There is several inches of snow on the ground and it is amazingly beautiful outside. The kids have built snowmen and a partial snow fort. They have come inside soaking wet and blessed beyond belief by the snow. Some of our college kids stayed the night and a few more showed up today to play. What fun!
So my best intentions at blogging aren't getting me very far. Because honestly, life seems so hard right now. Many times in my life since becoming a christian at the ripe old age of 21 (I asked Christ into my heart at 19, but didn't really get it until I was 21), I have been pruned by the Lord. Not ever as severely as I have been the last 4 or 5 months. I would love to say that life is glorious and grand but I would be lying most days. Many days I have argued with God about being pruned during the winter time. Things die when you cut them back in the winter, doesn't He know this? Exactly Krista! I think I was the last one to understand what He was doing. Scripture is filled with verses reminding us to be imitators of Christ, taking up our cross and following Him, dying to ourselves, putting off our old selves, and on and on. None of these things can be accomplished when I am living in my natural self. They also cannot happen when I am being stubborn, unwilling and disobedient to the truth. I wish I could put to words everything that God has taught me in the last few months, about dying to self and living for Him. The verse in Isaiah 1 has been a favorite of mine for years, but has lately become a constant saying in my heart, my mouth and our home.
"If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land. If you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." Isaiah 1: 19-20
Oh how I struggle with this. I don't just want to eat the best from the land, although who wouldn't? I do want the Lord to bless us, but I really want to bring Him honor and glory through my life. To imitate Him in every way and every where. Yet, I continue to live with my ears plugged to the truth in certain situations. Unwilling to let God expose certain areas of my sinful heart to the light so that they can be dealt with. Many of them are silly things really. Things that I should want to let go of and not worry over. One silly one is, people chewing with their mouths open. While this sounds so small, sit at a table with children who do this 3 times a day for weeks on end. I doubt that this small "flaw" by my standards is even noticed in Ethiopia but it is something that I struggle with and it gets under my skin like a bad rash. Instead of taking a deep breath, giving a consistent, gentle reminder and letting it go; I remind gently and then choose to be irritated. Messy rooms are irritating, dirty bathrooms are even worse and children that bicker is sometimes more than I can stand. All of it matters little tomorrow, but for that moment and the few after it, it matters, a lot.... WHY????? I have asked myself and the Lord "Why" more in the last few months of my life over trivial things. Embarrassed and prideful over the silly things that I can't let go of. But there is the problem right there. In our home, "CAN'T" means "WON'T". So if I rephrase that last sentence- I am embarrassed and prideful over the things I "won't" change. That leaves quite a different taste in your mouth after saying it. I know that I am breaking God's heart because He desires freedom from these struggles for me. It is a choice for me to lay it down, to accept the "new normal" and to live as He is calling me to live. Uhhhhhhhh, I want to but when I am faced with a 'trip wire' (as we call it in our house), I fall right over it and then later realize that I wasn't even looking. Open the eyes of my heart Lord, so that I can see the trip wires placed out there. When I see them, I can choose to step over it, jump over it or go around it. A simple choice, but I don't know that I would always choose to do the right thing, even if I see the choice in front of me.
Open heart surgery, is what I would call this season of my life. I don't even like the word seasons, when it comes to speaking about the places we are in life. A dear friend of mine used that word constantly, and though she was right about what she was saying, I refused to accept some of those "seasons". Well, she was right. I have gone through lots of seasons, and this one happens to be very hard. We are struggling with all the adjustments of 2 more children, cultural differences, language barriers, lots and lots of miscommunications, moving, adjusting, financial struggles and much more. But God is good and faithful. We have more good days than rough ones. I sat at the soccer field the other day and watched my four older children play on the same team, and for the first time I had a true glimpse of the picture that God is painting of our family. I was a proud momma that day. I walked away full of hope. Maybe that is what I have lost in the middle of the hard times and realization of how incredibly stubborn I am, is hope. But God is the giver of hope and through Jesus, we have the hope of far more than just what we can see in the here and now. Eternity.
For the here and now, what I choose to hold onto is the truth of God's Word. Truth that I deeply desire that my children know and live by. Today, I choose to, "Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. " Hebrews 12:1. I will also remember to, "Consider it pure joy, Krista, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:3
The rest of the day will be full of card games, snowball fights and lots of loud, joyful voices. Thank you Lord for the snow, for precious family and dear friends. Sweet memories will be created today. Thank you Lord for this day!