"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Eph 2:10.
The past few weeks have been rough. I have been on the couch with incredible fatigue. That means no cooking, no cleaning, no going out. There have been times when I would get discouraged by my physical situation, but I have tried most of the time to be joyful. I know that God did not make this happen... my poor choices over the years have led up to my body needing a break, but I do believe that God uses ALL things for our good. Sitting on the couch or laying in the bed has given me some time to think. The Father has given me so much to think about. I can see alot of things that I couldn't see when I was busy bee. Actually right now my thoughts are all in a jumble about what God is showing me, but I will try to narrow a couple down for this post.
I was redeemed in 1996 and not having ever had anything to do with church before I had no idea that this journey to holiness was going to be so long and drawn out. I also naturally assumed that God would clean up my outside up real quick like and that would be the end of it, on to live the GOOD LIFE. This kind of thinking coupled with NO discipleship eventually landed me right back where I was before and worse. Until on a day 4 years later when the Spirit spoke to my heart and said "I can change you. My word has to be the food you eat and the water you drink." I began to devour His Word and through the years I have been CHANGED, but I really didn't understand the depth of what God wanted to do in my life. I just thought I was finally going to be a better person. When the bible says "He will complete the work he started in You" I had no idea that this was going to be a life long work and surely wouldn't he be better served to do it all at once?!?! ;-)
Fast-forward to now. I am a wife, a mom of 4, baby on the way, homeschooling, woman of God (used lightly). When I say "woman of God" in my mind I'm wanting to be absolutely EVERYTHING that I read in scripture... Hospitality, Good works, feeding the poor, and so on, but I can barely feed the children God's blessed me with, and keep the house from looking like one you would see on hoarders, and educate them in a 1/2 way decent way. I often feel guilty of not adding up. I stress alot about what "other" people think about me. I feel guilty about what I'm not able to accomplish and compare myself to every other woman I see and in my mind don't measure up.
Naturally my first reaction to being struck down by some mysterious ailment was FEAR... How can I get things done. FEAR... what will everybody else think. FEAR... I can't keep up as it is. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR... One of the first things the Lord highlighted was this FEAR and that the driving force of my life is to prove my worth. I've been striving all these years to prove my worth to God, to my husband, and everyone around me. When you're fearful you cannot rest in the Love of God. For a moment in time the Lord has "layed me down" to show me that NOTHING I do can make Him love me. He is LOVE. I could do everything or nothing and His love wouldn't change. His love is not based on me being and doing. Actually HE proved his love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. When I was completely unlovable HE LOVED ME.
Along with the love of God, the love of my husband is nothing I've earned. Because of Christ the love between us is not about what I do or anything else. Actually I have seen the love of my husband much more clearly when I was down. His care and concern were beautiful to me. Like a healing balm on my soul.
One of the things I worry about is keeping up... I remember all the events where I should have taken a break and let someone else do things for me and I didn't. The times I should have been on bed rest and didn't rest. After babies were born and even now during pregnancy when I REALLY NEED a nap, but I keep going because I'm so afraid of falling behind. OR even worse I want to prove to everyone that I don't need help... FEAR AGAIN. These 2 weeks have really shown me how silly that is. My husband and my children have stepped up to help in so many ways. I can rest AND I CAN ASK FOR HELP. How freeing.
I was blown away to read Psalms 23 with new eyes through this...
The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall not want,
HE MAKES ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES,
He leads me beside the still waters,
HE RESTORES MY SOUL.
I feel like He has LAYED me down physically so that I could find rest in Him. Yes my body needs rest and I need to take care of myself by eating right. More importantly though my soul needed some RESTORING.
My mom passing last year was a blow. I guess I thought that since I was a child of God and that I know heaven is better than here I didn't allow myself to grieve properly. I thought that I didn't have time to be down. I thought that the long illness had prepared me for her passing, but I see now that my soul needed some restoring. I see that I needed to REST in God. I see now that HE sometimes has to make us lay down so that we will have the time to focus.
I'm so thankful that God layed me down. I feel like we worked on somethings that are going to help me. We are created to be HIS workmanship, but we can do very little good when we work ourselves to death, when we are tired and grumpy, or even doing things with wrong motives. Sometimes we are actually the ones who NEED someone to care for us and minister to us. I've been reading several books lately and one thing I noticed is that men and woman of God who are DRIVEN to do mighty things for Jesus usually by divine Providence have times when they are layed down... It makes me think of David and his desire to build the Temple (for) God, and God saying NO. We should NEVER FORGET that we are NOT making a name for ourselves. We are making a name for God AND sometimes that means decreasing to the point NOT being seen. HE works in ways that we don't understand. Like sickness, early death, pain, suffering... A post for another time. It's RARELY the GREAT things that we do that make the most impact on the lives around us.
This is a small account of what the Lord has begun to show me. I know I didn't really get it all, but if I know anything about the Lord it's this... before it's over I will learn these lessons thoroughly!!! I'm thankful to be up again, but I have to say that being down on that green grass sitting with my Shepherd was a sweet time. I'm thankful for His constant care for me.