Sunday, August 02, 2009

In the Pit with Chuck and Abe

I'm reading the book "Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit" by Charles Swindoll. I love his writing because it is so warm and personable it feels like he is sitting across the table from me with a cup of coffee. It seems like it would feel natural to just call him "Chuck". Or not.

So I had read like a whole page and a half of the book when something struck me. He was writing about Abraham Lincoln and all the pitfalls and failures in his life. I had heard about that from other sources lately but being a non-history buff it was new to me. He had so many failures and breakdowns it doesn't seem possible that he became such an important and well-respected President. Here's what Mr. Swindoll said:

"Not knowing any of that, we reflect on a presidency like his and our tendency is to think, My, what a magnificent background he must have had. Then we peer deeper into the dark cave of his past and realize it's riddled with failure and tragedy, heartache and pain. We're surprised. Even shocked.

The steel of greatness is forged in the pit. It's true of all of us. Don't ever forget that, especially when you're in the pit and you're convinced there's no way anything of value will come of it." Charles Swindoll, Paul: A Man of Grit and Grace page 2-3
This week has been a rough one: messes, sickness, crabbiness, fatigue, and rain. It's those times, when things are tough I definitely feel like I'm in the pit. I certainly feel that no one is looking or cares. Let's face it, mothering can be the pits.

If you're worn out, left behind, and sacrificing for your family you're in the pit.

If you're giving it all up until you feel you can give no more and keep on giving, you're in the pit.

If the choices you are making are leaving you strapped for cash and your priorities make you look odd, you're in the pit.

If you're wondering if you will ever have a marketable skill again, you're in the pit.

If you're cleaning up another mess, doing another load of laundry or cooking another meal; you're in the pit.

"You can count on it, the circumstances and events that led to greatness in that person took place in the hidden years when few were looking and no one cared."
Charles Swindoll, Paul, A Man of Grit and Grage, page 1

To me greatness is found in following Christ and becoming more like Him. It's in the pits of life we learn humility, service, gratitude and love. And I'm assured of this: there is Someone looking. He cares about the details in my life that no one else does. He loves me even when I want to cry or scream while I'm wiping who-knows-what off the floor.

I know there are bigger and darker pits, but this is the pit I find myself in now. And I can already see shimmers of greatness emerging. I'm forever changed and I have the privilege of pointing my kids to The One when they are in the pits of their own lives. And that is great.

Psalm 40:1-6 (The Message)

I waited and waited and waited for Yahweh,
And last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn't slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to Yahweh.

Blessed are you who give yourselves over to Yahweh,
turn your backs on the world's "sure thing,"
ignore what the world worships;

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