I’ve always liked fairytales. Especially the Cinderella type. Someone with no prospects becomes enriched by the benevolence of another, usually because of love. Only the frog is a little different. He wasn’t lovely like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. He was trapped in his warty exterior until he could convince someone to give him a kiss. Like that frog, I’m lost within my own self and am powerless to do anything about it. But Jesus came along and loved me. He released me from the guilt and penalty of my sin. It has changed me a thousand times. Now I’m not a frog, I am a child of God! Day by day, I see Him erasing bits of my “frogginess” away. What an amazing thing –to be changed!
I dreamed housewifely little dreams when I was little. I always wanted many children around me and a sweet little home. As I grew older I added more details to those aspirations. One of them was a picture of myself, with the children off to school, enjoying a quiet moment looking out the window at some flowers in a rocking chair savoring a cup of coffee.
Only one thing happened. The children never went to school. God designed a different path for our family. Part of my adjustment to homeschoolong involved ammending my expectations.
But guess what! Today, 13 years after the birth our first child, my small dream came true. The kids are all in choir/classes for an hour and I am home alone, with a cup of coffee, in a rockng chair, watching my roses dance in the wind. More of these days are in my future. The children are growing fast and home is no longer their only world. I’m glad God dreams bigger things for us than we do for ourselves. Following his path for us has given me more than I planned to ever have. And He threw my little dream into the bargain, as well.
I have a lot of fears. I hate the paralyzing nature of fear. For me it manifests itself as procrastination. I’m afraid of a hard task and I put it off. Teaching my kids writing, baking homemade cinnamon rolls, writing my own work, redoing my boys’ room…. The list goes on. Sometimes just deciding what to do intimidates me and feels like work itself.
Then I am reminded of Christ’s parable of the workers with the talents. I don’t want to be like the one who was so nervous about failure that he buried his talent underground. In the end, the master says, “since you know that I reap where I have not sown and gathered where I have not scattered seed,…you should have invested my money with the bankers.” (Matthew 15) In other words, it is worse not to try than it is to fail. And besides, God CAN gather where He has not scattered seed. Success that glorifies God can and will happen through the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places. That includes you and me. So, I will choose to move beyond my fears. After all, it’s not about me anyhow 🙂
The power went out two days ago at our house. (For some reason, 9/10th of an inch of rain wreaks havoc on Fresno’s infastructure.) In getting ready to take Thoughtful to robotics, I discovered I couldn’t find my keys. Racing against the setting sun, with flashlight in hand, my whole family and I turned the house inside out looking for them. I don’t know why, but my Prince Charming went outside to look and…..found them in the flower bed! After a slight pause, everyone arrived at the same conclusion. Nephew#4…who happens to be four. We all smiled but couldn’t help wondering, if PCharming hadn’t seen the keys lying there, who would have ever found them? Or who might have? Anyhow…good thing nevvie#4 is super cute. I think I’ll give him a cookie when I see him next!
The flower of new understanding has been slowly blooming in my mind. Doesn’t it so often happen that way? And yet it makes so much sense. Every new piece of truth we gain is by the grace of our dear Jesus through the work of His Holy Spirit. When the knowledge of a new truth begins to dawn upon the horizon of our minds, it comes like the rays of the sun. Even if we want to close our minds to it–the knowledge of it is ultimately irresistable. Indeed, the daylight seen through eyes shut tightly is lighter than the darkness of night.
For most of my life I have lived taking great care of my soul. I was taught to do so. Evaluate all things. Avoid evil. Choose the right thing. Search the Scriptures. Obey God’s commands. All these things are true and none of them should be ignored. But as I have grown in my knowledge of the Word, I am realizing that Christ has already taken very good care of my soul. Because He has paid the debt of my sin, my soul is safe in His hands. So you see, a subtle but ever-important shift is taking place in my mind. As I relax in that knowledge, I feel joy welling up and sense a new freedom to focus on acts of service and mercy. After all, I am coming from place of spiritual plenty–I am safe. Now what about others?
Can a lack of assurance about our position in Christ drain us of the energy and joy we need to fuel service to others? Can introspection become a subtle form of self-centeredness? To my mind, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and others is to get a handle on the reality of our salvation. From a firm conviction of our sonship through Christ, we have the freedom to forget about ourselves and focus on the needs of others around us. We will have energy and joy to spend on others After all, what good news do we have to share, if we aren’t sure of it ourselves? My suggestion: pray for the grace of faith and joy. Surely that is a prayer in line with the will of the Father! Pray that you will be “rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of His love], and to know [His] love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3. This “fullness of God” is what will leak out of a soul that comprehends what has been done for it. This knowledge was also the source of Christ’s service to us. One of my favorite verses reveals this: “3Jesus, knowing the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet…” John 13. Through His power, I hope to increase in my ability to be other-centered–now that I know my own soul is in very safe-keeping!