Not so hopelessly flawed…

7 09 2007

I watched one of my all time favorite movies on Labor day.  My amazing husband recently purchased Little Women for me- thanks babe!  Monday morning seemed a perfect opportunity to snuggle up in bed, pj’s still on, eat my breakfast (thanks again Joshua) and lose myself in the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. 

During my second year at Teen Mania ministries, my three roomies and I found a comradery in this familiar tale and were each named a character in the novel.  If memory serves me correctly Laura was Meg, Heidi was Beth, Christina was Amy, and I Jo.  Upon watching the movie I found myself relating so well to Jo as she meets Professor Bhaer and they discuss philosophy.  Jo makes the statement, “I fear I am hopelessly flawed.”  To which Professor Bhaer responds, “We all are.” 

In recent days I have found my battle against indwelling sin to be one I easily give up.  I’ve focused more on my own ability to be good, and get things right; often doubting/questioning God’s goodness and character.  I’ve questioned why God gives us desires, good desires, and then leaves them unfulfilled.  As many reading this may know, the desire for me is children.  But the struggle could really be anything (ex. trusting God in our singleness, dealing with illness, deciphering God’s direction and will for our lives, etc.). 

I’ve heard it said, “Have joy in it all….  Praise God through your suffering…. God must have big things waiting for you….”  I’m sure you’ve heard them too.  But some days, things like this just make you mad!  You don’t have joy, You don’t think God is good, and you think God must have forgotten you even lived in this fallen world!    And then you feel awful for thinking these things; and I usually go to the place of, man I wish I was more spiritual like so-and-so.  Or sheesh, I bet my husband wishes I would just get over this.  Or recently, God, can’t you just take this stupid desire away!  And I usually will say something like, “I’m just going to decide that I don’t want kids, ever, yeah, that’s it. . . you don’t want kids, you don’t want kids. . .repeat 700 gazillion times!

We should know by now this is not a helpful way of dealing with sin!  And that is why today I am so thankful for God’s grace extended to me in various ways.  Monday as I was in the worst of my self-pity and desirous of self-sovereignty Joshua gave me an article he read by Paul Tripp, you can read the post here http://paultrippministries.blogspot.com (It’s entitled Productive Delay).  These are the parts that stuck out to me.

“For years I just didn’t get the biblical concept of waiting. Waiting seemed a meaningless drag, forced onto us by the fact that Someone else is in charge of the narrative that is our lives. We hope, we dream and we wait. We cry, we plead and we wait. We run, we work and we wait. We minister, we serve and we wait. We think, we study and we wait. Sometimes we wait, we wait and we wait. Such is life in the middle of God’s great, big redemptive story. So, with gritted teeth and emotions that fall short of joy, we resolve ourselves to the fact that we’ll have to wait. God is God and we are not…so what can we do? We wait.

But waiting on God isn’t like this at all. Waiting on God isn’t about the suspension of meaning and purpose. It’s part of the meaning and purpose that God has brought into my life. Waiting on God isn’t to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan. Waiting is an essential part of the plan. For the child of God, waiting isn’t simply about what I’ll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I’ll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what he’s promised. Through the wait he’s changing me. By means of the wait he’s altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires.” 

Did you get that??!?!?!  Our waiting, our trial, everything we’re going through isn’t about the suspension of meaning and purpose, it is part of God’s sovereign plan for our lives.  Waiting is purposeful, efficient, practical.  There is so much more to be said on this subject!  (Paul Tripp has 6 recent posts on this subject, you should read them all!)  My hope and prayer though is that today and each day we will not look to ourselves but to our saviour for He truly is working out His sovereign plan. 

And in regards to feeling hopelessly flawed. . . well, yes if we keep looking to ourselves to be better, and do what’s right our situation is hopeless!  But because of the cross and the redemptive work of Christ, I no longer have to live without hope!  He is changing me, sanctifying me, and showing me His beautiful plan. . . You and I are definitely NOT hopelessly flawed as we look to our Saviour today! 





He cares . . .

18 05 2007

Sometimes I am just walking through life and God surprises me with how much He truly cares for us.  I had the wonderful opportunity to join Joshua in Chicago Thursday-Saturday, May 10-12.  While Joshua attended business meetings I was given a chance to relax and be pampered (I got my first ever pedicure!).  I caught up on sleep, exercised, shopped and read.  Then on Saturday we met up with some of my favorite people!  Friends of ours from our time at Teen Mania.  Our friends Brian and Lindsay Knapp along with Nate and Dana Moore drove down from Kenosha Wisconsin to visit us in Chicago. 

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We were able to catch up on life and encourage one another in the Lord.  I am reminded of the kindness of God in allowing these friendships to remain even across the miles.

Then came Sunday, Mother’s Day. . . I must admit I was dreading it.  As many know Joshua and I have been unsuccessful in conceiving a child of our own and some days I do really well trusting God and His timing and other days I just hurt so bad from the desire to have children of my own.  Granted, worship was wonderful and allowed me time to focus my heart on the Lord and his kindness in rescuing me from my sin.  He is good to me!  But that afternoon, alone at home brought tears of sadness.  Sadness of not having any small little feet pattering around my home, no messy faces to wipe, and no homemade cards, and no one saying, “Happy Mother’s Day.”  By God’s grace and the encouragement of friends (thanks Ellen) and my husband I made it through the day and was able to focus on the Lord and not myself. 

Then on Monday I had just picked Carson (the 3 year old I nanny) up from preschool and we were sitting down to lunch when he turned to me and said, “Happy Mother’s Day Bethany!”  Oh what emotion filled my soul!  Of course Carson realizes that I am not his mother, but the innocence of a 3 year old saying those words to me brought such joy to my heart.  God does care. . .He does know the pain I sometimes feel, and He uses 3 year old little boys to show that love to me! 

The Lord will hold me close, The Lord rules over the floodwaters.  I trust in the Lord.  I am overcome with joy because of Your unfailing love.  For You have seen my many troubles and You care about the anguish of my soul.  I am trusting You, O Lord, saying, “You are my God.  My future is in Your hands!  Your goodness is so great!” (excerpts from Psalms)