Sometimes I find it hard to believe my life these days.
There are times when it seems like every single little thing I ever wanted in life has been handed to me on a silver platter. I look around in wonder and stop for a minute to lift my hands in praise to God. I wonder if it’s somehow wrong to be so blessed and happy.
Other days I get out of sorts and frustrated with less glamorous aspects of life. At times children may be impressive little destroyers, husbands may forget to speak tenderly, extended family and friends may disappoint, and there may even be an unrecognizably puffy, middle-aged, graying woman staring back in the mirror – but isn’t that just the stuff of life? It’s not a perfect life, but the frustrating and difficult days are much fewer than the good ones.
I’m a stay-at-home mom whose husband works from home and is also able to be around much of the time. Rick often works long hours, but he can typically set his own schedule and work around the needs of our family. God has gifted us with two little blessings who are now 19-months old and 3-months old. They’re very close in age because we weren’t sure how many years of fertility we had left, so we figured we’d better get it done. They are light and joy to us.
But taking care of two babies, plus trying to keep the house up, cook meals, manage the farm books, volunteer at church, spend time with friends, exercise, shower regularly, and squeeze in time for writing just can’t all be done well by one person. At least not THIS person… As helpful as Rick and his parents are, they have other responsibilities too.
Thankfully, we were able to bring in someone to help out with the housework and the kids. She stays with us three nights a week and is a tremendous blessing. I know I could make it work without her, but having her around means that our household is much more peaceful. Chores are done, children are nurtured, and we’re all fairly well-rested. It makes a huge difference – the difference between surviving and thriving! I’ve been encouraged by the model of a godly woman in Proverbs 31. Verse 15 says that she has servants. This amazing woman in the Bible doesn’t do it all herself!
As I was puttering around the house this morning, wondering in awe at the beauty of God’s redemptive work in my life during this season, I was reminded of something I still don’t completely understand. There was a couple who came to our church and ministered to the church staff one day. They didn’t know us. Our pastor knew them and trusted them. When he told us what was going to happen that day, I burred up inside. I was skeptical and just the tiniest bit hopeful.
The couple that came to our staff meeting are prophetic ministers. Hearing that they were coming to pray over us individually and to give prophetic words to us as they heard God speak filled me with mixed emotions. I grew up in a Charismatic church and have seen prophecy used to manipulate people’s emotions, have seen those who claim prophetic gifts be completely wrong, and have seen the rare occasion when it raises the hair on the back of my neck and proves true. I’d often longed to have someone give me a prophetic word from God, some inkling that He knew my situation and wanted to speak to me, but there had been very few.
When this couple began to pray and speak over my co-workers, my defenses started to come down. They seemed to know intimate, personal details about them that couldn’t be fabricated. How did they know that my co-worker was a potter and an illustration from God about pottery would mean so much to her? Over and over they accurately spoke about the person they prayed over.
When they came to me, I was ready to hear what they had to say, hopeful that they would tell me and all my co-workers that I was going to be mighty in the kingdom of God. (Yes, I admit that was what I wanted to hear.) I hoped to hear I’d have a ministry greater than Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore. God does say “exceedingly, abundantly”, doesn’t He?
Instead, they told me my past. They told me the place in my heart that was aching. They told me how I thought the things that had gone wrong in the last few years were my fault and that I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could’ve done differently. Then they told me there was nothing I could’ve done differently. God was working things out in me, making some adjustments, and nothing I’d done was a surprise to Him. I was exactly where He wanted me to be.
Then they told me about my future. Their eyes bored into my soul and they saw that I was terrible at receiving, preferring to give to others. I had no idea how to receive and was often suspicious of those who wanted to give to me. And while the Bible says it’s more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), it also says that God will cause us to receive blessings from others – a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)
The word I was given was that I was going to learn to receive, and that I would find it wasn’t weakness but just openness to God. They encouraged me to take the time I’d been given in my current season to press into the Lord and get to know Him more. Without realizing how much I love butterflies, they compared me to a caterpillar in a cocoon, soon to be released as a butterfly.
I did as they said. I pressed into God’s presence, spending time in Scripture, fasting, praying, and ordering my life around Christ. I received one other prophetic word in the months that followed – received it from several people who had not spoken to one another about it. They all told me that the answer to my prayers was already there, like it was in the shadows of the room, just waiting to step forward and be seen. I was told to be still and stop struggling.
All my attempts at wrestling my life into the mold I had in mind for myself stopped at that point. Obediently, I became still and stopped struggling. Everything seemed to turn upside down, but I waited like I’d been told. Rick finally stepped out of the shadows of my life and claimed me as his bride. He became the person God used to provide for me. Through his love and through the covenant of marriage we made together, blessings from God have poured into my life. I have become a grateful receiver.
My aspirations to become a big deal have melted away as I’ve stepped into my role as wife and mother – a big deal to the three people God has given me to love and nurture. The experience of waiting in stillness, aware that nothing I was able to do on my own could bring me one step closer to God’s plan for my life, has taught me to relax into what God is doing NOW in me. If God has other plans for me at a later point in life, it’s His job to bring them about. Not mine. I have learned to walk in obedience and to believe that He is working out the details.
Sometimes fear tries to creep in, whispering that I shouldn’t get too comfortable because it could all be taken from me in a moment. Whispering that I’m not doing enough with my education, that I’m supposed to be striving to BECOME SOMEONE. While I know that nothing is ever guaranteed, I refuse to let fear rule my life. For the time I have my precious husband and these beautiful children, I will soak up every moment with gratitude and praise. If everything I’ve been given is ripped from me tomorrow, I will deal with that sorrow then. During this season of my life, I will joyfully change diapers, wipe noses, sing silly songs, give lots of hugs and kisses, and teach everything I can to these sweet little treasures.
For today I choose to wrap my arms around the amazing little loves that call me mama, give all I can back to the gracious man who calls me wife, and shine with all the love I’m receiving.
Thank You, God, for the many blessings You’ve given me. Thank You, thank You, thank You.