I have not posted here since May. That’s embarrassing. Our daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on May 17 of 2016, and it sent us on a bit of a wild ride. If you would like to follow that journey, I have set up a blog for it, as well as a Facebook page and a YouTube channel.
So here I am again. I’m sure if I had any regular readership, those people have left my blog to go binge watch on Netflix, or read a good book. But for those of you who may wander in here, I have something to say today.
Today I was searching for quotes about God’s love. Just something thoughtful, memorable, and pithy to put in our church bulletin for the month of February (which markets the idea of “love” in ways which can never hold a candle to His love).
Know what? I found a lot of great stuff. Quotable, I-need-to-go-back-and-read-that-again kinds of things. Like this:
“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.” C. S. Lewis
And I came to a realization. There are a lot of people talking. Some old, some new. Some wildly popular, some I’d never heard of. And I asked myself something.
What would make my words worth listening to?
And I came to a conclusion as soon as that question came into my head. The most worthwhile things I believe I’ve ever shared were things that sort of sprang from just being me, walking with God, living my life. The best “truth bombs” have sometimes surprised me when I heard them in my own voice on the phone, during a chat over tea with kids happily causing a ruckus in the background, or while standing side by side washing dishes with someone after a church dinner.
My best “material” comes when I’m not on the watch for it. When I’m not preparing for several sessions of a ladies retreat, or reviewing questions for a weekly Bible study, or trying to write that elusive book, or putting together something I hope will be engaging for a group of 5-12 year old kids.
My best “material” flows spontaneously when I’m regularly in the Word, so the Spirit has a limitless “tool box” to use. And I get out of the way.
I think of the one scene in “Mom’s Night Out” that always makes me cry:
Allyson: I can’t get in front of it no matter how much I give, how much I do… I just, I’m not enough.
Bones: For who?
Allyson: I don’t know. Sean, the kids, my mother, … God…
Bones: For you? You’re not enough for you.
(and yes, I’m tearing up again…)
After this exchange, Allyson finds herself stunned that such deep and resonating words could come from a biker. His only reply is, “What? What’d I say? Somethin’ good?”
It’s the real stuff. Not necessarily the three alliterated points. Not the sentimental poem that brings tears. Not the clever illustration. The things which come from simply trying to pound the pavement every day, trying to walk in the light, with our hand in His–those are the things others can relate to.
I think we need more people who surprise themselves in their own humility, and surprise us in turn, by being real.
You know what? I look at all of the things I thought were important categories and tags for previous posts, and I don’t know what to call this, how to put it in a cubby hole. I’m not really even much caring about tags to increase my SEO. So I’m doing something very un-bloggerly. I’m simply posting it. These thoughts are for my heart. If they are meaningful for you too, I’m grateful.
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
“If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalm 139:17,18
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7
This committed-to-holiness-whatever-the-cost, parenting thing. It can be wearisome. It isn’t popular. It doesn’t come naturally. It requires strength in every way. Strength I don’t have. It’s challenging enough for me, to keep my own “living sacrifice” from wriggling off the altar. Weak and selfish human beings, entrusted with the care and nurturing of other weak and selfish smaller ones? How on earth do we begin to believe we can do this alone?
The aches and struggles I experience as a parent help me realize just how fragile the human heart is, how impressionable and fickle, how needy and desperate. I mean mine…not just those of our kids. Especially mine. It truly is the greatest wonder of all wonders when a heart turns to Christ, of its own free will.
Free will is a beautiful thing. It is the thing which makes us so much more than puppets, merely performing God’s bidding. Free will is also a formidable thing, because the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Free will is a strapping, robust thing which is governed by whatever is held closest in the heart. For better, or for worse. What we treasure holds our hearts.
There are lots of times and ways by which we release our children to the Lord…again and again…for God to do with them according to His perfect will. We feel trepidation because our hearts are flesh. We forget His goodness and all His perfections. He knows it. God mercifully calms my heart again and again through this ebbing and flowing of motherhood.
I read these words (Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1) this morning. Perfect for my heart:
“Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”
The Bible says “we are not our own“…everything about ourselves was given to us…physical bodies, personalities, talents, aptitudes, gifts–everything. Our kids are not “ours” either. They are His, lent to us…to give back to Him. Shot out into the world as arrows. This implies skill, aim, and purpose on the part of the archer. That’s you and me. We do our best to hone, straighten, and then point those arrows in a good direction.
How refreshing and healthful it is, when I remind myself of this often: He chose me to be their mom. God doesn’t make mistakes. He can use me as their mom, an earthen vessel, for His great glory. I’m that tender, delicate, vulnerable little offshoot, abiding in Him. The Bible uses the word “branch”, but the meaning is actually this…brand new growth, the color of a “Spring Green” Crayola. I need Him. I must hold onto the Vine day by day, moment by moment.
What enabled Hannah to “keep it together” when she took her precious boy to the temple? It was the condition of her own free will…bolstered by what she held closest to her heart. It was God Himself. Loving Him. Loving who He is. Loving what He does. Loving His purposes. Loving the security she knew she had, because He always keeps His promises. A bit of her prayer in the second chapter grabbed me:
“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.”
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deut. 32:4