Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Lesson on Proper Pronoun Usage

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, 
we are to grow up in every way 
into Him who is the head, into Christ." 
 Ephesians 4:15

Sometimes friends can say words to us that sting.  This week in conversation, I experienced a needed inoculation of Truth.  The injection has driven me to acknowledgement of my sinful self and ultimately to repentance of a self-focused heart.

This week, God used some words from a young volunteer serving in country to penetrate my heart and bring me back to the narrow path of following Christ at all cost.

The volunteer, Kathy, was asking me some questions regarding our family, our future, etc...  "Where is God leading our family?  What do we think He is doing?  Etc..."

Sitting in our car, I answered her honestly and directly.  God has been stirring within Reid and I both, but nothing is clear yet.  Nothing has changed about our current commitment, but we wonder what God is asking beyond our planned 2-years in Ghana...and honestly, it scares me.  The uncertainly scares me too.  Some of God's stirrings are not part of "our plan."  And, it's uncomfortable.  And, it would require more of me.  And, it's not really what I would choose.  And, on and on...  So, I told Kathy all of this along with the reasons why I didn't think some of the possibilities would be "good for our family" to do.

[Let it be noted that most of these worldly concerns were also in the forefront of my mind as we waited for the miraculous healing of our second son, birthed our third son, brought Mathiang into our family, birthed our fourth son then faced my cancer diagnosis, walked with Ansley on her 2 1/2 year cancer journey, became consistently involved with the homeless community of our city with our young children, felt the impact of a severe pay-cut, adopted our fifth son, raised support to move onto the mission field full-time without a weekly paycheck, lived without insurance, parted with most earthly belongings, and, ultimately, moved our family of seven from America to Ghana, West Africa.  Whew!  God is so patient with me!  Good grief!  I wrestle through these thoughts every time God is moving us toward more of Him!  How forgetful I am!  How faithful HE is!]

At the end of pouring out all of my thoughts to Kathy, and basically verbally puking all over the poor girl, I asked her, "So what do you think?"

Kathy looked me square in the eye and said, "I think there's a lot of 'I's in those sentences."

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach - but in a good way.  Good grief, where was my trust?  Where was my heart focused?  To her, it certainly didn't seem like the focus was on God's plan for our life!  But it was...wasn't it?

For the rest of the day, her words swirled through my mind.  "...too many Is in those sentences."

By the afternoon, tears were flowing freely.  Several of my boys asked in concerned tones, "What's wrong Mom?"

(Well, your mom is a self-centered, still-holding-onto-things-she-thought-she-had-surrendered, faith-of-only-a-small-degree, fearful-of-the-future, do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do, comfort-seeking kind-of-woman...only desiring to be obedient to an unwritten-threshold-of-faith.  And, if you measure my faith... well, today, I'm not sure it would be visible under a microscope!  We've moved our family to a foreign country and I am seen as a missionary for Pete's sake!  Yet, the measure of my faith is less-than-a-mustard-seed because I'm worried about MYSELF!  I don't like what God is revealing to me and I don't think you would either! Yuck!)

"It's nothing, Honey.  Just my emotion..." I respond, silencing the questions.

These are the times I abhor my own flesh, but yet, I am so thankful God has allowed me to see it.  I'm thankful a sister in Christ "spoke truth in love" so that I would "grow up."  (As a 43 year old woman, hearing "There are a lot of 'I's in those sentences" from someone nearly half my age helped me recognize how much faith-maturing is still ahead of me!  Good grief!  It truly is Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me!  I am so sorry, Lord Jesus.)

God tenderly and gently accepted my repentance.  He comforted my heart as I was reminded of promises and instructions found in His Word.

"His ways are not our ways, but it is higher and better..."  (Isaiah 55:8-9)
"As we GO make disciples, God is always with us..."  (Matthew 28:16-20
"The cost of following Jesus is great..."  (Luke 9:23-25, Luke 9:57-62)
"We should never be lukewarm in our faith..."  (Revelation 3:14-16)
"He is our strong tower...we are safe in the shadow of His wings..." (Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 17:8)
"God is our Refuge, our Rock, our Rest..."  (Psalm 142:5, Psalm 144:1-2, Jeremiah 6:16)
"God will be my teacher as I surrender to do His Will..."  (Psalm 143:10)
"Jesus is to be our All-in-All...Our everything..." (Colossians 1)
"His grace IS sufficient..."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)
"We are made perfect and complete and lacking in nothing once we have persevered in various trials..."  (James 1:2-4)
"We must be of good courage with continual focus on eternity - not this temporal world.  We must walk by faith and not by sight..."  (2 Corinthians 5:1-7)
"Our lives will look different because we have been set apart..."  (Psalm 4:3)
"We are to be doers of God's Word, because it is a reflection of our faith..."  (James 1:22-25)l
"It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance..." (Romans 11:22-23)
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few..."  (Matthew 9:35-38)
"The Lord is my strength and my shield..."  (Psalm 28)
"My help comes from The Lord..."  (Psalm 121)
"God is God and I am not..."  (all over Scripture)
And on...and on...and on...and on...and on...

Truths that have been inscribed on my heart rose to my thoughts.  TRUTH.  Not thoughts, fears, emotions, or words that can allow my faith in Jesus Christ to be "tossed about," causing me to become "unstable" in the assurance Christ offers.  (James 1:5-8)

My precious Lord has reminded me to rest in His TRUTH.

So, here I am.  Vulnerable, yet confident.  Shaky, yet sure.  Uncertain, yet certain.

Please pray for us as we continue to seek God for answers.  The vision is hazy, but we know something is there.  Reid and I do not know exactly what it is, so we are asking God to show us.  We do know that nothing about our commitment or plan to stay through next year has changed AT ALL.  We are certain about that.

As you pray for discernment for us, could you also please pray that I would stop using pronouns improperly?  "I" and "me" need to be continually replaced with "God," "Jesus," and "Holy Spirit."  I want my eyes FIXED on HIM - not myself.  If my eyes are fixed on Him then, never again will someone look me square in the eye and say, "There are too many 'I's in those sentences."

"Rather, speaking the truth in love
we are to grow up in every way 
into Him who is the head, into Christ." 
 Ephesians 4:15



1 comment:

Autumn said...

So good. Happy that Kathy was able to speak into your life in such a profound way and praying that God's voice would be clear as you and Reid discern what is ahead for you and your family. Praying for you guys!