Sometimes a story starts with a beautiful background.
A description of gorgeous foliage and blue waters gleaming.
Mountainous resorts or sandy beaches strewn with starfish and shells.
Sometimes it starts with presence.
Character traits artistically worded and personified.
Life so precisely perfect.
Can I just tell you that this story is neither?
Because it starts with me and an ungrateful spirit. 🙁
Last Sunday, a sermon was preached from the book of Isaiah with such power that my heart was broken and I surrendered myself to the cross once again. “Here am I, Lord; send me” was as strong on my lips and in my soul as it had ever been.
Then came Thursday. Thursday is Bible study day this summer; the day that I have the awesome privilege to host community women as we watch a God-ordained video from the series “Made to Crave” by Lysa Terkeurst. Only from the moment my feet hit the floor on Thursday morning, my heart was grumbling and grouching…and displaying a full blown children-of-Israel-in-the-desert kind of attitude. Not pretty.
Not pretty at all.
And the worst of it: I complained to my husband, went to the Word for help, tried to pray, and it all seemed for naught.
1. I was unhappy about the state of our home and how “little space” we have with 7 kids. I suppose some might justify my reaction to the environment, but the truth is: God has supplied way more than we need. I was just unthankful and feeling pressured.
2. I was a bit on edge with taking care of the kids nonstop. Nursing the baby, chasing a toddler, cleaning up messes, making meals, grocery shopping, laundry, activities, sibling rivalry…just the never ending list that goes along with caring for a family, especially one as large and with needs as diverse as mine. This developed into a harsh spirit.
3. Truthfully, the crux of the matter was that I was a little mad at God for placing this Bible study on my heart so strongly and yet, not many ladies were attending. The ones that were had been hit and miss. It’s summer. They have families. Vacation. You know, life. But even with my complete understanding of logistics, I was aggravated at God that the “number of people being blessed by this study” did not equal the number I thought it should. Hmph.
But here came Marie. A dear woman who knocked on the door for study that night. Marie had started coming to the study before summer when the group met at the coffeehouse and she hadn’t made it to my home for the summer study yet. But as soon as I saw her, I knew God was up to something. Because every time Marie has crossed my path, God has given me a lesson. And this time would be no different.
Marie was the first lady in attendance Thursday evening. She came in and I offered her some coffee and water. We chatted just a minute about the heat and summer and then as she sat at my dining room table, she said:
“Wow, you have a lot of space here.”
And at that moment, God was whispering: “All in the perspective, My Child.”
The study furthered and while Marie had no earthly idea of the mind battle I had endured that afternoon, at one point in the study, she painstakingly shared a story and ended with, “I always wished I could have more children.”
My heart grieved heavily immediately. For her. For my wretched spirit of the day. For my unthankful attitude. For my persistent pessimism.
And the Holy Spirit simply said: Yep.
When Marie left, I knew exactly why she had been brought this specific night.
The next morning these words from Beth Moore were presented shortly after my early morning devotions:
Reflecting this AM on 2 Tim 4:16-17. We are called to community but sometimes God allows no one to come through for us so that we will recognize when the Lord Himself is standing by us & strengthening us. We cannot know true intimacy with Him without those times.
You may read this post and not know what to think.
But I tell you that I praise Jesus He is a God who is alive and works in and through human beings today.
His Word will NOT return void. And for that, I praise His Holy name.