Saturday, April 9, 2016

From Guilt to Glory

More often times than not I get to the end of my day and I am wearing this heavy guilt.

Guilt that I didn't play enough with the kids.

Guilt that I didn't keep up the house enough.

Guilt that I worked too much.

Guilt that I am too tired to hang out with Dave at the end of the day.

Guilt that I didn't have the energy to do more, be more....

It never stops.  

I want to find joy in little moments, but I get so caught up in all the things there are to do, and the to-do list is always endless that I get caught in that vicious cycle propelled by going through motions, that I forget that each motion matters.  

Why does it seem so easy for some moms to do this?  I just can't see the easy in it.  Everyday is hard. 

 I want to smile like June Cleaver when I am folding laundry, washing dishes, and wearing heels and pearls while I cook, but I can't.  I try, but I can't. 

 I just feel guilt, for feeling that I should be these things, and happy about these things and I am not.

 I feel guilty not getting out of my yoga pants on a daily basis, and this week, I decided comfy yoga pants make me happy, so why would I want to change out of them?  :)  Why do I feel guilty for that?

There is an intense spiritual battle that satan fights with the souls of christian moms....

 Our kids get up day after day an hour earlier than they "should be" and we grow weary, and run on fumes.  

Kids fight.  

Spouses irritate.  

Dishes and laundry pile, and the soul feels parched, and we press on, but we have nothing to quench our thirst because we keep placing one foot in front of the other, without ever stopping for quench our thirst.  We press on, because we should be able to right?  We can do this ourselves.  We've got this, but honestly....we don't.  I especially don't.

I don't have any fight left, and it's ok to be in that place though Satan tells me it's not.  We hear lies from him all day long  don't we?  

"You aren't good enough to be their mom."

"You should be able to keep your house cleaner than this."

"Unfolded laundry pile...again?"

"Choosing to feed your family takeout again huh?  Lazy."

"Working again?  You should be playing with the kids and spending quality time with them."

There are more....lots more, but I'll stop.  You get it.  You've heard your own lies, and when I look at it as the battle that it truly is, somehow I find strength.  I realize that satan ultimately wants to distract and paralyze me from being effective, and glorifying God in my days.  

He loves when I wander aimlessly.  

He loves when I feel like a failure everyday.

He loves when I feel overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety.

He pretty much loves anything that takes my focus off of God.

I heard a verse this week that challenged on the subject of "Finding Joy," and it was:

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

His joy is my strength, not mine.  His.  I don't have to find the joy first.  He already has it, and I just have to place my trust in Him daily...sometimes numerous times a day, and His joy will be my strength.

That is so encouraging to me.  I get into this cycle all of the time, because I try to muster up the strength to find my own joy, and I don't.  I can't, and then I feel like a failure again, but He meets me where I am. 

He helps me see joy in little sticky messes, if I let Him be my strength.

He helps me see joy in the laundry pile, if I let Him be my strength.

The endless dishes....

The sibling fights...

The toddler tantrums....

The early morning wake ups....

The late nights working....

Trying to find time to myself that just doesn't exist very often anymore....

Somehow in the midst of messes I find beauty, when I let His joy be my strength, and it is....truly beautiful.  

I don't want to wander, to lack purpose, to miss the point entirely....He calls us to step into these messes, and watch beauty rise from the messiness of ashes.

Often times I expect myself to have already "arrived" at a certain point....I ask myself "why can I not do this well yet?" or "shouldn't I be good at this by now?"  

I don't need to have arrived yet.  I won't until the day I die.  I am a new work, and in a constant process of being refined until He calls me home.

I love these verses from Isaiah 61:

vs 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.

vs 3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

vs 10 I delight greatly in the Lord;

    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness.

(my interpretation of what struck me in these verses...)

His spirit is on me, and He anointed me to do this.  He wants to place a crown on me of beauty...not ashes.  He knows where I came from.  Who I was, and who He is chiseling me into.  He is aware of my weaknesses, yet He still chose me...still has a plan specifically for me!  He wants to anoint me with joy and praise, that I may be as solid as an oak tree with righteousness....planted and grown by Him, for His glory, and to display His splendor.  He has clothed me with a garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness.

He has chosen me for this very moment, in this very place, to do this very thing....

And while that may not be beautiful as defined by the cover of a magazine, it's my beauty.  It's my story, and it's not mundane, or meaningless.  He has given me charge of 2 little lives...a beautiful story He has given me to display for His glory.

Wherever you are.  Whether you enjoy being there or not....this moment is still a part of the plan.  Still a part of the story He has written for you.  

He thinks your mess is beautiful.  He knows the mess that you are and where you came from.  He doesn't ask you to be perfect.  He asks you to come as you are.