So many things going through my mind and heart right now...not even sure where to start!
About halfway through Christmas day I had a breakdown. I just sat down and cried for about 30 minutes because I was so disappointed in the way things were going...disappointed in myself, my children's reactions, and just things in general. Kevin and I worked very hard this Christmas to make sure our kids knew what the holiday was really about. We worked very hard to include Christ as the center of everything we did this season. Ethan was still a little young to really get things, but I was so excited at how excited Sophie was to pick gifts out of the World Vision gift catalogues. It was so sweet that, as she looked at the picture of a child that was next to each gift, she was totally convinced that the gift we got would go to THAT child! It just melted my heart to see how hard it was to narrow down which gifts to pick, when she really just wanted to do everything in the catalogue! I was so thankful to God for giving her the beginning of this understanding. Of course, then Christmas morning came and suddenly those gifts were a thing of the past and they couldn't see past the gifts in front of them. Their (and my) selfishness was screaming at me and I just almost couldn't take it. I felt so disappointed. In my head, I was picturing her turning to me and saying something like, "These gifts are good, mom, but nothing is better than being able to send that little girl food so she can eat today." Of course, this didn't happen! Kevin was so great as he sat with me and talked me through my breakdown, reminding me that they are just kids and that as we continue to pour into them and pour God's truth into them, they will become more and more like that. I sure hope he's right! Admittedly, there's a part of me that still thinks that if we had started this process sooner, if we had started that very first Christmas thinking more of helping others than getting gifts for each other, then maybe she'd be there now. Maybe if we lived somewhere else, somewhere with less frills and more struggle, maybe her first instinct would be to love others and serve others each day. But, the truth is, we all need a little more selflessness in our lives. They need to see it in me more each day, and I need to trust God that, if I am teaching them His word and following what He calls me to do, He will lead them where He wants them to go. I need to lay my life and my kid's lives at His feet and trust each day to Him, totally and completely!
I just finished reading Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. I strongly urge you to read it! It was so convicting and challenging, yet just what I needed! What reassurance that God is always there and always in control, even when it feels we're surrounded by total chaos. Of course, however, I finished feeling, again, that maybe if we lived pretty much anywhere other than the US that my kids would be less selfish and more focused on God (but, of course, isn't that true of pretty much all of us? With less material distractions, one would think that it would be easier to focus on Christ!) However, reading this book I was also reminded that, even when you take away the material "distractions", there are still many physical hardships that can steal your focus just as easily. But one of the last phrases in the book hit home...it's something I've been thinking for probably 3 years or more, but never really given voice to, lest I sound ungrateful for all that God has done so far in my life. It is so often through tragedy and struggle that we draw most near to Christ, most diligently seek His heart, most become like Him and truly reliant on Him, yet I find so little struggle and tragedy in life. At times, it feels as if I need to beg God to bring the struggle so that I can see Him clearly, draw near to Him, and be transformed into His likeness. But, in that same thought, I can't help but think that perhaps the reason He has not sent the struggle is that, rather than choose to be more like Him, I would turn and run as fast as I could in the other direction, simply because that is the easy thing to do. My heart yearns for the chance to cling to my faith, to see my amazing God prove Himself faithful as healer, redeemer, provider, friend, sovereign over all, yet I remain paralyzed with fear that He may one day do just that.
Oh, Lord, help my unbelief. Lead me to the center of Your will, for me and for my family, and don't let me go. Bring whatever it is that will change me in a way that I can never go back. Help me to bring my family along so they may see Your truth and faithfulness, that they, too, may be changed in eternal ways. Lord, help me to see that every little thing You've given me is for Your glory and for me to use in Your name for Your people. Remove my fear and doubt. Remove my selfishness. Remove me from my comfort zone and lead me in Your path. Drown me in Your word and presence, that I may hunger and thirst for nothing more than You. Show me how to do this and still be the wife and mother my family needs. Help me to do this so I can be the wife and mother my family needs. Be in the details, big and small, each day. Lord, regardless of what goes on around me, let me be one who is completely devoted and sold out to You in every area of life. Lord, don't allow me to settle for what is comfortable or good enough in this world. Don't let me settle for that in the life of my children and husband, either. Lord, change us from the inside out! I know I've been saying this with my lips for a long time, but the burning in my heart for this is almost unbearable now! Don't let this slip away. Don't let me get caught up in the busyness of life and forget what's truly important! Never let me lose this urgency. Lord, I look forward to this new year and all that may come with it. Let it be a year of reliance on You and You alone, in everything I do.