"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God
as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden." Genesis 3: 7-8
The last several days I've been hiding from God and it has been miserable. I have been full of fear and shame. I'm struggling with the habitual sins of selfishness and anger. I spend my days sinning, repenting, sinning, repenting... round and round. Praying each day that somehow God would change me. Sometimes hopeful and sometimes not, but calling out to Him in the midst of it all. And then this week hit. I majorly gave into my selfishness and anger WITHOUT a repentant heart seeking Him. I was harsh with my children without apologizing. I was harsh with my husband without repenting. Feeling justified for my unkind words because "my life is just too hard and I've been hurt."
Each day that I avoided dealing with my sin and acknowledging my sin, I felt like each ounce of joy I had was getting snatched from me. Do you know how much effort it takes to frown all the time? I struggled to really read my Bible. I felt empty as I listened to my Christian music. I was distracted during the sermon at church. Bitterness began growing in my heart. How could I hear the promises of God and all that He has done for me and still hold on to this weight I was foolishly determined to hold onto? But, just like God came looking for Adam and Eve, He has not let me rest in this black place.
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion." Isaiah 30:18
As I finally came before Him in repentance this evening and wept and prayed, I felt so relieved. He knew what I was struggling with all along. He knew that I was hiding from Him and yet He welcomed me into His arms. Oh how He loves me! Here is what He is revealing to me:
A lot of my anger comes from my selfishness. Things didn't go how I wanted. The boys aren't listening to me. People didn't meet my expectations. This isn't how I planned things to go. Me. Me. Me. UGH! I read this quote tonight from Sally Clarkson and almost choked. "Selfish self-absorbed people are never happy." It's true! When all I think about is myself and my disappointments and my plans and my day, it will surely zap my joy.
What is the example of Christ?
"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." John 13:34
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
The New Testament is full of stories of Christ serving others, washing their feet and most importantly laying down His life! He is humble, loving and self-sacrificing. Shouldn't that also be my goal? Can the Holy Spirit help me to serve my family sacrificially thinking first of what is best for them instead of what they can do for me? Yes. Isn't that what it means to love them? Yes. Oh, how I have lost my focus! Can I believe that God is good and let that propel me to serve them with a joyful heart even when the circumstances don't go just as I planned? Please Lord!
When I think about being a mom and particularly a home school mom, I am challenged by this quote from Sally Clarkson:
"And if the reason we are staying home is to serve and train our children for His glory, then we must always understand, He is at the center, and His kingdom work is at the center of our lives. Our children are not a big enough goal, only serving Him is big enough for a work of life."
I should not be at the center and my children should not be at the center. God must be at the center!
Oh Lord, please help me to "...walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [I] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:1-2
"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
to lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I fee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
When I awake, I am still with you." Psalm 139:1-8, 18b