Leave a message and I’ll call you back…
Life has finally slowed down, sort of. Spring Retreat finished up a couple of weeks ago (ahhhhh, what a great weekend), LDI wraps up this month, Eric graduated from college last Friday night. Transition is happening. And yet we are still on our toes with lots to do through the month of May and then we will be in the last trimester countdown for our baby girl to get here. I feel like I keep dropping off the face of the planet–not just on my blog but a never-ending list of intentions to reconnect with people that I’ve been too busy to see face-to-face or having some genuine hang-out time outside of work. In the last few weeks…and honestly way before that…God has been doing some big things in my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever been as emotionally and spiritually exhausted/energized in my whole life. This semester has been a major pivot point in my faith. Praise Jesus for growth and celebration of that growth. Eric and I have had a lot of awesome moments of reflecting on what God is doing in each of us and I think I’m finally ready to share a bit. Lucky you!
Does anyone else ever feel like God teaches in spider-webbed themes that somehow brings every part of your life together in one big lesson? This is probably a good way to describe my entire LDI experience. A few themes have been the pinnacle of this year and God has done such a great job of being dramatic and over-the-top with them that I think I won’t be forgetting them anytime soon (I hope).
The past couple months have been all about Obedience. God reminded me back in January or February of a major struggle that I have in following him–I tend to not trust him. I think I know best what I need. Or I play this game of self-protection where I’m afraid to step out in faith because last time it hurt or didn’t turn out the way I thought was best. But through this pregnancy, ministry opportunities, and growing relationships, God has shown me over and over again the importance of walking in obedience. He does not promise that it will be painless. He does not promise a fairy-tale happy ending. But he does promise to be Sovereign and act in accordance to His will.
Probably one of the hardest parts of being obedient for me is thinking that obedience means I have to just grin and bare it. But this mentality actually leads to further DIStrust of Jesus. Because in that way of thinking, I’m holding onto the idea that my way is still the best way but I’m “selflessly” relinquishing control to God to give him a shot at leading (and all the while being the worst form of a backseat driver–the one who cringes at ever turn or intersection all the while smiling and claiming to trust the driver). God does not need my permission to run the world. He does not need my input. He does not need my encouragement to not screw it all up. He is God for crying out loud and who do I think I am giving him directions? Or “graciously” stepping behind him in “submission?”
Side story: God has been teaching me a lot about forgiveness. We’ve all been there. Someone says something carelessly and it stings. Or they say something out of spite and it shakes up your heart. Or worse, they think they are entitled to hurt you. And God tells us to forgive them. Maybe we aren’t faultless in this instance. We’ve sinned and retribution was taken into the hands of another sinner. I’ve always sucked at the whole “forgiveness” part. It goes back to what I was just saying–I don’t trust God to really take care of the situation. I believe that somehow I have been irreparably wounded unless that person pay for what they did–in a way that is satisfactory to me. This ugliness in my heart has reaped many broken relationships and a hardness to the pride that causes it. As I have been studying (via Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free”) what it looks like to seek/receive healing in this area, God has been piling up the learning opportunities (both the conflicts and the ample opportunities to think through how to let go).
So what does obedience look like under these circumstances? This is the avenue I’ve been wandering down recently. How do I let go of my desire to have my own form of justice? What does it mean to fully forgive but maybe not fully trust immediately (depending on the situation)? How do we go back to having a relationship? Jesus commands us to forgive. He did not set limitations. Yes, there may be times when that person does not re-enter my circle of trust, but that is not because I am allowed to withhold forgiveness.
Here’s three things God has taught me through all my processing:
- I need to acknowledge the hurt I feel when conflict happens-not try to sweep it under the rug and pretend I’m made of stone. God gave me feelings. He made me sensitive to the words of others. If I want to be healed, I need to admit that I’m sick and bring that sickness to Jesus. The whole thing. Not just the parts I feel ok revealing.
- I need to think of myself accurately. Who am I to claim some sort of superiority over another? What makes me think my form of justice is better than Jesus’? I’m a sinner. A huge sinner. And Jesus covered my sin anyway. Just as he has covered the sins of anyone else who believes in him and follows him. Just as he longs to cover the sins of those who have not yet surrendered to him.
- I need to recognize that this is a battle I must fight every day. One day at a time. Jesus tells us not to be anxious about tomorrow because it has enough troubles of its own. So that means that all I can live in is today. And I can make the choice each new day to forgive and live in the truth that Christ has forgiven much more than I ever will.
I should really update more often so these aren’t so long. There’s my the little bit of my spider web for you to think about.
In Appleseed news, I’m 25 weeks already…almost to the 3rd trimester! Our little girl kicks away all over the place (especially my bladder if it invades her space). I have seen some newborns recently and man that gets me so excited to hold her! Our camera broke while we were on vacation in March so I have no updated pictures for you. I’m popping out more and more every day. Woohoo!