Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 7: {31 Days of Grace} - Too Many Wrongs Don't Make Satan Right

I sit down on the couch to write tonight (or is it tomorrow by now?) and realize there is a small piece of garlic peel stuck to my foot.

Because that is just how dirty my kitchen floor is, even though I swept it yesterday.  And while that garlic likely landed on the floor as I prepared dinner, I certainly did not scatter crispy rice cereal all over the kitchen table and floor!

And I have to say, I am sick and tired of cleaning up every one's messes around here when they are all capable of picking up after themselves.  I'm tired of being the one to prepare meals and pack lunches and drive kids to school, all the while having no real time for myself.  A Thank You every now and then would sure be nice! It would let me know that someone notices what I do.

But then I remember the Bible says,
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.
Col. 3:23

This is the fleshly frustration that has built up in me these last 2 weeks or so, making life at home even more difficult than it can sometimes be. I get in this cycle of the fleshly desires - wanting to be recognized for my actions - that dissolve into guilt - wanting to serve my family as if serving God.

I started out today feeling like a BIG FAT FAILURE!

I was yelling at my kids to get ready for school, dashing out the door barefoot with my shoes, socks, and makeup bag in hand because we were so late.
Both kids were late to their respective schools and I was off to a late start for my last Bible Study session.

As I drove to church, all I could think was, this whole Duty or Delight study was just totally lost on me! I missed it! I missed the lesson - the chance to learn and retain that I am a delight to the Lord and He should also be my delight.

It was really all I could do to hold myself together during the Bible study discussion this morning.  I was just emotionally spent!  But, as it turns out, that bible study discussion was quite eye-opening for me today.

So, if you don't mind, I am going to backtrack a little on this Day 7 of my 31 Days of Grace.  I may have mentioned this before, but I don't want to glaze over the details of something as important as my salvation.

I know I have said before that I grew up in a Christian home; what I may NOT have shared is that my salvation experience came when I was just 4 years old. Crazy as it sounds, I actually paid attention to the preacher on Sunday mornings (there was no children's church back then!).
I started to ask my Mom questions; I met with the Pastor and he asked me lots of questions; I struggled with the decision to walk down the aisle and profess my faith because I was scared of baptism.
As shocked as the preacher was at first, he left the Q and A convinced that I knew exactly what I was doing.
When I was ready, my Mom refused to walk down the aisle with me.  I don't remember the song that was playing, "the invitation," it was called.  I just knew that aisle down to where the pastor was standing seemed incredibly long.  Mom said it was something I had to do alone; it had to be 100% my choice and that she would meet me down there, but I had to go first, and go alone.

I'm exploring this memory today, because I wondered what God had planned for me at such a young age?  
I can't remember when I didn't now right from wrong...
...when I didn't know how to listen to that voice inside me, that conscience God gave me, for direction...
I can't remember not knowing God.

And then I think, I've taken God and my salvation for granted at so many points in my life! While I may have understood who God was, who Jesus was, Jesus' sacrifice for me, that I was a sinner and needed forgiveness, I did NOT know at 4 what it meant to walk with God.  I didn't develop good habits and relationship practices with Him. And, I'm just speculating, but I think that made it very easy for me to deviate from His path as my life went on.

I shared with my bible study group today about times in my life when I definitely lived as if I didn't know Him at all.  I put myself with people and situations that I had no business with.  AND FOR SO MANY YEARS, I HAVE BOUGHT SATAN'S LIE THAT BECAUSE OF THAT, GOD CAN NEVER USE ME FOR GOOD. 

And I couldn't help but wonder how disappointed God must be in me? Did He have great plans for me that I messed up?

Then our leader used a great analogy: as parents, we tell our kids to stay out of dangerous situations to protect them and God tells us, "Stay out of the street! It's dangerous!"  Usually, we tell our kids over and over.  God, our Heavenly Father, tells us the same things over and over too. Because HE KNOWS - HE KNOWS that we are going to sometimes do it anyway! 

And on the day when we disobey and play in the street and something happens, we ask God, "why? Why did you let this happen?"
He says, "I told you not to play in the street!"  

We have to take responsibility for our own actions.  God has already done more than we deserve! 

In my case, I can look back and know that He was always there.  I could hear His voice telling me not to go there, or not to hang out with that person, or not to date this guy. But I did it anyway and now it's time to own up to those mistakes, ask forgiveness (which I have done many times before), but most importantly, forgive myself and move on.

There's no telling how many blessings and opportunities I missed out because I was playing in the street, but I know He has more in store for me.

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