If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting… James 1:5,6a ESV
(I don’t know if you remember or not, but just last fall I had to begin to believe in prayer again. I had to start praying with confidence – faith – in God’s hearing and answering. I never said that His answers make sense or are quick or come about the way I would bring them. No, I never said that…)
It was Thursday of last week when I began to recognize He was starting His answer to the scripture I prayed above, and nothing about it, at first, was what I wanted to hear. I have held my children crying and shaking when I’ve had to answer them in a way they didn’t want, and now it was His turn. I tried to hold it in, tried to smile and thank Him through it, tried to see a new vision of how to change my reality, tried to rationalize the situation, but in the end, I stood in my bathroom, once more, and cried out to Him…for Him.
My “problem” is not disease or poverty or abuse or anything big that would make a greater display of God’s glory because of it’s “impossible-ness”. Mine is rather small, I suppose, but it is my big thing. (And I know He cares 1 Peter 5:7.) I homeschool, and I received test scores on Thursday that shook me, broke me, un-did me. Thoughts of failure, slacker, selfish, and doubt all crept in to take hold of my mind, spirit, and flesh. At that moment all my suspicions of me ruining our children seemed to be being confirmed. Yet, there was this peace. Peace? Peace!
You will continue to teach your children at home.
But God, You see the scores, I’m doing terrible!
Ask? For what?
I am memorizing James. I’m in chapter 1, just finalizing verses 1-4 in my mind and heart, and during my Bible Study I am brought to verses 5-7. If any of you lacks wisdom…ask…
…(and so, like most of my prayers, which are more about building my relationship with my Father, I wait and trust and learn not to doubt.)
I talk with Nathan about this, about my “philosophy” of homeschooling, and he does what He is learning to do with greater God-strength and God-love – He leads me. (You see, he has been the homeschool kid, and he has some wisdom to share. Gift.) He helps put legs onto my hopes and dreams for this life I am living day in and day out. It’s what he does for me often, as I am usually just a pile of intentions and lists that don’t go anywhere or get done.
I sit quiet before God and talk to Him some more, and He gently, lovingly, Truthfully rebukes and corrects. Want to know how it really was? He sat holding me, and He said, “Tell me what happened.” Not because He didn’t know; He just wanted me to know He cared.
Well, this year was much better than 1st grade!
But somewhere along the way, I started to search for a ministry outside this home. I wanted to be “involved”…to show I cared greatly for Your Church – Your Bride.
Then, I began to read of missionaries and what they got to see and do day after day, and I mourned.
Yes, Father, I mourned for what I thought would be my life. I mourned for the difference I could be making, that they were making, and the sooo many people that could see their fruit.
So, what did you do in reaction to this?
I left home. Not physically “left” my family; in fact I packed them up and took them with me to the Church Building, to Bible Studies, etc. Still, even though they were with me, I wasn’t with them. In my mind I was in Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Uganda, and on the East Coast. When I needed to be teaching them, needed to be with them, I gave them a math book, checked the pages they were to do, and sent them on their way. Or better yet, I put in another movie they had seen a hundred times. All this, in the name of “finding my ministry”.
What did you find?
All that searching for a ministry, Father, all that “good” and “great” that I thought I was doing or getting ready to do, and then last Thursday. Last Thursday I “found” my ministry, and it didn’t look great. In fact, it looked neglected, crumpled, and in need.
What ministry? In need of what?
My “simple life” – my children. Someone to help…to minister.
Me, through who?
But Father, it’s very apparent, I am not a teacher! I am a learner! I love to sit for hours learning, but to teach? Mrs. Cannon was always trying to get me to teach, but You remember that one stint of time when I tutored – horrible! I am not a teacher!
They need You to teach them, Father! They need to know You so! How can this get done?
I will lift you up.
This is my weakness. You have put me in a place where I literally cannot do this!
This is my Strength.
Yes! Your strength. And not just because I want it – I do! – but because I need it. They need it! Now, God, about wisdom…
I knew I needed more wisdom, and I still know that today! Last evening, though, God opened a door and a time and a heart and a mouth – and they were just what I needed.
Ms. Shari would listen to me, she would make funny remarks that would lighten me up, she would give me hardcopy examples of some things, but more importantly she gave me Truth. She gave loving Truth, but not in the cuddly and soft way that might have added a band aide to my pain. Her words were sharp, they cut me open, and got straight to the problem area. Then God used her words to do surgery on my heart and mind, and though it was uncomfortable, it was healing.
These next few weeks will tell how well the surgery took. I now have time to do what most major surgery patience have time to do – take stock. It will be slow going at first; though I will have an eagerness beyond my capabilities. There will be more “no’s” to add to the few I’ve already begun, and some “yes’s” that I’ve been putting off due to my own selfishness. (Most of those yes’s will be said to those who I live this “simple life” with.) For now there is peace, there is healing, and there is still more wisdom to obtain. (He gives generously, remember!)
Yes, my child.
I’m sorry, so sorry that I thought this – this gift of the “simple life” – not enough. I called your gift “less than” and I am sorry. Please turn me around that I may walk in true repentance and truly in Your Way.
You are forgiven. There is no condemnation. I hear. I forgive. I will heal.
Interesting thought from a friend the other day. I had never thought about this before. You lived here on earth for 30 years, living the simple life as son, brother, neighbor, friend, and carpenter before you began your ministry outside the home. You did the “mundane” before you ever did the miracles. “He did those seeminly non-Kingdom building small jobs well and with a desire to walk with and learn from God, even in the mundane. He did them well enough that the Father spoke over Him–even before His ministry even really started (at his baptism), “This is My Son, in whom I am well-pleased”.” That’s what Lindsey wrote.
Do you remember the verse you quoted back to her?
Yes. Matthew 13:12 “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.”
That verse wasn’t just for her. Look around you to see what you have.
helping Miss “Grace” clean up her potty mess off the floor…are you laughing, Jesus? I suppose you’re a pro at helping us clean up our messes. So, more of this?
loads of laundry (hmmm, more?)
being covered up by my 8 year old Christopher while I lay napping (mmm, yes, more!)
sitting, rest in, texting with a Dear, Dear Friend, reading James – all in a quiet house
the strong billow blowing the blinds
making a cup of afternoon tea
little boys helping Dad make a yard
a good run
clearing away some clutter
a sweaty kiss between he and me
kids running hard out in the new grass
black bird watching
crying – literally – out to God (remember that…)
leaves trembling in the breeze and early morning (how I am in Your presence too)
praying for wisdom, comfort, encouragement to a Father Who cares and is faithful (what this ramble is all about!)
white clouds painted on a canvas of blue
Timothy walking outside and saying “I love you”
My boy’s test scores (breaking again…)
flowers spilling over the blue pot
Hannah climbing into our bed at 4:30 asking for a cup of water
praying from when she woke me up til we got up an hour or so later
Baby Jack is here!
steam rising from the coffee cup
mist blowing in the sunlight
June 3 – big day for the MPC family
our oldest going to church with Dad
a big morning hug from Aaron
James 1, The Message
kicking up dirt on my leg while running
just this life – simple, extravagant, messy, beautiful (yes, this simple life, Father…Thank you.)
And you will have an abundance, Child.