I have confession. In the last weeks I have fallen victim to the thief. What has he stolen? Joy, confidence, acceptance, energy, peace. What has been left in the wake? Fear, guilt, anxiety, sadness, confusion.
I was weak and I let the thief walk away with my dreams and hopes. I barely put up a fight. I don't think I knew what was happening until they were gone.
The thief is a master of disguise. In a season of life where mothers are expected to be tired, overwhelmed, distanced from spouses, and even depressed, I accepted the changes and didn't question. I assumed they would just go away.
But here I am. Seven months into motherhood and discouraged. I battle daily to find simple pleasures, to approach another load of dishes or laundry, or sometimes even Jack, without grumbling, to LIVE THIS SEASON TO THE FULL. My thoughts turn sour at the slightest bump. Instead of my usual optimism and confidence in God's love and provision and my ability to hear him, I assume the worst. I assume that I am alone, unwanted and doing everything wrong.
It hurts. It feels crushing. I almost want to give in.
BUT I WON'T.
Jesus said he came that "they might have life, and have it to the full." That EMILY might have life to the full.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22,23
"... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
I was reading in Genesis last week and came to the chapter where Abram and Lot are about to part ways. God says to Abram, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you... Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." Genesis 13:14,17
I distinctly heard God call me to look up from where I am. In the middle of the day, I see a dirty house, a needy baby, dinner to make, not enough time to enjoy the company of my husband... those things discourage me. My feeble view of the future looks like more of the same for awhile, instead of the life of adventure and purpose that I crave.
But God sees all of the north, south, east and west. He sees it ALL. He knows where I am now and he knows what he plans to give me. It is going to be more than I could ever even think to ask for.
So his challenge to me? To Go. To walk the length and breadth of the land. To love him each day and to flourish in the midst of diapers, in the midst of loneliness and in spite of the foggy future. Just GO. Live it up. Thrive. Set down roots of faith in him and obedience. Keep my hands open to receive daily doses of the joy and peace that I need. Live with gratitude and endurance.
This season, this battle, this daily fight to accept the gift of full life, is necessary to shape me for the things God has in store. Truthfully, that knowledge doesn't really make it feel any easier, but I have to learn that my feelings aren't always going to reflect the truth of who God is and how he's working in my life. They can be a tool, but I've been relying on them too heavily.
So now, on to the art of living. God, please seal this truth in me.
Courage to you friends as you look north, south, east and west and as you go claim the land God has promised you.