Dark days have seemed to surround me often, mostly because I have chosen to listen to the voice of my enemy. I feel that we are constantly on the front lines of a battlefield and the enemy knows just how to attack. I find myself entertaining thoughts of questioning beliefs I hold so dear- my head knows the truth, but my heart is swayed by the doubts. Then when I face the doubts they seem so insubstantial and don't hold up to the light of scrutiny.
As a ministry wife I understand that much of the time I need to bear the weight of home keeping and the responsibilities of raising, training and leading the kids. This is what I am called to right now. As I work to bear this, my husband can be free to do what God has called him to do. The enemy wants to plant seeds of resentment here. There are others who are not called to this whose lives are very different from my own. That is ok- because that is God's plan, I have said to Him that I am surrendered to His plan for me. But then the voice of the enemy whispers words about my inadequacies and I listen! I know the source yet I listen!
I fear that I am not doing enough to prepare my kids for life, that I am not leading them in how to walk with the Lord in the best way. Pride raises its ugly head and reminds me that others will see how I fail at keeping house, how I blunder at daily life. My eyes are focussed on the mess that I clean up and reappears at the hands of a three-year-old, the laundry that is never done, the dishes that are never clean. I grumble at myself for not having taught these children well enough to do the assigned chores. I grow weary of being the one to enforce everything from rising to laying down and every routine and rule in-between. I despair that I never have a moment for me- that my dreams will never see light of day. When I listen to the orations of self-pity, fear and pride I am utterly burned out.
I have know for some time that the lesson in this season is obedience. I have been obeying what He puts in front of me- from home to church to helping friends. This past week, while stealing a few minutes in the morning for God's Word, I'm convicted that my heart attitude needs to change and my obedience should come from a heart of love, not legalism. Yet the love must come from my Heavenly Father- I cannot manufacture it. So from Him comes the command to obey, and the means by which to obey, as strength and grace for each moment. But knowing that is not living that. I step out of the current of grace to doubt, fear and to pity myself. How silly I must seem to Him!
How to surrender to the current of His will? How to surrender when others' lives look nothing like mine? How to stay focussed on Him? The surrender is not a letting go- but a striving against the weight of the other current that would pull me back to the battlefield. Yet the surrender is a releasing to the rhythms of grace that are foreign to me.
Last month something happened that I haven't been able to put into words yet, but I want to remember. It was in the evening in a moment of trying to obey and surrender but feeling the weight of a long day. I was outside and night was all around me, with noises and the whisper of a breeze. The stars were bright and close, our small town's lights did not diminish them. Far off in the southwest a storm was building. The tall thunderhead was hidden in the night until lightning would flash. The the immense cloud was lit from within and tickled by fingers of power that reached all around it. The storm was so far away that there was no sound of thunder. I stood for a few minutes, knowing that I needed to go in and enforce bedtime and try to summon the energy to fold laundry. It seemed nature was giving me a visual for the idea of glory. I could not measure the storm cloud, or understand the immense amount of power contained in the lightning flashing in and around it. The glory of that was hidden in the dark sometimes, until cracking of power could not be contained anymore. I went inside and the next day I seemed to feel the power of grace at moments that I really needed it. Grace did not feel very exciting like an electrified moment of worship at church, but like a strong current I could swim in, if I chose.