Sunday, March 10, 2013

Unconditional Love

I think I thought my days of insecurity were over.
Long abandoned to the chaos of childhood and the idiosyncrasies of the young adult.

I've been feeling pretty confident, really. I didn't think it was in myself.
I had it in my mind that my hope was in the Lord. That my identity rested firmly in Him.
I'm quite sure that it did.
It's funny how we can set out from a good place at the slightest angle, and somehow find ourselves where we didn't intend to be.

I'm a giver, by nature, in its most Spirit filled form. Bordering on enabler when the flesh has too much of a say.

A man-pleaser, despite my true longing to be otherwise.

Young mother-hood and wife-hood have at its very core, a need for self-sacrificial service, and I have thrived on it.

But this week, one morning, God revealed my heart to me.

I'm afraid.

I've been moving on overdrive. Helping to earn an income to feed my family, reach out and serve the families I work with, support my husband's nontraditional career which boasts an incredibly irregular schedule and little time together as a family, and incubate, nurse, cuddle, and discipline two very spirited little boys. All while trying (and constantly failing) to maintain old friendships and make new ones, and somehow keep our home from falling apart.

I've been awful at it, and I've probably been too good at it.

Because I just looked up to Jesus, and realized that I'm afraid.
Because I can't keep up this pace forever. And I'm not afraid that things won't get done, if I don't do them.
I'm afraid that I won't be loved, if I don't do them.

What if I woke up tomorrow morning, and I couldn't, just couldn't make myself get out of bed?
What if I couldn't do one single thing?
Am I loved for what I do for others, for God, or am I loved because...I am.

I know the answer to that question, deep down I know it.
I know the answer that I found in Him, as I called to Him in the song that came back to me as if I were back in high school:

"If I could just sit with You a while, if You could just hold me
Nothing could touch me though I'm wounded, though I die
If I could just sit with You a while, I need You to hold me
Moment by moment, 'till forever passes by."

-Dennis Jernigan

That He'd hold me as long as I needed to be held. Even if I didn't make any money, or dinner, or the beds.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Sometimes I get so focused on Ephesians 2:10- about being God's workmanship- created to do good works- that I take my eyes off the God part.

It's not about me, at all.
Cheapening grace doesn't just mean taking advantage of God's mercy. It means trying to add to it with our frail efforts.

This world can be so confusing. Everywhere you go, success, and intelligence, and hard work are constantly touted as the greatest virtues.
But they're useless without first: humility.
That comes from realizing we have nothing in us that is successful, nothing in us that is intelligent, and no good and honest hard work coming from ourselves.
And the talents and ability to go long periods without sleep: They are gifts: gifts from God, to be used for His purposes, not for our own satisfaction.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it: unless the LORD guards the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late,
to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He gives His Beloved sleep.”

Psalm 127:1, 2.

It is vital that we, as mothers, recognize that we are not to be loved for our service.
We are loved because we are God's creations. Loved when we were small and helpless and ugly and completely incapable of doing anything, let alone anything right. That's what we still are.
And why is it so important that we understand this?
Because it is the only way we will teach our children the Truth. The only way we can unconditionally love our families and the world at large is to accept unconditional love for ourselves.  

It's a mental tightrope, balancing teaching my sons (especially being that they are so sensitive) to use their manners, be helpful to others, and follow the rules, while also modeling to them that even if they're incredibly rude, lazy, and rebellious, it will not change my love for them.
I hope that one morning, when they wake up, and find themselves incapable of producing anything worthwhile in themselves, they will see the smile shine from somewhere deep inside of my heart for them.

For this will very well be the prelude to the finest hour of their lives.

"Humble yourselves before the LORD, and He will lift you up in due time."
James 4:10

Becoming smaller, that He may be magnified.
I'm praying for His magnification in my life.

Praying that my eyes might be removed from my own continued insufficiency and reminded of His all-sufficiency.

I'm tired, and I'm humbled, and I'm slowing down.

He is moving, and I am waiting. That's right. In my pink snuggie. On my comfortable chair. Feeling loved.

And breakfast isn't even ready.

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