Who do I know?

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” ~Phil. 3:8

If I seek to know Him and follow Him, I must immediately realize that the intimacy He offers is for RIGHT where I am. So my 8 children and my husband are the areas where God will grow my intimacy with Him the most. He doesn’t want me just “surviving” even 1 hour. He wants me intimately and fully dependent on Him. How practically does this play out for me?

~when my children are fussing, He wants me depending on His patience

~when my teen wants to be disrespectful, I am to seek His face before I respond

~when I don’t understand the little one’s potty choices, He has the wisdom for the crisis

~when the infant won’t sleep, He has the answers for sleep and the strength to walk the day out completely exhausted

~when I have more laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands than I can imagine, I am to rest in Him and set my my eyes on Him

~when my husband hurts my feelings or exasperates me, I am to run to the One who always meets my expectations

He alone knows all things, He alone has dealt with all sin, He alone commands respect. So either I survive doing my “best,” or I grasp hold of His righteousness and consider all my efforts loss and rubbish. Paul said it so clearly in Philippians 3:4-11- His Lordship, knowing Him is so great, gaining Him as a mother is true power, true righteousness, and therefore true faith. Can faith really grow apart from this decision that all I do must be nothing?
verse 7- “whatever was to my profit” — what do I attribute to my profit? my intelligence, my skills, my personality, my wallet, my husband, my children — all which I very easily can declare as pointing to my pedigree of goodness or worthiness just like Paul references in verses 4-6. But all of this is loss for Jesus. In fact everything about me is a loss compared to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. Either I spend my day seeking to summon up whatever skill set is needed, or I remember the cross. For at the cross all expectations for my behavior and all that I have to offer was proven insufficient and worthy of destruction. Jesus alone offers everything I need for life and so therefore He alone offers all I need for today.

The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord – Do I get how far above everything else it is to know you, Jesus? Do I stop just on the other side of the cross, knowing you for salvation and knowing me for the day to day challenges? For you, Lord, I want to lose all things. Lord, show me how to do this, how to change my perspective that I may gain more of You. I so want to know You more intimately, to follow you and be your light here.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-cross-has-the-final-word/id1207122501?i=1207122505

He Leads Me

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” ~Is. 40:11

Being a mom is hard work. It really doesn’t matter if you have 1 child, 3 children or 8, in my experience the hard things of parenthood are there. Because the hardest parts aren’t juggling schedules, feeding kids, or putting them to bed at night.

The really hardest part of caring for my children is the battle in my mind that I am really NOT doing this well. The fear that I won’t or don’t know what to do in a given situation, the concern that I didn’t say the right thing to a child or lost my temper when I should have been patient, the replay of different scenes from the day can overwhelm me with thoughts that I messed up. That I fell short. That my children need something more than what I offer. That if I could just do better…

Women all the time want to be impressed with how many children we have and somehow then believe that whatever they are walking through with their 2 shouldn’t be as difficult as they were thinking because in comparison they have it easy and could never imagine life with 8. But I promise you I was thinking all these thoughts with my first little one so many years ago when all he did was nurse, sleep (not much) and cry (a lot!)

God will gently lead you with your young. There have been so many times through the last 18 years of mommyhood that I have cried out to the Lord. And this verse has become a bedrock for me – He cares for me with my young and is gentle towards me. He leads, so I can follow Him. When the way seems unsteady or scary or when I feel like I am royally messing it up, He gathers the lamb and gently leads me.

Context is so important in scripture and Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite places to run when I am discouraged, weary, questioning, or longing for answers. This verse 11 sits in the midst of the declaration of who God is in his omniscience and omnipotence. Verse 18 asks, “To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?” He is the great I AM, the mighty Creator, the Mighty King, the Holy One. As you read through this passage you see Isaiah listing off all God has done, everything He holds together, the power He wields, and His declaration that He is beyond comparison.

And I cannot help but realize that my problem teenager, temper tantrum throwing two year old, rowdy preschooler, or moody middle schooler is not a problem for Him. And He promises to gently lead me.

The last part of Isaiah 40 speaks to our discouragement: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’?” (v.27) How often have I felt this way and believed the lie that I am all alone in this struggle? If I could just convince other moms of this one thing – you are not alone. He is with you. He is committed to you. He is carrying you as you tend the little flock you have been entrusted with. And when you feel weary and at the end of your strength, confused and at a loss, or just wanting to quit, “He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youth (or moms) shall faint and be weary, and young men (mommies with babies!) shall fall exhausted; BUT they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

You can walk out today with your precious little ones because the greatest parent of all gently leads you and gives you strength for the task.