So I heard tell of a story of someone who worked for a bank or some kind of financial place. They were asked if the “secret” of their success at discovering counterfeit money was that they had to study counterfeits every day, or something like that. Their response was that, no, they didn’t study the fake, they studied the real money so well that they knew the instant they came across counterfeit money. (Obviously money talk is not my thing.) My life has said something of the opposite…
From the time I can remember anything, I watched over and over again as my family members tried one false love after another, and as a young girl I followed suit. I wanted love so badly, but I had never found the love that stayed. All the loves I knew about were conditional or based on feelings and good days or full of the world’s ideas which left me feeling empty and defeated and lied to. Nevertheless, I kept searching, as I believe we all do, because I was made by it and for it. Then, one night at a church camp at a North Carolina beach, I found it! Rather, I found Him. Many, these days, want to be convinced of the reality of God, and I think this is completely right by the way, but for me, when I walked down that aisle to my Bridegroom, I just knew Him. I knew REAL love. In that very moment He captured my heart, and I smiled from the inside out that night over the love I now had with the Lover of my soul.
There have been times in the past twenty years that I have turned my gaze from that of my Love and sought what other loves had to offer. Always, always I was disappointed and always, always I brought myself back to my Groom, seeking His forgiveness and grace and restoration, wanting Him and us back more than anything.
Today while I was cleaning up after the weekend, my girls danced around the living room to Mrs. Natalie Grant singing Christa’s lyrics. I honestly hadn’t listened to this song when it was new on the radio, which was a few years ago…for no particular reason at all. This past year, though, I acquired some extra music, and I listened to this whole cd one evening while taking Hannah to and from dance class. I recalled reading a post by Christa, having to do with her reasons for writing this song, and that night, I just wept and led Him hold. While traveling down the road this morning, Hannah had it on repeat, and she lifted her voice over the singing to ask,
“Mom, is she saying Hold?”
“Held by who?”
“Jesus.” (Gulp…tears welling…)
“How do you know, Mom?”
“Because…He’s held me.”
And I sat there, trying to drive in my own lane, as I let that Truth settle within me. I have not experienced the literal situations this song mentions, but there have been more times than I have recorded when Jesus has wrapped His arms around me and just held. On green shag carpet, on tear stained pillows, on hard cement floors, on bedroom floors and bathroom floors, in driver’s seats, on two mile runs, on front steps…all of them made into altars where Jesus met me.
I was reminded of one such time, when we found out our boy was diagnosed with autism. I was doing a Beth Moore study on the Psalms of Ascent and ironically, I was brought to the lowest place. But it was there, right there on the bottom steps where Jesus came and bent over me, held me in His arms, and lifted me up. Carried me even, until I found my footing.
I have prayed, in the words of Jennie Allen, my guts out, asking God – begging God to help our family serve together for His Kingdom. Make these days count, God, while we’re all together! Placing all my ideals and dreams in His hands and trusting His leading, I have been able to be led where He desires instead of demanding my own. Yet, what I have found more than us serving together, at least yet, is that I am having to serve them. Those kids I’ve always wanted to help, well God has placed mine before me with their own needs. Another of my sons may now have to let his struggles lead to his successes. I have felt helpless and overwhelmed and ashamed of myself for possibly letting this go on so long – for having failed this thing God has asked of me. I have gasped for breath and cried myself to sleep and whispered His promises after I screamed my fears. I have scrolled right over other people’s praises of their kids on Facebook because in this house we are feeling struggle…some days defeat and frustration and anger.
This morning, I picked up my dogeared Kisses From Katie book, underlined, and transferred into my own journal:
“Serving Jesus and my family with all of me, that is my treasure.
I remind myself over and over again that Christ incarnated in the parent is the only hope of incarnating Christ in a child (I also believe Christ in others can do this…my story.)
…even this hard part, is working for the good in their lives, for the good of God and His kingdom. I remember that these hardships are gifts that He is using to strengthen us as a family and in Him so that He may transform us into His likeness.” ~KDM
~his school struggles
~our school struggles
~me feeling overwhelmed
~I act out in a “barking” way instead of out of kindness or encouragement
~mourning our lack of family time around Your Word and Work (service)…wanting it so bad I can hardly stand it!
~can’t seem to enjoy these days because of the lack of service and the lack of me having an awareness of Jesus before us as a whole family…and my lack of joy carries over to my kids (and probably Nathan, the dogs, everyone else!!)
~my frustration, anger, and lack of self-control showing up in my kids’ lives
~my desperate need, plea, and desire for more of You and Your love, Jesus! To fill, overtake, consume me so that Your light and love are seen in my eyes, heard in my voice, displayed in my touch/actions.
Jesus, help! It is the honor of Your Name and the lives of my children (and those we are around) who are at stake here! Let your love LITERALLY pour into me, washing away all the traces of darkness and sin and selfishness. I don’t want to live another day in my own selfishness; Jesus pour into me, so that I can pour myself out for the the honor of Your Name…
I’m asking for miracles, yes! I can’t make this happen, but You can, Jesus! Please do! Don’t delay!
“How do you know..?”
“Because, He’s held me.”
And is. right. now.
(Sat down to lunch. Had His Word before me. Reading…and this is where He led…)
And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. ~Colossians 1:23