When I grow up….

Today I was really missing my mom. I know God brought our family to Georgia, away from all our family, for reasons more important than my comfort and pleasure but there are some days that I just ache to be near my mom and dad. But God uses this longing to teach me that it is Him who can supply everything I need. So if you too find yourself missing a loved one, maybe even for different reasons, pursue Christ and let Him be your Comforter and soul Satisfier. 

For several years now after Christmas my mom and dad have caravanned with us back to Georgia. At some point during their visit I am usually conspiring ways to get them to stay a little longer. I could have them a month and it probably wouldn’t be long enough. This year I was able to talk my dad into journeying home alone and letting mom fly back via Spirit Air. I got to keep her an extra 8 days. 🙂 
 

When I grow up I want to be like my mom.

Some would probably say “You ARE your mom” and in many ways I am like her. I saw this great plaque that made me laugh. It said “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.” 🙂 But what I mean is I want to be like my mom in the way she loves Jesus and is wholly, unashamedly, downright dependent on Him. I mean, whether we see it this way or not we ALL are dependent on God but my mom recognizes this need for Him in her life and daily, moment by moment at times, she brings herself into the presence of her King and yearns for His grace, will, and wisdom. My mom is not perfect but her love for Jesus is without question.

“Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually!”‭‭ 1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:11‬

God has graced my mother with many great qualities. She is a servant. If she CAN do it she WILL. We joke about how she says yes to everything. My mom has labeled herself with M.A.D.D. (Ministry attention deficit disorder) and sometimes laments over this characteristic. We tend to long for that individual ministry calling but I don’t think this is a defect or flaw if we don’t identify one. I think God needs individuals who are willing to come alongside any ministry to assist those with specific callings. I like to consider these the “Divergents” of ministry. I mean who doesn’t wanna be divergent? 😉

My mom is easy going and fun. She has this awesome ability to tackle tasks without getting overwhelmed. I can be staring at a mountain of paperwork, doctors appointments, and list of to-dos and she’ll be cheering in front of me “Just take it one thing at a time.” As we organized and post Christmas cleaned, she had such a “we can do this AND laugh/have fun” approach. Her attitude and quoting of scripture and truth repeatedly takes away my tendency to become anxious in certain situations and points me to the Source of peace and joy.

She is crazy gracious. Thank goodness for me…. She sees people from such a loving-merciful perspective and extends compassion and truth in ways that clearly identifies the power of the Holy Spirit within her.

…..that clearly identifies the power of the Holy Spirit within her……

This is how I want to be like her. I want to consistently act in ways that clearly identify the Spirit of God at work within me. And the key component I saw in my moms relationship with Christ is a beautiful marrying of mutual pursuit. He pursues her and she pursues Him. She pursues Him in His Word and in communicating with Him. He speaks in her heart and she seeks to obey. She listens FOR Him and talks to Him. She pursues Him honestly and repentantly. It is consistent. It is daily. Every morning I heard her rise early, denying precious hours of sleep after bunking with my children. (Being that they are bed hogs this is just not quality sleep.) At times in the day or evening she would retreat to her room to read or pray. One night we both escaped to her room and proceeded to cast all our cares and cover every base we could conceive of in prayer. 

What my mom reminded me though is how our relationship with Christ should be pursued like our sweetest most precious earthly relationships. We think about Him always, we talk with Him every chance we can, we ask for and value His opinion, we trust His wisdom, we heed His instruction and we treasure Him above all else. 

So Mom, thank you for making Christ your treasure, even at points above time with family. May we all learn from your beautiful example.

“But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭40:16‬

*After finishing this post my mom called me to share about an old journal she ran across. The journal exposed some of her early struggles (like rising early to commune with God- exhaustion is definitely the theme for young moms) in her pursuit of Christ and it was a wonderful reminder that sanctification is indeed lifelong and often slow. Dear Lord, help us to never lose heart or grow impatient with the process.*

Advertisements

The Rebellious Wife

Late Saturday evening my husband and I were doing what we often do; sitting on our porch rocking, chatting, and listening to music. The kids have gone in after all their night time adventures and this is our alone time. We catch up, we dream, we aspire, we come back to reality, and on occasion we argue.

It’s interesting to me how a quarrel takes place. I don’t know if you’ve had this happen but we’ll be talking, fine and dandy, and all of a sudden Beef Stroganoff gets brought up and I have boxing gloves on. What we really got on the topic of was dinners. We both were expressing things we were tired of eating and Jason began making helpful suggestions. Quickly I saw them not as helpful but critical and demanding. Suddenly I felt a need to defend my cooking, my family, my families cooking, (family always has to come up right?) why I do the things I do and how I HATE beef stroganoff and refuse to make it. You can see where this is going right? At first it wasn’t all that heated. I used subtle sarcasm (a dangerous tool) to cover up my defensiveness. “If beef stroganoff was good it’d be in your mothers cookbook.” (a valid point if you ask me, that woman knows how to cook.) While I felt like my cooking was under attack Jason felt I was being unwilling to do something simply out of love for him.

By the time our argument peaked I was brewing with anger. I tried to justify why it was okay for me to maintain my position. “I have never loved cooking why are you trying to make me love it? This is who I am! Can’t you just be happy I make dinner?” Boy had I missed the mark.

The truth is I do have insecurities with being confident in “who I am”, even in the kitchen. I have so many women in my life who LOVE to cook and I can’t understand why I don’t but I don’t. The fact is though, my response to my husband last night was sinful. It was unloving, rebellious, prideful, and completely unnecessary. (Seriously, just cook the stroganoff, he never said you had to eat it!)

Meanwhile I’ve been reading a book called The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. And let me tell you I went to bed last night infuriated with that Martha. I had just violated every Biblical standard she outlined for me in being an Excellent Wife. I did NOT want to pick that book up again. Can you sense the spiritual warfare going on here? When I woke up this morning, after letting the sun go down on my anger, I knew I needed a word but not from Martha. (Though I do agree with most of what she offers in her book.) I needed the LIVING Word. I knew that God, his Word, and the Holy Spirit, would be the only thing my rebellious spirit would yield itself to. You see when you expose yourself to God’s Word, its active power will penetrate the most stubborn strongholds. I was convicted, I needed repentance, and I needed God’s undeniable truth to cut through my prideful heart.

First I prayed. I acknowledged my ugly sin. I prayed for God to soften my heart and speak the necessary Truths. I picked up my study Bible and looked up the words pride (prideful) and rebel (rebellious, rebellion). Here’s what I got and boy did it humble me.

Proverbs 16:20 Whoever heeds instruction prospers and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 15:31 He who listens to a life giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.

Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom and humility comes before honor.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
*note from study Bible* Samuel does not suggest that sacrifice is unimportant but that its acceptable only when brought with an attitude of obedience and devotion to the Lord.

Romans 13:2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
*Under God our husband is our authority and as Martha Peace has pointed out in her book this is for our protection among other things. This is not always an easy principle to embrace, as you can clearly see by my behavior last night. But it is Biblical Truth.*

The beautiful result of seeking the Lord and his Word is he is faithful, gracious, and just. He will change your heart and align it with his. There was one key thing that needed to happen though for me to be rightly restored back to not only my husband but God and for my attitude of rebellion and pride to be totally demolished. I had to humble myself before Jason, take responsibility for all my sin, apologize and ask for forgiveness. Here is the real test. I could still feel bits of pride wanting to resurface. But I want to fight for what is right and godly. I approached Jason sheepishly and proceeded to apologize. And later I thanked God for such a gracious forgiving husband. He could have held a grudge but he didn’t.

And in light of Father’s Day this reminded me of how gracious, forgiving, and loving our heavenly Father is with us. I am thankful for God’s example, given to us in his Word, and for the men in my life, Jason and my dad in particular, who are striving to become more like Jesus every day. May we all seek to be a reflection of Him. 🙂