being willing to be vulnerable together helps connect us even more than if we were merely working together without deeper conversation. I want to challenge you to constant prayer. Pray for the opportunity to share Christ with someone. Pray that coworkers who do not know Christ will see Him shining through you. Pray for someone you’re emailing. Pray for God to search your heart and rid you of yourself so He can shine through even more. There are so many opportunities for prayer. In Ephesians 6:16-18, it is says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” As followers of Christ, we also have the confidence that God hears our prayers. As stated in 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” I mean, come on. We have the opportunity to approach our King, our Heavenly Father, through prayer. Who else can approach their king in that fashion?
In closing, I want to leave you with one more thought: never forget love. People we all meet will typically not fit our idea of the “perfect human” mold. Even though that is true, we are called to love one another as Christ loves us. John 13:34. I know there are so many times in business as in life that it can be incredibly difficult to love, especially with a love as deeply as Christ’s unconditional love for us, but I urge you to pray for the ability to love that deeply.