Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Answer

Wondering about the future and who I am has sparked some conversations recently.  I’m finding that a lot of us wonder about those life questions that nag at you:  Where do I go from here?  How did I end up raising all these kids?  How do I let go?  What is it going to take to rediscover myself?

All those things are a big time struggle.  And I’ve struggled with them a lot.  It seems like just as I came to peace with being home with little ones, they weren’t little anymore. 

I remember when Abby was getting old enough to leave (that took awhile because I think she nursed the longest of any of our kids) we went to a wedding out of town for the day.  After three years of having an infant attached to me, I didn’t know what to do with myself or how to visit with people without it.  I had always been a social bug and able to carry on a conversation with a brick wall.  As much as I felt tied down by pregnancy, nursing and babies, when it was gone I felt empty. 

Just this week as I was thinking about it, those feelings were fresh.  Seven years later, I don’t have any answers.  And then it hit me.  That is the answer.  In case you think I’m just loopy from the penicillin, let me explain.

The true answer to all of our hearts desires is God.  So if in the process of praying, struggling, seeking through all of these issues– we get God, that’s the answer. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

If we are relying on Him the direction we go is not the end, it’s the beginning.

I don’t think it’s as important where we go, as who we go to

I don’t think it’s so much what we do,  as who we do it for.

Maybe it’s not so much what direction we take, but who we take our direction from.

Whether we have kids or not, work or stay home, home school or public school as long as we are drawing near to God, seeking His glory, honoring Him with our lives, that’s the prize.  That’s the answer.

He’s the answer.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1:9-11

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Not Who I Am, Part Two

I know, I know;  again with the part two.  I always think of more to say and yesterday I had a lot of time to think while I was laying in bed with the stomach flu.  I thought maybe I had dodged it, but no such luck!

There’s another area God has really been working in my heart that I think fits here. Being selfish, it is not who I am to be happy for other people’s good news. Over the years when I have found out someone got a job, or is pregnant or child did something wonderful my natural reaction is often jealousy, bitterness or anger. I’ll think, “Well my kid is pretty great too!”  or “Why don’t you just sacrifice and stay home with your children like I do!”  or “Does God not love me as much?”

I think women are famously good at those kind of antics.  I have heard of and read blogs and forums that are written exclusively to bash other people.  Maybe we  have to find a way to boost ourselves up because we are insecure about our standing.  We want it to be all about us.  We want things to work out our way.  Sometimes I think we feel stuck in our circumstances and can’t see past that.

Do you know what I think my problem is?  It’s trust.  Do I trust that Christ is in control?  And that He is going to bring and take things in my life for His purposes and glory?  Because if I do, then I should be thrilled for someone else’s job or pregnancy even if He isn’t giving those things to me right now.  Is He in control?  Absolutely.  Does He have the same path for everyone?  No way. 

That is not who God wants me to be.  As He’s changing my heart and making me more content and secure in Him, it has changed my reactions.  I want everyone to experience God’s blessings like I have. I keep thinking about this verse:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  Romans 12:15-16

Whether or not people are actually bragging or just happily sharing about their lives my response can rise above all that.  Through the power of Christ I can show love and rejoice along with them.  I can stand back and let them have the spotlight.  I can encourage and support them.  I can cheer for them and whoop it up when they have good news.  Because I know my standing is secure.  Jesus died for me when I didn’t deserve it.  He has a plan for me and it’s a good plan even though it might be different from everyone else’s.

I was trying to think of an example that wouldn’t be too serious.  My sister got an iPad for Christmas.  I didn’t go down the path of “She always gets what she wants”  or “Hey, I wanted an iPad!”  I know it sounds like a twelve year old but don’t we all still do that?  Instead,  I was truly happy for her.  I think that’s because I have finally embraced the fact that material things will not make me happy.  And plus she’s pretty good at sharing now.

It is so freeing to be able do that!  That is not who I am naturally, but through Christ I can rejoice with those who rejoice.  Why would I not want God’s best for everyone?  That’s not who I am anymore.  I am happy for a friend’s promotion or new pair of shoes or new furniture or new baby.  I can rejoice in what God is doing in other people’s lives, not just mine. 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:4-6