The snow is whirling around like it wasn’t just 65 degrees yesterday. It’s a Colorado spring time. And I’m sitting inside with all these words inside that I know I’m longing to say, but I’m not sure how to say them.
It’s been three weeks of illness at our house. A stomach bug for my daughter; colds for my son and I, a fever for my son, another fever for my daughter and a fever for both of them again last night. Willy has been gone since Monday on a work trip, and as much as I love the snow, it’s looking like it might be hitting DIA just as he is set to be arriving home tonight.
I’ve felt at the end of my rope so many times in the past week especially. I’ve battled with self-pity almost on a daily basis. I’ve been frustrated and angry with well meaning friends who just don’t understand what it’s like to be sick and take care of sick children at the same time. I’ve felt alone; because that’s what sickness does in the Mommy circles. All the people that can be around you don’t understand what you are going through, and all the people that would understand, are staying far, far away (for good reason, lest the same fate befall them!)
I told Willy, I know I need to walk in surrender. I know I need to open my heart to whatever it is that God has for me, instead of angrily shoving my plate away. I’m just like my 3 year old, so often, in my heart. I know I’m supposed to believe that what he’s giving me is for my good, and for his glory.
But I told Willy, what he’s asking me to do is even more dying to myself….and sometimes, that just feels like dying.
To truly set aside my needs as less important than the ones of those around me. To choose to put others above myself and to actively act as if they were more significant,(Philipians 2:3-4) is not something most of us actually want to do.
I mean, I know that’s a bit of a “no duh…” but seriously! How many times have you thought of yourself in self-righteous pleasure, that you were actually putting others FIRST. And HOW LONG were you doing it for? Did you serve until it inconvenienced you? Until it felt hard? Until it was physical or emotional pain? And Jesus calls us to lay down our very lives. As he obeyed the Father to the point of death.
I’m sure there are other ways that God teaches us this lesson, but I can’t think of many more apt ways than Motherhood, when your kids are sick and you are also sick. And the Nyquill commercial is right; Mom’s don’t get sick days, but drugs don’t solve the problem either.
The problem is that in the deepest, darkest portion of my heart, I am so SELFISH. I want to feel well. I want my kids to feel well because then they are less of a burden on me. I want to serve enough that I feel good about myself, but not to the point that it causes me pain. The thing is, I don’t want to actually die to myself. My survival instincts tell me that it is a path to destruction. To death.
But what it really is? It’s being dying, to be BORN AGAIN. It’s dying, to be raised to NEW LIFE. It’s dying daily to my desires to take care of myself first, to protect myself from pain and discomfort, to have my own perceived needs for fulfillment and happiness on my terms met. To give all that up, for the GREATER JOY of living a full life in Christ.
Dying to myself feels like dying. Dying to my old ways feels like dying. But Life Eternal comes through Death for most of us. And Jesus is asking us to take this step of faith.
So here I am LORD. Lying in a broken heap. I’ve seen the ugliness of my sin up close and personal. I know that my anger makes me a murderer. I know that I covet and envy. My heart is ungrateful and wretched. I know my proclivity to worship idols. I know that even my good works are filthy rags before your throne. For the joy set before you, you DIED. You died to yourself, for ME. When I was nothing but a filthy street urchin, you ADOPTED ME. And you have asked me to Love as you do Jesus. And you know I’ll find new life in you, if I could just stop living like an Orphan, and start living like a Son. Stop stealing food and squirreling it away in my closet. Stop looking for opportunities for something better, like I don’t have it all right here. Stop waiting for you to get fed up, and give up on me; because I know you never will.
My words are like the snowflakes. Flurries here or there, making sense somehow by God’s grace, where they land. And now that they’ve been released the storm quiets in my heart, and I’m at peace.