Sunday, June 05, 2011

Wimpier than Jacob

I've been in a wrestling match with God the past couple of months. Did you ever read about Jacob's wrestle with God? That story terrified me when I was little. I still remember hearing it in Bible class at the small private school I attended from K-4rth grade. I can see the pictures on the felt board. As a very imaginative child, I remember feeling empathy pains in my hip.

I don't interact with God that way. My husband always encourages me to "wrestle with God", to have it out with him, so to speak. I am too big a wimp for that type of interaction with the Creator of the universe. I don't think anyone could convince me to spar with God. So instead I just plead. I say, "Deep in my gut I don't think you want this thing for me, but please, please, please could I have it?" It sounds like my four year old. It sounds childish. But I promise, I really do this.

This past week, for example, I pleaded with God to give me a peace about sending the kids to a different school. Never mind that all of the classical schools that make me squeal with delight and drool with envy are an hour or more away. Never mind that God has told me that he wants us immersed in this community. Never mind that every time I ask for guidance in His word or through fellowship with His people, I get the same message over and over again: STAY PUT. I just kept stomping my feet and digging my heels in. They are MY children after all (that beginning premise right there is where I got it wrong), and I have a vision for what kind of education and environment they need, and YOU (God) must have lead me to read all these books and talk to all these people that gave me this vision, so please just LET ME MAKE THE DRIVE! Let me have my way! I even told God (and why is this any less scary than wrestling with him??), that He has already taken away enough, could He just leave my dream alone? Maybe I didn't tell him, per se, but I thought it. Lots of times. These are crummy thoughts that lead to crummy attitudes and behaviors. I think I felt mad at everyone at some time or another.

Since we moved here to our farm, at every turn God has used other people, my devotions, His Word, personal conversations- everything at every turn- to ask me to serve Him right here. Honestly, it's been annoying. I am way out of my comfort zone. But when Jesus is Lord of your life, eventually even for a stubborn fool like me, He wins because His grace and love for me are too amazing to not change me! He melts my heart of stone and changes me! His love compels me to open up my white-knuckled fists and hand over my greatest earthly treasures- my darling children- and trust His provision. I argued with Him that some people do this and things don't turn out like they would like. They have a child or children who rebel. But I know deep down that an environment doesn't draw a child to Christ. That happens only by the very Spirit of God and it can't be thwarted by a school decision, that's for sure.

So we will press on where we are. We will not make a daily commute to Birmingham to attend a top dollar, classical Christian school. Instead, we will commit ourselves to our small, traditional Christian school. (Which is still a good school, by the way.) We will pray for good conversations while the children take dance, golf, and basketball in town and we will follow God's prompting to visit the sick and elderly on this quiet country road. This week I will ask to be considered as a candidate for the 5th-8th grade history teaching position. (Crazy right? Three months ago I was a homeschooling mom. Now I am considering a teaching job.) I also hope to teach art history and art. We will join committees and share ideas. We will pray for teachers, parents, grandparents, and children. We are conceding to follow Christ. But we will take our educational philosophies/passions with us! :) We will host lots of bonfires, parties, hayrides, and guests at our farmhouse. We will dive in.

I do not want to compare, contrast, and plead. This is our new community and it is our great honor to love and be loved right here! It never amazes me what a sinner in need of grace I am. Deep down I think I know what is best for my family when I have the Living God as a companion! I taste the riches of His grace, yet I still desire a self-centered life as opposed to one that makes sacrifices in order to serve! And He still loves me! The greatest way to see the depth of the love of Christ is to just look inside myself at what He has redeemed and rescued!! When I do that, I don't want to fight Him. I truly want to follow Him. As our former pastor said once, "God's grace awakens holy fear."

Here are some verses that keep popping up:

"Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?"

James 2:5b

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.."

Luke 10:41b-42a

"All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God."

Oswald Chambers

**"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin."**

Zechariah 4:10

And our pastor quoted Tim Keller today, "You either have to kill Jesus or crown Him."

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