They’ve been married for just over a year, are expecting their first child in May, and are preparing to follow Jesus into what will undoubtedly be a difficult and stressful living situation. So I do what any loving mother would do. I send an email, praying with them that Satan will be bound in all his attempts to discourage them or turn their thoughts away from Christ’s sufficiency to their own fleshly preferences. I remind them they are entering a mission field every bit as important and challenging as any they will ever enter, and I pray our great God will equip them with all the tools and weapons they will need. I also pray He grants them sweet union and unity in their marriage and the kind of love that bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. “Forgive,” I tell them. “Love. Wash each others’ feet. Christ’s glory will be upon you.”
I can almost hear the violins playing, while butterflies and rainbows swirl around my wise and wonderful words. Aren’t they blessed to have such an insightful, godly mother! I click “send” and decide to reward myself with a nice cup of tea. But when I enter the kitchen the violins screech to a halt, the rainbows pop, and the butterflies duck for cover. Dirty dishes are strewn on the counter and in the sink. My sub-conscious mother-of-the-year acceptance speech is interrupted by new thoughts. Are you kidding me? Is it really that hard to open the dishwasher and load a plate?
And then they start. The accusations. The “he always . . .” and “he never . . .” nitpicks that add up to discontentment and blind the mind to all the breathtaking beauty of the man I married. I feel the irritation rising and I ride its swell and just when indignation ripens into full-blown resentment, the truth hits me like a sucker punch to the gut.
I’m a fraud. How easy to tell someone else to love well, to wash the feet, to believe the best. How hard to live it.
Oh, yes. I can see exactly what you need to do to magnify Christ in your relationships, but when it’s my preferences trampled on — when it’s my wants ignored or unmet — the remedy no longer applies. You need to take up your cross. I need to get my way. Here, let me help you with that speck in your eye. A log, you say? Pfffsssh. I can see just fine. How else would I have noticed all those dishes strewn around the counter . . .
In chapter seven of One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes, “My human experience is the sum of what the soul sees and I see precisely what I attend to and what the eyes focus on is what the life is.”
God of all patience, have mercy on me. Let me see You everywhere and in everyone, especially those closest and most familiar. Let me not be content to know and declare truth, but let me live what I proclaim, not only when I’m in a spotlight, but in the everyday moments that add up to life. The sweet and the bitter. The delightful and the annoying. You are present, here, in this moment as good, all-sufficient, grace-full God. Let me be present as well.
It’s not enough to have the right words or a good reputation. Amy Carmichael prayed, “Cause us to be the thing that we appear.” Thanks be to God, there’s hope for those of us who forget our names and squander priceless moments listening to lies. Philippians 4:19 promises, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” He supplies, and we say Thank You, Lord, for the sucker punch. Thank You for the gifts of conviction and repentance. Thank You for Your surgical love that prunes the dead weight and pries logs from mis-focused eyes.
What a mercy. The God of glory’s riches knows exactly what I need — to walk in the light with Him and have fellowship with those who walk alongside. To be the thing that I appear. To get real.
This week’s Walk With Him Wednesdays theme is “The Spiritual Discipline of Time.” How do we make time for God and for all things eternal? For me, right now, the answer lies in living what I know and profess, moment by priceless moment, with God and with my beloveds. I need to get real. How about you?