Will I let Him?

For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:5

Thoughts have been swimming in my head non-stop for the past month or so, but I haven’t felt compelled enough to sit down and write. I get paralyzed. I start pursuing an idea from the heart like writing a blog or learning to play the guitar and for whatever reason, or a hundred life reasons, I stop. The notes on my phone get filled with thoughts, but the computer stays closed and the folder of theory lessons and chords sit atop my unopened guitar case. I don’t know why this happens, but I want to fight through it.  So here I am; sitting at my computer; hoping to pull together thoughts; make sense; connect.

When I started this blog of learning how to rest in the role God has given me, I didn’t realize that resting in God was not only unpracticed in my life, but completely foreign. It had always been up to me to get through a hard time or be better or do more or just plain survive. My knuckles are still white from holding on.

About a month ago, life took a turn. I had pushed the envelope too far in a direction I knew the Holy Spirit had been speaking to me for a long time to change. Nothing devastating happened that night, but I knew this was yet another crossroad on which He was ever so patiently offering to walk with me in a healing direction. After leaving my teaching career and learning the ropes of being a stay at home mom, I started to realize I had many shortcomings and many hurts that weren’t overtly felt when I was busy with both a career and a family. It didn’t take long for those to manifest themselves in the slower, longer, and quieter days. As many people do, I started to cope with my pain in the food pantry or on Netflix binges or with a bottle of wine. As Allen Carr says, “drinking isn’t the primary problem, it’s secondary. It’s the reasons we drink that are the primary problem.”

Holly Glen, author of Hip Sobriety, writes this as her first point of the Hip Sobriety Manifesto: “1. You do not need to hit rock bottom. Some 90% of folks who struggle with alcohol (in the US) are not clinically addicted. We have an idea that we need to be falling down and lose everything to address our relationship with alcohol. Not true. If you’re worried about your drinking, if it’s causing shame or fear or keeping you from the life you’re dreaming about, that’s more than enough to begin. And the sooner you start, the easier it is.”

The truth is I was worried about my drinking, and eating, and anything else I was using to numb or disguise the pain from the past and the listlessness of the present, so I decided to let the cat out of the bag and be honest with myself and some of my close friends from church; friends I know God strategically put into my life. You see, the reality is that God loves me way more than I love myself. He wants me to be complete in Him and His presence. He’s a good Father who wants to give me the desires of my heart!  Psalm 37: 3-6 says: Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Although there have been times God has spoken to me quickly and directly, I need to realize I may not always get answers right away when I cry out to Him. I want to be able to rest in the fact that He hears me, that He is for me, and that He has not forgotten about me, even if the relief isn’t instantaneous. Life is a process, and for a girl who tends to have very little patience, the wait can be hard. There are two passages that are giving me great hope in this time of walking through the healing process without the numbing aids I was using.

The first is Hebrews 4:14-16
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

The second is Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

After making the recent decision to cut ties with alcohol, I went to a worship service and the woman leading worship was one of the former worship leaders at the church I went to before I got married and had a family; a time when I was a lot more dependent on the Lord and unware of ways he still needed to work in my heart. I was elated to get to hear Kelanie again and I was so free in worship that night. I spent some much needed time on my knees soaking in the presence of the Holy Spirit and hearing Him speak to my heart.

During one of the songs I heard the lyrics:
You’re pouring out the oil
You’re pouring out the wine
Whenever I call on Your Name,
You come running
With healing in Your wings

I heard God speak to me saying: “I want to be your wine.” As in He wants to be the one I turn to in every circumstance, good or bad.  He wants to be my refuge, the person I hand my bruised heart to, the person to whom I scream out my frustrations and fears, and the person I thank when I realize He has moved on my behalf because He loves me.

He wants to be my all in all. The question is will I let him?

Kelanie’s The Oil and The Wine

 

My Days Have Meaning

“And let her know her days have meaning.” This was part of Keith’s prayer this morning that had a big impact on how I’ve perceived the rest of my day.

You wouldn’t normally find us having a peaceful moment of prayer at our dining room table. By 7am we’re usually breaking up toy arguments and filling drink, food, and Veggie Tales orders. But this morning was different. David was having a sleepover with my parents, and Jonathan miraculously slept in. Thankfully, we took advantage of the silence and went to God together. As we prayed for our family, our church, and Keith’s work; the words “and let her know her days have meaning” were spoken. He didn’t know it, but those words were so needed.

We all have different life experiences and some of my past and some of my own selfishness has made it difficult to rest in my role as mother, but God is good and I believe He will take my weaknesses and use them for His glory!

At times I’ve felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. I quit working 2 years ago to stay home after having my 2nd baby, and my days mostly felt monotonous and unimportant to the rest of society. Who was I now that I didn’t have a career? Who was I now that I could wear the same outfit for 2 days and nobody (except for Keith) would know? What I thought was going to be endless amounts of freedom and memories made with my kids became an unexpected hell. I absolutely was depressed. I was trying to recalibrate and adjust to this new life of stay-at-home motherhood and I couldn’t. It’s only been in the last month that I’ve started to scratch the surface in learning to rest in my role as a mother.

In my opinion, motherhood, and parenthood in general, is the most selfless role you play in life. Most of your dreams, wants, needs, expectations, and basic self-care are put on the back burner, especially while the child is young. You no longer come first. You no longer have the ability to roll out to a weekend movie or meet friends for dinner or take a nap or even pee by yourself. Your “me time” is over for a while, and there is nothing impromptu about life. My dreams of living on the mission field and making an impact for Jesus felt long gone.

Motherhood is also multi-faceted, especially as they get older. You have to hone your abilities to cook, clean, teach, play, love, discipline, and lead spiritually among other things. And through all of this, you’re still a wife and don’t even get me started on those expectations! Ladies?!!

There are times I look at Keith after spending a long day with children, dishes, and laundry and say to him: “I was made for more than this!” But as I continue to come out of the very demanding baby stage, I’m starting to realize there are beautiful moments that are waiting for me and Keith in the future; moments when our sons will make us proud or make us laugh; moments when they will speak their own mind and convictions from the heart; moments when they will grow closer to Jesus; moments when they will graduate and get married; moments when I’ll hold my first grandchild in my arms and think to myself “I did it! We did it!”

Sometimes you just have to say and believe things by faith. Today when I was bringing home the groceries, unloading them, feeding the dog, cleaning the stovetop, and listening to the chatter inside of my head, I kept reminding myself of the words my husband had prayed over me, and I kept telling myself that this day had meaning. What I was doing in this moment had meaning. Not because I would be praised or recognized for it, but because it was leading to a future, my children’s future, and their children’s future.

The bottom line for me is that motherhood is serving and even though the gift of serving was literally at the very bottom of my spiritual gifts after taking a multitude of spiritual gifts tests, it doesn’t mean I’m not supposed to grow and develop skills for this role, so I want to thank all of the women who have spoken into my life and who are currently speaking into my life and giving me much needed advice, and a special thank you to my husband who said a much needed prayer this morning!

My Role As Wife

This role does not come naturally for me, which is probably why I haven’t been able to rest in it. If I was honest I’d say I’ve messed up as a wife more than I’ve succeeded, but I am fully convinced this is the role God will use for the rest of my life to grow me into His Son’s likeness. I’m not sure where I heard this, but I liked it! “Marriage is not meant to make you happy. It’s meant to make you holy.”

Keith has been a true gift from God to me. He’s as steady as they come. He has become the family I’ve always longed for. He’s quiet and kind and respectful; qualities I struggle with at times. He’s not a fighter. He is the calm in my storm. Once, after describing Keith to a friend, she quoted the saying “still waters run deep.” I’ve never forgotten that. There are times I think about what my life would be like if I actually let Keith lead and learned to rest in my role as a wife. I imagine it would be more peaceful.

It is no secret that I have the dominate personality in this marriage. I am the Martha to his Mary. (Luke 10:38-42) I’m detail oriented, a control freak, and “I’m totally flexible as long as everything is exactly the way I want it.” There is a reason my middle initial is A. I am a fighter. I’m strong willed, opinionated, loud, and passionate! Because of these awesome and not so awesome traits, I’ve struggled tremendously with the following: “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am devoted to my husband and kids. Every decision I make has them in mind. I’ve loved Keith the best I know how, but I know there is more. There is a beauty I still haven’t experienced in my relationship with him. I absolutely believe I can hear from God and have my opinions, but I’m sure there is a way to convey those ideas in my marriage without being disrespectful. Keith is a thinker and he is not going to speak first then think. He is going to pray and process the situation before reacting. I should take notes! When there is a hot topic in our life, or a big decision to be made, or a talk we need to have with a friend or family member; I think the most important questions I need to ask myself are: Have I prayed about it? Am I listening to Keith’s wisdom before reacting? Am I letting him hear from God too?

The issue is trust. Do I trust that Keith also hears from God and is led by the Holy Spirit? Can I relax in the fact that Keith has my best interest in mind, but ultimately my Heavenly Father does as well?

If you have learned over time to rest in your role as wife, I would love your thoughts on this topic! Titus 2:1-3 says: “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” I’m praying for older (or more mature) women to teach me how to embrace this role of wife and learn to respect the man that God so graciously sent my way!

Why rest in your role?

I’ve always thought about having a blog, but I wanted a true purpose for one. I asked God several times to reveal a name for it when He was ready. I never heard anything… until recently.

April 14, 2016: Keith and I finally got an hour all to ourselves! David was at preschool, and we dropped Jonathan off at the YMCA child watch so we could go on a walk.  We desperately needed this time to process life together!  Our processing usually looks like me talking (a lot) and Keith mostly listening and nodding his head in agreement. I did stay silent for about 50 (painful) seconds to see how long it took for him to initiate a conversation. I guess he could see the internal struggle I was having and finally mentioned something about a yard we were passing. We discussed our house plans, our busy weekend ahead, and David’s upcoming Kindergarten year.

I’ve struggled with the question of David’s schooling for a couple of years now. I was a teacher in my previous life, so that added to my wavering. School or Homeschool? Public school or Christian school? Teach again or stay home? As Keith and I talked, it was clear we both still wanted me to stay home, especially since Jonathan is only 2. It was also clear we were leaning towards Christian school. He talked through the financials explaining that we most likely would not be able to send Jonathan to preschool since the tuition for David would replace the preschool tuition we are paying now. As I processed what he was saying I felt some epiphany action happening in my brain and heart. Why have I fought so hard against God’s current role for me? Why haven’t I been able to let myself be happy being a wife and mom full time? Why have I felt guilty for not working? Why have I thought I needed more titles to feel important?

In that moment I felt free. My son could go to a school that teaches from a Biblical worldview (one of my heart’s desires) and I could still stay home for now and concentrate on raising my boys without the added pressure of work. I could rest in this season and actually enjoy it!  My solidifying statement to Keith was: “If I could just rest in my role then I could be happy in the season of life we’re in.”  And the phrase “rest in your role” kept repeating and I knew God had spoken!