Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: IDENTITY

by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan.

What do Blog-comments, Grace, and Gone With the Wind have to do with your IDENTITY in Christ? Lindsay’s discussion for us this month focuses on IDENTITY. As I continue in my Q & A style format, I want to share with you my experiences and my heart (balancing raising 7 children while also being passionately involved in world missions).

Special Give-Away: At the end of this article is an opportunity to receive one of 10 FREE copies of Ann’s book, The Mission-Minded Child.

Q. LINDSAY @ PASSIONATE HOMEMAKING:

How do you guard against comparing yourself with others?

A. ANN @ MISSION-MINDED FAMILIES:

What is it about us, as women, that drives us to compare ourselves — often so critically and so harshly? Why do we think so much about what other people think? Why do we keep a record of our faults and shortcomings, or crave that public pat-on-the-back (even from total-strangers) for a sense of approval?

Let me give you an example: If you’re a regular Passionate Homemaking reader, did you happen to notice last month that my MARRIAGE post only received 11 comments? Considering the surrounding 10 posts, did you know that the average “comment-count” was 40, but my contribution received only 1/4 of that number? Comparing those 10 posts, my comments came in last place. Hmmmm . . . that’s depressing. Even the next-to-last-place post (in my secret comment-count competition) had over twice as many as mine. Wow . . . Maybe I should quit. Maybe my writing is boring. Maybe nobody likes me.

Now, more than likely, you never even noticed my comment-count; and even if you did, you probably didn’t care. But I do have to admit that it “bugged” me; and here’s my point: As women of God, we can’t live our lives by constantly comparing ourselves with others, or judging our worth by worldly standards. Comparison and self-criticism focus on the fear of men (or women), rather than the fear of God.

Q. LINDSAY @ PASSIONATE HOMEMAKING:

How do you properly understand God’s love for you and finding security in Christ?

A. ANN @ MISSION-MINDED FAMILIES:

In a nutshell, I believe the key is GRACE. God loves us SO much. Once we’ve surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ and received His salvation through His Cross and Resurrection, God adopts us into His family. He becomes our Father and calls us His daughters. And isn’t God amazing?! He’s an infinite Creator, with unlimited possibilities. He’s designed each of us to reflect His love and His glory, in a totally unique way. We’re not here to become better than others, or to push-and-shove for that “first-place” in God’s kingdom (like James and John in Mark 10:35-45). And we’re not to rely on our self-efforts. Instead, we’re simply to obey whatever God wants us to do (or “not” to do), relying on His strength and grace.

The Bible says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV).

God’s path for you is not going to be the same as His path for me; and His unique GRACE for you is not going to be the same as His GRACE for me. This past month, for me, was a biggie. God’s grace on my life included sending my husband to a dangerous area in BUDUDA, Uganda, where he preached to thousands of people, checked on hundreds of orphan children we’re responsible for, and narrowly missed a head-on African collision). God helped me when missing my “big kids” — including a college son 2,000 miles away, and a grown daughter in a serious relationship with an awesome 2nd generation missionary “kid” from Niger (that’s Sahara-desert-hot, predominantly Muslim, and one of the world’s poorest nations). God helped me to pray for our oldest son, who’s serving as a USMC 1st Lieutenant in a very hostile area in Afghanistan, and for our next-oldest son and newlywed daughter as they’ve been preaching in remote Hindu villages through PROJECT INDIA (in an area where believers are persecuted and average workers make only $2/day). That might sound tough (and I didn’t even share the month’s biggest challenge). But God empowers me, daily, with His continual amazing grace.

God gives each of us His identity in Him. We’re not to compare ourselves with others, and we’re not to compare our grace, or our family, or our husband, or our kids, or our calling, with others.

Q. LINDSAY @ PASSIONATE HOMEMAKING:

Can you tell us about your identity in Christ, and how you know God’s mission for your life?

A. ANN @ MISSION-MINDED FAMILIES:

We’re not to be known by what we “do” but by who we “are” in Christ, by His grace. We’re all called to simply walk with God, and to live our lives with integrity before Him. As we walk with God, He may give us assignments along the way, but those job-descriptions are not who we are. Who we are is based on our relationship with Him. We’re God’s children, His daughters, and a vital part of His family.

I would like to end with a vivid and compelling “picture” I saw (in my mind) during a time of prayer about two weeks ago. It relates to the urgent need for world missions, helping orphans, and God’s unique call on my life . . . and a dramatic scene from Gone With the Wind.

Recently, a lady in our church had a dream, in which she was walking through a beautiful mansion. As she went through some of the rooms, she she felt left out and unneeded. But finally, she found a particular room she loved. At last, she felt “at home” in the mansion; and soon, this woman was making friends and given a specific job to do, that was perfect for her.

Our pastor recently related this woman’s dream in a sermon. He believed this mansion represented the Kingdom of God, and the different “rooms” represented various churches and congregations. Just as this woman had found her “place in the house” (finding a church family and a place of ministry where she could thrive) our pastor encouraged us to seek God for His purpose for our lives.

Using this example, I spent some time in prayer, asking the Lord to show me, more specifically than ever, my specific place and purpose in His Kingdom. As I was walking on a wooded trail surrounding our home, I felt like I saw a picture in my mind. I too was in a mansion, similar to the opening scenes of Scarlett O’Hara’s home, “Tara,” from Gone With the Wind. Then, in my thoughts, I felt led to go downstairs . . . to a massive basement. As I looked over the “room” (which suddenly appeared to be outdoors), I was reminded of another scene from Gone With the Wind, when Scarlett is searching for the doctor to come help with her friend Melanie’s birth. In the movie, Scarlett walks through a graphic Civil War scene, where many wounded soldiers are lying in row-after-row on the ground, moaning for help. As the imagery is captured on film, the camera pans to a broader-and-broader viewpoint, as the intense scope of the Civil War’s casualties are revealed. At last, when Scarlett finds the frazzled doctor and begs him to come help, he responds, “Are you crazy? I can’t leave these men for a baby! They’re dying . . . bleeding to death in front of my eyes, no chlorophyll, no bandages, nothing to even ease their pain!”

In my picture, I saw a “room” filled with people. As my view expanded, I saw a massive open-air crowd, of all ages. It included multitudes of faces, from all nationalities . . . and many crying children. The faces extended on-and-on, farther than I could even imagine. I knew they represented people from around the world who needed to hear about Jesus, and orphans who needed to be rescued, and SOULS. And just like that lone doctor in Gone With the Wind, there was hardly ANYONE working in this “room.” People were dying everywhere, and the need was beyond anything I had ever seen. As I prayed, I simply felt the Lord say to my heart, “Ann, you and Jon are called to THIS room . . . but you’re also called to go to other rooms in my house, to get others to come help. The need is great, and there aren’t enough workers. Go to mothers, families, homeschoolers, and churches . . . but don’t get distracted in the other rooms.”

This image is very raw right now in my emotions. This is the first time I’ve shared it publicly, or written it down, but I felt it fit with this month’s theme about identity. “Missions” is our family’s place in God’s Kingdom. We’ve seen desperate needs (even the past few weeks in Africa and India). We know we’re called to reach the lost and to rescue orphans . . . and also, to recruit others.

This week, I want to do a drawing for 10 FREE copies of my book, The Mission-Minded Child – Raising a New Generation to Fulfill God’s Purpose. To be entered in the drawing, go to 100 mission-mottos and pick one motto or quote. For a 2nd or 3rd entry, link to this post (on your blog, facebook, and/or twitter), and mention each in a separate comment.

And please do think and pray about this need in the “basement.”
It’s real.

And you could help.

About ADunagan

Ann Dunagan is a longtime homeschooling mother of 7 (ages 11 to 25, with 4 graduates), an international speaker with Harvest Ministry, co-founder of orphan ministries in East Africa and India (caring for over 700 children), and author of several books including The Mission-Minded Family. With a passion for the Lord and the lost, Ann motivates families for world missions.

163 Responses to Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: IDENTITY

  1. Carmen September 26, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    12. God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him.
    - Hudson Taylor

  2. Lauren April 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Wow-incredible post. Thank you Ann and Lindsay!!

  3. Alysia March 31, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Hi!
    I just wanted to say that I read the marriage post, and re read it three times but never commented….I was so encouraged by it! And I really want to get the book you recommended about romance in the marriage…but maybe I should be commenting over there….but I don’t like to comment;/ I have the Mission Minded Child, it is great!!!
    Blessings!

  4. Ann Dunagan March 28, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    **********
    GOD BLESS YOU, EVERYBODY!!!

    Here are the final 2 random winners for the last of this post’s 10 FREE copies of THE MISSION-MINDED CHILD. Thank you for your participation and comments. I’m praying for you.

    Ashley who wrote on Mar 23, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Linked to my blog! (her quote was, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” – C.T. Studd)

    and

    anne who wrote on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    . . . This one has always been a favorite: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

    CONGRATULATIONS, LADIES!!!!

    Lindsay will be contacting you soon to get your mailing address, or you can contact me via Harvest Ministry’s website. I hope that this book, The Mission-Minded Child, will be a blessing and a challenge to your family.

    SEE YOU NEXT MONTH for our next Q & A!!!

    Blessings to you!
    Ann

  5. Jill March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Live God LOUD!
    I like this quote because it’s what my heart desires to do!

  6. Jill Foley March 26, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    97. You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving.
    - Amy Carmichael

  7. Betty March 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.
    - Nate Saint, missionary martyr

  8. Ann Dunagan March 25, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    ************

    Here are our 4th set of random drawing winners for a FREE copy of The Mission-Minded Child!!!

    Today’s 2 winners are:

    Emily who wrote on Mar 23, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply” — Hudson Taylor

    and

    Spring who wrote on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him.
    - Oswald Chambers

    Lindsay will be contacting you to find your mailing address, or you could CONTACT ME via our Harvest Ministry website. As soon as I get your address, I’ll mail The Mission-Minded Child right out to you!!! I hope this book is a blessing (and a challenge!!!) to your family.

    Ann

  9. Tammy March 25, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    posted on FB

  10. Tammy March 25, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    6. Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone.
    - David Livingstone

  11. Julie Horne March 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    #2 Link this pg to my FB

  12. Julie Horne March 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Also posted on FB which I forgot to mention

  13. Julie Horne March 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    My fav motto:

    23. It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him.
    - Oswald Chambers

    is the one that helped me the most. “Consistently faithful” is all He asks of me so that I can be the light for Him wherever He needs me to be!

    Lord, help me to be consistently faithful, Amen.

  14. Laura S March 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I have 2 favorite quotes!

    Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing!
    - Helen Keller (she wasn’t a missionary, but this is an inspiring mission-minded thought!)

    Life is precarious, and life is precious. Don’t presume you will have it tomorrow, and don’t waste it today.
    - John Piper

  15. Ann Dunagan March 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    ************
    ATTENTION EVERYBODY!!!!

    Today’s 2 winners are:

    Joanna who wrote on Mar 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm #
    “Ann,I just want you to know that . . . I have been chewing on the idea of how to be a mission-minded family . . . ”

    and

    Michelle who wrote on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm #
    “You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving.”
    - Amy Carmichael

    Lindsay will be sending you an email to request your address, or your can CONTACT ME via the Harvest Ministry website to give me your mailing address, and I’ll be sending out your FREE copy of The Mission-Minded Child – Raising a New Generation to Fulfill God’s Purpose.

    BLESSINGS TO YOU!!!

    As of today, we have 6 winners chosen.
    The final 4 winners will be chosen over the next two days.

  16. Lauren@titus2moments.blogspot.com March 24, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    I linked on my Facebook page!

  17. Lauren March 24, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    #10 “Go, send, or disobey.” -John Piper

  18. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking March 24, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    What a great post! I really like your blog so much!!

  19. Chrissy March 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    posted like 5 of these on my FB, great stuff, thx

    Chrissy

  20. Corrie March 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    #5. Can’t you do just a little bit more?
    Morrison.

    Feel like I could ask myself this question every day.
    Thank you for your post!

  21. Lori March 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    # 53–about not pitying missionaries, but envying them because they are on the front lines, seeing God in action.

  22. Ann Dunagan March 23, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    DRUM ROLL please . . .

    Our DAY 2 winners in our random drawing for a FREE copy of my book, THE MISSION-MINDED CHILD are . . .

    Catherine (who wrote on the first day, “Tweeted!”), and
    Morgan (who liked the John Piper quote, “Go Send or Disobey!”)

    You can either CONTACT me via our ministry website to give me your mailing address, or Lindsay will send you an email to request the information.

    All together, I’ll be giving away 10 FREE copies. Altogether, we now have 4 winners so far (you can look back through yesterday’s comments to see the first 2 winners). And over the next 3 days, we’ll be selecting 2 more winners each day (right about 12 NOON Pacific Time).

    Blessings to you!!! And to our winners, I sincerely hope this book is both a blessing and a CHALLENGE to your family.

  23. Ashley March 23, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Linked to my blog!

  24. Debra March 23, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Posted on FB!

  25. Debra March 23, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Posted on Twitter!

  26. debraamethyst March 23, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    “Go, send, or disobey” -John Piper

    Can we all say OUCH!

  27. Dana March 23, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    22 I have seen the vision and for self I cannot live; Life is less than worthless till my all I give.
    - Oswald J. Smith

  28. Kristi Knifong March 23, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Dear Ann, I’ve been thinking of you lately, wanting to talk with you about your orphanage and how you started it. I love this post! Thank you for sharing the vision the Lord gave you. Could you email me at kristiknifong@juno.com so we could communicate? I want to know how our family could join you in being Jesus to the lost and suffering.

  29. Elizabeth March 23, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.
    - K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia

  30. Emily March 23, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply” — Hudson Taylor

  31. Michelle D March 23, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    62. Someone asked, Will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we — who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved.
    - Charles Spurgeon

    • Nicole March 23, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      93. Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?
      -Oswald J. Smith