God interrupts us.
The fires in Washington have spiraled out of control this week; as men and women fight tirelessly and provide support around the clock to protect our homes, our livelihoods and most importantly our people. Nate works with communications equipment and has been called out, near daily this week in support. Right in the middle of my need, in the middle of my living, something more important came up. How inconvenient. How inconsiderate. Here I was waking up six steps behind every morning, effectively learning how to waste my motherhood, holding my loosely and inefficiently made plans so tightly; and life had the audacity to throw me a curve ball.
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
Pretty clear, eh? Now this isn’t to say that the Creator who saw fit to mold us in His image desires us to never dream or hope or plan. Contrary- His word has plenty to say about His expectations of planning, wisdom and stewardship. He created that piece of us, just as He created every other intricate thread of our existence. With purpose and precision.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Prov 21:5
Believe me when I say, as a recovered obsessive, complusive, organizing list maker turned flexible, unstructured, unschooling, overrun chaos sort of Mom, Jesus has been drawing me back (I’ll tell you about my Jonah year some other day) ever so gently to a balance; teaching me the value of His order in the fullness of every day, while I commit my way to Him.
“But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40
But this always must be won through the lens, the filter of the Holy Spirit.
I wish to say that with the swirling uncertainty of this week, heck, the uncertainty of the month to come, that the grace flowed instantly from a compassionate soul, but it didn’t. I’d love to tell you that it took a few hours or even a day to adjust my heart attitude. Yet no. Ugly frustration simmered for several days, and had I been paying attention I’d have noticed time slipping silently like sand through my tightly gripped fists. Laid to waste. There I was, but I wasn’t present. There I was, but I wasn’t grateful or graceful or joy-filled.
For a detail and goal oriented, type A personality, the reality of being out of control is unreasonable. I want answers. I want dates and times and promises and reassurance. But sometimes those things don’t come. And its usually then, in my raging tantrum that His quiet calm speaks loudest to me. Gently. Sweetly. Never condemning, but persistently convicting.
I was reminded of this song by Lauren Daigle. The lyrics chilled me. Please. Pause right now and go listen to it. Trust me.
“Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust… in you.”
This morning as I rushed around picking up toys, washing down tables and picking up carrot nubs from on the stairs, under chairs and behind the sofa, I listened to a group mentoring call by two people who are incredibly dear to our family. More conviction (Man I detest that word!). I glaringly see myself not taking responsibility of the things I can control, but willingly excusing my thoughts, behaviors, actions and attitude based on the things I cannot. Tears. Tears from a self-stained heart.
Jesus make me gentle. My humbled heart speaks.
Selfless is hard. Its difficult for a culture, a time, a movement that prides itself on independent arrogance with the end goal of whatever makes me happy.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Only this year has this passage from John 15 struck me in this powerful way; I’ve realized that the laying down of a life doesn’t happen nearly so often in the literal sense as it does in the sacrifice of entitlements, of rights, of gifts, of the life we believe we were created for.
Let me leave you with this from Phillipians 2:1-18 (emphasis mine)
“Unity Through Humility
2 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The Humbled and Exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. “
So as I continue striving for presence, I crave and pray for a gentle, disciplined, trusting, grateful, giving soul. One that I’ve known only to pour out of me when I’m immersed in the Word. The written, the conversed, and the living and active, Word. I can only get there by taking responsibility of what I can control, my choice to let Him work in me, and to put my action where I say my heart is.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
By nature of this world I am selfish, but thank God, He has overcome the world.