Its been quite a while since I posted. Life has been extremely busy and full of changes. I have changed jobs, gotten married, become a step mom and a dog mom, moved into our first home, and even more since the spring. Life has been full of a dizzying array of new routines, new pathways, new ways of doing life. I’m thankful for these tremendous blessings and I’m also thankful for the considerable amount of spiritual growth that has occurred as a result of the pressing of new circumstances and outside-the-comfort-zone situations.
Hillsong came out with a new song a few months ago and at first I liked it just for how it sounded. I realized some time later that I also liked it because the lyrics were beautiful and gave a voice to the stirrings of my heart:
In the crushing
In the pressing
You are making
In the soil, I
You are breaking
New groundSo I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understandMake me Your vessel
Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be
I came here with nothing
But all You have given me
Jesus, bring new wine out of me
Truly, God uses ALL things to work together for His glory and our good. Including our discomfort, our challenges, our awkward new beginnings. There may be seasons of feeling pressed or crushed by our circumstances, but God is faithfully using these situations to do a greater work in our heart and life.
For me, the pressing and crushing and breaking of new ground has come through a world of newness and unfamiliarity. How does one add their name to the copier/fax as a recipient, replace the staples in that ultra-high powered scary electric stapler, or find their away across an crazy conglomeration of buildings to the right office for a meeting? How in the world do people keep a house with multiple sets of stairs, multiple loads of laundry, and a forever regenerating stack of dirty dishes clean? What does it mean to be a good wife? How can I best love and care for my step-children? What can I do to establish new routines to smooth out the bumpiness of life?
As someone who wants to get it all right and right now, not having answers to those questions and making a regular slew of mistakes, missteps, and mess-ups has left me feeling discouraged at times. It’s easier for me to give myself grace the first few times I clearly haven’t figured something out, but what about the seventh time I’ve said the wrong thing (in the past two days alone)? what about the 17th load of laundry that I left in the dryer too long? What about the fifth day in a row that I haven’t managed to do anything with my hair besides leaving it a frizzy mess? At some point the inner voice that says you’re not enough, you’re not good enough, you aren’t fit for the challenge starts to whisper louder and louder until I hear it overflow into words that I snarl at myself as I make mistake after mistake…”screwed that one up again!”…”when are you going to get it right!”….”worst wife/mother/employee/[insert role here] in the world!!”.
But as much as I have been disheartened and discouraged by my #majorfails during this new season of life, the crushing and pressing has been used by God to do a heart-work in me. At some point in the past few months, I started to pray to God and ask him what He would say to me (instead of just talking at God, my more typical prayer-style). And with the powerful grace and love that is only found in Almighty God, He plunked into my spirit three simple words: Peace. Be Still.
What words of freedom and peace.
In him, I can let go, embrace His peace, and cease striving, cease tying my value to my self-made rubrics for what it means to be a good wife, mother, etc. I can find rest in His perfection, His perfect covering, and His perfect love for me. I can choose to find my identity and my worth in who He says I am (beloved, chosen, holy, His) and what He has done, through the sacrifice of His Son, to show me there is nothing that He values more than us as His children. There is no more striving, there is only receiving. Receiving His love, receiving His mercy, receiving His grace, receiving His blessings, receiving His freedom. I measure up because He made me to measure up.
The machine of regular life will (probably) learn to run with a few less backfires and breakdowns as I get more acquainted with being a wife, mother, home and dog owner, and new employee. But the most important thing, the grounding thing, the freedom-and-life giving thing is found in finding my security and my identity in Him. And maybe, just maybe, when I live out of that place instead of one of frenzied performance, maybe the most important work that I could ever do on this earth — to love God and people, and to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ — will shine brighter and overflow out of a heart who knows who she is and who’s she is in Christ.