It’s a good thing I don’t live my life in reverse. Whenever I put the car in the R position, I run a risk of bumping into something, a bigger risk than when I move forward. Why? Because going in reverse requires me to use my rear-view and side mirrors, and oftentimes it’s something I admittedly don’t do well or often enough.
In life, I hate looking backward unless I can focus on good memories. I hate reflecting in the mirror about past hurts, mistakes, and grueling transitions. I dislike, even when there has been some growth in an area, spending time dwelling on things that might have not propelled me forward in life on the path of my desires. But isn’t that the problem here? Perhaps it’s not my desires I should focus on, perhaps it’s not all about me? ME? But isn’t that what memories are all about? How those moments in time made ME feel?
Maybe those MemorMEs are not at all about ME. What if I used those rear-view mirrors to focus on how God was glorified through my trials, hurts, and mistakes? I bet I’d experience less anxiety and angst when recollecting those snippets of perspective on past life.
About a half hour ago, the guy who came to clean our windows said to me, “Should I move my van? Is it in your way?”
Looking down the length of the driveway, I responded, “Nope. I should be able to get around it.”
And then the hustle and bustle of packing the kids in the car for preschool happened, and I put those keys in the ignition, threw the car in reverse and BANG! I drove right into the guy’s van (thank God he was a great sport about it), and I realized I failed once again to use those darn rear-view mirrors.
One of the hardest things for me as a parent is truly embracing God’s agenda in child-rearing. Jesus himself says in Mark 8: 34-35:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Pastor Ben of Four Corners Church gave his sermon on this passage last Sunday. He reminded us of the fleeting aspect of happiness and the sustainable aspect of joy. God loves us so much and believes in us so much to carry out His plan, but we first have to embrace the idea that this life is NOT ABOUT US. Simply put– it’s about glorifying God. This was an uncomfortable truth for me– don’t I already sacrifice enough for my children, and the people around me? There isn’t enough time in the day for me to have my ME TIME, and after a whole day of serving my children, I have to save more service for my husband? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
He’s not kidding– in our mission to find joy in this life, we need to remember that true joy is allowing His agenda to lead us. We need to remember that it’s not about us. We will never experience true joy if we set about life trying to control every aspect.
God doesn’t want us to forego all pleasure either– His use of the cross to illustrate submission causes us to draw upon images of God’s ultimate sacrifice in His Son whose work was difficult and required perserverance.
Though the path of denying oneself to serve Jesus seems both scary and, quite frankly, “1950s Housewife-ish,” if we are in pursuit of true joy, the type of joy God desires for us, we should be willing to take up our crosses and follow Him.
Family meeting topic: Self-control and manners at the dinner table. #indesperateneedofredwine
There is nothing quite like the fresh start to a new year, crisp new goals and plans and being told by a two-yr-old that you have bad breath this morning. Happy New Year!
When I gave birth to Emma at 26 wks gestation, Paul and I struggled to know whether or not to celebrate our new baby or face the fear of what the future might bring for us as new parents of a preemie. She was 1 lb, 12 oz, looked like a little wrinkly old man, and scared the heck out of me. I had been warned that she would probably be whisked away to the NICU the minute she arrived, so it came as a surprise when she was breathing on her own, and I was able to hold her for a few cloudy seconds. When she was whisked away, I remained in my cloud until the nurses pushed my hospital bed through the NICU so I could see my baby again. It was then when my faith was re-ignited. Those months in the NICU were difficult; we were restless, feeling out-of-control, and forced to lay our burdens down. We prayed, many of you prayed, the nurses prayed. We busied ourselves with home renovations after ten-plus hour days in the hospital, and never missed a call to learn if Emma gained any weight. We celebrated ounces, cried with weight dips, and continued praying for Emma’s future, hopeful we’d be able to bring her home sometime soon. We fought exhaustion, embraced kangaroo care, and prayed when we left her every night. The day came, 71 days later by the grace of God, when Emma was officially our responsibility. We were scared. To this day, we try to live our lives by His grace and ultimate guidance. This fantastic kid is His, and we are here to raise her. What a blessing she is!