Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wrestling with God

Recently I was really struggling with something that God asked me to do. I had to confront someone - which I hate doing - and was quite concerned about how to do it with grace and love. Especially since it was a really hard thing to say.

As I lay in bed and argued with God, I used the term "wrestling" in my head. I told God that I was tired of wrestling with him.

But then he brought to mind an image of my children wrestling. When they wrestle, they work to pin each other down. They are merciless in dragging their opponent to the floor and then literally laying on top of each other to shout in the weaker child's face, "I pinned you!".

As I thought about wrestling with God, I realized that this image was not at all how I feel. Obviously, God is sooo very much more powerful than me and could easily pin me down and laugh in my face. "Haha! You lose. Now do what I've asked you to do!"

Instead, it's a bit more like fencing. After God gently lays on my heart what I am to do, he stands back and blocks all of my defensive thrusts. I complain, I rant, I whine ... and he just patiently waits until I run out of strength and finally surrender to his will. It's never a battle of strength.

It's more like I throw excuses at God and he blocks my advances by showing me how silly I am.

I have to say that it really makes me feel good to know that I have a God who could easily overpower me, but who is gentle and kind and chooses to let me discover that his way is always best. He truly is a loving father. Not one who yells at his child and says, "Do this because I said so", but gently shares the best way with us and then patiently responds to our questions, fears and objections. Eventually we must come to the conclusion that he knows what he's talking about and loves us despite our own hesitancy to trust him. Praise God!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Spin on 10 Rules

We've been reading from Exodus as a family for our morning devotions. Today, we got to the 10 commandments.

You'd think after growing up in the church and having heard these all my life, I wouldn't get a whole lot out of a simple discussion with the kids. But, I had neglected to factor in my husband's knowledge of Scripture!

Josh read the beginning of the text: And God spoke all these words: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." Exodus 20:1-2

Then he asked a question. What does this tell us about the Lord? Hmmm. We got the typical answers of, "God is the Lord", "God brought the Israelites out of Egypt", "He helped them not be slaves anymore". Yup. That's what it says.

But Josh went on to explain that this simple sentence has a lot more meaning for us than that. God doesn't ask us to obey these 10 commandments in order to get into heaven. Check, got that.

But FIRST He saves us from the slavery of our sin and THEN we obey these commands because we are so thankful for his saving grace.

Now, I know all that too, but I'd never gotten it from the simple sentence, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

I had thought of this sentence in terms of God introducing himself. This is the first time he speaks audibly to the Israelites as a whole and he tells them who he is. So, I had just left it at that. But it's so much more. It goes beyond just an introduction and moves to a reason for the 10 commandments. And it's not just something he said to the Israelites way back when, it's something he's saying to me now. "I saved you out of the bond of slavery. I rescued you from the penalty of your sin. I am the Lord. Now, put me first and have no other gods before me."

Sure does give a whole lot more meaning to the 10 commandments for a girl who's heard them all her life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes ...

Sometimes my kids just blow me away with their maturity.

The other day, we made a sudden decision to travel several hours to see Josh's stepdad who had just come home after being in the hospital for several weeks. We wanted to see him and to encourage Josh's mom. Although we live several hours away, we are still the nearest family members and felt a need to be there with them.

We decided suddenly to go, but realized that in doing so, our daughter would miss her beloved gymnastics class for the second week in a row. We decided to ask her permission and give her the right to make the final decision.

So we simply explained to her that we wanted to go and visit Grandma and Grandpa, but that doing so would mean missing gymnastics. And since that is her special thing, she could choose what was more important and we would abide by her decision.

She took us seriously. And then she did the unexpected. I had fully expected her to say that we could go, but with a fair amount of pouting and complaining thrown in. Instead, she looked me full in the face and solemnly said, "Mom, gymnastics is important. But there are more important things. And Grandma and Grandpa are more important."

Just like that! No whining, no frustration, no upset. Just a gentle admission that she knew what was most important for us to do and that we needed to do it.

Did you know my sweet girl is only 7? I'm so proud of her! She warmed my heart. But even more so, she touched Grandma and Grandpa with such love when they heard of her decision. Ah, the sweetness of children!