Friday, October 17, 2014

when you want to ask God why

{Today I am reading back through old posts, looking for light and truth in all God has already given. This is a repost from 2012, and it's encouraging to know that circumstances change, but our hope remains in the same God who is the great I AM....}

"I don't want to be a cliché," I tell him late one night after a hard day.

"What do you mean?" he asks.

"I don't want to be the wife who pesters her husband to death because she can't handle her own responsibilities," I mumble out the words because they are the most soul-born, honest sentiments I have spoken in months.

It had been a day full of emotions and hormones that I buried down inside, dumped at the feet of Jesus and refused to let dictate my responses, my tones, and my actions. I was exhausted and alone in that moment; who knew all I had laid down today? Only Jesus could really ever know.

I think of it more now, and I know what else I don't want to be. I don't want to be the mother who keeps her house in order but loses her children's hearts. I don't want to be the pastor's wife who is lonely and has no life of her own. I don't want to be the Christian who reads her Bible but misses the most important commandment: to love God first with her whole heart, soul, and mind, and to love others more than herself.

Keeping that commandment is easy when your life is full of cozy emotions and easily-won achievements. Dark days require bravery if you don't want your heart, mind, and soul to harden and shrink away from God.

I stood in soul-dimness for several years after the birth of our sons. We had three boys in twenty-seven months. Let's break that down: Boy 1 was born in January of 2004. When he was four months old I got pregnant with Boy 2 who was born in February of 2005. When Boy 2 was five months old I got pregnant with Boy 3 and he was born in May of 2006. They were newborn, fourteen months-old, and twenty-seven months-old in the spring of 2006. I was overwhelmed and tired.

I rocked three babies at one time and cried this prayer a lot, "Why God? Why would you do this to me? Why would you do this these poor babies? How can I possibly be a good mom to all of them at once?"

Many days I wasn't a "good" mom. I just survived the tantrums and the diapers and the feedings, went to bed and got up to do it all again the next day. No one learned their letters, how to count, or their colors. No one went to butterfly parks to marvel at God's creation, or to the museum to see how wind makes electricity.  On the worst days no one napped, my patience wore too thin, my anger burned a little too hot, and my apologies flowed like a fountain.

But most days, I trusted that since we were in the middle of God's will, we were going to be okay. Most days Boy 1 and I drew with sidewalk chalk on the driveway while the babies slept. Most days we took a walk, two boys in the stroller, one boy in the sling. Many days I made dinner in the crockpot to avoid insanity in the afternoon, put lipstick on as Mr. Fantastic walked through the door, and was thankful for adult conversation.

Every day I hugged my boys and told them how much I loved them.

Then, as the days turned into weeks, then months, and then years, I learned how great God is. I see how the chaos has driven me to Him. I have learned how selfishness is driven from the human heart when suffering turns into submission to a God who sees everything.

The answer to my prayer of "Why?" was simple: so I could know the gospel. The gospel answers the deepest questions the darkness of this world brings up in our hearts. It says:

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." - 1 Peter 5:10-11

The gospel, in its truth and power is never cliché.

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