Sitting in church today, my mind was full. Full of realization. Full of comprehension.
It’s God’s way to use the simple, to speak through who and what we do not expect. That’s not to say that I don’t expect to learn from the pastor, but I also recognize that this man is no extravagantly gifted speaker. He always speaks of simple things, but this allows God to work and get the glory. When I walk away after hearing Pastor “T” speak, my mind is not on Pastor “T”. If God has spoken, it’s clearly God. When I say that, I mean this, the message is designed and planned out to say one thing, but ends up teaching me something entirely different than the intent…something that works into my life with perfection because of key words that bring my mind to understand the ways of God a little better. Do you understand what I mean? I hope so.
The message is usually a story or principle that I have heard many times, spoken in a way that a child could understand as clearly as an adult. My mind is never thinking about how smart Pastor “T” is, or what an amazing sermon he prepared this week. Nope. He doesn’t leave me focused on him. A man of humble means never does. I think that is why God uses those that we wouldn’t see as strongly suited to something. Because of that, it’s clear to see where God’s Spirit has worked and to recognize Him as God, not the effect of a man’s gifts.
The first thing that my mind stayed fixed on was this- God sees men as who they will someday be, not who they are today. I suppose that is one of the benefits of being outside of time. He knows who I will be at the end of this life and during the between, and He blesses me with the grace necessary while I become. I become. This entire life, I become…though I am not. Though I am weak, though I am prideful, though I am uncontrolled in my temper, though I am afraid- God sees me as one that I have no clear vision of. Who I will be when He calls me home to Him is not for me to know. The process of getting there without knowing where there is remains a large part of what shapes and refines.
I have long thought that the way the Spirit of God works is to fill in the places where I need filling. What I am capable of doing, I do. When I reach the part where I need Him, He steps in. Now, I wonder if this is so true. Today I thought, my best days would be if I remembered to pray, with the desire to beg though I know it not necessary, that any part of me should be prevented from entering this day. I mess things up. I can’t handle it all, and I know that when I can, He is in control.
There was also a misprint in my understanding of how I recognized the Holy Spirit was at work. When I felt good feelings and the goose bumps that can accompany His presence- that was Him. That was knowing that He was there. (I knew that He was always there, but I guess I imagined Him sometimes dormant or something.) But these days I recognize a more subtle presence as well. I know that He has taken over because life is not chaos and I am making it. I am not loosing it and I can keep myself under control. And the funny thing is, it’s not that I have asked or prayed that today He would prevent me from the wreckage that is my choices, that is my lack of good judgment, that is my imperfection. No…it just seems that He does it. Mostly, I feel like me. I just feel like a different me. If I were not aware that it was the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, which honestly could be easily done because of the subtlety, I would just think I was having a good day. I was doing well and enjoying life.
But there are days when He lets me see that He doesn’t have to be there. He alone makes the choice of how much He will do for me each day. Some days it seems He wants me to try a little harder, but it doesn’t get too far out of comfortable, just enough to grow a little. Then there are days that I am surer than sure are just to remind me that I am a wretched soul were it not for Him. To remind me that were He not there I would not be who I sometimes think I am…who others might think I am. A little reminder that – hey, I’m here and I’m doing what I promised I would do when you gave your life to me. Those are days that make me feel shameful about who I really am. Those are the days I see myself as who I would be were it not for the transforming power of Christ. Those are the days that I don’t see myself as He sees me at all. And I do know that it’s not God’s desire for me to see myself as such, but I can also be such a prideful being and reality is a hard hit.
The second thing, a simple statement about God adopting us as His children. I thought on that. On the way we are adopted and the way that God also sees us as who we will be, not as who we are. I also read this week something about the difficult times in the start with children who have attachment issues. Our adoption, thankfully, did not bring us up against this. But many parents must deal with some very terrible things before their child is ready to show who they really are. Some children have to overcome some very painful things first. The author of this post stated that at this difficult point, the child is not your child, they are just a ball of behaviors, and you can’t love a bundle of behaviors.
When God adopts us, we are just a bundle of worldly behaviors. Thankfully, He created us and He knows who we are before we do. He is able, unlike a human adoptive parent, to actually love us from the start and doesn’t have to just go through the motions until real love develops.
As I watch Ana develop so quickly and grow and mature at a rapid rate now that she is home with us, loved and given the opportunity to do so, it helps me to relate to God and His love for me. The way He feels about me. There is something special that you can try to imagine, but it’s so different from the parent side of things, when a child that was written off by the world and thought to be incapable of amounting to anything comes home to love, and the expectation that she can. And then she does. “You believe I can do this mom? You really think that I can count for something?” She says inside herself, surprised that something is expected, even though she knew she was able to do more than they ever asked. “You are right mom.” She smiles in her heart with pride in herself, “I can be worth something. I am worth something.” And I think to myself, “Honey, you won’t just be part of this world, you will change it. You will change it because you are loved by God and you’ll know it.”
How many children are left? Really, that’s what I thought about. How often are children left unloved because it’s not the right time? It’s not the best time for me to adopt, but I would love to when my kids are a little older. I think someday I might adopt a child when my finances are in better order. I’ve thought about adoption in the future, but…(you fill in the blank). How many kids are left without love, IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, because it’s not the right time?
Then I thought, yes, not everyone is supposed to adopt. But it’s like that with so many things that God would have us do. We aren’t willing to step out in faith because we are still looking at life through the eyes of preparation and the world’s view of responsibility. And here I am sounding like I’m preaching at you. That’s really what I didn’t want to do. I wanted to share my heart and my thoughts about me…
See, we have some things we are working on. Decisions to make. Some are trivial, some pretty important, and I had to look at myself with honesty today and ask why I was thinking the way I was. Why did my preferences lie where they did? And I realized that the reasons that I wanted to lean in the direction I wanted to lean were not the reasons that mattered. The reality of the matter is that I still think in terms of “when I’m ready” instead of “when I am asked”. The point is that God asks when I am NOT ready. If I did things when it made sense, then I would be doing things in my own time. I would be doing things in my own power if I did them when it was a good time. And does that make any sense at all? Because the God I know likes to make His power known. He is all about loving people and changing lives, but that’s not all He is about. He is about making His power known in the process and bringing GLORY to HIS NAME in the process. If I want to wait until I’m ready…I am missing the point.
When it’s the right time requires little faith. When it’s the “right time” might never come. When it’s the “right time”, it won’t really require the power of the Holy Spirit to do it, will it? The “right time” is wanting to do something for the wrong reason. I think then it might be that I am thinking about my glory instead of God’s…if I’m being totally honest here. Pride is a very dangerous and deadly thing.
And these were my thoughts today.
2 months ago