Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Confession: I Worship Idols

Want to know a secret?

Hitting "publish" on my blog often makes me cringe. Those closest to me know my struggles. And they know that walking out the words I write isn't a given for me. A lot of the reason I blog is so I can go back and read my own words and remember what the Lord is teaching me. I am just so quick to forget.

I don't have faith figured out. A lot, okay most, of the time I would venture to say I don't trust Jesus with my life or my kids. Clinging to stuff, people, and my own way tends to be more my thing. Oh yes, I know I trust Him more than I used to. But there is going to be a lifelong struggle against my own idol-creating heart. 


This past week I have been reading Exodus 32-33, where the Israelites are creating and worshipping the golden calf. Just forty days earlier, the Israelites had promised "All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do." (Ex 24:3). Yet, here they are mobbing Aaron saying "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." (Ex 32:1). 

The Israelites forgot that it was God who brought them out of Egypt. God could have done without Moses. He could have used anyone he pleased. He is God in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3). It wasn't about Moses. It was about God. 

The Israelites could even see God's presence on the mountain. The appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. (Ex 24:17) Evidence of Him was right there in front of their eyes. But, they didn't care. They were restless because Moses was gone and their focus was in the wrong place.

And I am an Israelite. As I studied, I felt myself shrinking with shame. God has carried me in miraculous ways in the last six months. I have seen his presence in the things He has done. And I have said yes, I will follow and do everything you command. 



And I demand a god I can "see." As if a god small enough to be seen with my eyes would actually be powerful enough to be God and accomplish the things I really need my God to do. In practical ways, I abandon worship of the Creator and begin worshipping the created. It is flat-out idolatry - loyalty to anything or anyone that leads us to disobey God. (Did I get that definition right, Lori Cavell?). I use things and people to feel secure or to be distracted from feeling restless or down. Idolatry of relationships and carbs and coffee and daily habits and sugar and shopping and wasting time - just to name a few. 

“Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” (John Calvin). And I am in no way exempt from this. I don't know about you, but I am a rebellious and idol-loving person. Ironically, the person I sin against in my idol-worship is the only person who could pay the penalty for my sin. So, I am thankful that if I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

I am thankful that I don't have to shrink down with shame over my idolatrous heart. Oh, my idol worship is flat out wrong. It might look more acceptable and presentable than worshipping a golden calf. I can dress it up and make it look moral, righteous and respectable. But, my idolatry is just as wrong as the golden calf.  It will continue to be a struggle for the rest of my life, which leaves me grateful that I can always have confidence as I approach the true, living God on His throne of grace. Instead of running away and hiding from the God who I have offended, I can turn and run to Him, cast down my idols, and turn back to the living God again and again. 

Friday, December 5, 2014


There is beauty in the broken, even for my children. As I have walked out the last six months, I have known Jesus more and seen beauty for ashes over and over again.

The other night, I snuggled up with Eliza while I read her a story and prayed before bed. We've been talking a lot about worry and how to handle worries. And, this night was no different. We started talking about the divorce and how she is handling all of the change. I got to share with her that this was my biggest worry - being a single mom of the four of them. But that once I was walking through it, even my biggest worry wasn't nearly as terrifying as I had imagined because I am walking through it with Jesus.

We talked about the fact that God promises to work ALL things for good for those who love Him. ALL things. Even divorce and broken families.

And she asked the questions of how and why. And all I could say was that this is trust, sweet girl. You trust His character. The Jesus that we read about in the Bible kept every promise. Starting in  Genesis 3, God promised a savior. Then, eventually, He provided Himself as that Savior. So, everyday you choose to be confident that He is the same God today as He was then. One worthy of your trust. And then you trust that He will keep his promise, even when you can't see how or when.

As I spoke these words to my daughter, I thought, Oh Lord, please come through for me and for them on this. Please show her the way you work all things for good. Please let her faith not waver because of her pain, but let the suffering produce perseverance and hope.

Right along with Eliza, I'm learning what real trust is. It's in trusting Jesus for my children that my faith really gets tested everyday. Trusting Jesus that my kids are going to be okay growing up in divorce. That my kids are going to be okay going to school, instead of being homeschooled. That my kids are going to be okay when I (eventually) go back to work. That my kids are going to be okay in their suffering.

And, really, it's not trusting that they will just be "okay." But, instead, trusting that none of this mess thwarts God's good plans for any of them. That, even in incredibly difficult circumstances, God is going to carry to completion the good work that He started in each of them. It's trusting that my kids are getting God's best for them rather than something that is "second best."

Just when I thought maybe I had this trust thing all figured out, the Lord has been gracious to show me (yet again) that trusting Him is not something I will achieve or a milestone that I will reach. It is relating to Him. It is depending entirely on Him through every single thing this life brings, not just to me but to these little people who are the most precious thing to me. It's handing my children over to the Lord, loosening my grip on them so that they can truly know the beauty that comes from knowing firsthand what Jesus does with their suffering. It's trusting that for my kids, just like for me, knowing Jesus (even when it requires suffering) is far better than any comfort this world can offer.