Monday, 13 August 2012

Contentment, Peace, Joy: Where are you?

Hold on to your pants because it's about to get, whelp hairy...and not the open shirt so we can see your chest hair kind. No, not even that good. How can that ever be good, you may be thinking. Never. Never is that good. And this heavy, weighty feeling of conviction is never a good feeling either. (see aren't you glad that I lead in with a joke about hair?...Ok, I'll quit's getting a bit awkward around here isn't it??!)

Seriously, I say these things. Yes, all the time I'm saying them. I mean they do come out of my brain and down into my finger tips as I type them, so maybe I don't say them aloud to you, but yes, I do type them. And here they are. These are the things I say, well at least a few of them. And I say them, well a lot.

~ Being a wife and/or a mother is a high and holy calling.

~ What you do as a wife and/or mother matters...a lot. Like change the world a lot.

~ Bending low in service is hard. It's hard to be an example to a world that likes to exalt itself or themselves.

~ Open hands, to what the Lord has for us as wives and moms is good and right. He is good and right...always.

~These things that we do in this thing we call being a wife and/or mother is in many ways and in many times out of an overflowing...and outpouring even, of gratitude towards our Savior.

~ Above all I want to bend low that Christ will be exalted...magnified even.

                                                                                    And then last night I watched this....

Bring Love In - Uniting widows and orphans to create new families in Ethiopia from Levi Benkert on Vimeo.

                                                           and I was convicted.

 My fingers type one thing and my heart believes another. Did you catch it, near the end? What the widowed Beletu, turned mother now to these 6-8 orphaned children said? What was it she said? "Some preach.... Some sing.... I Mother. It is what I do." For some reason in my mind and heart (more importantly) I have elevated some of what others do (preach, sing, missionary work, adopt kids from other countries, start incredible mission organisations, work with at risk youth, pack up their lives and move to Africa etc....the list could go on...and on) above that of which a wife and/or a mother does. Some how I have come to see some "work" for the Lord as more important than other.

Paul says much about this in 2 Corinthians and God led me to read it again with fresh eyes. Here it is starting in verse 14: " For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. " You see, we all work together, are called to different "jobs" by the Father. None is more important than the other...just different.  This truth I know, yet do not live.

This too convicts me....
What I realised also last night is this: I too, am a glory stealer. You see I've been reading and studying through Philippians which is often called the book about joy. Because of this is does propel one to ponder with in their heart about where exactly they get joy. This I have done. And do you know what I found? Do you know where my joy comes from? You! Well, maybe not you particularly, but in general my joy comes from people and what they think of me. Yeah, I know...ouch!

And I read things like this from Philippians 1:8-11: "For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." 

 Do you catch it right there at the end? Not what Paul is praying for, but why he prays these things? He is not praying them so that they may exalt themselves for a bit or so that people will think they're really great or even so that maybe their unbelieving friends will ask why they are so kind, generous, loving etc. No!  He wants them to abound (overflow) with love which comes from knowledge and discernment through Jesus Christ to be pure and blameless and here it is....the why....
                                  to the glory and praise of God.....

  There is this part of me what wants to do these "big" works for the Lord. I am eager to shirk off the "American Dream" and to do something big. I do linger long on these thoughts and feelings of doing something, anything for Him. There is this long list running in my mind, but no where is found being a wife or a mother...not even at the bottom. And it's not that I think these desires are wrong. No it's the motives of my heart that are wrong. Doing things for the Lord, big or not, because of that pats on the back, or likes and comments on facebook, or a comment on our blog is not what Paul would call pure and blameless. See I told you it was going to get hairy around here (maybe honest is a better word.) This is hard to type, but it is true. 

 Often times I type that which I do not live. 

Funny thing is though, about asking God for things: when you ask God to search your heart and to reveal it to you he answers you. I have been asking for awhile and have not heard and I have not heard because I have not been in his Word regularly for a long season.

You see,  lingering long in my own own feelings and not lingering long IN his Word this produces discontentment, sadness, feelings of not measuring up to others, a critical spirit, pride even. 

And this too grieves me much. 

Here is the good news though (and yes, with the Lord there is always good news) studying and being intentional about reading the Word of life it also has produced....


And so, no we may never be missionaries in the jungle of Africa. We might just pray always for the ones that are there and the ones we know serving else where. We may never adopt orphans. We may only support them from afar from ministries like Compassion Internationl and Children's Hungar Fund. We may never start some mission organisation or feed the hungry in some other place other than where we are at. But there is a chance we could do those things too...Lord willing. We might be a military family wandering this wide world together, homeschooling our 4 for as long as the Lord allows. Who knows?! God does. He does. And this I know for sure today....

he is good, he is faithful, long suffering and kind. He forgives my EVERY indescrection (and yours too...if you only ask) .....and I choose to trust in him...and to find Him in his word today.....

Gracious and Merciful brokenness I seek you. Thank you for sending your Son to die for me so that I may find forgiveness in you. Forgiveness for stealing your glory....for planning with out you...for forgetting that it is you who wills....for finding contentment and joy in others opinions and not yours....for neglecting you in prayer and in your word. Thank you that I am not alone...that you do not leave me alone, but have given me a gift and allowed me to receive him alone as my Lord and Savior. May my life be a fragrant aroma to you of gratitued and thanksgiving, never wanting anything in return, for you Father, have already given me All.... Jesus name...amen

626. forgivness
627. finding truth in His Word
627. his matchless grace leading to repentence
628. this chastisement known as convection never feels good but is a reminder that He disiplines whom he loves
629. my Love, finishing the 48 mile "Ore to Shore" mountain bike ride in about 3 1/2 hours!!
630. hugs in the morning and a Love that wants to give them to me even when I have not showered...yet
631. one little boy saying, "elp, peese, Momma" Yes, finally starting to put words together
632. getting up earlyish
633. coffee, yes this is needed for those of us that get up earlyish
634. watching the kids dance, video taping the whole thing...and watching them watch themselves...and laugh...HARD!
635. brothers snuggling
636. one big sister who has lots of excuses to sleep in the same room as those brothers of hers
637. progress on the road work outside, yes maybe the beeping will stop before the snow comes!
638. almost 30...yes, that's me 5 more days of 29!!!!