Sunday, March 7, 2010

Waking Up

Without Thy sweet mercy, I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
Bu,t through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive, 
and He that first made me still keeps me alive. 
John Stocker

For a while now, I've had this feeling, this knowing, that something is not right in me - not right between God and me. But pinning it down, what it is, has not been a quick process. The source of the unsettledness in my spirit has been elusive and vague to me, which of course adds to the discomfort.

But the point of knowing God is not me being comfortable and happy, is it? For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29 God uses discomfort and pain and questions to draw me closer, teach me, help me be more like Jesus.

One indisputable, not vague fact I've observed in myself is extreme distractedness and difficulty focusing in prayer and Bible reading/study. Very ADD feeling. Not very fixed on Jesus feeling. Not good. So, God has been moving me to slow down in prayer...I'm writing my prayers out more often lately and sitting still with the Lord, trying very hard to keep my thoughts on Him.

It always helps me to return to the example of Mary, who sat at Jesus feet, doing the best thing. She[Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. (Luke 10:39-40) And then, after Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn't helping, "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42 (interesting to note: there are at least three different scenes we're shown in the gospels in which Mary is at His feet.)

So, I decided to sit and think on Jesus. It's an uphill battle mentally, but obviously one I should fight. As I pondered all that Christ has done for me, He made me more aware of the personal nature of His sacrifice - personal to me. Everything He suffered, I deserved. He did not. The rejection and abandonment by men, including his own disciples on the night He was arrested? Should have been mine. The arrest, the mocking, the spit in the face, the thorns pressed into His head, the humiliation, the blows, the flogging....rightfully mine. And then - the nails through His flesh, the taunts and misery...and worst of all, separation from God ("My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?" Mark 15:34), then death.

After thinking on these things, all I could say to Him was Thank You, and how would You have me to be, to live, to think in light of these things? I love my Savior, but as I said, things have just not felt right for some time, so that was my prayer to Him after all these ponderings: How should I live in light of all this? I know the "Sunday School" answers to that question, but I was really heart-eager to hear from God. I got no answer that day.

The next morning, however...I picked up The Pursuit of Holiness, which I haven't read in several weeks. I opened to where I'd left off. What I read made me feel a little sick. You know how the Lord sends the right thing at the right time to teach, train, and convict us? In the few short pages I read, God answered my prayer and question of the day before, "How should I live in light of all this?"

Be holy. This is His answer to me. Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2, I Peter 1:16) God is making me see clearly areas in which I've not been striving for holiness. I wish I could communicate my heart better here...I wish I could better explain what He is teaching, but perhaps that will come over time. I am very much trying to understand from Him how to walk in better obedience in every area of life, hour by hour.

Becoming more aware of my sinfulness is a long-overdue thing in me. It makes me sad to realize how unholy I really am. In the past, this would have devastated my perfectionistic self (and sometimes I do sink too low), but by His grace I'm experiencing this bittersweet thing: sadness over sin (appropriate, if it leads to repentance) combined with the joy of recognizing His overflowing mercies. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10

Seriously: hearing our mockingbird trill out his happy song while at the same time realizing a very ugly selfishness in's seeing that while He does not want me to remain selfish, and indeed hates my sin, He does not hate me, but rather lavishes His love and mercy on me - in that moment, the beauty of the bird's song says to me, "He does not treat you as your sins deserve! He is patient, and has even sent this happy bird to cheer you!"

Here is a belly-shot of me, Halfway! at 20 weeks. Not a great photo, but some documentation, nonetheless.

I know this is long already, but I've been wanting to say Thank You Very Much to those who visit here. I appreciate it so. My purpose in writing here is to honor the Lord, to be obedient to Him in what I say (or don't say), and my prayer is that you may be encouraged...that He could use my fumbling words and imperfect expressions to bring glory to Himself, and to draw others closer to Himself.

This is also a place to show share with faraway family and friends little updates and photos of our family and life. But blogs are just a slice of living. I hope to present an even representation here of the life He's leading me through...the happy, sad, up, down, imperfections, victories. By His grace, I hope to be real and to lift Him up in the process.

Whether you comment or not, I am honored that you choose to stop in. God bless you, every one!

Sweet, sweet mercies...more precious than ever to my mind and heart:

67 My merciful the face of sin I had not even realized was in me....mercy...

68 the happy, happy bird singing a song on the chimney in the mornings lately. Thrilling. I think he's saying "Holy God, Holy God!" in worship to the King. Figured out he's a mockingbird and that mockingbirds are the state bird. There you go. Oh, and I think he/she may be nesting in our lone front-yard-tree.

69 Instant Messenger - it keeps me connected with my true love while he's at work

70 that I may approach the throne of grace with confidence

71 weekly conversations and a treat with Mrs. M...lately challenging each other as we talk through Shepherding a Child's Heart

72 smell of a fresh lime, just cut and squeezed

73 reading the funny papers this morning! It's been a long, long time.

74 MK - "met" the baby for the first time last night...he/she gave MK several high-fives, I believe, from inside of me as she had her hand on my belly...

75 smell of spring rain - today!

76 the look, feel, and smell of really old books. Have been leafing through my grandmother's Eldon Sixth Grade Reader from the early 1930's, I think - a refreshing change of scenery during tiny quiet moments in the schoolday

77 first poem I've read in ages: Kentucky Belle, by Constance Fenimore Woolson, and found in my grandmom's book

78 open windows, fresh air at last

79 beginning strides in potty training for CA - a real answer to prayer

80 pair of cardinals on the back porch - we rarely see colorful birds

81 dad, who is patient, and who listens to me lovingly, even though I think I say too much sometimes

82 this night, 9 years ago, I was nine days overdue with my much-desired firstborn signs of labor (she came the next night, near midnight)

Photos: fabulous old building in Fredericksburg, TX


  1. Amen and amen. You sharing your heart here encourages me as so often my own heart-thoughts echo exactly what you have so poignantly expressed. It is not natural for us to be still or to be holy, is it? Yet there is One who can/will/does enable us to live this way by His grace and there is the promise of a day when He will wipe every tear from our eye. Such hope!

    Thank you for writing, for being vulnerable. You challenge me and encourage me with your thoughts and meditations.

    I adore seeing the photos of your family and reading about His mercies to you. Beautiful, beautiful photos of Fredericksburg, and I'm loving the shot of your two babies!

  2. Although I do not comment much, thank you for your encouraging words and being so "open" with your daily struggles. I to, seem to get in a rut with the Lord and it is nice to hear that I am not alone in these feelings.

    Thanks for sharing your baby bump....can not wait to meet him/her!!!

    Hope you have a blessed day and I will continue to pray for you during this time of discontentment. Love to you!!

  3. This challenges me - thank you for being so honest.
    The gorgeous white building against that blue sky - so beautiful.

  4. One of my sweet mercies is the fact that you have this blog. I can read and see what's going on there so far away....and feel closer to you all for it.