Yay God :: Vol II


"In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand."

This past Sunday, we went to church. Currently church looks like a sweet home filled with 20 or so even sweeter people-half of which are kids. We ate together (and I tried crumpets for the first time, yum-o) we worshiped together, then we began to listen as Kev, the pastor of our little church plant, share on a series we're doing. The main topic this day was on  repentance from a special kind of pride; The pride of self-reliance and how one root of that pride is believing that we're really orphans and not God's radically-loved children.

The night previous, I was holding a little newborn who had decided that this night was going to be the night where we didn't sleep (again.) He was doing his usual banshee scream and I wanted to join him. So, I did. I cried in between my "shh shh shh" and cried a bit more.

4 AM tears are some sad tears, my friends.

In desperation, I asked Ben for help. And wouldn't you know he got up quickly and got that baby to sleep-which meant that this mama slept too.

The funny thing is, it took me far too long to get to the point of asking Ben for help. I kept thinking to myself that if I just gave it a few more minutes, I could get this kid to sleep on my own. Ben was sleeping, and probably didn't want to help anyways. (such a big lie, P.S. ) Never mind my heart was escalating in frustration and my body becoming increasingly exhausted. No, I was going to do this! When I finally did admit to maybe needing a little (a lot) help, wouldn't you know, deliverance came.

So, fast forward to church just a few hours later and the pastor is talking about how God doesn't work through self-reliant pride. (Which makes sense really, since we would just think it was our own doing and not His.) and how much God wants to be working in our lives and through our days. It was a call to repentance, a call to allowing God to work in and through us and show us even how to let go in the first place.  More words were spoken, half of which I absorbed as I paced back and forth with a fussy newborn baby. I knew that this message was straight-up for me. And then, they asked if anyone wanted prayer. 

Friends, They asked if anyone wanted prayer. Any other self-reliant heart knows that when they ask for prayer, by golly you don't want to be the one who needs the prayer.

But, I was the one that needed the prayer. I knew it. Ben, sitting behind me knew it. I'll just assume we all knew it. At one point I thought he was nudging me (he wasn't) and I thought to myself "If I keep thinking he's nudging me, then maybe I should take it as a clue that I should just ask for them to pray for me."

And so I did.Well, I tried. I got out a  "Me.....[breath, breath] Just staying at home alone all day with these two[breath breath]" And then Ben filled in the rest because my cheeks got hot and I couldn't finish the rest of it. "It's hard." he said "The days are just really long and isolating."

And so they prayed. And I ugly cried. They prayed sweet things that my ears and heart desperately needed to hear. Things about a gentle God who leads his sheep with gentleness and a approving Father and how much I'm not alone during these 10+ hour days when I'm so sure I'm so alone- so many other precious words that when I got home I scribbled them all down to remember as time passes.

Here's the truth. I want to be good at this. I often think that the SAHM thing should be easy-or at the very least not this hard-especially when others have more children, or have 9-5 jobs. I don't like that I need any sort of help with this, or that I struggle. I want for this two under three business to come easy to me and to feel like I GOT THIS. I want for international living to not feel so suffocating at times, for Ben to come home and when he asks me how I'm doing over our AWESOME meal I can tell him about all the cool crafts Eowyn did, all the adventures we took and how Elias aced napping and how we kept all the tears at bay. 

But you guys, That's not how it's happening.

Yesterday it dawned on me (in yet another way) how much I sink my teeth into self-reliance; how much I believe the deeper lie that God wants me to perform well, and if I succeed then he'll be especially pleased. I know I've got God's approval from Jesus, but I want his approval and a bit more. This is bogus guys. And a clear indication that in more ways than one, I don't get the gospel.

Some days this home is a straight up mess, more emotionally than physically, and it's those days where I notice my heart get ugly. Give it 5 minutes on those days with two screaming children and I'm waving my fist at God telling him how unfair this all is. I'm all alone in a foreign country, without my family. and with two kids.  ALL ALONE.

If you need a symptom for self-reliant pride, self pity is a great big flag. 

And I tend to lean towards the dramatic side of pitying.  

But through all of this, Jesus has been gentle to me, my friends. This Sunday, Jesus showed up for my heart. He showed up big and deep and didn't just let me hear trite words about putting my head down and getting through, but got down to the core of what was really going on.

I have friends here who care deeply for me. They spoke life over me and reiterated to me that I am enough-especially in the mess of motherhood. They spoke truth to my brain and heart that even now are ringing in my ears.  But even more than that, they reminded me of who He is. His gentleness, kindness, grace. I just can't wrap my mind around how gracious God is to take a very desperate mama and give her a Sunday to hear those words, to have prayers offered up to Him from those beautiful mouths. 

We have a saying around here that is spoken pretty much as soon as Ben gets home. He's "the best part of my days." And it's true. But, God's teaching me that even in the space between seeing faces other than my two kids, and especially between seeing Ben's face in the morning till evening, there's a lot of company God is wanting to give me. He's giving me 10 hours a day to get the opportunity to experience him with me. And while some days it doesn't seem like it's true, or if it is, that it's not enough, my heart is slowly practicing unclenching it's fists and surrendering it all over-bit by bit by bit.

and that's when I start to see it.

If there's one thing I'm becoming convinced of it's this:

I'm not alone.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28: 20

I'm learning that one of the quickest ways to find joy is by looking out for the ways God is active in our life. These posts are a deliberate effort to see that. My hope is that by taking time to write volume after volume of his small and large graces, I'll  create quite the little record. So, when in doubt-as I too often am- I can go back and remember how intricately involved the God we serve is. To see the rest, click here.

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