Obedience

safety.jpeg

Something I’ve noticed in my current reading of the Old Testament pertains to the nature of God’s commandments to his people. When I was younger, I would read verses that said “Because you didn’t obey my laws, I’m going to strike you down” and would think “Yikes, that’s a little harsh.” But the more I read the more I see that aside from the fact that God is holy (and that’s a big aside), a law that said “Don’t worship other gods” could often be practically translated to “Don’t sacrifice your children on altars.”

So when God says “Don’t have any other gods before me,” it’s because he is holy and jealous and just. But it’s also for our good–by pursuing satisfaction in something other than Him, we are either going to hurt someone else, or we are going to hurt ourselves. By being disappointed in gods that cannot save, by our selfishness prioritizing our own desires over others, by our pride puffing up what ought not (and is then slighted at the smallest offense to our greatness), or a myriad of other “trials” that wouldn’t exist if the throne of our heart was properly occupied. Our choice to be obedient (or not) has direct consequences.

For me, both in wifehood and personhood, obedience often means not doing anything. Keeping silent when I think I’m right. Not tryingtryingtryingtryingforcingit when I want to have control. Not getting fixated on what I want and why I don’t have it. Not obsessing about why something happened the way it did. Not wondering how things would be different if I would have just _____. Obedience means resting in God’s goodness, justice, and plans.

And resting is hard for me to do. Resting means letting go, being okay with not crossing every single thing off my list. It means getting my worth and identity and acknowledgment from God and who He is (and therefore who I am), and not my list or my day or my competency or the laundry or our bank account or even stupidstupid like what my hair is doing today.

Me being obedient in pursuing God as my only satisfaction and goal, as my rest and salvation, is practically translated to safety. Safety in the One who formed the universe, the one who molded my personality and dreams and desires. Safety in that no matter my day or the state or size of our family, he is the Lord God and I am not.

“Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.” Psalm 94:12-15

 

post-election

“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” 2 Kings 22:1-2

So

“When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. . . ‘For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.'” 11,13

But

“because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.” 19

Always–

Our God is unchanging, and forever good, and holy holy holy.

God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.

We are to pray for our leaders, regardless of whether or not we voted for them.

ducking

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“‘O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.'” Isaiah 54:11

This storm isn’t big enough to warrant a name, but it still feels like I need to be finding some cover.

“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4

 

fffear

Yesterday I was given the gift of an email. I didn’t realize how Nervous Nervous What Does She Think Why Hasn’t She Maybe It’s But Then Why Would She– I had become. And then, the email was more than I even knew to look forit was Affirmation Confirmation Encouragement Excitement Hope.

“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” Psalm 105:1-5

My heart needs better muscle memory. When I’m caught up in the what ifs, why don’ts, why isn’ts, why can’ts, when wills, I need to remember to remember the He loves, He does, He cans, He wills, He is–always.

“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” Isaiah 50:10

My fear of the Lord is either greater or smaller than my fear of uncertainties.

“For thus says the Lord: ‘Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.'” Isaiah 49:25

 

 

 

gratus

thankful.jpegAn attitude of thankfulness is medicine for my soul. The easiest way for me to do this is through prayer. Personally thanking God for his goodness, his blessings, and even the trials he’s given me is the realignment my spiritual spine needs to keep me upright from day to day. And day to day, it needs to be every day.

“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!” Psalm 135:3

 

Isaiah, Isaiah, Isaiah

When you live an hour away from pretty much everyone you know, you start to count the cost of committing to things: gas money, miles on the car, not to mention the two hours spent driving.

“It’s a sacrifice for me to go.” Is the primary excuse for the “Can’t make it” RSVP click. Sometimes a hopeful, albeit naive, “Maybe” is selected, but we all know what that really means:

“I want you to know that I want to go, so I won’t say no, but I’m also definitely not saying yes.”

Do you even know what I would give up to be there? Getting caught up on laundry, menu planning, the vacuuming I’ve been putting off, and I know I would finally get to that reorganizing project I’ve been thinking of doing for four months. 

And then it’s all Netflix and that endless dead-eye Facebook feed scroll that sucks the hours away before you realize what’s happened. But Oh Yes It’s Worth It, Because I Need Me Time.

I’m continually prioritizing myself over others. And worse, I’m not relying on God to supply my needs. I’m all about healthy boundaries, insisting upon a day of rest every week, and the idea that you have to make decisions that are best for your family.

But I’ve gotten so selfish with my time.

Ooo, so-and-so has invited us over for a game night. Oof, Friday night? That’s usually our day together at home. Hmm. And what’s-her-face is going to be there, I really can’t handle another conversation about her seventh knee surgery. 

Weighing the pros and cons of  what the event will do for me, nine times out of ten I won’t deem it worthy enough.

So there’s this. And then there’s my sudden and violent disappointment at the news of a beloved friend’s pregnancy. I’ve heard a million times that your disappointments are indicators of where your hope is, but never have I so felt so sharply the sudden loss of what I didn’t know I was expecting to happen, not to her, but to me.

And it’s not like I haven’t been asking. And then realigning myself, checking my heart, and raising my hands and praising my God for his goodness. Because he is, no matter what.

But He Loves To Give His Children Gifts, I say, And Children Are Gifts From The Lord, I say, and Ask And You Shall Receive, I say, and Even An Unjust Judge, I say, And How Much More How Much More How Much More How Much More How Much More how much more.

But

Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?” Isaiah 25:8-10

And yet

“They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out.” Isaiah 48:21

And

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show  mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

So

“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.” Isaiah 48:12

And

“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:18

I’m not sure how long I’ve allowed these weeds to grow, but I’ve got some serious gardening to do.

 

Making Home.

A series of rapid and surprising events has led me to the point when, in the About Me section called “Occupation,” I now scroll down to “Homemaker.” If that’s not an option, a discouraging “Unemployed” further down is the next best choice.

At first, the excitement of my prospects and new adventures were all I could think of. I can finally practice the piano more, write more, sew more, have dinner ready at 6:00, I’ll wear makeup everyday and dresses every other day.

But then, I realized, that the laundry is behind, the sheets need to be changed, there are tumbleweeds of pet hair accumulating in the corners, there are no dairy products left in the refrigerator, and the kitchen garbage can is so full the lid won’t shut. There aren’t even any children living here to blame it on (though I will say that there are five busy adults).

You might be curious as to the reasoning behind my sudden lack of official employment (I’m still freelance writing and considering starting a little sewing business!). Simply put, I want the emphasis in my life right now to being the best wife I can be. And if I’m to do that, I just don’t have the energy for much else if I’m working somewhere outside of our home for 30+ hours a week. It’s also not a passion of mine to maintain a thriving and competitive career, at least not one that doesn’t include raising miniature versions of me and Husband, or making some kind of attempt at being published.

So, first and foremost, before any tiny toes learn to walk across our floors, my duty is to be Wife. If I don’t establish the habits I want later now, before things get complicated, I fear they may never happen. At least not at the pace I’d like.

It hasn’t looked much like I thought it would. Generally, I love household things. I love the feeling after tidying a room, looking across the neat surfaces and dusted corners. I love making the bed in the morning. I love running errands, planning dinners, and having little surprises waiting for Husband when he comes home.

I didn’t realize though, that when those things are the exception to your time, they hold a novelty that goes away when they become your normal, your every day, your each morning. And that is where I find myself on this Wednesday afternoon, sitting on a mostly-made bed with a laundry basket waiting for attention and floors pleading to be vacuumed.

Two nights ago I had what I am assuming other people refer to when they say “panic attack.” I awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and when I got back into bed I was overwhelmed with an intangible and suffocating terror that lasted for long enough that I had to wake up Husband, who then held me until I could fitfully sleep again. In my quiet time this morning, the first one I’ve had in weeks, this verse was in my reading: Psalm 50:14-15 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” My conviction from this is that before troubles arise, before calling on my Lord for deliverance, my attitude needs to be that of thankfulness. A sacrifice of thanksgiving is no sacrifice other than releasing my demand that I should have more than I do. This not only applies to possessions, but circumstances.

So today, I am thankful to have clothes to put away. I am thankful for moments of anxiety that force me to acknowledge that I am weak. I am thankful for the simplicity of my days. I am thankful for my hard working Husband who loves me constantly. I am thankful for our family who has supported us since the beginning. And holy bologna most of all, I am so very thankful to be a redeemed new creation through Jesus.