What I Did When I Was Under House Arrest: Person #3

In Advice and Encouragement, Relationships by Debra Fileta

Have you ever felt as though you were on house arrest?

I did. In 2010 to be exact.

I was a brand-new mom of a newborn baby. This new chapter of my life came pretty abruptly, as does the birth of a new child.  Suddenly, my entire world was filled with change and just when I thought I was getting the hang of some sort of consistency, stability, or structure in my life- the baby would decide it was time for a change, and I would be back at square one.

Talk about a rude awakening. In fact, speaking of awakening- it was something that happened every hour of every day – and many hours of the night those first few months.

Not only did my whole life change when I became a mom, but so did my entire occupation- now revolving around this tiny human being.  All of a sudden the area in which I was considered an expert no longer seemed to exist- and I was thrown into a new job, with new rules, a new boss (mine was 7 lbs- but still demanding), a new location and no 7-day orientation to get you accustomed.

The joys and blessings of being a mom are truly endless, but even so, I remember wondering in those early days if and when my life would ever be the same again. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a “do-er” by nature. When it comes to my spiritual giftings, I am an evangelist at heart.  And oftentimes,  I wondered how God was going to use me in this new phase of life.

No more adventure-filled mission trips to Africa.  No more visiting the projects and going door to door meeting some of the most engaging people I will ever know.  No more spending months in 3rd world countries, hours at an orphanage, or late night conversations with friends in need. My life had changed in a very real and tangible way.

For some people, they might have the superpowers to accomplish all those things after birthing a child, but not me. The birth of my daughter brought many changes to my life.  It ushered me into a new season, and if I’m honest, many times during that season of motherhood- I felt limited. I truly believe that being a mom in and of itself is one of the most important jobs and ministries on earth. But there came a season in my life that I longed for more. My soul was still thirsty.

And then I stumbled across a verse that changed the course of my entire life.

Acts 28:30-31

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

I’ve read the stories of Paul’s journey’s in bringing the gospel to the world plenty of times.  But never did I really grasp the fact that TWO ENTIRE YEARS of his most significant ministry were spent in the city of Rome, under house arrest after being shipwrecked.

For two years, Paul was chained to a Roman guard, and not even allowed to leave his home- but that didn’t stop him from having significant impact on the kingdom of God and loving on the people around him.  For two years Paul proclaimed the name of Christ within the walls of his own home, accepting visitors, and welcoming friends into his home.  He encouraged them, loved on them, and shared with them the hope that he had in Jesus. He overcame the limitations of distance and wrote letters to the churches, encouraging them in every way he could. He made disciples no matter what situation he found himself in.

Something about that clicked with me in a large way: I realized that God calls us to make disciples wherever we’re at in life.

#3 Person You Need in Your Life: A Disciple

For me, struggling under the demands of being a mom limited me in new and unforeseen ways. Now granted, being a mom is nothing like prison (not that I know of….). It is a joy and a blessing to invest in our children and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  But as far as the flexibility, freedom, and spontaneity I used to possess…yeah…no such thing anymore. My life was dictated by things like nap time, feeding time, and bedtime- a house arrest, of sorts.

But during that time, God opened my eyes in a huge way by showing me that just like Paul, I can be free to do God’s work through my life no matter WHERE I am or what season of my life I am in.

You see, so many times we let the limitations of our life serve as excuses to stop doing God’s work.  We may feel limited by our schedule restraints, our personality deficits, our lack of experience, our physical disability, our relationship status, our spiritual knowledge, our financial circumstances and a thousand other things. We tell ourselves, “when this stage of life is over, then I will be free to do God’s work, then I will focus on the things that really matter, then I will arrive…” and somehow, we end up WAITING our lives away.

But the truth of the matter is that being used by God has so very little to do with where we want to be- and so much to do with where He’s placed us– because He’s placed us right here, right now, for such a time as this. We are CALLED to make disciples and pour into the people in our sphere of influence. It’s what being a Christian is all about. We are asked to spread the gospel, to share God’s love, and to give hope to a lost and dying world. But how quickly do we let our human limitations get in the way?

After reading that passage in Acts, I committed myself to seeing my home as a place of ministry.  I opened my doors to neighbors for lunch, for prayer meetings with friends, bible studies, coffee dates, play dates and dinner gatherings.  I started writing when I could, and using the gifts that God had given me to reach those He’d allow me to reach. And believe it or not, the ministry of True Love Dates was born in some of the quietest moments of those “limited” days.  God has opened my eyes to the people that I was surrounded with- and closed my eyes to the facade of my limitations. He closed my eyes to my weakness, and opened my eyes to His strength.

My prayer for you is that God renews your passion for this specific season in your life.  Whether working a dead-end job, studying, a stay at home mom, immersed in a career, or looking for a career- no matter where you are at in your life…God has placed you in this season of life for a purpose.  And that purpose, above all other things, is to go and make disciples.

Be open to what He has for you, be open to His calling on your life.  Because no one else can do what God has created you to do.  And what He created you to do, can start the moment you’re willing to begin.

May that life-changing moment be today.

 Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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