I was having a conversation with some friends and it was of a spiritual nature. In it I got hit with the 1-2 punch in regards to gray areas and how we justify our way out of them. I was also still processing the retreat sessions and what it would mean for me to 'grow in Gethsemane'.
Then the high of a weekend away faded. I was sick. Two out of 4 kids got strep throat, the whiny and clingy two no less. We had called to inform our landlord of our intention to move at the end of the month and all we had heard back was silence. Took the van for an oil change to learn the fuel lines have rotted through and our van needs to be replaced asap. Sickness brought our schedules out of whack, chaos took my focus away and oh so easily time with God was put on the back burner.
But I kept praying and putting one foot in front of the other. Thursday brought good news from our landlord, and my faith increased, God goes before us. Isabella pulled another disappearing act getting off the school bus at a different stop on purpose and we didn't know it until she came running up to us before her school bus arrived at her stop. And my faith grew some more, God takes care of us even when we don't know we need to be taken care of. Friday we were denied a car loan. And my faith grew even more. God has a better plan than debt for us. We just need to wait in hope and faith.
Saturday we were all healthy again. Had a fabulous family day at the pumpkin patch. All the stress and struggle of the week loosened up a little bit. But still I had not taken time to be quiet with God.
Then at church Sunday morning, great sermon. And my take away was the third point: Target Practice. My whole week had been floating from one thing to the next and I had no eternal underlying focus. I went home wanting to go deeper for real. That everything I do I would do for Christ.
But then I walked into the mess and chaotic scattered world that this past week had left in its wake. I could already feel myself sliding into contentedness to flit about life catching glimpses of God. I didn't want to settle. But how could I stop and refocus with the demands and constant needs of 4 little people all around my ankles.
I put on music. I told them to go find an activity. I sat down to read. Not my Bible, but a Christian book, (I like to dip my toe and wade in, not so much a dock jumper). As I read "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman God started to speak to me so clearly.
As Mary Beth got to the part in her story where she talks about losing Maria (her 5 year old adopted daughter) in a car accident in which Will (her 17 year old biological son) hit her with the car God revealed to me why I put up walls and stay a safe distance from Him. The reason He so easily gets pushed to the back burner in my life.
I am afraid.
What if the story line God has me as the main character in (aka- my life) includes losing a child or a different pain that is that deep?
God promises that he will not call us to do anything he wont equip us for. So logically if I'm not getting equipped, I'm safe. Job wasn't a Sunday Christian, he was a devout follower and look what he went through!
As I reflect a little deeper I recall the times I've been closest to God and all of them have either come right before or during my greatest tribulations. A 'not fit for ministry' tag on Nick's resume, moving where I did not want to go, a surprise pregnancy and subsequently babes 14 months apart. Abandonment by friends and intense loneliness. Months without a vehicle. Months without an income and being literally two weeks away from homelessnes. Removing the tag on Nick's resume only to be passed up by church after church. A couple more months without a vehicle. Being asked to consider that maybe volunteer ministry is the only ministry position for us. And our newest test of faith: a daughter who wanders away and we don't even know she was lost until she is found.
Haven't I been through enough? Isn't this testimony enough fodder to bring glory to God? Can't I just skip through some tulips and catch those glimpses of God that grow my faith?
I am afraid to press deeper because the deeper I go with God the more I'll be given. And the more I'm given the more that will be expected of me.
I don't want to bury a child. I don't want to lose everything I have. I don't want unspeakable tragedy or unfathomable pain.
And yet I crave after God. I am not content to sit still in the little I know and have experienced of Him. I want more. I need more.
Tonight the kid's 'Adventures in Odyssey' segment is on repeat in my head- "perfect love casts out fear".
My walls are built of bricks of fear. My sledgehammer is solidly fashioned in His perfect love. It's about time I pick up that hammer and start breaking things. It will take hope, faith and trust that God is in control. He knows what's best for me. And He is always with me in perfect love. Come what may.
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:12-13
What a week.
What a week.