Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Right Where You Are

For those that have trained as an athlete before, you know that the work can be grueling physically, mentally, and emotionally. The lines and lines I ran during basketball are unnumbered, as in I couldn't even begin to count how many I ran and ran and ran.  There were so many times I wanted to quit, but couldn't have looked myself in the mirror if I would have. I thought that all those lines meant that I would one day play for big time team that would make it to the NCAA Final Four. And I did for awhile, though we didn't make it to the Final Four.

God's plan for my life was different. He was going to use the mistakes I made along the way to bring me to the road that I will travel for the rest of my days. Those days of never giving up or giving in, of pressing into a peserverence that only few know were going to be needed to raise 8 children. Of course, I didn't know this at the time, but looking back I am so, very thankful for all those lines because they helped prepare me to be a mother. Yes, a mother.

This does not mean, contrary to the many comments I have received over the years, that God must have saw something in me that was really tough, so he gave me 8 children. He must have saw someone that could be a really great mother, so he gave me lots of kids. Actually it's quite the opposite.

I'll tell you what he saw.

Something that he sees in you, dear reader: A very broken person, who thought (and still thinks sometimes) that she's pretty tough, is capable of taking on the world on her own and to be needy means weakness. He saw a young person that would need to be broken again and again to see her greatest need: Himself.

And even when He got me there...even when I understood the grace it took to save me, still I think I'm not very needy. In fact, I mostly struggle thinking how things could possibly go on with out me.

My life is spent doing the very hardest job on earth: mothering.

If you are a mother, of even one child, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There was no soul on earth that could have told me at the time how humiliating being a mother would be. First, we are put under a microscope, in which every move your child makes, every thing you child eats, every fit your child throws in public, wherever your child sleeps, if your child is breast fed or not, is a giant neon sign pointing right at you, mom. We are expected to have children that say please and thank you, share, sleep through the night, and grow up to go to a good college and contribute to this crazy fallen world in some positive way. Our life's work and worth hinges on society's view of whether or not they are "successful."

No, God did not see something good and helpful in me that would somehow take these little people and change them into decent humans. He decided to use me where I was at despite of who I am. It's easy to see my family, or that family that moves to Uganda to be a missionaries, or the family that moves to the wrong side of the tracks to serve, or the family that sponsors 10 Compassion children, or the family who adopts out of foster care or from some other country and think that God saw something in them that makes them special and really great but that just isn't true. What really is true is that I needed to be humbled. In fact I need to be humbled daily and this is the family God has given me to do just that. God doesn't make it his habit to make really great people even better. In his crazy, upside down love, he takes detestable people and changes them from the inside of out, using whatever means possible.

No, we aren't robots. Yes, we have made choices, but I firmly believe that we choose the steps and God directs our paths. Actually I believe that is Biblical. Don't ask me how that works. I just know it does. He has used the personality that he created me to have, used my experiences along the way (and yes, even my sin) to get me to the place that he would have me be. Right here. Not over there. Or somewhere else, but right here.  That, of course, could change in the next second, but right now this is where he has me. Right here.

It's easy, when you are living counter culture (which every believer does right?), to believe that what you are doing is the "right" thing. So those of us that have lives that look very much different from the "normal" of those around us can get put on a very, very high pedestal and are given an even louder soap box to blog and write books about. Usually, this seems like what is promoted is that "they" should live or choose to live just like "us." It also may mean an exorbitant amount of time spent making sure others feel the weight of all we have had to leave behind on our humble quest to fix the world of wrong (please catch the sarcasm here.) Sadly, so many Christian women are so discouraged, floundering, asking themselves what exactly they are doing for the Lord when they read what is spewed out all over the Christian blogosphere (or read in many books) by other well meaning Christian women.

Again, God has not given me my life so that I can tell "my" story very loudly to everyone else and in the process making them feel very, very small and quite unimportant. He gave me the life I have, and I would argue the life you have (no matter how ordinary and unimportant you may feel that might be), to share His Story with the world...with your ordinary neighbor, friends and family. Those living right next to you. The ones your life intersects with regularly as you live and work alongside each other.

This is the point of your life, and mine. And it starts right at home, momma. Before you go looking at the blog (or read that book), take stock of how things are going in your own home. How are your own children doing? What are they facing that you are missing because you are looking at all that you "could be doing?" Whatever is going on inside your own home is just as important as whatever you think is more important that someone else may be doing.

This is not an excuse to only take stock at home and do nothing else. Though there are many days that teaching all my children feels like quite enough. And it is on those days. If you know me, and my heart, you know that I'm not advocating a spirit of uninterest in the world around us. Actually, quite the opposite; I so want you to see the value of serving those in your home right where you are and how it is not more valuable to be doing something else that seems bigger or more sacrificial. Yes, we speak up for the poor and marginalized. Yes, we serve with in reason. Yes, we look at the lives that other's are living around us and we Praise the Good Lord for what they're doing by his grace. Yes, we pray for missionary families and support them monetarily when we are able. Yes, to it all and more. But mostly, yes to what God has for you right now in your own home, right where you are.

It's like we, as mothers, have these beautiful pebbles in our hands. You may have 1, 2, 3 or more. I have 8. The number isn't what is important. They are all different sizes, shapes and colors. We are standing at the shore, all lined up. One by one we throw our pebbles into the deep, bluest of oceans. Some of our pebbles fall close, some in-between, some farther away than we would ever want them to be. They all have one thing in common: they all permeate ringed ripples. The ripples are close and small in the beginning, but those ripples they just keep get bigger and bigger...wider and wider.  Some of those ripples touch other pebble's ripples. They intersect. It's quite amazing actually.

What you do right now, right where you are will greatly effect whatever comes after you are long
gone because of the work that Christ has done and continues to do in you. 
Nothing is more important than that, Momma. 

Press on...right where you are.  

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