Some of this is redundant. A summary of what the Lord has been teaching me lately, much of which I've already written about on the blog. But the Lord used a new scripture to gently highlight the things going on in my heart yet again. So, I thought I'd share here what I said (well, kind of what I said. i'm still not sure how much of this actually made it out of my mouth that Sunday).
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things and in him all things hold together.
For a long time, I stopped in my theology at this point: that all things were created by Jesus and through Jesus. I didn’t acknowledge in my daily life that all things were created for Him. From the way I acted, and sometimes still act, you would think that I believe(d) all things were created by Him and through Him, for me.
I had plans and I was going to see to it that they came to fruition. Reading every marriage and parenting book I could get my hands on, I knew “how” to be a Christian. How to study the Bible, all about biblical womanhood, how to be a godly wife, how to parent with godly discipline. But, it was all for my own ends. For my life and family to fit the mold that I wanted to squeeze them into. It was not primarily for the praise of His glory.
I had tried to control everything around me, thus not really trusting Christ or allowing this life to be His. I wanted all things to be for me and the way that I wanted them to turn out. There is a song that my kiddos sing at their Music Together class. It sums up a lot of my attitude. It goes like this: "Me, me, me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me ... me ... me .... me ... me!!" The kids sing it to a cute little tune and point to themselves over and over. Adorable when Jameson does this at 15 months old. Not so cute when it's my attitude before the Lord.
Well, Jesus had other ideas for my life. For the last two years I’ve been faced with a messy reality. I faced a miscarriage. Then two months later, another one. Then one month later, I was pregnant again. And several times we thought I was going to miscarry baby Jameson. Then when I had a one-month old baby, we faced crisis in our marriage and post-partum depression all at the same time.
This wasn’t exactly the ideal life that I had been striving for. This was painful and messy and hard. Jesus has been prying my fingers off of the details of my life. My husband, my marriage, my children, my life.
But what I am experiencing is that– when I surrender to Jesus and take the perspective that this life is “for Him” – experiencing Christ in the mess is so much better then if I was living out what I thought to be “perfection." I have experienced reconciliation in my marriage, a new depth to my relationship with the Lord, forgiveness, love, God’s provision, fellowship – all in ways that I never would have without the messiness that God allowed. He created my life, my marriage, and my family. He created it for the praise of His glory, and it is His to do with as He wishes.
Whether willingly or unwillingly on my part, my life is for Christ. When I am an unwilling servant ... I struggle. I throw spiritual temper tantrums because things don’t go MY way. Everything is frustrating. I am resentful, angry, depressed, bitter and eventually exhausted.
But, when I fix my eyes on Jesus and live willingly for Him, my burden is easy and my yoke is light. When I have this perspective – that everything is for Christ -- my depression is alleviated. I find true joy in everyday life. I am free to love my husband, love my children, love other people. When I submit to the truth that everything is for Jesus, I live as His blissful servant. When I maintain a “me first” mentality, I end up living as His enemy.
When I live with the “for Jesus” mentality as my perspective, it also leaves me free to experience Him holding all things together. Jesus holds my marriage together, my family together and me together. No matter how many books I read, women I get ideas from or methods I study, I cannot hold my life together. Sometimes I believe a lie that I can – and it leads me to a path of frustration and defeat.
This is something the Lord is still working out in me. I still struggle with moments, minutes, hours, days where my sinful nature so badly wants everything to be for me. But when, by God’s grace I have the proper perspective – that all of my life is for him – I experience Him holding my life together.