Lord I Choose You

It’s always a challenge for me to identify what circumstances I have allowed or created in my life versus what God has allowed. Or what simply is out of my control.

I remember my mother telling me at the end of her life: “Lillibet, no one ever intentionally sets out to be a bad parent. We do the very best we can at that very moment. Sometimes we get it so wrong. Other times we sigh with relief that God got it right”.  It wasn’t until Jane was gone that I realized the gem she had been. And now? Here I sit in my quiet time whispering  “God, you know my heart, I only wanted to be a good Mama. No a great Mama. The fixer. The mender. The master of my domain. The Savior”.

You see the thing is God loves us so much that He gives us free will. We can teach right from wrong, good from evil. We can love, threaten, punish, ignore, manipulate, and plea. Ultimately it is our fleshly free will that determines our choices. We choose. God lets us choose. And sometimes we choose to play god rather than thinking God is capable of being God.

For those of us who are planners and organizers we want to orchestrate our choices for those we love. Maybe we hold so tightly that our kids don’t ever think they are able to choose their life. Some of us cling too tightly while others not tightly enough. All of us think we are striving for the perfect balance. The perfect path. The perfect future. The reality? We have no control. In the end they choose.

Sometimes we have to let those we love fall. We have to let go. Get out of the way so that He can catch them. We forget God is in the business of saving. We aren’t the life line or the life boat. We aren’t the answer. Because quite frankly we aren’t God.

And I guess that’s what the Lord has been whispering to me these past weeks. Free will. Life is free will because of the cross. And sometimes it hurts. A lot. Sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe. Sometimes the pain is staggering. Blinding. And then? He gently reminds me of the pain He felt when we, His beloved, rebelled (rebel) against Him. He understands our sorrow and our grief. He understands my pain and your pain because He felt it. Died for it. Died for us.

His word promises us that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He’s always there. If we choose to wait for Him. If we choose to trust that He has a divine plan for all of us. A plan that can’t be thwarted no matter how tightly we try to cling. Or save.  Or rescue.

So Lord, I’m letting go. I don’t know for how long. And knowing my control freak nature? I probably will (let’s be honest I will) throw you back up on that cross a time or two. But right now? In this moment? By faith I’m choosing to let you be God of something I can control: me. God of what  I can’t control: others. With your help hopefully I’ll recognize the difference.

Lord I choose you.

“I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments, I have laid before me.”-Psalm 119:30image

 

Keep It Messy

I had a revelation of sorts yesterday. I Googled a home product I was looking for. No joke ten decorating blogs came back in my search engine. I clicked on several. Each blog was a meticulously decorated home with perfect kids, a dog, a perfectly chiseled Daddy, and a ten plus ten Mama. They each blogged about their perfect lives. My first thought was “Dang, Elizabeth, you are doing this Jesus blog thing all wrong! You need to write about how perfect life is. These blogs have serious followers!” Yeah, that thought was gone in a hot second.

Back to my revelation. No wonder young people don’t know who they are. They are trying to start their lives mimicking perfection. Immolating perfect meals, decorating, and child rearing. All based on the fantasy life of someone in blog utopia.

Real life, at least as I remember it? Carting kids all over kingdom come. Preschool, elementary school, middle school. Going to the grocery store while my kids were occupied in higher education. Possibly picking up the house. Folding some laundry. Putting groceries away. Catching an occasional lunch with friends. Maybe getting to the gym. Back home getting work done on the computer. Picking up from school. Eating snacks in the car on the way to dance or ball practice. Getting home at six. Trying to cook with one kid coming off their Adderall in a total melt down. Another kid fighting about doing homework. Husband walks into utter chaos. Eat. Tackle nightly baths. Clean up kitchen. Make lunches for the next school day. Time to breath. Oh wait, nope. Promised husband a “date night”.

Jump in shower for the first time in 24 hours. Shave legs for the first time in two weeks. In the bed by 11PM. “Date night” interrupted by at least one child wanting a glass of water. Husband gets out of bed to get said child glass of water. Returns to “date night” only to find me asleep and snoring…and if we’re being honest…probably drooling. Alarm goes off at 5:30AM and the same routine starts the next day. Anyone? Absolutely no perfection what so ever. I wouldn’t change one single bit of it either. If anything, I’d change being so married to the calendar. Getting to the next thing on the list. Perfection? Ha! That’s laughable.

Perfection is unattainable. Despite what HGTV, Pinterest or  Instagram tell you. You will kill your marriage, your relationship with your kids, your self esteem, and your friendships trying to achieve it.  Life is messy. And it should be. The mess is the good stuff. The mess is where we realize how much we love our husbands. How much we need them. The mess is where we watch our babies achieve milestones. The mess is where we realize we are not perfect. The mess is where we learn what we are made of. And what we are not made of. The mess is where we cry out to God “Lord, what the heck?! This is so hard! Help me, please!” The mess is where humility is born. The mess is where we let go. The mess is where we let God step in. The mess is where we learn that our weakness only means we are getting it right…not wrong like the world wants us to believe. For in that weakness He makes us strong.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we read “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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I  love this scripture, don’t you?!  Modern day cable news has nothing on being radical. Jesus was radical. Paul is telling us that God’s grace is enough for us. His grace covers our faults, our sins, our weaknesses, our idolatry. When we realize that we don’t have to put on heirs? When we recognize we can’t do it all? When we admit that we are living a lie? When we confess to Him our sins of trying to be perfect? That’s where He meets us! The power of the Holy Spirit is allowed to do great and mighty things through us despite ourselves! Is that not the greatest news ever? Do you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders? When that light bulb went off for me I truly felt a literal rebirth. I was so tired and didn’t even realize the extent of it.

Having a true revelation of who we are in Christ should be the goal…not the perfect life. When we see ourselves as Christ sees us? The junk  we worry about no longer matters. All that matters is wanting more of Him. With that comes a complete peace. We are able to love deeper. Give freely without resentment. Yes, I still want an architectural digest looking house. It’s different now. It is not my idol. It is not my consumption. I don’t care if someone has a bigger or better home. I can actually be happy for them because I’m happy with me. My standards are based on the King of Kings. My standards are based on the blood that was shed for me. Not my neighbor, not Instagram, not Facebook, not Bravo, not Glamour. Jesus Christ. Amen?!

So young mothers and wives keep it messy. Perfection is overrated. Love those babies. Hug those necks. Kiss those fat fingers. Steal away in the bathroom with your husband once in awhile. Burn dinner. Run late in carpool. Fold laundry when you can. It is one season in life of many. Live it for Him first. Your weakness will fill you with the Holy Spirit. You’ll be able to love those in your life that matter most. The rest of the crap? It just won’t matter.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’.”-Proverbs 31:28-29

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Recharge and Renew

Not gonna lie~I’ve been struggling. With every turn there seems to be new health issues, demands in life, complicated family dynamics. I’ve felt overwhelmed and out of step in my walk with Christ lately.

 

I’ve slept through my morning devotions and writing time more often than I care to admit. I’m tired. Spent really. When that happens I tend to shut down. I don’t want to think. I tend to stay on auto pilot. Mark things off the list. Check. Grocery Store. Done. Dinner. Accompolished. On to the next thing. Check.

 

If I go through the motions I don’t have to think. Checking things off a list makes me feel like I have some resemblance of control or achievement. Anyone?
This morning I opened my bible, admittedly for the first time in days, to John 10:3-4:

 

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.”

When I become overwhelmed I fail to be still. I can’t  hear the Gatekeepers voice. Oh, I hear voices alright!  Voices of doubt, voices of accusation, voices of frustration, and voices of fear. I hear myself. Not good. Not good at all.
John reminds us that not only does God call us by name but he promises us a way out of our predicaments if we follow him. Isn’t that beautiful?

 

The problem for most of us (me!) is that we don’t always hear him. The noise of life drowns out the still whisper. If we can just get out of our own heads? Intentionally make time for Jesus?

His Word tells us:

(1)God is calling each one of us by name

(2) He is offering a solution by leading us out. Paving a way for us.

AND, get this, after He brings us to Him?

(3) He will go before us. He leads so that we don’t have too!

(4) We can trust Him because we recognize His voice.

I absolutely love how God speaks directly to my heart, exactly where I am, and when I need it!  Why do I so often believe that I am the solution to life’s problems? That I can fix it all? On my own? Why do we make it so difficult? He has given us the solution to life in 66 chapters. Somehow my “to do” lists often trump His instruction.

So, like me, if you are feeling overwhelmed by life today? Let His voice be the only sound in your head.  Let God take over the burdens of the day. Let Him lead so that you can rest. Recharge and renew.

I will if you will, deal?

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”-Matthew 6:27

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