a little and a lot

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Daily Bread

Ok, some "summer-y/fun" posts are coming. No, really, I promise. But right now, I just have to share with you about what God is doing in my life. He is moving and shaking and rocking my boat, and it. is. [mostly] WONDERFUL.

I've already written about how I am reading
and being transformed by this book:
Every chapter speaks to me in such a convicting,
encouraging, and paradigm-shifting way.

God has been using this book and the Sunday messages at our church this past spring to do something new in my heart. This past year has been a year of renewal in my life. Nick and I have made a series of faith-steps in our life, and God has been drawing us near to Him through those experiences.

The majority of 2010 this year has been a time of "abiding" for me. It is hard to wait on the Lord. Especially for something He has called you to! Recently, God has taught me something that is life-changing: I can't "do life" without Him. That may seem like a "duh" statement to you. But do you really live as if that statement is true? I have believed it for a long time, but I certainly wasn't living it.

What led me to chew on this simple/challenging thought was the way I have been feeling from day to day. Each day in April I awoke to think, "This is the day. This is the day that we will see our child's face, and learn his/her name, and our lives will never be the same again." (Yes, I know I'm a drama queen...ha!) Each day I would visualize what I would need to do if we "got the [referral] call." I planned my days around it. I had a hard time committing to anything, "just in case." Each evening, I felt weary and disappointed. I began to HATE the weekends, and the "Sunday dread" I used to feel about going to work was replaced with "Friday dread" that we would have to endure a weekend before the possibility of more news.

Waiting for good news is hard. It reminded me of the time in my life when ANY day could be the one in which Nick proposed to me. Oh, I got soooo frustrated with him as I used up all my cute outfits day after day and nothing happened. The day before he proposed, I whined to my friends that I was afraid it would never happen. This era of waiting is like a holding tank, in which I'm just frozen in time. Nothing in life will move/happen/unfreeze until this one thing for which I'm waiting happens. And OH, I HATED IT. I hated waiting. I hated the way it felt. I hated the way I perceived myself for the way I felt. I hated watching myself become "that" impatient person, instead of the person of peaceful, abiding faith that I wanted to be.

After a particularly whiny weekend at the beginning of this month, God was just flat-out direct with me. (Through P.Miller's book and a particular butt-kicking message at church and some time I spent reflecting upon my recent experiences.) I was just struggling through the weekend, the whole time hating myself for the struggle. And I realized, "I can't do this. I am trying to MAKE myself have peace and patience and faithfulness...and that can't come from ME. I am an impatient control freak--I don't have a peaceful or patient bone in my body!" God reminded me that the last "good" day I'd had, I had been desperately relying on him because I was just frankly running on empty. I remembered a treasured part of Paul Miller's book that had reminded me, "The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with your life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy."

Ironically, my one of my favorite parts of the Bible is when Paul talks about God's desire (and almost necessity) for us to be desperate for Him. " 'But He said to me: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." God has never intended for Nick and me to pursue this adoption by our own power. His grace is what will MAKE ME a person of abiding faithfulness. His power has room to move into my life when I admit my weakness. Christ's power [that has strength to reverse death!] can rest on my everyday life like a blanket soothing a chilled body.

The first day I was convicted by this, I ran to God. I sat before him. I lifted my life up to Him and childishly said, "Help." The phone rang as I was praying. It was someone offering to help us in a HUGE way with our adoption.

I have since noticed the days I am filled with the Spirit's fruits contrasted with the days I rely on myself (and end up bitter, disappointed, hopeless, cynical). In the mornings, I RUN to God. I sip my morning coffee and my soul just sighs. I wait for Him. I will not leave His throne until He fills me. And THOSE are the days that are good.

God has since brought to my attention that this "new lesson" during this time of abiding is to be practiced beyond my time of waiting. If I think I need help from God's Spirit NOW, what do I think I'll be like as I'm learning to parent? I mean, I know I can be pretty naive, but I've heard parenting is hard work!

Today, I was reading in P.Miller's book about a fictional example of a woman who was trying to to control a frustrating event in life instead of taking her frustration to God. We'll call her Jesse (instead of the name Miller chose), just to bring this closer to home. Miller says, "What would happen if [Jesse] puts off self-will? She doesn't know. How will God intervene...? What does God want to do in her life? What 'beams' will she discover in her own eye? ... If [Jesse] surrenders her self-will, she will join Abraham walking up Mount Moriah with Isaac. She will join David as he puts down his knife when Saul is within his reach in the cave. [Jesse] is abiding. She has lost control of the story... Instead of trying to create her own story, [Jesse] will be content to let God write his story." Later, Miller writes, "God wants to do something bigger than simply answer my prayers... I often find that when God doesn't answer a prayer, he wants to expose something in me."

This is God's lesson for me. I am praying daily for our adoption. And God is exposing my idol of self-will and teaching me to rely on Him for my "daily bread." Is God preparing me to be a mother or what??

I hope you weren't just trying to skim over this post to see if there is any earth-shattering news or pictures of interest. (Because you were probably disappointed!) Isn't it true that most of our days are not filled with earth-shattering news or picture-perfect moments? They are filled with this: our daily need for our Father.

And if you are waiting for something...anything...
I pray this verse blooms in your life:

"May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit."
(Romans 15:13)


Mandi said...

Such a great post, Jesse. And so very much what I needed to hear too. Thank you :)

Larissa Smith said...

Beautifully said. You made me hunger anew to be filled each morning. Thank you.

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more