I woke up before my alarm went off (which was set for 6). I made coffee, folded clothes, and had some quiet time. Not nearly as much as I would have liked since my big girl woke up before I even started the coffee. I carried her back to my bed to lay down with daddy, but then baby girl woke up, and all three emerged a few minutes later. But God gave me a few minutes. (And I prayed for those of you that share my waking-up struggle.)
For the first time in my life I got all three of us ready and out the door before 8:30 without arguments, without constantly repeating orders, and without the usual crazy chaos in my head.
After dropping big girl at preschool, baby girl and I went to church for our first MOPS meeting of the year. I was able to help set-up and meet some new mommas before the meeting even got started. I'm usually stumbling in 30 minutes late, still nursing my first cup of coffee, slipping into the back of the room after the meeting is in full swing, and slipping out again without really getting to talk to anyone.
Our mentor mom shared a devotional thought this morning, as usual. The unusual part is that she pointed right at me when she read the Scripture. She pointed right at me and said, "Do not fear, I have redeemed you, you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1) Not once did she do this, but over and over.
When I picked up big girl from school, she asked if we could eat lunch with somebody. She wanted to invite someone to eat at our house. I did a mental check of my refrigerator and told her that we didn't have anything to feed anyone. Then, I realized she would think we didn't have any food; so, I clarified: we didn't have anything suitable to offer anyone. She argued with me in her very mature, matter-of-fact way, essentially reminding me that this was an invalid excuse, until she convinced me that she was right.
So, forgetting the mess that my house was in, we called our friend we've lovingly dubbed "Granny" to come eat cheese and crackers. I'm laughing even as I type that. Kids will keep you humble, all while reminding you of what's really important in life. And I say that even as a person who doesn't own a nice set of China dishes. I still have ideals of what hospitality should look like, and today it looked nothing like the images in my head.
Do not fear (what other people will think of you). I have redeemed you. You are mine. You are everything you need to be. You are learning what is most important. Relationship.
My girls were up late last night (By no fault of my own, mind you! Wait, is that sarcasm I smell?) and back up early this morning; so, my plan was to get them down for an early nap. But, life was beckoning and the weather was perfect for living. We ate outside, the girls played very briefly on their swing set, and they didn't get in bed until almost 3.
Windows open, flies swarming the house, distant hammering on a neighbor's new roof, a yard that desperately needs to be mowed, a garden that needs to be weeded, dishes on the table, and laundry piled high, and I'm alive.
Songs and verses knock around in my head...
From my quiet time this morning..."He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly." (2 Chronicles 25:2). I couldn't get past that verse. I read the rest of the chapter then came back to that verse and read it over and over again. I had to admit that was me. " Not wholeheartedly." I want my days to be lived for Him. Because He has set me free.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set [me] free," so I do not want to be burdened by another yoke of slavery. Guilt. Fear. Do not fear. Ungratefulness. Insecurity. Anger. Selfishness.
"Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if ANYTHING is excellent or praiseworthy, think about THESE things." Attitude of Gratitude.
What Christ did for me on the cross. You are mine. What Christ is doing for me today. I have redeemed you. Am still redeeming you. I have got to remember to be thankful. Thankfulness energizes. A merry heart does good like a medicine. I'm sick. Pessimistic. Guilt-ridden. Selfish. I need medicine. And God's been telling me it's gratitude.
I've become fear-driven. Do not fear. Life is within my reach and I've been too afraid to live it. It can be as simple as spiders. Wasps. Allergic reactions. It can be as complex as losing a loved one. Uncertainty of God's plan.
Paralyzed. Not able, or not willing, to move forward. Do not fear.
Today, I received some confirmation about a long-time question I've been posing to God. Should I do this? Or should I do that?
Do something. But do not fear.
I have sat on a decision because I so desperately wanted God's will that I was afraid I would do the wrong thing. Do not fear. I have prayed. I have stalled. I have talked it to death. I have explored different options. But I haven't moved. Today I felt God confirming for the second time: do it. Just do it. There's a need. Fill it. Don't pray about it. Don't ask Me to find someone to fill it. Don't talk to others about who is going to do it. DO. IT. There's a need. Through me, you are able. Do it. Don't be afraid. Do not fear. Don't shirk back in your insecurities. Don't worry about how it will all pan out. Don't look so far into the future that you forget about today. Do it.
I get it, Lord. I'm doing it.
Satan sends shackles. You set me free. Satan wants me to drop my head in shame. You are the lifter of my head. Satan wants me to cower. You bring me out into a spacious place (Ps. 18). Satan comes to steal my hope, kill my joy (he is the ultimate kill-joy), and destroy my life. You come to give life, and give it most abundantly. Satan comes to plunder. You come to restore all He took and more.
I'm tired of bondage. I'm tired of crouching. I'm tired of fighting. But I know now that I've been doing too much of the fighting. Focusing too much on the enemy. The battle is Yours, You say. I'll just look to You, and let you do the fighting for me.
You've shown me that whatever I focus on becomes my god. I've been focusing on myself. My inabilities. My inadequacies. By Your grace (unfathomable ability to do what I couldn't otherwise do), I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, from where my help comes. I will look to You. I will focus on You. Your Word. By constant encounters and memorization. And I will move. I will do. Do not fear.
The battle is His. And, by His strength, I pray I am done. Done fighting. Done surviving. And ready for full-blown life!
Today He sets before me life and death. "Choose life, so you may live," He says. Today I choose life. Today I'm alive. Tomorrow, I must choose again. Do not fear.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lordyour God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I'm alive when I was locked inside my head
When I was lost in a maze of doubt
You called my name and woke me up
You called my name and led me out
And when I chased one more mirage
‘Til I was tired and parched again
You gave me one more cup to fill
And sent me one more desert rain
I'm on fire
And my spirit burns with desire
You set me alight
And with no way to hold it inside
I wanted to thank You
I was so sure of all I knew
I knew the world was mine to claim
I had directions printed out
And then I hit a wall of shame
Out there, alone, and left to die
Cut off from You, my sole supply
You shed Your tears for me, and then
You took my hand and raised me high
(Forgive me for never knowing the references to the Scriptures I quote. I know they're in there and, given a concordance OR enough time on my own, I could find them. But in the rush of getting a blog post typed out before my girls wake, I just quote 'em and go. Roll on.)