“…the choice I struggle with is letting the Spirit of Christ, my first love, have full reign in me. I want to model a gentle, quiet spirit, but what a struggle it is…so much of my life hinges on this one choice. I have to consciously return to my first love every day. In big ways and small, I have to make the choice to reveal the reality of Jesus in my life. Praising Him, feeling those tugs toward eternity, and consciously choosing my first love will do more to fill me than anything else.” –Lysa Terkeurst
Even now as I pause in my day to write, Leah (my five-year-old) is laughing and rolling around on the floor with my also laughing seven-month-old, Leighton. Well, they are not rolling around together! Yikes! Leah is the roller and Leighton the watcher. Sunlight is gleaming on the lush green leaves that blow in the breeze outside my kitchen window. I finished my lunch and stop to ponder the words above that I just read while enjoying my turkey sandwich (but wishing I had cake or something…smile).
What caught my heart was this: I have to make the choice to reveal the reality of Jesus in my life.
Jesus is Jesus! He is the same every day for all of time! So, perhaps the clincher is indeed the choice before me, in every situation, to reveal the reality of my unchanging Jesus. To let Him show up in my words, my attitudes, my behavior and really where it all begins…my thoughtlife. The way I think about and perceive myself, the people around me and what God asks of me in life. I love Lysa because she is so real. Her blog posts are real. Her books are real. Real, real, real. And I need real.
It’s an absolutely beautiful day in my part of the world. Seventies, sunny and breezy! (Yesterday it poured buckets all day!) So, as Leah and I made our way back home from dropping Rivers off at school this morning, we decided to go ahead and take a walk. Packed sweet Leighton into her stroller, Leah hopped onto her little bike with training wheels and off we went. Since it was so nice out and early in the day, I chose to put aside my list of to-do’s and told Leah to lead the way…we could walk any direction she wanted for as long as she wanted. And walk we did!! Along the way on a walking trail near our neighborhood, Leah stopped to pet this really cute little dog. A pug mix, I think the owner said. As we said our “have a nice day” and the dog made his way past us, Leah said “that dog walks like a fashion pup!” I started to laugh and asked, a fashion pup? She then directed me to notice how the dog twisted its backside as it walked and again said, “yeah that is how the fashion pups walk.” We kept walking and as she rode on ahead of me a little ways my heart whispered a prayer of praise and thanks to God. Fashion pups. Smile…
See, if marriage reveals to me the depth and potential of my selfishness and “it’s all about me and my needs” nature, motherhood reveals one of God’s great cures. Because when I became a mom, life stopped being about me. Oh I think until you actually have your first baby, the idea of parenting is still about you. Your dream…Your cute round belly and the attention it brings…the fairy tale of how your family will look on the Christmas cards…the cute little clothes and choosing a name…the sheer wonder and admiration that will forever shine in your husband’s eyes as you transform into the most awesome mom. EVER.
Three girls later in life, my biggest lesson has been that I can’t lead my children to a place I am not headed to myself. I can’t really teach them to be kind, respectful, giving or God-loving if I am not leading them there as I go myself. I can’t just tell them who Jesus is or take them to church on Sundays without actually revealing the reality of Jesus to them in my every day life. All those moments that I thought would flow like a movie script starring me, the most awesome mom (EVER), turned into something a lot less flashy but a lot more interesting…real life.
The truth is that being a mom is meant to be a selfless job. I’m not suggesting we completely lose ourselves or ignore our own needs. But I am saying that it’s not about me anymore and that is the default lesson beginning on day one. Some of the hardest times of motherhood, for me at least, are when it becomes about me. What I’m giving. What I’m not receiving. I get tired. Overwhelmed. Whiney. Oh yes, whiney. And grumpy! Well, really I think that is life in a nutshell. The most chronically miserable and disappointed people are generally those of us consumed with our own wants and needs.
Our walk turned out to be a really long one. And now I need to fold the laundry and clean my bathroom. You know, the glamorous stuff. But I like the point Lysa makes. Truly the only way I can be filled, reveal Jesus to my family, is to praise Him for the “fashion pup” moments of motherhood and follow His gentle tug on my heart in the midst of living my ordinary life. Every day I need Jesus to fill me so I can give and serve my family with the right heart. Maybe this is the one choice that matters most of all…more than any other choice I will ever make for them…that I would choose to let Him reign in me.
Because He is the most awesome God. EVER.