Friday, May 20, 2011

Stopping for the Bowl

Have you ever had a revelation so clear it was almost as if it hit you in the face? I have often times wondered how in the world the Israelites could have been so whiney throughout their pilgrimage out of Egypt. For gracious sake, there was manna falling from the sky every day!! If the daily provision of raining food was not enough there is always the trek through the miraculous split of water on DRY ground. Would I have still complained...undoubtedly so. How do I know? Well, I just do. The people of old are very similar to me as much as I'd like to deny it from time to time. For example, although it has nothing to do with complaining or not trusting God, it definitely shows the similarity between my humanness and that of the characters of the bible. For example, take this evening.

The kids were outside merrily jumping on the trampoline which is always a peaceful time of the evening for me. The kids are happy, the house is quiet for a bit, and it is a time when I can get just a few things done. My sewing machine has sat abandoned this week due to busyness with the end of school approaching. Along side my machine is the cutest little dress I am dying to finish but have needed bias tape to finish off the creation. Although the act itself will take all of about 5 minutes, I just haven't had time to get to the store to buy the tape...much less sew it on! Well, today was the day that I found time to visit the fabric store and buy the much needed finishing touch. To top off the fact that today was the day I had the bias tape in my hot little hand...there was this glorious time set aside when my sewing machine could hum happily as the creation reached maturation. Finally, I thought. Tonight is THE perfect time to finish off the dress. It will just take a minute and it will finally be done! So I sat down to the machine, and as I did...the Holy Spirit began to speak. It was NOT time for me to sew, but instead it was time for me to open my bible and spend time with God. WHAT? Was there not a realization in the holy realm that this has been my only chance all week to finally close the book on this dress? Because I cannot stand the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I promptly turned my machine off, stood up, and made my way through the kitchen. As I passed the dishes that were sat out to dry earlier today, I became Saul.

If you aren't familiar with the story of Saul, King Agag, and God's instructions...let me catch you up a bit. In the old testament book of 1 Samuel, you'll find Saul being told by Samuel what the Lord commands of him in chapter 15. "Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation-men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys." Saul did indeed go in with his army and kill and destroy, but he stopped along the way to capture King Agag and snag a few animals for a sacrifice. Because of this disobedience, the Lord rejected Saul as king. You may be wondering how in the world did I become Saul among a sewing machine, some dishes, and my bible. Let me tell you.

I said I promptly turned my machine off, just as Saul obeyed by heading off into battle. AND...just as Saul made a few pitstops, as I passed the dishes that were on the bar...I did it. I fell into the trap of disobedience. My flesh wanted to get something done so badly during this 'perfect time for getting things done', that I grabbed the big yellow piece of plastic known as the popcorn bowl and headed to the cabinet with it. As soon as I touched it, the holy spirit was heavy upon me. "You were told to spend time in the word" could have been heard three blocks away, I just know it! I continued toward the cabinet since it was on my way out of the kitchen, put the bowl up, and THEN headed to my bible in my room...where I sat thinking of the disobedience and how easily it must have been for Saul in that moment. He figured they'd be happy to have King Agag as a prisoner of war, and of course they would need animals for the offering. What Saul learned the hard way was that when God speaks, he requires our FULL obedience. Not a partial, regardless of how incredible our excuse is as to why we did MOST of what God wanted us to do. Partial obedience is disobedience any way you cut it.

So, there you have it. I fell into the same trap as Saul and I feel sure I'd been right there asking if there were a way we could have some butter and honey for the manna because I was getting tired of the taste. I love how the stories of the bible, God's living word, is SO relevant to me in my everyday life. God reminded me of that tonight in such a simple yet profound way! Whether it is a large scale action or something as small as picking up the popcorn bowl, disobedience is just that. Because we are flesh and made from the dust of the earth, we cannot escape it. The positive? My sin of disobedience is not any worse than the girl making her way to swing on a pole and tempt men as the bible tells us should not be done. The foot of the cross is level, praise God, and every sin is equal in God's view. As a Christian...I am saved by the same blood that can save a murderer, adulterer, thief or any number of people the world may find as unworthy and unforgivable. Stopping for the bowl is all the same in God's eyes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What if our children imitate us?

Every Monday night I meet with a wonderful group of friends to study the word of God...Beth Moore style! This is by far one of my favorite times of the week, and I look forward to it with great anticipation of what the Lord will reveal to me about His word and how He wants to use me. This past Monday, it wasn't Beth Moore as much as another participant in the bible study that God used to speak to me in a very vivid way. He spoke in such a way that settled SO deep into my soul, it was as if He were there in the flesh.

Let me backtrack just a bit to earlier in the afternoon. Beth Moore suggests in this particular study to take a minute each and every day to bow down to Jesus in prayer, forehead to the ground. My favorite place to be when I am seeking God wholeheartedly is in my closet. It isn't a small dark closet, rather it is quite large...but it is quiet. I have had many conversations with God in this closet, and He has answered many prayers while I sat quietly listening for the closet. So, there I was on my knees, face down with my forehead laying heavily on the carpet and my arms outstretched in front of me with the palms of my hands facing heaven...and my 3 year old son walks in. I could hear him coming, but I so just wanted to meet with God at that time and NEEDED to be with Him that I continued to talk to my heavenly father as long as my sweet little guy would let me. He entered the closet and in a quiet, semi-concerned voice asked, "mommy, what are you doing?". As a lifted my head, tears streaming down my face...I answered him. "I'm praying sugar." Because prayer is a daily and very normal routine in our home, he knows this is a reverent time and so as I went back to prayer he laid by my hands and waited for me to finish.

Now, back to the bible study. As we were all getting ready to watch the video, the sounds of the living room were almost comical. Very faintly one could hear the sounds of a breast pump coming from one mommy across the room, the cries of a precious 3 month-old as her mommy tried to settle her after nursing, my car horn honking as I accidentally pushed the panic button on my remote as I tried to move my purse out of the way...and the sweet voice of an almost 3-year-old little girl (who I am quite sure had heard the 'you need to stay in your bed' speech) wanting to be a part of our bible study ready with a pen and her own little pink bible. As I sat there and was in total admiration of the desire to meet with God and learn more about him despite the busy call on their lives as mommies and wives...the curly headed little girl eager to be a part of our group reminded me of just how much our kids take in and model our actions. Then, I was transported back to my closet.

I pray that my son remembers his mommy down on her knees, and I pray that the precious little girl remembers her mommy meeting with friends to learn more about God together. Although her whispers could be heard by those around, we were all mommies and are experts at tuning out in order to tune in! God spoke to my heart in a powerful way, and reminded me of the charge we have as parents to raise our children up to be sold out for Christ...whether it be in the privacy of a closet or in the midst of friends. Let them "make notes" in their bibles, let them enter the study with a group of friends, and let them interrupt your closet prayers. They need to see us actively pursuing Christ...that is one of the behaviors I want my children to imitate more than any other!