Let me just say right here: If you ask God for help – don’t expect Him to help you the way YOU think He should. He sees the big picture. He sees down the road – tomorrow, two weeks from now – twenty years from now. HE knows what’s coming. And HE will help you the way you NEED…
So here I was at home – finally getting the opportunity I prayed for since I was a teenager – wife to a very handsome hubby, mom to two beautiful daughters – and Queen of My Domain.
Only I was miserable.
My heart was so far from God that when He spoke – I could not (and sometimes just would not) hear Him.
I had moments of clarity and would beg Him to help me. But I didn’t want to do what He was asking of me. I didn’t want to yield my pride or my self-sufficiency. That was all I had left of me.
So, He allowed a series of traumatic life-events to bash away at my hard heart.
Kinda like the plagues of Egypt…
I was brought to my knees in fear, anger, hurt, dismay, disappointment. My marriage was tested. My peace of mind was challenged. My capabilities and gifts were not effective. My ability to enjoy life was almost non-existent.
And I truly felt like I had nothing left. It was dark and lonely. But I was not alone. I was in that dark place God was before He filled it with creation. Where He still is.
Just Him and me. And I couldn’t fight Him anymore.
So I gave up.
He began shining His Light into those deep, dark secret corners where nobody could hear those things or see those things I harbored in my life.
Oh they were all evidenced in my words, actions, and choices – but to hone in on a particular area and have those roots exposed was terribly uncomfortable. To feel His hands moving in my life as He began to slowly work them out of my life – terribly painful.
And yet, after the pain – I really began to slowly feel the first fledgling hints of joy. Peace. Love.
Where I was bitter – He began to soften.
Where I was lonely – He began to fill.
Where I felt so unworthy of love – He began to heal.
When He held up the mirror of His Grace to my life, at first all I could see was the mess I had made. And I was terrified. How in the world could God fix this mess? How could He possibly clean up the havoc I had wreaked in my life and in the life of others.
This was not something that came on when I got married, or had my girls – this had been years of living for myself. Years of embracing ungodly principles and ideas.
And He – like a gardener – patiently and steadily began weeding the garden of my heart and mind.
It’s surprising to discover how many weeds spring up when you aren’t paying attention. Do you see in this picture – all the little green sprouts around the newly planted patches of lettuce?
This is pretty much how my life was. And I wasn’t paying attention. The weeds grew up and into my life – and flowed out of my life because I let them. If I ignored these weeds in my garden – my lettuce would likely die. Because I had ignored so many weeds in myself, my spirit was dying.
As God began to weed me, He also began whispering HIS TRUTH into my ears. Not the lies I believed about myself – about being a woman – about being a wife & mom – about any of it.
As He would pull a weed, He would speak into my life and pour life-giving grace into me.
Ezekiel 36:26 – A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I have by no means become weed free – and in fact, there are still some pretty difficult patches where God is consistently removing bitter, choking, strangling roots of sin in my life. And I will write more about that
Today as I write this – is one of those days where I am crying out to God begging Him to give me strength to be the woman, wife, and mom He wants me to be – He has destined me to be.
I am caught up in the struggle of cleaning up after an almost 4 year old who doesn’t want to quit watching TV/playing a game/playing outside so she can use the toilet… sigh.
I am caught in the struggle of knowing how to find joy taking care of my family in the simple tasks of housekeeping (from sweeping floors and emptying trash).
I am wrestling with guilt & frustration at losing my temper and yelling at the girls when they do something that they shouldn’t / that I have asked them not to do / that I. don’t. like.
There is much to be said about knowing WHO you are. Not what you do – but Who. You. Are.
Who I am and What I struggle with are NOT the same thing!
It’s taken me a long time to understand the difference between WHO I am and WHAT I do. I am just learning how to understand that WHO I am and WHAT I struggle with are different – separate. My value does not rest solely in my ability, my talent, or my financial contribution to my family.
The mirror is revealing a different person to me. Again – I have not “arrived” per se – but I’m on the journey to wholeness and living in grace (which sometimes feels like a ginormous comfy recliner just enfolding me and letting me rest).
He has provided so many gifts recently to continue to emphasize this point in my life – A Woman Inspired, my Bible Study (Me, Myself, and Lies), incredible ministry opportunities at my church – and last but not least – my family.
The opportunities to serve the Lord in new ways are surprising and wonderful. Maybe I won’t earn a paycheck – and maybe God will provide for our needs right at the moment of our need – and maybe just taking care of my family and writing are going to be the things He uses for His purpose.
Maybe, just maybe, I can live out Philippians 3: 12-14
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
So while I struggle to fight irritation and resentment for the dirty socks that are left in the middle of the floor yet again, God is speaking to my heart to pick them up for HIS sake and take care of them for HIM. Not for my husband and not for my girls – but for Him. It’s really a new concept for me and one I dispute frequently with Him. He reminds me to serve HIM and do it for my family as if I were doing it for HIM…
So this is the place in my life that I find myself. Struggling with much less. Accepting much more. Imperfect and fallible.
But wow does GRACE feel good!!!