Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuck kids in.
Hang out with hubby.
Read my book.
Go to sleep.
Of course, there are the days we have piano lessons, Community Bible Study, homeschool co-op group, Mom's Night Out, church, grocery shopping, library trips, doctors and dentist appointments and other unplanned interruptions. But for the most part, that is what my days have looked like for the past few years. And I am pretty sure that is what my days will continue to look like for quite some time.
And I LOVE it. I truly wouldn't trade it for anything. I enjoy the routine we have settled into. I love my life. I love my family. I love my friends. I love where God has put me.
Sometimes I just sit back and think about where I was 10 years ago, and where I am now. From uncertainty, confusion, loneliness, depression, and self-centeredness to faith, purpose, love, contentment, joy and service. God is truly amazing! And yet, He is so far from being done with me....thankfully.
I am going through another growth-spurt right now. Do you remember how much growing-pains hurt? I often have to massage my kids' legs when they are having growing pains. I will sit next to them on their bed, rub their legs, tell them that there is a good reason for the aches, and pray that God would relieve the pain soon. They eventually drift off to sleep and are better in the morning.
I am waiting for the morning.
God is working in me. He is doing something big in my heart and soul. It is fantastic. And it is painful.
He is reviving my passion for Him, returning me to that first love spoken of in Revelation 2. God commends the church at Ephesus:
"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."
I want to be a light in this world. I want God's light to shine through me. Jesus tells us that we are the light of this world:
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
How many times have we as believers read that portion of scripture and taken it to mean we need to lead good lives, free of profanity and excess alcohol, full of smiles and helping little old ladies across the street? I know I have. Let your light shine. Almost makes me want to break out in song... "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."
But, let's take a minute to view that scripture in light of the Revelation passage. Here God acknowledges the good deeds you do, but says they are worthless without an all-consuming passion for Him. He actually says that He will "remove the lampstand from its place." If our hearts are not overwhelmed with love for Him, He will remove the light! Ouch!
Do you remember when you first accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Do you remember how full of passion and love you were? How much you wanted to shout to the world and tell everyone about His amazing love and forgiveness? You actually spent a good deal of time reading His Word and praising Him? Prayer time was not an obligation, but something you looked forward to?
How long has it been since you felt that way? Life got in the way. Schedules got busy. Kids got sick. Laundry piled up. Traffic happened. People made you angry. Sleep eluded you. TV shows got you hooked. That third glass of wine called your name.
Little by little, you abandoned that first love...you became lukewarm.
God makes it very clear how he feels about that.
"So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16
That is where I have been residing for quite some time. In the comfortable, cozy lukewarm-ness. It is safe here. It is not too challenging. Here there is no fear of rejection from those around me. Here there is no urgency to spread God's Word. Here there is no sorrow over the millions of people who are mistreated, abandoned, starving and on death's doorstep. Here I can happily pick out new window coverings and get regular pedicures. In this lukewarm-ness, I don't have to stress myself out with the worries of the others. Here I can go to church, do all the right things, but never have my heart involved.
Thankfully, He doesn't leave us there with no escape.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20
I recently opened that door. Thus the growing pains. He is pulling me out of this lukewarm state and setting me on fire again. And in the process, I am finding my heart is so full of love and sorrow. Love for Him and His creation. Sorrow at how we treat Him and His creation. Those two emotions together are so overwhelming.
I know this process is necessary. I know this is growing me spiritually, emotionally, personally. I am still praying that God would relieve the pain soon, but I wouldn't opt out of this experience for anything in this world. I feel the fire. I feel the love. I feel the passion. They are building in me day by day. And I pray that I am never the same.
We know that God makes all things new. I am learning that this is not a one time deal. He continues to renew us time and again. Little by little, growth-spurt after growth-spurt, we are becoming more like Him.
And I am oh so grateful.
So, while my day-to-day routine hasn't changed for quite some time, I am completely different.
I know that morning will come. I also know that there will be other nights. But if I have learned anything, I have learned that our God is faithful and He will bring me yet another new and glorious morning.
Above all, I know that God is drawing me nearer to Him.
That makes all the growing pains worth it.