Monday, October 15, 2012

Something to Add to Your Womanly To-Do List

I like To-Do Lists.  And, I really like to cross things off as something gets accomplished. Especially now as a wife and mother, there are a lot of things that I would like to do with and for my husband and children.  But, a lot of the time, my mental wife/mother to-do list turns me into a panic-filled, fearful, disbelieving woman.  "If I don't do this for this child, I will ruin them." Or, other thoughts along those lines.  And, so I often find myself in a panic asking God what He would have me to do as a wife and mother. 

Today, as I was reading, I came across a verse that greatly helped me to rest in God:

"They said to Him, "What must we do to be doing the works of God?"  Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."  John 6: 28-29

So, suffice it to say, Miss Goodie-Two-Shoes was shot down again today!

It's not about what I do.  He has done it all.  It is mine to look to Him who has accomplished every last good thing (C. J. Mahaney said once that only God completes everything on His To-Do List!) and rest in His work.  This doesn't mean then that I can get in my sweats, grab a bag of chips, and watch some soaps for the rest of my life!  But, it does mean, that as I fulfill my duties that He has given me, I don't rely on those things as a means for anything saving towards myself or others.  Because my 'good' things fall short of the glory of God. 

I am going to keep with my To-Do list.  However, tomorrow, I am adding 'Believe' to the top.  So that when all my well-intentioned plans go to pot, then, there is Jesus.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Miss Goody-Two-Shoes

The biggest hindrance for me coming to Christ, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.  I thought I was good enough.  I got straight A's in school, was fairly respectful towards my parents, was in the band, didn't hang out with the wrong crowd, went to church every Sunday, ...etc....etc....etc....
But, the truth was that I hated God and His Word despite all my 'well-doing'.  When my Dad sat us down to read a Bible passage or when I heard solid, gospel-centered teaching, my heart held an angry fist to the God of heaven, and I wondered why I needed Him when I was doing so well on my own.
But, God in His grace, extended mercy to this hardened Miss Goody-Two-Shoes and taught me that there is no one good, no, not one (Romans 3: 10-12).  He granted new life with a desire to know Him.  He began to teach me that He alone was good.
But, this Miss Goody-Two-Shoes thing is hard-wired in my nature, and even though He changed my heart several years ago, I still have to battle relying on my own goodness.  And, as I (struggle to) raise my children I have to battle my tendency to force them to 'be good'.  Yes, I want them to be good.  But, I can't make them be good.  That is God's work.
"For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."  (Romans 8:3,4)
Being reminded of gospel truths like the verse above helps in transforming my thoughts.  Its not about my goodness and what I have done.  Its about God's goodness and what He has done.  This is not a comfortable, safe way to live and to raise your children.  I would like to raise my children in a 'safe' that I can control.  Miss Goody-Two-Shoes is safe.  But, God calls me to Someone higher and better than my 'safe' self. 
Perhaps C.S.Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and  The Wardrobe said it best:
"'Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.'  'Ooh! said Susan, 'I'd thought he was a man.  Is he-quite safe?  I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion?'  'That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,' said Mrs. Beaver, 'if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly.'  'Then he isn't safe?' said Lucy.  'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver.  'Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you?  Who said anything about safe?  Course he isn't safe.  But, he is good.  He's the King, I tell you.'"
Let that be the message on this transforming Miss Goody-Two-Shoes' tongue...'He is good.  He's the King, I tell you."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our Very Present Help in Trouble (and Fear)

This blog post is mainly addressed to me.  Hopefully, it will be a blessing to you as well seeing that you are most likely a woman...and women often suffer from fears of all sorts.

I don't know if its my husband being away for long stretches of time or the weight of caring for four young children largely on my own, or the knowledge that I am living in a rat-infested house or all of the above... but, my mind has been overladen with fears lately.

So, yesterday afternoon I went back to one of my favorite books called "Womanly Dominion" by Mark Chanski.  In his book, he has one chapter devoted to the subject of fear.  He writes:

"Emotional pain is God's calling us to draw near to Him.  'From the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For Thou hast been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy.  Let me dwell in Thy tents forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings.'"

"When it comes to emotional instability, an open Bible in general is a great tranquilizer, and the Psalms in particular are an excellent pharmacy...The urged strategy is not to statisically dispel them: "Oh, the odds are against that calamity's ever happening."  It's not to sentimentally disqualify them: "Oh, your heavenly Father would never let such a bad thing happen."  And its not to forgetfully suppress them;  "Oh, just refuse to think about it."  Neither is it to medically numb them.  Instead, the urged strategy is to courageously face them!...."

"Our true consolation is found when we face head on the absolute worst case of what may indeed happen.  Then in the midst, we reckon His promise of His presence as ' our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'"

"Should I need to endure my worst nightmare, He'll be there, to uphold me so I don't collapse or breakdown in despair.  As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found a sustaining and supporting Helper in their fiery ordeal, so will I not be left to walk alone either, "Therefore, we will not fear!"  This enables me to eye yonder furnace with a holy calm, to say as I draw potentially near to it, "It is well with my soul."