Friday, May 24, 2013

He Does It Again

So, God showed up again. Not that I'm surprised. Well, maybe I am a little bit. In my humanness, I forget just how faithful He is.  Since I've already admitted that I'm a Christian music dork, I'll just say that whenever God shows up again (and again and again . . . ) it reminds me of these old Point of Grace lyrics:

You do it again, You do it again 
You speak to me just like a friend 
You always seem to show up right on time 
You do it again, I guess you know when 
My heart needs to hear your voice 
I'm so forgetful, that's why I'm thankful 
You do it again 

Sometimes I find myself wondering how in the world I am expected to know how to train up these children in the Lord. Where's the manual? Can't there just be a formula of x+y=z when it comes to raising little people? Even after reading "the best" parenting books I find myself stumped. What can I expect from them? What is just "kid behavior" that I need to let go of? How many activities are too many? What do I do about the quarreling? What do I do about the temper tantrums? Who gets the toy that they are fighting over? How do I discipline without causing shame?

More often than not, my confidence in my mom-skills is lacking. But, that's because I'm looking for my confidence in the wrong place. I'm looking for my confidence in myself, not in Jesus. I desperately want to be independent. I want to parent, be a wife, homemaker, friend and follower of Jesus by myself.  When it comes right down to it, I'm like my two-year-old who is determined to not hold my hand when we walk down the street, and who wants to do everything on his own so that he can proudly show me that he did it all by himself.

That's just not life following Jesus, not what He desires for us anyway. So, Jesus doesn't let me succeed on my own and in my own strength. He shows me that I require grace, and lots of it. As the amazing Paul David Tripp says in his book, Broken Down House:

Trying to live independent of the daily intervention of God and others is like trying to bake a cake in a washing machine. That washing machine is a wonderful creation, but it was never designed to do what you are asking it to do. All you will end up with is a soapy batter, a dirty machine, and a badly dented pan. Productive living is always rooted in a humble sense of personal neediness. This neediness only comes when you begin to understand and accept what the Bible has to say about sin, and daily reach out for the help that can only be found through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This morning I was not feeling ready to face a day in the life of a stay at home homeschooling mom to four children. I felt grumpy and irritated and like I was going to just drag through the hours of this day. Then the Lord showed me something in Judges. Yes, Judges, of all books. God called Gideon to save the nation of Israel from the Midianites. Gideon's response is, "Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." (Judges 6:15) Gideon was feeling his weakness. He looked at himself and his position in the world, and it didn't look too promising. 

But God knew Gideon's position and he still wanted Gideon to save Israel. He knew Gideon's personal neediness and it's just what the Lord wanted in a servant. Remember, productive living is always rooted in a humble sense of personal neediness. The Lord said to Gideon, "But I will be with you . . ." (Judges 6:16). Then as Gideon headed into battle, God trimmed Gideon's army down from 32,000 soldiers to just 300. Thirty-two thousand soldiers was just too many. "The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.''" (Judges 7:2).

Do you know how often I say to the Lord, "How can I raise these children? How can I be a 'good wife?' How can I be the woman you've called me to be?" And His response is always, "I know your downfalls, But I will be with you." To Him, my personal neediness - my sin, my shortcomings, my humanness - are essential because realizing my sin is what will cause me to reach out for the help that I will only find in Jesus.

It seems that adding a fourth child to our home has just magnified my sin! I feel like it has magnified all of the reasons that tumble around in my head that make me want to shout to the Lord, "don't you see this job is too big for me?" Don't you see who I am? How do you expect me to give You to this family?" But, I think adding Morrow was like the Lord cutting down Gideon's army from 32,000 to just 300. He gives me much to handle lest I would ever boast over Him saying "my own hand" has accomplished anything. God's desire is not for me to be like my independent two year old. He doesn't want me coming to Him to say, look what I did ALL BY MYSELF!' He doesn't want me boasting over Him. He desires to be with me in my daily work. And He desires to use my daily work for His Glory.  

Truly, truly, is there anything better than that? Is there anything better than having the Lord take my daily grind - my mess, my struggle and my ordinary life - and turn it into a display of His Splendor? 

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