Monday, October 29, 2012

Looking For Rest In All The Wrong Places...

Have you ever had a passage of scripture that kept coming up reminding you that you're still struggling with the same problem?  That has happened to me recently with a passage from Matthew.  Maybe the Lord is teaching me this lesson a layer at a time.  Maybe I'm just stubborn and need to be reminded over and over.  This time I'm digging deep into this passage and asking God to use it to change me, to make me more like Him.  In verses 28-30 of Chapter 11 Jesus says, "Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  Here's what the Lord has been showing me I need to learn from this passage. Recently I had the opportunity to do something that would be unique and really fun.  I was excited at the chance and told my family that I was going to think of it as my own mini vacation.   I thought about the time away with no real responsibilities, no appointments, no children, no cleaning, no one waiting for me to do something for them.  Then I found out that I had signed up too late and wouldn't be able to participate.  I was very disappointed.  As I struggled through the day with handing my disappointment over to the Lord, this passage came back to me.  I realized that what I was looking for was an escape from my day.  The problem is that when this activity ended, my busy life would be waiting for me.  The Lord showed me that what I need isn't an escape, but to find rest.  Not that doing fun things or having time away by myself is wrong, but when I'm looking to things instead of God for my rest, my priorities are wrong.  This is what He showed me as I dug into this passage.

"Come to Me" is an invitation.  The choice is mine to accept or decline.  Jesus does not force Himself on me.  I can choose to continue in my chaos, or I can come to Him.  The words used to describe me working on my own are "labor" and "heavy laden".  The word Jesus uses to describe His work are "easy" and "light".

"Take My yoke".  There will always be work that needs to be done.  We were never promised a life that was free from work or trouble.  Jesus said He was always about His Father's business.  He doesn't just call us to work, but He calls us to learn from Him.  How many times have I said to my children, "You can keep struggling to figure that out, or I can show you the way."  As I sit and watch them determined to prove to me that they know the best way and don't need my help, I wonder how long will they keep doing this.  How long will they continue to struggle when, with just a little help, it could be over?  I feel like that's what Jesus is saying to me.  I can keep struggling, trying to figure out how to do the work He has called me to do, or I can come to Him, learn from Him.  I can learn from Him because He is gentle and lowly in heart.  When I come to Him and learn from Him, that's when I find rest for my soul.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  There is freedom in the rest and peace that Jesus offers.  Freedom to lay down my burden.  Freedom to admit that I don't have all the answers.  Freedom to be who He is calling me to be.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's difficult to fly with all these children hanging on to my cape!

Supermom...I've been called that many times.  My response usually is, "Just talk to my children, they'll straighten you out."  I have wondered what it would be like to have super powers.  I've told my family many times that I would choose the super stretchy powers that Mrs. Incredible had.  Wouldn't it be great to continue cooking dinner while tending to your children in the living room?  Okay, back to reality.  There are times that I think, "If only people could see me now, they would never refer to me as Supermom!"  Some days I feel more like the villain rather than a superhero.

When Timothy's life was on the line, I knew there was nothing I could do to control the situation.  I knew there was only so much that the medical staff could do as well.  God was the only one in complete control of my son's life.  While we were waiting for him to wake up after surgery, wondering what his life would look like, I knew that he was completely in God's hands.  I've realized over the past couple of weeks that it's easier for me to trust in the power of God when situation is so big, that I know I'm not in control.  The problem for me has been remembering to trust the power of God in the details of our new everyday life.  It's not a matter of questioning whether God can handle or even wants to be a part of the details of my day.  I start the day with the promises of His word, encouraged and ready to go.  Somewhere along the way, I find myself bogged down in the happenings of my day.  I haven't been sleeping well lately, which causes me to struggle more with my dizzy spells.  When I'm struggling with my dizzy spells, it makes me really tired.  When I'm really tired, I struggle with focus and patience.  When I'm struggling with focus and patience, it makes it difficult to complete all the tasks that need to be done each day.  When I don't get all the things done that I need to in a day, it stresses me out.  When I'm stressed, I don't sleep well.  I find myself wondering how I got on this vicious merry-go-round and just when I think there's nothing to do but hang on for dear life, God speaks.  He reminds me how He has been there the whole time, it was me who walked away.  He says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."(Mt. 11:28-28), "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33), and "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you."(1 Peter 5:6-7)  I wish I could say that I only have to be reminded once and never struggle again.  One of the ways that God is using this trial is to teach me more about Him and how to surrender on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.  He reminds me how all I need each day is in Him. So, while I am not even close to being a Supermom, I do serve a super God.  He's ready to supply all I need to be the wife and mom He's called me to be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Does it really matter?

Have you ever wondered if the things you say really matter?  When you see someone who's upset or someone that you know is going through a difficult time, do you wonder if it really makes a difference whether you try to encourage them or not?  Maybe you've tried to encourage someone and it seemed like it didn't make much of a difference.  My third child, Timothy, was very sick when he was little.  By age four, he had undergone four major surgeries.  It wasn't until after his last surgery, open heart surgery, that the multiple hospital stays each year eased up.  It was heartbreaking to see my little one go through such awful things.  A lot of times I had to help hold him down while they poked and prodded him.  He would look at me like he was wondering why I was letting them do these things to him.  I felt so helpless, knowing I couldn't make it stop.  Out of desperation to do anything to comfort him, I would rub his hair and whisper comforting words to him. It never seemed to matter, though, he would just keep screaming and rocking.  When Timothy was six, I was pregnant with Payton.  For some reason, that I can't remember now, Timothy went with me to one of my appointments.  They were just going to listen her heartbeat.  He was playing with his toys when the midwife came in.  As she laid me back on the table and started to find the heartbeat, Timothy stopped what he was doing and came to my side.  He started rubbing my hair and whispering in my ear all those things that I used to say to him.  He kept whispering them over and over again. I knew at that moment all those years of what seemed to be comforting in vain, were not.  He did hear me and he did understand that I was trying to comfort him.  I lost it.  I'm sure the midwife thought I was crazy lying there bawling.  I was so overwhelmed, that I could barely explain what was happening.  When he thought that I was going through some of the things that he used to go through, he wanted to comfort me.  You have to understand that Timothy is also autistic, so getting glimpses into what he's really thinking and feeling are not as common as with typically developing children.  What a gift the Lord gave me that day!  I have treasured it in my heart ever since.  I learned that even when it seems as if you're not getting through, you are.  Our words make a difference whether we see the fruit of it or not.  There are so many verses in the Bible that speak to the power of our words.  Some speak to the blessings of our words and some to the damage done by our words.  The bottom line is- our words matter.  1Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are also doing."  Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."  So keep encouraging others, even when it seems like it doesn't matter.  Sometimes a simple hug or letting someone know that you will be praying for them can mean the world to hurting person.  We may not always see the fruit of it, but it always matters.  Galatians 6:9 says, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."