BB and I are dying to know – is there some sort of study that has proven that babies prefer the sound of the pan flute as opposed to actual orchestration? Why don’t these baby toys just play Beethoven’s Ninth by the full orchestra?
I’ve been warned. Being pregnant, giving birth, nursing, all these things will ruin my body. I’ll be all used up by the time Fred is 6 months old. It makes me wonder, what would I be saving myself for?
I want to be used. My body was designed (in part) to bring forth life. My breasts were designed to provide food. My body is here for a function. Even if it wasn’t child-bearing, my hands are meant to wash, build, create. My feet are to meant to walk, run. My back should be bent. I’m not a priceless work of art, meant only for observation.
Our culture strives to preserve – save your money, use the candlesticks only for special occasions, keep your skin out of the sun, wear rubber gloves, keep your shoes out of the mud. We don’t want to get dirty. We don’t want to be used. We want our bodies, homes, cars, brains, kept fresh until….until what? What are we saving ourselves for?
We are about to embark on another 7-style purge of our home. This one’s going to be bigger, deeper, more painful. I’m scared. I love my stuff. It’s not all materialistic – some of the love comes from the memories the things hold. The warm coat that’s insulated me at the bus stop, the running shoes in which I’ve logged miles, the skillet that has cooked many a meal, the platter given by a friend, the sweater picked out by my mom.
But then I kick myself. Here I’m giving away so many items that I was saving for something special. Why didn’t I use the wedding china more often? Why have I only worn that necklace once? I didn’t know that one day I would be called to give it all up.
Our vats are overflowing, and we build another barn to hold it. Spend it. Use it. This life is fleeting. You can’t take it with you…not in the next life, and sometimes in this one.
We save our money for an emergency. But (as Francis Chan once asked), is it only an emergency if it affects our family?
We save our time like misers. We have to work hard, and we will serve others later. We will have that date night with our spouse next month. We will spend more time with the children once we get this last errand run. What if later never comes?
Spend it. Wear it. Use it. Jesus’ body was broken, used. His blood was shed for us.
I can say with assurance that sin has been revealed in my life over the last four weeks – from the obvious to the not so obvious (at least to me, probably obvious to everyone else). Initially, it was perfectly obvious that I idolize food and pleasure much more than Jesus. It only took about 2 hours for that to be revealed. I ended day 1 literally on the floor crying because I could not imagine eating rice cereal for a whole month.
About halfway through the month, I became extremely convicted about the excesses of my life. I began to see how many of the choices I make to satisfy myself at the expense of another. Quite literally, I have too much. I have been given more than I need. God has a purpose for giving me more than I need. News flash – it’s not so I can buy myself more stuff!! This seems obvious, but it’s so hard. I am addicted to my life. I truly believe that I cannot live without the comforts on which I rely. I do not trust that God will provide. There’s nothing in the Bible to suggest that it’s ok for me to live a comfortable rich life while people have unmet needs right outside my door (please tell me if there is because I would love the justification!). If I lived the life I do in a third world country while starving children knocked on my door unanswered, there is no doubt that everyone I know would think I was the most heartless, evil, cruel being that ever lived. How is that not exactly what I am doing right now?
If that revelation wasn’t enough, the repentance really got personal. In the last week of this month’s fast, I’ve been aware of my seriously negative spirit. DH challenged me on my complaining, and while it hurt to hear. He was not wrong. I do complain often and he usually gets the brunt of it. When I am stressed out (which is a lot these days), I take it out on him, and I do it self-righteously, expecting him to be compassionate and listem to the latest litany of complaints (which he usually does with a gentle spirit). It’s certainly a burden that he need not carry.
While I could go on and on with the list of the sins revealed, that may be depressing, and no one would want to continue reading my blog.
As difficult as these revelations have been, I am so encouraged and grateful. Encouraged because I know that I serve a God who can handle my sin. Grateful because his grace abounds.
So excited for Month 2 (and to celebrate the end of month 1 with a cookie!).
Throughout this month, I have been brought to my knees more than usual. Most times that I start craving something or feel that temptation coming, I immediately repeat Scripture, a phrase from a praise song or some other mantra to keep my eyes on the Lord. Some of my favorites – “man cannot live on bread alone but on every Word from God,” “I need thee, oh I need thee,” “Your grace is enough,” and “Jesus will satisfy.” These mini prayer moments were so helpful and joy-filled. I need these throughout my life.
I’ve been reading through some Spurgeon sermons on prayer, and it’s been challenging me to boldly pray. I’ve been challenged to pray such that I actually trust that God will answer me. Imagine that? I need to move prayer from the task list to the needs list. I want God to move in me such that I can’t get through a moment without turning to Him.
Tomorrow we depart for vacation. Heading to Tennessee and Alabama to visit sites from the Civil Rights movement. We have been reading so much about race in America, and we wanted to really dive into this area of history about which we know so little. Unfortunately and appallingly, as a white American, this part of history has never seemed relevant to me. I’ve been walking through life thinking that race didn’t matter (easy to say when you are in the majority). I’ve been learning how wrong I have been! It’s so hard to learn what really has gone on (and continues to go on) in our country, a place of which I’ve always been proud. I still believe in the greatness America, and I’m proud to be an American, but those feelings have definitely tempered over the past few months. Even though I will never truly understand what it means to be Black in America, I owe it my children to learn as much as I can.