The Ministry of Ordinary Places

Some books you find.

Other books find you.

This is one of those books.

I’m in a season I know is healthy – embracing the slower pace of life of being a stay-at-home mom (and not fighting it) and spending my days writing words, reading books, going for coffee and washing dishes.  I have no answer when people ask what’s keeping me busy these days, except to say I’m intentionally un-busy.  And, for the most part, I love it.

But sometimes I miss the remarkable.

Sometimes I look back at the old me – the driven and passionate world-changer I once was and I miss her.

Most of the time I can see the franticness she brought with her, the drivenness that stemmed from a lack of peace, the carry-the-world-on-my-shoulders weight she carried with her, and I don’t miss that.  I love living in the reality that Jesus load is easy and His burden is light.  I love the confidence of knowing I’m doing exactly what God has called me to in this season – and no more – and He’s the one providing the energy, joy and peace, not me.

But every now and again I wonder…

Which is probably why The Ministry of Ordinary Places was the perfect book for me, and one I seriously want to buy for every one of my stay-at-home friends, or working moms wondering if their life counts.

Maybe it’s reaching our forties, or having kids who are a little more independent, but I think so many of us are wondering if we’re wasting our life, if we’re maybe missing out on something by being so… ordinary.

Shannan’s words defy that.  We mourn with her as she grieves, we rejoice with her when she celebrates and we want to stand with her against injustice… and then she points out that each and every one of these remarkable moments came out of the ordinary.  The every day.  The showing up where we are and living faithfully in the little things.

She says, “Sometimes we get so hung up on doing something great, we forget the best thing is often the smallest.”

How I love that.  It reminds me of Mother Teresa’s now famous quote – “Do small things with great love,” and another: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

The ordinary counts.  Faithfulness in the ordinary becomes the extraordinary miracles the Bible is full of!  A little kid giving Jesus his lunch – so ordinary – becomes the miracle of feeding the 5000.  A stay at home mom walking the neighbourhood kids to school becomes the miracle of second chances for a boy unwelcome in the school system.  A dying church on the corner that keeps showing up becomes the miracle of a safe haven for inmates transitioning out of the prison system.  Leftover soup becomes a meal that feeds more than the stomach – it feeds souls.

The ministry is in the ordinary.

And it’s the most extraordinary thing of all.

If you, too are in a season wondering if you’re missing out, or if there’s a greater purpose for you, this is the book for you – one that calls us into embracing the extraordinary opportunities right in front of us, as we lean into the Ministry of Ordinary Places.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from Harper Collins Christian Publishers.

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