I sat down for the first time in a very long time in front of the computer screen last week. I thought about writing here, but sometimes when you get ready to turn yourself inside-out, you need to pick just one person instead of many. A person’s life can be full of people, and yet, not a single one can be the person to talk to. Often times the person I need to be “right here” with me is hundreds to thousands of miles away.
I spent 30 minutes or more typing my up and down situations, my up and down feelings, and my up and down spirituality. I expressed deep insecurities, emotional and physical sickness, and spiritual feelings of lack. I am thankful she read it – not exactly the Christmas Card-type of letter most are receiving this time of year.
I don’t yet feel the “go ahead” to share what I wrote Jennie, but I do feel the freedom to share an edited version of what she wrote back. First, let me tell you, I was lying in bed this morning praying. I was praying a prayer I have prayed since Christopher was born. “Father, I want to be a wife and mom who smiles, has fun, and LAUGHS!” As I finished up this plea, I picked up my ipod and scanned my new emails. My heart jumped when I saw her name in the inbox. So I opened what would be the sweetest of gifts to begin my day with.
Baby #5—-You already know this child will be a wonderful addition to your family! You are now in a position of needing more grace…..and God will give it. Maybe you will be “weaker” than you’ve ever been before, and you will learn a dependence you have never had up to this point. This is a blessing that is hard to see, but very real…God designed us for this purpose (among others)…
Homeschooling—-You will probably never feel like you’ve got it figured out. I DO recommend that whatever curriculum you start with for a year….STICK with it for the year before you allow yourself a change. I have been guilty of changing mid-stream and it has almost never been beneficial. Keep a “core” part of your day very regular with the kids and if something has to slide let it be the things that branch off from that core…I have also realized that with littler guys…….doing a half an hour of one on one time followed by a little on their own town is very fruitful. Judah is in 2nd grade & if I did 30 minutes just with her daily, she could easily stay on grade level AND feel loved because of that little bit of focused attention.
Issues—-The “not enough” issue is one that could follow you throughout life. As I became less and less able to cover all the bases, the more I realized that I am in the shadow of an “enough” Savior who fills in all the empty places where I’m NOT enough. In some ways you can agree with the accusation, “I agree. I’m not enough…smart enough, organized enough, beautiful enough, but where I end, Christ begins. Look…He is allowing me to glory in my not-enough-ness, because he shows me how in a very practical way, His grace fills in the gaps! In just a few years, you will feel much wiser (and more weathered) than you do now. Try to just relax and enjoy the days at home. You will do great things in the next season of your life, and the little kid season seems very mundane, but you are sowing very valuable seeds in your family that you WILL see grow. Try to let your kids see you LAUGH everyday. 🙂 Love, Jennie
LAUGHTER…God knows, He knows and He cares and He never “puts up” with me. No! He loves me with a love I am just beginning to scratch the surface of. Every tear of mine He claims and saves and cherishes. Every hard breath is as much of a grace as the easy ones. This verse came to mind over and over again yesterday morning.
I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can SEE in my life or HEAR in my message…So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My GRACE is all you need. My power works best in WEAKNESS.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am WEAK, then I am STRONG. 2 Corinthians 12 NLT
I have recently prayed prayers like: Father help me to love like You love…break my heart for what breaks Yours. Fill me with Your Spirit…overflow Your fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in and through my life. Help me to walk in confidence of my worth in You, and not seek a worldly worth. Give me joy in this suffering. May there be no other gods before You in my life! I want to hear and know Your Spirit-leading in my life! May the Spirit rise above the flesh! Give me a smile in my heart and on my face! When people meet me, may they meet You!
I think we often pray heavenly prayers and then look for earthly answers. We forget the paradox of Christ’s Kingdom…the way up is down, the first will be last, the humble will be exalted. So we pray prayers of spiritual greatness and we expect earthly greatness to be our solution, when really, God has never worked like that. We pray to be closer to Him and we think good and easy and earthly blessings will bring us there. Yet, did not Christ come and live as a poor man, with nowhere to lay His head at night. He gathered followers who would run from and betray Him. And in order to receive the Prize – to complete His purpose for coming to earth – He would have to die without a penny to His name, no retirement, no comfortable bed to pass from this world into the next, no medicine to make His pain go away, not even the presence of His Father close by. And this…this was the way to the Father…for Him…for us.
I have never wanted to boast or rejoice in my weaknesses because I thought they made me look “less than” in the eyes of the world. They probably do, but when the world becomes your standard for worth/living, you must recognize what your god has become. The God Who gave His only Son for my life sees my weaknesses as vessels for His Spirit to fill. God can work with weak, low, and humble places because they are ready and open for His filling. It’s the hard, puffed up, prideful places that leave no room for God, and though He will help the walls fall down, I have to choose to walk around in Praise! (Joshua 6)
I will end with the song Jennie shared with me. You know, even though I know the character of my friend, after I wrote and hit the “send” button, I almost regretted sharing my mess with her. What might she think of me now? What kind of pointed response will I receive? Is she fed up with me like I think God is? She didn’t though; she responded with the grace I believe God is developing in all of us who go through the tough, the hard, the tears, and the terrors of laying down “self.” He sent Adam and Eve from Eden because He knew it was the only way to bring them back. He let the Israelites wander in the dessert because He knew it was their way back to Him. He allowed His people to become divided and slaves because He knew it was the way back to unity and freedom. He sent Jesus as a baby in a carpenter’s home because He knew His Son would need to know how to build a kingdom from the ground up. He allowed Jesus’ death on a cross because He knew it was the only way for us to live. God allows much wrong because by His Grace He will make it All Right!