Only Him

It’s Tuesday as I begin this post, a rainy, dreary Tuesday, the fourth day in a row we’ve seen rain courtesy of Tropical Depression Fay. It’s good day for musing and thinking and sitting at your computer in an attempt to articulate such musings and thinkings.

Just so you know, it is not a good day for cleaning house. I’m just sayin’…

And, no, I don’t guess there really is a good day for cleaning house, at least around here. Here the housekeeper tends to wile away her time musing and thinking and sitting at the computer…

Today I muse and think on something I’ve mused and thought on many times. It seems I have a hard head–or perhaps a hard heart–one that refuses to learn its lesson. I feel something like the two year old who who pushes and strains against a given boundary over and over and over and over AND OVER again, causing the mom to wonder when and if the lesson will ever be learned…

Many times–many, many times–I have said I’ve wanted to be a part of something only God could do. To get to the other side of something and look back and know–know!–that thus far the Lord has brought me, only He could do this–this is what I’ve wanted. I’ve longed for my faith to take me places far beyond what I could do on my own, and I confess even as I longed for such what I really had in mind was the big, the bold, the obvious.

I love to teach God’s Word. I believe it is His call and His gift to me. So, as I desired to follow Him to something only He could do, I assumed He was calling me to speak. So I “yielded,” and waited for the phone to ring. It did not.

I love to write. A little over a year ago, a major Christian publisher was accepting unsolicited manuscripts for women’s Bible studies. I wrote up my proposal, furiously editing and frantically rewriting, finally popping it in the mail on a wing and a prayer, all the while wondering if this was my chance. It wasn’t.

The Lord is indeed faithful and through both of those experiences, and many more, He began to teach me the value of the common life. I’ve blogged as much here many times. It became my privilege to serve Him whether He called me to the big or the little. To exalt Him as my greatest Treasure in the midst of the mundane, in car line, in laundry, in blogging and even in occasionally cleaning house…

A month or so ago, I was part of a conversation where one of the conversants described a fellow professional with great excitement, speaking of her excellence and great potential in her profession.

For the first time ever in so many words, I feared I had made a mistake. My heart froze as I wondered if I was supposed to be something, do something. I know it sounds foolish, but I longed for someone to speak of me and my potential in such glowing terms.

I know what I do as a wife and mom is important. Really, I do. I know it’s a lie of our culture, a lie of our enemy, that casts the lure of desire for accomplishment. I know it is my pride, my horrible, black, depraved, prideful self, that desires the approval and accolades of others. I know it, but still I fall prey.

As I felt that familiar stab of fear and insecurity over my place in this world, I see I am learning the same lesson once again. I realize I really am the two year old pushing, straining, and rebelling.

Oh, I can think of some so-called valid reasons for my insecurity. I thought I was a Bible teacher, yet I am currently without a class and, though I am seeking the Lord’s will diligently and desperately, I do not yet know what to do. Other ways I had comfortably defined myself have also fallen away. And did I mention I am turning forty? Forty years old and nothing to show for it, I pouted to my husband the other day. To his credit, he did not indulge my self pity.

Who am I? What am I supposed to be and do? Is this it for me? These questions haunt me yet again.

But today, the rainy, dreary Tuesday aptly fitted for such introspection, as I think on the many times over the past few years that I’ve begged the Lord to be a part of something that only He could do, I realize: I am.

Certainly as I consider our current church situation, I can say that this place I am in, it could only be the Lord who brought us here. It will only be the Lord who sustains and blesses and grows and reaps. It is to His glory and for His renown.

But also, for me personally, me the ordinary housewife with all her domestic struggles and melancholy tendencies, me knee deep in the mundane, me with her common life–I too am in a place that is only from the Lord.

Here, choosing contentment when the world tells me to strive for accomplishment…here, where I can no longer define myself by my calling…here, in all my missteps and mistakes…here, as I determine to follow Him even when it’s hard and heartbreaking though simultaneously exciting and exhilarating…here, in my life as it is and not as I think it should be…here, I can know: it’s only of the Lord.

Only He could bring me to this. Only He can show me the great joy of doing everything–everything and anything!–for His glory. Only He sustains and saves. Only He satisfies and fills to overflow. Only He is worth more than any joy of this world, even writing Bible studies or speaking at women’s events! Only He is worthy and only He is worth laying (lying?) it all down, all of it.

What do you think you need? What do you think you want? What do I? Let’s lay it down and find ourselves where we never dreamed we’d be: counting it all as rubbish compared to the surpassing glory of knowing Christ! He is the only Treasure worth pursuing!

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

15 thoughts on “Only Him”

  1. Oh sister, thank you! How I need ‘only Him’!!!! I often get in the struggle of ‘is this it??!!’ I love your heart and you aren’t alone! Battling to count it all rubbish compared to the surpassing glory and joy of knowing Christ Jesus!I know we need it, but just a passing note…the rain is getting to me terribly!!! ; (

  2. It seems the Lord is speaking similar things to our hearts. Why is it so easy to slip into self pity? Will I always be this immature? Oh Lord I hope not. What would this culture look like if there were not a few weary warriors battling silently at home? Bless you as you do the most important thing a mom and a wife can do. And I agree…this is NOT a good day to clean the house!

  3. Oh Lisa…What a BEAUTIFUL post. Thank you for your thoughts and your honesty. You are an amazing writer. I love reading what you write and would love to quote you in my upcoming book.

  4. Lisa:We could switch lives and still have it breathe the same. You are writing the sentiment of my heart. When I turned 40 (2 years ago), I began my first manuscript. Since that time, I’ve finished two complete works waiting for someone to take notice. It’s been the most difficult disappointment of my life. About a month ago, I had a moment of clarity in the matter. You can read about under my sidebar called “My Surrender”. It’s listed under “some of elaine’s favorites.”Anyway, thanks for writing your heart. Your words aren’t lost on me. They are cherished, even as I cherish my own surrenders in this crazy life I call my own.peace~elaine

  5. Lisa,I am celebrating my 2 year blog anniversary tomorrow…and your blog was one of the first ones that I “found”…bookmarked and have enjoyed reading…I loved that you always have been so real…vulnerable…when you are, it brings all of us in and we can relate…oh how I can relate.I just turned 44 yesterday…I think the 40’s are all about discovery and sometimes dismantling what we thought previously…the second chapter…but we know more now…we know Him more as well…and it is all summed up in that He is good…always good and faithful in our crawling.I can completely relate…it is all the same stuff…I can look at all the comments on your blog and feel like the 2 or 3 that I get is insignificant…but I know that it is not…a comment is a comment…a connection is a connection and that could only be from the Lord coursing through our fingers…how cool is that!I will be praying for you during this time…sounds a bit like a stripping time…I know that doesn’t sound fun because I have been there…but the one thing I know is that God always replaces that which is removed with something beyond our imagining…and that is worth the wait…the discouragement…the loss of vision. I am glad you are clinging to the only One that is safe and secure.Thanks Lisa…Helen

  6. Thank you for your honesty. I, too, have been struggleing here and there with the same things. It’s slowly sinking in “Seek ye first the Kingdom”. I’m praying for you sister in Christ. Perhaps you’ll see a rainbow tomorrow. 🙂

  7. If I, who am so not cut out to be a mother of four, who has not a domestic bone in her body, can find a way to be not only content in my current calling as a keeper of my family, but also to find joy and purpose there, then I know it must be only from Him. For every fiber of ME says I should be doing something else. Something a better fit for my talents, my personality, my desires. Only through God could I ever hope to find my purpose in this. It’s a constant struggle for me to release my own ideas of what God could use me for and accept His ideas instead. My ideas were much more glamorous.Thank you for writing this.

  8. Lisa,As I shared with you, I am having trouble finding my place in all of this too……BUTWhen you said, “forty years and nothing to show for it” (I hope I quoted you correctly) I wanted to show you those four, precious boys who are growing into fine Christian men and let you know that if they were all that you had to show for yourself, you have done an amazing job! I speak to myself as well….just know that, desptie the disapointments, you have succeded at the greatest of your callings – in being their mother and raising them in a manner that will glorify the Lord. I admire you as a Christian woman, wife and mother. Don’t sell yourslef short. You have been a great example in my life.

  9. Your words were much-needed and much-appreciated by this fellow wife & mom this morning. My focus, my desires, my plans…have all been off-kilter lately and my heart is reaping the results. There's so much good stuff in this post. Thanks.

  10. Friend, He is quite obviously doing something in you right now: giving you inspired words to speak over yourself and to this blog community. May we all remember that the Lord Himself defines us, that the world’s standards are of no comparison….Thanks again for your honesty and for baring your heart.

  11. On my last trip to Guatemala with James I was so struck with how much God really didn’t need me. Our church motto is “Attempt something so great for God that it be doomed to failure unless He be in it.” Similar to what I think you feel, there’s a lot of pressure there. On this trip as I jumbled the gospel again and again through translators, I realized that He didn’t need me, but He was giving me the gift of seeing Him work in SPITE of me. I am so dense that I miss Him in the mundane here. His mercies are overflowing where we are – what you do is so incredibly important. More importantly, He works in miraculous ways where you are. Sometimes as moms, we just don’t always see it because we have so much going on.Don’t worry about the “great” things you could have been doing – you are doing them right where He wants you. That goes for all you moms!

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