Friday, December 5, 2014

Called to Follow

Funny how we judge ourselves so harshly. Held to some impossibly high standard that would topple even the most perfect. Elizabeth faithfully followed God, but yet grappled with the barrenness of her womb. I know some modern day Elizabeths. She was not made great because she gave birth to John the Baptist, it was just one way that God honored her faithfulness.

I've wrestled with that though. So many godly friends and family members that muddle through never ending infertility.  Yet, children are a blessing, so why doesn't God bless them? He has blessed me in that way, and I feel so undeserving, sometimes guilty as I talk to those that He has not blessed in that way.

In that way.

"That" way varies from season to season. Sometimes I see only the material blessings in people's lives, while mine lacks that. Sometimes I view only someone's new baby while we pray for another. Sometimes I lock in on the success of ministry for others while I turn down another serving opportunity because of sick children. Sometimes I fixate on another family's godly children while I suit up for the same battle of disciplining our strong-willed child. Rather than see the blessings, I see the lumps in the clay where God continues to shape me.

That's they key. We see a blessing withheld, but He has merely poured out elsewhere.

He took away her shame, but He had not put it there.

The shame we bring on ourselves. I've done it, often. Stumbling under the weight of unmet expectations and unrealized goals. Goals that I thought I needed to reach to prove my worth, spiritual or otherwise.

Once again, God wiped my worry and self-doubt clean today using this beautiful devotional blog that I've started following recently, Love God Greatly.

Instead of seeing my weakness as a downfall, I can see it as a trademark that God is at work. Just as they said about Elizabeth, "Nothing is impossible with God." It takes my human shortcomings to allow His glory to shine through and His clear work of redemption and transformation to get the credit. 

His plan for my life continues, not what I thought it would be 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, and yet uniquely mine, a masterpiece crafted with good works, His, not mine.

As I cherished this renewed perspective today, I received an email that pressed deeper His message for me today --  the simple daily following of my Savior as a wife and mom, that is my highest call right now. Regarding our oldest son the email said, "He is such a committed volunteer in our ministry and his skill set at his age is off the charts."

Words a mother needs to hear now and then to remind me of the blessings as I'm distracted while I look for God to bless me in "that" way. 

What blessings are you missing that God has already poured out?  
Praying we all open our eyes a little wider to God already at work.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jesus' consistency, our random responses

John 18 and Luke 22 pressed out my thoughts today . . . 

Peter, so like me I have to chuckle at times.

Jesus says, "I am He."

Peter (what was he thinking?) lunges with his sword drawn and slices the ear of the nearest bystander. I'm sure the High Priest's servant was posing the greatest threat to Jesus at the time.

Irrational. Not well thought out. Emotional response in the wake of Christ's level headed interaction.

Christ had surrendered already. Not in defeat, but in submission. Did Satan think he had won?

Looking back at Christ's words exchanged with Judas and 600 or so of his closest friends, His holiness is magnified in this dark moment.

"Whom do you seek?"

"I AM"

"So, if you seek me, let these men go." Is there any doubt who was really in charge?

"Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

He had already wrestled. It wasn't an easy surrender, but He lay down His will fully to do what needed to be done to save me.

Remember what Peter had been doing? Remember Christ's warning? Peter fell asleep. Christ said, "Don't" twice. His reason -- pray so you don't fall into temptation.

What Peter needed to set him straight was time in wrestling then surrendered pray.

I'd rather sleep, or lay in bed worrying. How much sense does that make?

Wrestle, surrender. Follow in peace. Of course, that doesn't mean the road ahead offers smooth passage. The cross lay just around the corner for Jesus Christ.

Peter still floundered. "No, I don't know Him." Cursing. Denying. Emotionally distraught confused.

I can't imagine watching the world I had lived and loved for three miraculous years seemingly fall apart.

Later he would wrestle. With Christ's questions on the beach. With his own guilt.

And, God still used him, powerfully. A broken pot like me. An irrational human that gets stuck in the here and now.

Father God, help me to wrestle with You and surrender instead of worrying and reacting. Thank you for your forgiving love and using even me. ~Amen

Thursday, February 13, 2014

nudged to write

Funny to sit down to write after nearly a year of not.

Don't know if anyone will read it, since last I wrote Google Reader was still active.

But, I don't write for others, I largely write for myself. To capture a thought, an experience, a season.

Life is full to overflowing these days. Teaching, teaching, loving, growing, stretching, serving, cleaning (not enough), and worshiping, always worshiping.

High school graduation is mercifully still a year away for our oldest. So many exciting changes though as adulthood comes calling. Jobs, driving, college majors, serious volunteer work. Such a man he has become.

Number 2 has an inch on me, but seems to be leveling out. She's amazing and sweet and gentle, and so much of what I need in my home and life. Catch myself glancing at this other woman in my home. So quickly she appeared.

Faith brings the needed emotion and energy to our home. Always has. Something unique about third children. So full of life and love. Passionate about animals, friends, serving Christ, and whatever else may capture her fancy.

Our fourth reached double digits this past year. A ready smile and determined spirit. She works harder than the rest of the house put together. Growing friendships and enjoying physical activity in all shapes and sizes.

Nathan is the character. He shines a little brighter with a camera rolling. Always lots to say and discover. Growing too fast and finding lots of trouble in the process.

And, my sweet little bonus baby. Already a preschooler. Learning sounds and numbers. Stretching my patience with his energy and curiosity. Loves being read to and snuggled with and always says something to make me laugh when he is on one of his infamous "spy missions."Only God knew what a blessing he would be to our not yet complete family.

Yes, life is wonderfully, splendidly full of life. God is good and has moved me through a time of treasuring his gentleness to a new season of marveling anew at his mightiness.

Maybe I'll be back. I kind of like this writing thing.

In His Mighty Grip,