Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Refusal to Suffer

The temptation of impatience, a refusal to suffer.

Ann expresses it beautifully. Her words hit, square in the heart, with the precision that could come only from the Holy Spirit.

A clear picture of the erupting volcano of pride spewing over the ones I love. My refusal to suffer goes to battle daily with the impatience of a two-year-old. My jockeying for position of my husband flies in the face of being called to submit to my husband as leader of this home. Even this fight with a keyboard, erasing letters that I don't want erased, makes me see fiery red.

A dear, wise woman once reminded me, "I need Africa more than Africa needs me." Do I believe it? Do I believe that all of life's circumstances are grace and sanctification and love poured out? Do I believe I need all these more than all these need me?

Do I believe Jesus is the gift? Or do I believe I am the gift?

I turn love to hate as I am prone to love self and examine others. I refuse to love others as I count myself more significant.

I make myself everything, a proud queen

instead of nothing,


humble servant.

My heart is more like a weeble wobble than a laid-low servant. Pushed down, it bounces back, straight up, refusing to lay low in the circumstances of life. Refusing to deny self and love others. Refusing to rest. Refusing to gain strength from Christ. Refusing to Trust.

My flesh cries out, "You don't deserve this."
My flesh whimpers, "I don't want this."

My flesh commands:

I.Will.Not.Suffer. and

Let my kingdom and my will be done!

Calling the refusal what it really is. Calling impatience on the carpet reveals:


In contrast to all that I am there is

..."though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." ~Phil. 2

Jesus says that "he laid down his life and no one takes it from him." It was a voluntary laying down of self. He restrained all of who He is for all of who we are.

Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Anyone. Not Worthy.

Surgeon's words that cut to the core, dividing bone and marrow.
And he said to ALL, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Denying self in the future sounds do-able. It's this daily dying that smells of rotten flesh burning. It's this daily dying that feels as limbs being torn, ripped right from their sockets.

In light of all that He is and all that I am not, I preach the gospel over a weeble wobble of a heart. Lay low because He laid low. Deny yourself because He died your death. Look to the Father in repentance because you have been given much and loved much.

Because it's in the laying low, the breaking of self, that one is able to love the Lord with all one's heart, soul, mind, and strength and love others as oneself. To count others more significant than oneself in humility.

Replace PRIDE with humility.

Make this heart lay low, so that others may be lifted up.
May this heart lay low because God is far from the proud.
May this heart lay low because when it's standing straight up, unwilling to fall, God says this is sin. I am God. You are not. You.will.get.hurt if you try and stand in my place.

If you shrink back in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

(Prv. 24:10-12)

Words of wise ones say to preach the gospel to yourself. Stop listening to your flesh. Despite the flesh that remains, God has bought me with the blood of His son. He has made me a new creation. He has given me the gift of praise. He has loved much and given me the gift to love Him in return. He has healed and taught and disciplined. He has promised that He would send the Spirit of Truth into my heart to lead me into all Truth. Despite the thought I will never be laid low, as Paul said, I have learned the secret, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me-I trust my God. I know that only He is perfect. His Word says so. As Paul knew, I have not attained it. I will not attain it perfectly until I see Him. Trusting, for His glory alone, brings my deepest satisfaction, my joy. He is faithful. He loves with an everlasting love. He is good and what He does is good. He is my perfect Father.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;

you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps.51:13-17)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Daddy Has Come!

Our dear friends are in Ethiopia, meeting their two children for the first time.

Their son's cries to those around him...

"My Daddy Has Come. My Daddy Has Come."

Really, nothing could express it more deeply or beautifully.

In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.~Ephesians 1:6

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even while we were still dead, in our tresspasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- ~Ephesians 2:4,5

I thank my heavenly Father that there was a day when I, too, cried,
"My daddy has come! My Daddy has come." I thank him that He didn't allow me to go my own way. He pulled me from the ash heap and has given me beauty-His beauty.
HE is the treasure.

And, to think by going my own way, I could have missed all this:

Is God beckoning you away from going your own way? Possibly calling you to a life filled with children, with hopes and dreams that He has for you?
Deny yourself. It costs, but it's oh, so worth it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh, the Chaos of it All

Silence. It's very very scary in these parts because you know something very bad has happened. Typically, I sprint for the bathroom first. I usually round the corner to find two pairs of dark brown, very guilty eyes, looking up from an object floating in the toilet. Typically, they're wet up to their elbows and sometimes beyond.

The twos have just about done us in and we're only about half way through. Someone had the nerve to say that the threes are the hardest. What?!

It is hard, ya'll, two two-year-olds whip my butt on a regular basis. I'm talking, poop on the hands, toys in the toilet, dog food in the mouth, hard. But it is seriously fun, after the fact, that is. Some days, it just cracks me up to think back on my last few hours with my two youngest. It's not funny at the time, and God knows I cry out to Him on a regular basis, and take things into my own hands and lose my temper on a regular basis, too.

When I left my teaching job, I seriously thought this would be a piece-o-cake. Me and my stinkin' pride and rainbows and unicorns concept of the future.

But, I am BLESSED, with a capital B. I LOVE my family. I LOVE!!!!!!!! staying home. Can you tell I love staying home?! I wouldn't want it any other way.

But there are days like this-when temper tantrums have been thrown, soup has been spilled, bowls have been broken, pants have been soaked-that cause me to write, to process.

It's cheap therapy, really.

Well, there are clothes calling my name, dishes to be put away, and list goes on and on.