I’m drowning. The only thing keeping me from being completely washed away is the edge of smooth wood my thumbs are hooked around, and the rough upholstery my finger tips are digging into.
“Be on your guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap;”
“Weighted down with the worries of life,” is that what’s happened to me? I have felt so empty these past two weeks as the regularity of my time with God fell apart. Sitting in church I was so desperate. I was clinging to the pew in front of me with my eyes scrunched shut trying to block out the worries of life that were whining and wiggling in the pew next to me. I have been so busy these past two weeks. Running this household is taking every minute of my day and kid behavior is taking every second of my thoughts. I haven’t been neglecting God because I’m choosing to entertain myself instead, but because… because my family is running my life! My greatest gift from God has become a stumbling block filling me with worry and stress- oh, my poor kids! As I sit in church I try to just breathe God in. I need Him so much. Surrounded by my family I am trying to put my family back where it belongs. “God, I don’t want this! My kids, my husband- I don’t want them if they keep me from you!” and in that moment I would have walked away. I would have become like that missionary who abandoned his family to go to Africa. Give up on my relationships with my precious children and my husband- the little lights of my life. I would give up on my favorite, most precious job- the thing God used to save me. I don’t want to be a mother- if it is going to make it harder for me to know God. I will abandon it. Only, God doesn’t make me do that. He hates for a child or marriage to be abandoned so that he never calls me to act so selfishly. In truth, I think He knows that it would be easier to abandon all entanglements and make Christianity my career serving God in some desolate corner of Africa. This living for God in entanglements, in relationships, in my culture is so much harder! But when I sit there for a moment, hating my family- not hating them in the way of a heart filled up with anger- but choosing to love God so much that I won’t chose them over Him- in that moment God puts my family back where it should be, and he puts my heart back as it should be—an open portal in my chest filling me up with Him. “Oh Beloved God I have missed You!”
The next second my five year old rebels- angrily kicking off her shoes and squalling as loud as she dares in the quiet sanctuary, “I hate this day!” I pray “Oh God, please help me, how do I respond? Why won’t my daughter obey?” “Because you don’t obey.” Oh. I am being disobedient about reading my Bible and my daughter has likewise developed a loudly voiced streak of rebellion. Maybe what I have seen as distraction, a tribulation designed to try my focus on God could actually be a chance to open my eyes and see my own behavior. So I sit and I am quiet and I wait for God to tell me what to do. God is quiet, so I am too, and hours later the rebel leader comes to me in tears and surrenders and because I am already whole I can receive her surrender with gracious terms. In the meantime I felt God with me as I spoke to my brothers and sisters after church- felt Him waiting behind my answers. I felt Him as I listened to the sermon with my husband’s arm locked tightly around my shoulder. Can it be that hating my marriage out of love for God has made me love my husband better? After lunch I read my Bible and I don’t have to leave my family to do it. In fact, three times kids flop on the bed next to me bringing me their open little hearts as I have finally decided to bring my heart to their Creator. I am still as they wiggle, I am whole as they talk, and I am at peace as their problems splash around us. Oh, I have missed my Lord so much!