This week...hmm, maybe actually these past two years, I have been learning:
1. God hears my prayers
2. God answers my prayers in His ways, not my own
3. He is faithful
4. He really does love me and my (His) family
5. One step at a time (and this is SO hard)
Like Dory says, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."
1 Peter 2:24 ESV
Despite what I want or experience here on earth, eternity has been bought for my life by the shedding of Christ's blood. And life in this fallen world is truly only temporary. Despite it being hard, I can have joy here and now because of His Spirit. He loves me! He cares for my needs and when my focus is on Him my perspective is fresh and new-it is His! Our circumstances are not ideal and our continued efforts are yielding such small fruit it seems. But I believe, not in a wishy-washy oh-so-spiritual-way, but in Truth, that God does have the bigger picture and plan. Proverbs 16:9 says,
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." My prayers are not going unheard. Hubby and I are trying to do what we think is right and what would be best for these sweet boys God has entrusted to us. But I also know...and trust...that He is closing doors that are not on the path to where He wants and knows is best for us, and for this, I am forever grateful and can have peace.
Finally, two recent events that God has used to greatly encourage me, continuing to reveal His faithfulness.
This past weekend I was blessed to help set up for our church's upcoming VBS. It was a bunch of mamas, most whom have been friends for quite some time and I am new to the group. But we had a lovely time and I realized that I was thankful to have been asked to help. I tend to not want to "bother" people and try to do everything on my own. But the Lord opened my eyes to see how this other mama asking me to help (truly because she needed help) blessed me. I had never considered asking someone to help would be a blessing instead of a hindrance. God is so good!
While I was setting up at the church, hubby and four of the boys were traveling to NC for his cousin's wedding. I can't tell you how much his family means to me. My husband's aunt has such a precious testimony of God's redemption and I think of her often as I walk this road of motherhood, career, the boys' education. The wedding was a precious reflection of Christ being at the center of parenting despite the world and circumstances. The parents' lives have been far from perfect; one set a lineage of pastors, the other first generation Christians. But here stood two beautiful people, reading their vows to one another, promising to love Christ first and then each other; vowing to encourage and support one another and the dreams God has given them individually; vowing to love, not in the feely mushy way, but in the way God commanded us to- with their whole being and not just when they "felt" like it. My frequent fears of "messing up" by not homeschooling, missing family meals, being in public school, working outside of the home, not being the "perfect Christian family" (hello?! seriously??) are put to ease by this family's living testimony of the truth that Christ is bigger than my small mind can comprehend. Yep, deep breath. Please don't misunderstand me and think I am not saying these things are important because they are! However, we must bow to Christ and live the life He has given us and watch Him work. It is in our weaknesses we see His glorious strength. What is the most important thing in this life? My relationship with Christ. When I am at His feet, the rest falls into place. What is the most important thing for my husband and my kids and those I encounter? They're relationship with Christ and them seeing my relationship with the Lord. Life is not perfect. We live in this fallen world where we make mistakes and there are consequences. But God can redeem and bring beauty from the ashes. Oh, how His love is so sweet.
Here is to a new week and His glorious will, mercy and grace in our lives. May I bow, without fear, but with the security of being under His wings. In Jesus' name I pray this, amen.