Thursday, April 28, 2011

Accepting What Comes From God's Hand

So I am not really sure how many people actually read this blog, and I am completely ok with that. This blog was created more as a way for me to journal what God is teaching me and then if someone happens to read it and be encouraged by it...great! But, in general, it is just a really good way for me to document the work God is doing in my heart. And all that is to lead up to me saying that I haven't blogged in a LONG time! I have been wanting to...I would be pondering some new or old truth God was teaching me and think "I want to write about this!" But there has been NO time. For the past several months now I have been dealing with an injury of sorts. I will not go into all the details of it, but I have damaged muscles in my chest and shoulder which limits so much of what I do because so much of what I do involves lifting...which I CANNOT do. You don't really realize how much you lift until you can't...but it is a lot---especially when you have a young child. So, God has been very gracious to us in that we have had family and friends to help me. Family has even taken off work to come and stay with us...which isn't really a chore for them, but still such a blessing. But with all of this there has been very little time for blogging. Tonight I actually have time all by myself, and in efforts to take advantage of it I want to document how God has been refining me.

I can't remember the last time that I really wanted something to end, but I really want this to end. It is not that I don't love having family with us---that has been a blessing with many encouraging conversations. But, this has been very trying. I have realized a lot about myself in new ways. I don't like asking for help...I take pride in taking care of my home, husband, and child. It makes me actually sad to not be able to vacuum. And I think, "God has given me the task of caring for my home! Why has he taken it away?!" The answer was slow in coming to my hard heart (and I still struggle to remember it), but the answer is--- for the sake of the gospel. The question is not how I can keep my home clean and be the perfect wife and mom by my standards. The question is, "how can I be a gospel wife and mother?" I can be a gospel wife by welcoming others into my home and seeking how I can encourage them and fellowship with them together by loving Jesus (and when I have had this perspective God has given me some amazing conversations with others that really encouraged my heart and theirs!). I can be a gospel wife my HUMBLING myself and asking for help. God casts away the proud and I want to be as close to him as possible. If he chooses to humble me in this way (and he is) then my heart should welcome it. This also gives others the opportunity to serve which is something that God commands us to do. I should fight my pride in not wanting to give them that opportunity. I can also be a gospel wife by submitting well to my husband. He is a very wise man. He knows what my physical limitations are. In my selfishness I will want to do something that will in the end cause me more pain and prolong the healing process. He is wise to gently remind and, if necessary, rebuke me when this happens. God is also cultivating humility and trust in my heart when I chose to listen to my husbands wise guidance. And I am a gospel wife when I am not finding my self worth in what I am able to accomplish. In my head, when I am able to clean my house, do laundry, cook meals, take care of Cara, I feel good about myself and will feel like others think well of me too. And, while these are all wonderful things to do, my self worth cannot be found in them. My self worth can only be found in Jesus Christ and in submitting to and trusting in his perfect will for me. I MUST remind myself of his infinitely gracious love for me. His plans are for my good and His glory...I can trust and cling to that truth.

And then there is the gift. With the "suffering" God, my gracious Father, has given me this precious gift. Since my early teens I have always had a desire to be in God's Word...I desired to make it a priority. However, it was always a challenge to have it in the mornings. I would hear others say that it needed to be in the mornings but I would tell myself that I was not a morning person and that it was ok for me to have it at night. This doesn't mean that it was always at night. There were times that I had it in the mornings (but NEVER early mornings). This also doesn't mean that God didn't really speak to me during those times...HE DID! And this is not condemnation for those who do not have their QT's in the morning. But, when this injury happened, there was all of the sudden no time to have my time with the Lord during the day and at night I was always very tired and my times with the Lord were struggling. I had been feeling convicted for a while about having my QT's in the morning (thanks to the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney and her blog Girl Talk and also a very wise and godly lady in my church, Mrs. Barbara)...but the thought of getting up earlier just made me cringe. However, all of the sudden I realized I had NO CHOICE. If I wanted to have time to meet with my Savior each day it HAD to be in the morning. So, after a good conversation with my sister-in-law and asking my good friend to hold me accountable I made the step. I set my alarm for an hour earlier than when I usually get up and purposed to have my time with the Lord. And here is the gift...God so worked in my heart that now I LOVE those times. They are so sweet and nourishing to my soul. I love spending time in prayer and in the Word before I do anything else that day. And my mind is much more stayed on the Word and prayerful the whole day through. It has just been SO GOOD! This does not been I am able to get up every morning. If for whatever reason I have a very late night (like when my child is sick), I do extend grace to myself and plan a time to have it later in the day. But, the incredible thing is that I am yearning to get up and have that time again the next morning. This is nothing but God's great work in my life. My flesh has NO desire to wake up and be in the Word, BUT GOD has transformed my desires. What convicted me the most was looking at the life of Jesus. He was God made flesh and he was bent on pointing us to the Father. I know I do well to follow His example and be his imitator. So when I read Mark 1:35 that says Jesus rose early while it was still dark to be alone and pray I need to take notice. No man could have been more tired and busy than Jesus. But HE needed to be with the Father. If Jesus needed that how much more do I!!! And in Matt. 26:4-5 Jesus is earnestly praying in the garden of Gethsemane as he is about to have the full wrath of God poured out on him. He asks two of his disciples to pray but they fall asleep (I must admit that I would have too!). He then rebukes them and tells them to watch and pray! The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak! Oh how I know that to be true! Oh how I must be on guard! Oh how I must heed his words! And oh how I know it to be true that, as Barbara says, I need fresh manna every morning. Just like the Israelites, I cannot live off of yesterday's manna! I pray God guards my heart and keeps this yearning alive...a yearning for HIM and His will to be done above my own.

So, I must accept what comes from my God's hand. I may not understand it. But, I can trust that it is for my good. And I can ask for a teachable heart that treasures Him and trusts Him. Lord, make this true of my heart!

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