Friday, August 24, 2012

Weightiness, Emotions and Him

Over the past decade as we have followed the call of God on our life it never seemed like it would ever be real. I definitely believed it would, it just seemed so far away. Now, here I am, just a few days away from moving to another country, culture, language, mindset, - everything. I am blown away. I’m not a very emotional person. I like to think that I am very level headed and easy going. It takes a lot to really get me upset about something  or excited and I very rarely feel sad enough to cry. I don’t know if that is a blessing or a curse but it’s who I am.

As I sit here, not able to sleep, thinking about all that is in store – I am in awe. I’m in awe of a God that would waste His infinitely more important time on me. I’m in awe that He would move the hearts of His children to give so sacrificially to what He has called us to. I’m in awe that He would choose me, deal with me, work me, bless me, forgive me, call me, move me, show me, redeem my soul, and make me His face and representative to anyone. As I sit here thinking about His glory, Who He is and what He has done – I feel worthless, I am worthless.  This is the only time I am emotional.

As I was lying down with Elliott tonight because he couldn’t sleep, I was thinking about what I want for his life. I want his sweet heart to overflow with the Love of Christ. I want his whole being to characterize who Christ is and what He can do in us. I want him to have the passion for His glory that Paul had.

 Then it hits me.

I don’t want Elliott to be abused, I don’t want him to suffer, I don’t want him to know the cruelty that this fallen world is. I only want the best for him...but then there is 2 Corinthians 11: 24-28. Paul suffered so much for the name of Christ. I don’t want that for my son…..or do I. Paul says that his sufferings made him know Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5 says we will share in His comfort as we share in his sufferings, Romans 8:17 says, in order to share in his glory we share in his sufferings. And I realized, if I want my son to know Christ, to TRULY experience Him – I have to want for him to be broken, to be willing for him to go through whatever it is that Christ has for Him. Maybe the best includes the worst. -Whoa

I also pray that God would make his life a Glorious representation of Him….but what if that is not the case…do I pray that God would just “keep him safe and give him good things”. No, I would rather Elliott not know this world if his life isn’t praising Him. I struggled through tears as I prayed that God would give him True life, one that follows Him with everything or that he would take it. I have prayed that for myself but never for my baby.

Then it came full circle – if I want all this for my son – I am responsible to teach him. God has gifted him to me and I am the one that is here to lead him and guide him. How can I expect for my son to know these things and feel this way if I don’t exemplify it.


Now, I feel emotional. The weightiness of that truth is too much for me – but not for Him. I am broken as I feel that I am not only responsible for my life to point to His glory but I am also responsible to teach my son the same. “What’s my life if it’s not praising you, another day of vain pursuit“ (Lecrae)


So, as I tell family and friends bye, as I “give-up” the American life and as I take on this new phase in my calling. I am learning to be emotional. I am learning to break for what breaks Jesus’ heart. I am learning to seek death to myself in order to gain life in Him. I want to hear “Well done” but even more, I want to see my little boy stand before Jesus as He looks at him and says, “Well done”. With so many men that I know failing in the ministry and in family – I want to always lead my family to Him – and it starts with my obedience out of my love for Him. I am not able, I am worthless, I am useless but he has chosen to use me for his Glory, He has chosen my family to make much of His name and I am amazed and motivated to make His glory known in the entire world. Now that excites me and motivates me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One More Month of "Normal"

Last November, we were living in NC for about a month and a half as Richard worked on his helicopter license. I started attending a MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group while we were there. It was very encouraging for me during that time and I met a lot of great women.

One very sweet young mom asked me a question that has stuck with me ever since. After learning of where we were going and what we were doing, she asked,

"But how do you make life "stable" for your little boy? We're working hard right now to provide a stable home and environment for our son... how do you do that in the Jungle??"

For a moment, I felt baffled because I didn't know what to say. Immediately, James 1.5 popped into my head: "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him."

For wisdom I prayed. Hard. I wanted to answer well because I could tell she was really searching.

And as I opened my mouth I felt like the Holy Spirit was speaking through me with this answer:

"We will just raise him to know that the only true stability in life is Christ. Beyond that, nothing is stable. Our health, our home, our jobs, our vehicles... all of it can pass away. But Jesus... He's not going anywhere."

Here we are, less than 4 weeks out from our international move and I find myself in our last month of "normal". And I ask myself, "Is Jesus my stability? Am I OK without these "things"? Will I survive without my family and friends?"

And as each day passes, I find myself relishing each "normal" thing as it comes and goes:

A trip to the grocery store for a few things.
Rocking Elliott in his rocking chair and laying him in his crib-converted-big-boy-bed.
Folding laundry in the laundry room while Elliott plays with Capo (our boxer) in the back yard.
Facebook messaging with friends.
Trips to Chick-Fil-A, Moe's, and Target.
A text to my mom.
Loading the dishwasher.
Turning down the air conditioner.
Pulling out of the driveway.
Stopping by my mom's house.

All of these things and more have been my "normal" for my whole life. And now that I am in the last few weeks of them, suddenly the past almost four years of support raising don't seem like they were that long. Suddenly each thing that I used to just do seems like a luxury that I hold onto for a little bit longer:

Taking a warm shower.
Filling the water pitcher from the kitchen sink.
Cooking dinner.
Flushing the toilet.
Going to our home church.
Dinner with friends.

And it's emotional. But it's beautiful.

That seems to be the ebb and flow of this journey:

fun and hard
exhilarating and exhausting
exciting and challenging
up and down
old and new
beautiful and scary

The other night as I rocked Elliott to sleep, long after his eyes had closed and he slipped off to dreamland, I continued to hold him and think of all the memories contained in the four walls of this home turned house-almost-sold. Tears came to my eyes as I thought of opening wedding gifts in the living room, cooking meals in the kitchen, laughing as we watched movies on the couch, bringing Elliott home from the hospital, playing games in his bedroom floor and laughing so hard we cried over dinner with friends.

And again I felt the Holy Spirit whisper sweetly to my soul, "This is good. This is how it was planned and it is good."

I found a peace in my heart that I had missed before. Somewhere in all the packing and e-mail writing and planning and running-around-like-a-chicken-with-my-head-cut-off, I had missed this still small voice whispering to me all along saying,

"Those are the beautiful memories I gave you. I want you to cherish them and love them. But don't hold on so long you miss what I have in store for you next. It's beautiful, too."

And that's when I felt it for the first time. I've known for years that this was the journey we would take and I've been excited but for once I had an overwhelming peace that it was OK for this chapter to close. This one of security and comfort.

And I didn't get a peace that said this new chapter would be easy or comfortable. He didn't promise there would be no heartache or pain. But He said, "I'm with you. And it's beautiful. Trust me."

And I cried as I rocked Elliott, but the tears were tears of joy and praise that this Almighty God would look past my fears and doubts and worries and somehow allow little, faithless me to be a part of His work. And I felt so small and humble and weak, but He felt so big and worthy and strong.

So I choose to enjoy these little moments of "normal" until our "new normal" comes along.

And, though I will no doubt fail, I choose to let Christ be my stability.

Because He's not going anywhere.

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