Warning to you, Beautiful Reader, below you will not find the carefully chosen words of a wise and weathered mom who has mastered the spiritual art of dying to self in service to others.
Rather, an accurate synopsis of the words written would be that of a struggling heart knee deep in diapers, school books, food, and questions.
Sometimes, I am restless. OK, more than SOMETIMES.
Cabin fever comes to mind. When a person who was once in the work force decides to trade in dress clothes and routine hygiene maintenance for stain resistant duds and occasional showers during a PBS kids episode, who also home schools her progeny, cabin fever should have a different name….CABIN SUFFOCATION, perhaps?
I realize it is the timeless battle between two enemies, the Flesh and the Spirit. The internal clash between fitting in in a success saturated society versus living counter culturally as a simple servant is a war I know well and one in which I often engage.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I adore my children.
I am grateful for this season of dwelling at home with my kids as they grow. Yet, I confess, days on end of wake up, start the coffee, just crack open the Bible as the first deary stumbles sleepily down the stairs, breakfast, chores, school, “Practice your instrument…not so fast, or I’ll make you do it again.” clean up messes, “Stop peeing in your pull up!”, lunch, “Get your finger OUT of your nose!”, more school, “Girls, please empty the dishwasher again.”, what to make for dinner, hide the chaos-dad will be home soon, “Go play outside for a while.”, “Hey, how was your day?”, dinner, family time, “No, you can’t play on the Ipad, we are bonding right now.”, get ready for bed, “Brush your teeth again, I still see food.” read Farmer Boy (our recent read aloud), pray, go to bed, ahhhhh silence….wake up one child for one last trip to the latrine, drift quickly into a coma only to awaken to the sound of a crying child, move said kid into bed with us, half doze half fight new bed intruder until the alarm sounds, wake up. Repeat makes this flight risk of a mum want to charge a plane ticket and flee.
I admit the above picture isn’t a flattering one. Glamorous isn’t my objective, truth is. I’m often tired and disheveled as shown by the greasy orange mop dappled with gray hairs standing at attention atop my head, and the bags under my eyes that defy all makeup techniques. But, this is life right now in this season. Precious.
I have absolutely NO grounds for entertaining lies of discontentment. I know this.
Foremost, my problems are first world frivolities. “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places…” (Psalm 16:6) often floats through my brain.
- Kids healthy, check.
- Husband comes home at night, check.
- Bills paid, check.
- Roof over craniums, check.
- Clothing, check.
- Food, check.
Secondly, totally unbiblical.
Even so, as the walls began to close in around me again this past week, I scrubbed dishes, checked out to romantic comedies (the Christian woman’s porn-I swear) spawning additional feelings of unsettledness, prepared sorry excuses for meals for the family as I shoveled plastic disguised as food into my own maw, took frequent jaunts up and down our lane leaving my children to destroy the house as I begged God to haul my brain out of a very familiar rut. I begged for His eyes to replace mine. I begged for His omnipotent perspective to flood my finite inclinations.
And He answered.
Unsuspectingly, He used the elements of pallet wood and power tools as the tow ropes to drag my soul out of the tomb of self pity in which I had buried it. Utilizing a fancy that somehow I, who does not know the difference between a jig saw and a skil saw and who is equally unversed in the various personalities of wood, could create something of worth catapulted me out of the walls that were closing in on me into the vast opening of His creation that surrounds our home.
Crow bar and hammer in hand, I and my flock ambled out to the decrepit pallets beside our barn. Watching four sets of little hands wobbly pry and pound as we commenced our enterprise did not invoke feelings of peace and clarity. Strangely, yanking rusty nails from old lumber did.
Once inside the shed out of the rain, the experimental process of wielding power tools began. Standing over aged boards awaiting their new identity my gloved hands holding a jig saw for the first time, the thought ran through my head, “Just try it.” So I did. Things happened. It wasn’t pretty.
Yet, as the hours passed, worship music crooned, nails pounded in boards only to be pulled out again, saws buzzed, kids ran in and out with questions and exciting finds, MY MIND CLEARED, MY PACE SLOWED, MY HEART REORIENTED.
Two days later muscles that haven’t been sore in years throbbed, swollen from work and thankfulness.
Fortuitously, Psalm 42 and 143 surfaced in my quiet times this week. It was comforting to read words written by the “friend of God” David who also struggled with his soul repeatedly-
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me and why have you become disturbed within me? (Psalm 42)
He begged God to intervene-
Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, or I will become like those who go down to the pit. (Psalm 143)
He reminded himself of God’s greatness-
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands…(Psalm 143)
In the midst of the chaos swirling in his mind, He chose to praise Him-
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. (Psalm 42)
Lastly, he asked the only source of Hope to tell him what to do-
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Let You good Spirit lead me on level ground. For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble…FOR I AM YOUR SERVANT. (Psalm 143)
It seems a five step process to me:
- Acknowledge the truth of where I am at and why I am there.
- Beg God to intervene with His truth and perspective.
- Remind myself of His goodness toward me, the multiple places where He has proven to be faithful in my life.
- Choose to praise Him even if I don’t feel like it.
- Ask Him to tell me what to do-and here’s the clincher-FOR HIS SAKE, NOT MINE.
Because, sadly I ALWAYS, make it about me. It-LIFE- just flat out isn’t about me. It’s about Him.
The final truth in Psalm 143 induced my heart to vibrate like a massive bell recently rung-
I am Your servant.
It simplifies the battle, doesn’t it? It disarms the enemy of self, when I am not my own servant, contrarily, I am His.
So many other truths jumped off the pages and glued themselves to my heart in these two brief Psalms. They really are worth the 6 minutes it takes to read them slowly.
I recognize and respect that there are a vast many of you, Dear Souls, who cannot add a check to some of the situations listed above, leaving your heart wrung out and weary from worry and wondering. Wondering when will He show up, when will He bring change.
Might I be so bold to suggest that He is there, with you, right now. Things may appear horrid to the naked eye, but, Sweet Soul, THERE IS A MIGHTY HAND AT WORK IN YOU as you wake up each day and press on through IT-whatever IT may be.
He promises to go before us in all things-
The LORD is the One who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
He never wastes a hurt or trial in a Beloved’s life-
…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.. (Genesis 50:20)
…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3b-4)
Be still, wait patiently, give your soul, all you are to Him, let Him hold you, take your hand and lead you. Let Him fill you with His whispers of comfort.
He loves you so. I love you so.
This song spoke much peace into me this past week, may it do the same to you,
For, LOVED ONE, HE IS ON OUR SIDE.