Just last week Howard and I sat down to have a heart to heart about some parenting issues we are having recently. As we got into things I told him that I felt like we have become pretty complacent. We have fallen into a comfortable rut and I am not sure God is still the center. His reply to me literally brought me to my knees. He said, "Do we want God at the center, do we REALLY?". I felt my face begin to burn as he seemingly antagonized me.
I assured him we DID. I told him that I was feeling overwhelmed, that my plate was full and I was having no time for God. I was finding it hard to find a few minutes to eat lunch let alone get into my Bible. Then he asked, "Well, WHY do we want God at the center? So things will go well for US? Is it all about US?" (He is a gem...I know.) I stammered and sputtered and tears began to roll. I came up with the several places in the Bible where God DOES in fact tell us that when we obey, when we are in line with Him, things WILL in fact go well for us. It was how he intended it.
Howard then went on to say that he felt like we had kind of become what we swore we never would. With no immediate crisis to face, we have found it more difficult to serve Him in all things...in turn we wind up serving ourselves. We find ourselves attracted by shiny things, and struggling to live IN but not OF this world. He then said that he felt like he wasn't sure we really WANTED to follow God and keep him at the center. In truth, when we follow hard after Him there is a lot of denying of self that needs to happen and for us, that can be hard.
I will admit that after my conversation with Howard I spent the next 24 hours praying harder, immersed in scripture and reminding myself of the grace I need to extend to EVERYONE. I can say with my whole heart that IN God's will is where I WANT to be. I WANT Him at the center of it all. I am well aware that sometimes that means intense heartache and pain. It also means peace and joy.
I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the most difficult times in my life as I held and had to let go of Isaac and Asher, I felt the tangible presence of my Father. I knew He was there. I knew I had nothing to offer, I was helpless and oh so very broken. I was at the end of my own rope and He was all I had left. It honestly sounds like something horrific, but as I look back, I sometimes find myself longing for that. Not that I yearn for more tragedy, but I yearn for that closeness with Him. The peace I felt in those days was beyond anything I can describe with words.
I hope I never have to walk such agonizing roads again, and I miss my boys so much it steals the breath from my lungs some days, I have to try each day to try and find peace and joy in knowing that God's plan is bigger. I have to say though that I almost feel privileged to have walked the roads I have. I long for my babies, but I am so thankful for all they have taught me. They have changed my perspective on just about everything. I have known intense love and peace in the most painful of experiences...why don't I feel it every day?
As I have been reflecting, I am coming to realize that my belief that it takes some tragedy to feel that closeness again is a flat out lie. He has a plan for each of our lives and sometimes he places heartache in front of us and sometimes he places times of abundance and sometimes periods of ordinary. The important thing to remember is that where we are, is where He has placed us. He meets us where we are. So for me to believe that I need to find some ideal quiet oasis to have time with Him is a lie. He meets me as I wash dishes, as I teach my children, fold the laundry and mop the floors. He meets me in the chaos if only I keep my eyes turned upward. The things I see as blockades are likely just excuses. We are called to worship Him in ALL we do. Every single item on my to do list should be done for His Glory. When I can keep my focus on that, I find joy and peace in even the changing of diapers and raking of leaves. I choose.
I don't know about you. I don't know where you are right now, but I do know a loving God who desperately wants a relationship with each of His children. I know that where ever I am, where ever you are, He wants to meet us there. My goal is to allow Him to meet me in the chaos, when it all seems overwhelming and when my heart swells with gratitude. We do get a choice in all of it. We can choose Him, we can choose joy. He placed me here...He placed you there...in the circumstance we are in, how can we bring Glory to God? What are your goals? Do you WANT Him at the center no matter what that may mean?
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