I love God’s faithfulness and persistence in teaching us exactly what we need to hear! More so, I love how He knows each of His children intimately and knows specifically how to get through to us. For me, that’s bringing me back to the same verses through each angle of my life to show me that I have a long way to grow in so many different aspects.
I love the start of a new year! I love a fresh beginning and a clean slate. As much as I love Christmas lights and festive decorations, once Christmas is over, I can’t wait to get it all put away so that I can dust and vacuum! With a new year comes a new calendar and seemingly more free time to decide what to do with. I began to make goals and plans of what I wanted to do with our kids, our family, our days, our ministries, our friends, our free time. Do you notice a theme there? It was all about me!
Around this same time, we met for our Moms By Grace meeting and were challenged to evaluate goals we’ve set for ourselves and compare them to Christ’s calling in Luke 9:23 – “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” In my study in Romans that same week, I spent some time studying the Law and was quickly reminded that I fail in even obeying the first commandment. The god of ME often comes first before anything else. I was reminded that life is not about me…shocking, I know! I hope (and pray!) that I would never come out and verbally announce that I believe that the world should revolve around me, but I saw how I was living like that, specifically in my home. Seeing this sin so clearly revealed that week was hard, but God was so gracious in giving me countless opportunities to practice “denying myself” while those verses were still fresh on my mind.
If you were to ask me 4 ½ years what my biggest sin battles were, I never would have thought impatience, bitterness and frustration (ultimately anger) would be part of that. But on June 29, 2008, after bringing our precious first baby home from the hospital and being woken up several times that night by her sweet, or not-so-sweet, cries, I knew that my time was no longer mine!
These past few weeks God has graciously been pruning me and revealing this ugly, ugly sin! There have been days that have been HARD…reminding my children that we don’t talk to each other in that way, or that we don’t throw all of our toys off the landing, it’s not ok to color on the walls or throw things out of the grocery cart, and repeating all of this several times a day to often get the same disrespectful response. It’s been such a blessing, though, to be reminded that it’s not about me. God allowed sweet friends to call or text some verses at the perfect time to remind me of this truth. If I don’t get my to-do list done that day, it’s ok because these precious kids have been given to us for a time so we can show them the love of Jesus. Being annoyed that I have to stop once again to remind them of the same things is not accomplishing that task well.
Whether you have kids or not, I think we could all use a healthy dose of a reality check. Are we living like we are the center of our universe (in our homes, workplace, social circles) or are we daily denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus?
Luke 9:23 – “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”