This morning was one of “those” kinds of mornings. The kind where you oversleep then spend the next hour trying to get your 3 year old to eat breakfast, agree to wear the clothes you bring for her and get in the car. Meanwhile asking your 6 year old, for the trillionth time, to stop looking in the mirror and get dressed! I lost on breakfast and had to bring another pair of shorts, but once I discovered in the preschool parking lot that Leah had a mouthful of string cheese that she refused to swallow I knew it was “on.” This would be the third episode of Leah holding food in her mouth and refusing to swallow (why? you ask…I have no earthly idea!) Perhaps it’s just part of the 3’s when your child randomly chooses to take her stand and pit her will against yours on a matter of such great import as…swallowing. No matter what I said or how strongly I urged she would not swallow so I told her we were going home! She would not go to school today with a mouthful of chewed string cheese. As I pried her hands from the front seat to place her back in the car seat there was a true fit taking place! I am determined, however, to let my kids know they will not overcome their mother with even the most embarrassing of fits. I got Leah strapped back into her booster seat and pulled out of the parking lot. She was crying and upset because she wanted to go to school…I was loudly explaining she would not be going to school today if she would not swallow her food! As we drove away from school toward home I finally heard the clarity of a cry from an open mouth…one without gooey string cheese. SIGH…she relents. Back to school we go…repair the pony tail…wipe the face…big hug at the door and a smile and a wave. Tough little cookie!
Finding my way to my kitchen table for a few moments of peace, I begin to have a heart to heart with my Heavenly Father. The kind that is laced with frustration and tears. Not due to the battle of my morning…thankfully after a few moments of peace I can smile about it. Hey, this is life and life is good. It’s the pendulum that swings wide…stubborn meltdowns and brown-eyed smiles all in 10 minutes. No, this battle is one of direction, of provision, of purpose. This battle is one perhaps you may relate to as well…
God, I’m far from perfect but my heart is set on You. I’m giving it what I’ve got but it’s getting harder. I can only see the next step ahead against the backdrop of all I need. Simply put, I feel discouraged about when the answer will come and how it’s going to get here. Have you ever been there? You know in your heart you’re where God wants you but you still have those moments where you doubt yourself. See, when God takes us on a faith journey there will always be available options for meeting our needs that seem to make much more sense than trusting God. I get it because I look at my life, even today, and recognize steps I could easily take to alleviate the pressure I sense at times…the fight of walking in faith could easily be set aside by choosing options that make perfect sense and relieve me of pressing on…except God speaks to my heart and says no, that would be your way and not mine. It’s hard to write that. This is what a friend of mine and I refer to as “the stretch.” About the time God finishes stretching you in one area you start to sense it coming on someplace else! The stretch is not easy. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable. And since we tend to have our sights set on being comfortable in every area of our lives, we easily find ourselves avoiding the stretch. I have come pretty close lately. It’s not about some overt sin, just me sneaking up on what would make me more comfortable. A sensible option that seems to make perfect sense! Oh yeah..except as you learn to live and make decisions by looking for where God’s peace leads sometimes you find His peace leads you right on past “easy.” So, this morning as I cry out to God and share my frustration and my need I clearly hear “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.” See, this is why you just gotta get to know Jesus! This is why taking time to sit and talk to God is so amazing. He will bring scripture to your heart and mind when you need it most. He’s that personal!
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Trust God with all my heart. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it hurts. Even when it doesn’t make sense and I have other options staring me down that could solve my dilemma. Trust God. I really believe if I want to know and experience God in ways beyond the norm I need to be willing to live beyond the norm. Because at the end of this particular stretch, I will have seen His hand upon my family. I will know, even more clearly, that He is an amazingly personal God who wants me to follow Him right past my own answers and effort to the place He has ordained for me. If it were easy and I could manage God’s supernatural provision and purpose it wouldn’t be much of a faith journey, would it?
I’m not perfect by any means but my heart is set on acknowledging Him in everything I do. I screw it up quite often! And then I dust the dirt off, spit the mud out, and get on with it. The Bible says the righteous fall seven times and get back up. I think that’s just saying the people of God will fall but they don’t stay down. His mercy is new for us every day. It’s only in God’s grace that I can battle with my preschooler and then come home and smile about it. Really, that is only because I sense God’s uncontainable compassion and patience and…sense of humor! I certainly wasn’t mom of the year this morning in the jeep demanding Leah swallow her cheese (and she likes cheese!) but I was doing my best. I knew she was testing me and I certainly can’t let her grow up to think she doesn’t have to submit or that throwing a fit produces her getting her way. Oh wait! Isn’t that something?! I came home to have my own personal “moment” with God and in the end He didn’t capitulate either, but reminded me…Trust In Me. You don’t have to have it all figured out…you might not want to swallow this place you are in right now, but keep going and Trust Me. I know what’s ahead and you will be amazed…
If you find yourself in a “Stretch” today, don’t spit it out. Don’t run and refuse because it’s uncomfortable. Be really honest with God and let Him speak to your heart. If our heart is to acknowledge Him in every area of our lives, then we can have confidence He is leading us far beyond what we think is good and comfortable to a place of absolutely abnormal yet overwhelmingly wonderful.
I’m counting on it.