Isaiah had a mission statement (this is just one of his):
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1)
Moses’ Mission Statement:
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt… .when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain”(Exodus 3:10-12)
Jonah’s Mission Statement that scared him straight into the belly of a whale before he lived it out:
“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me”(Jonah 1:2)
Rebekkah’s Mission statement, requiring her to leave to make her home in a different community. She didn’t quite know about what the going would be like but she went anyway:
“‘I will go,’ she said.
So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
‘Our sister, may you increase
to thousands upon thousands;
may your offspring possess
the cities of their enemies.’”(Genesis 58-60)
Ruth’s mission statement of loyalty to her Mother-in-Law. Through honoring her deceased husband’s mother, Ruth was immeasurably blessed by living out the following mission statement:
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Mary’s Mission Statement of simple obedience in an unthinkable situation that she spent the rest of her life living out:
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38)
A Mission Statement to make our Savior our #1 priority when He calls us to listen:
“He had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”(Luke 38:39-42)
Mission statements lead some to the mighty task of approaching kings for a people’s freedom or the simple act of honoring a mother-in-law, or marrying and leaving your family, or just raising a child born with God’s purpose – Seemingly Big and small Mission Statements – small mission statements resulting in Big things later, on down the road, maybe generations down the road.
I have a blog mission statement – the faith, love and politics of raising boys to men. Every post lines up under that statement. Even my poetry about flowers blooming lines up to my mission statement – because flowers blooming is about my faith growing in the midst of my boys’ growing-up challenges – and hope in God’s seed, bloom and harvest time for faith things like boys growing into true strong men.
From the time I was about 6, I started collecting strands of mission statements. My first strand was to become a writer of great books. By the time I graduated from high school, I wanted to be the female Charles Dickens, not even quite realizing that he was a political writer striving to encourage changes in children’s rights, education and social reforms to benefit his countrymen. There was a nobility, though, in his writing, a goodness-prevails in a hope and faith way.
Around age 11, after my mom’s second divorce, I collected another mission statement strand – relying on God to show me who I was to marry.
Another mission statement strand was to get an education so I would be able to get a good job and take care of myself in case my husband ever walked out on me. I lived a lot of fear growing up. I had not yet learned to live faith.
Those mission-statement strands were all-about-me-mission statements. I didn’t know that God had a plan for my life (Psalm 139). I didn’t know that I was a precious daughter to Him, even though I had given my life to Him. I didn’t even know that my salvation was assured.
After my marriage (yes, God was faithful to my request – He blessed me with an awesome husband who loves me, quirks, weaknesses, failures, off-kilter humor – the whole package), then after my first son, God sent me on a journey that led to a deeper relationship with Him.
It wasn’t until my second son was born, when like Hannah, I realized that I needed to give all my sons to God, not to hoard them for me but to free them to Him – that I needed to live my life parenting like that.
That is when I sought out the older women in the church who knew the old ways, the old paths. Because of so many things in my life I didn’t know how to have a marriage grow old loving the Lord, how to watch my children grow up and out loving the Lord, how to grow into me loving the Lord, how to pray, live, speak faith in my home that spilled outside its walls into the community I walked.
My life mission statement emerged: “Please, God, let my husband and I show our sons how to grow old loving the Lord.”
In today’s culture – that is a precious, holy gift. – My husband and I unified in our faith, growing our sons. That became my mission in life.
The last couple of years has been tough, filled with rough challenges. One of those challenges was complete exhaustion and pain. I thought I had pulled a muscle in my side about 1 ½ years ago. The pain worsened, the exhaustion built. I couldn’t see how I could possibly handle a college classroom full of students due to mental fogginess much less teens straining toward independence.
A lot of times, my husband and I take separate vehicles when we go places – and often, I follow him back up the mountain to home. I usually love a challenge, even something silly like getting home first, but I just didn’t have the heart or energy for it anymore.
Increasingly, every time I climbed that mountain, the idea kept going through my mind that I was literally and figuratively falling behind – falling behind them all – my husband, the boys – unable to keep up with where they were going.
Depleted. Utterly depleted. Maybe, I thought, my husband and I wouldn’t live to 100 – that’s what we joke about. Maybe, well, maybe my timeline was significantly shorter.
That’s where, a few weeks ago, when doctors were kind of yanking me out of my comfort zone with indecision, alluding to things more serious than a pesky, diseased gallbladder – and I was just too plan exhausted to put up a fight. It made me understand why people have health-care advocates – people who fight for you when you’re just too muddled with feeling poorly to grasp it all and swing back.
I didn’t have it in me to fight to 100.
While driving up the mountain, God kind of poked me in my side and whispered, “What’s your life Mission Statement?”
“To show my children how to grow old loving the lord,” I answered.
“And that means showing them how to grow old, facing health challenges, still loving the Lord. Your children need you. Stick to your mission statement.”
I was glad God was there to be my health-care advocate that day. He reminded me of the plans He has for me – that it was not happenstance that led to my mission statement. He planted it there long ago – and I grew into it.
Sometimes, faith requires editing our thoughts and words. I needed to edit my thought process – and make sure my content stuck to my mission statement.
I needed a good editor for my thoughts even after my surgery. More alluding to the “C” word. More tests being run to make sure what they saw wasn’t the “C” word. It was almost like, “If you give a mouse a cookie” but instead it was “If you give a doctor a peak at your insides, he will want to look at something else and that will lead to something else. . .”
It was a haunting experience. I felt like I was being hounded by fear and my mortality, like it was trying to catch me and pull me down – but I kept focused on the hand of faith that kept me shielded.
The gallbladder came out a few weeks ago, all the additional test results came back Thursday – and the results are that I am healthy and whole.
My soldier son and the two little guys were in the kitchen, eyes popped out, trying not to laugh, watching me do the dance of joy in the kitchen – not very graceful but full of joy, full of energy, full of the ability to keep up with living. My husband, he wasn’t surprised. He was smiling, glad that I had the energy, the joy, the presence of mind, the everything that makes me endearingly me, even the graceless dancing – He was glad to see me back to myself.
Sunday, after church, we had separate cars. I was leading the way up the mountain, my husband behind me with 2 of the boys. I had it in me to win but I eased off the gas. They passed me in the passing lane.
My husband and the two boys, they were smirking and laughing because they beat me – after I’d been ahead.
“I let them pass me,” I said to my 14 year old son who was with me. “See how happy they are thinking they beat me? We needed to let them win so they could have that joy. Otherwise, they would have been surly and glum, their egos dashed.”
“What about me, Mom,” he said. “What about my ego?” Shaking his head he followed his brothers in the house.
The Faith, Love and Politics of Raising boys to men is just a strand. It is both my husband and I raising these boys to love the Lord – that is the mission statement all other strands twine into.
What’s your mission statement? Does it sustain you in the midst of personal challenge? Does it help keep you focused? Do you believe it?
599) That God loved me enough to create a purpose for me
600) Test results showing 1)healthy results and 2) problems no longer existing
601) Abundant energy my first week back at work
602) Not needing naps anymore
603) The dance of joy
604) A Saturday Morning date at the Farmer’s Market with my husband
605) red tomatoes from my garden
606) sons who find coming home a refreshing thing, a haven thing
607) a soldier son earning a promotion
608) rain all week long, big rain and little rain
609) a cloud falling on my mountain
610) Hope and Faith in a new stage to an unfolding journey