Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I want to be a Woman of Faith

If you asked me to leap
Out of my boat on the crashing waves
If You ask me to go
Preach to the lost world that Jesus saves

I’ll go, but I cannot go alone
Cause I know I’m nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I’m weak, You make me strong
When I’m blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don’t need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I’ll stand on Your truth, and
I’ll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me

If You ask me to run
And carry Your light into foreign land
If You ask me to fight

Deliver Your people from satan’s hand

To reach out with Your hands
To learn through Your eyes
To love with the love of a savior
To feel with Your heart
And to think with Your mind
I’d give my last breath for Your glory

(Casting Crowns, In Me, Lifesong)

Three years ago, I was recovering from giving birth to Kellar. He was only a couple of weeks or months old and I started wrestling with some feelings. I don't remember if these feelings were brought on by this song, but these lyrics certainly express the outcome of my wrestlings.

Let's go back, shall we?

I do remember that Kellar was just a wee thing, and I started feeling like God was gently pressing a question upon my heart: "What would you do if I asked you to...?" At first, I tried to clarify the question: If you asked me to do what, God? If you asked me to sing for you? Keep leading the bible study? Stop leading the Bible study? Move? Have more children? Be a missionary?

I became convinced that it must be the worst, albeit, most exciting possibility: be a missionary. I say worst because the idea of leaving my family, my mother in particular, my friends, my safe home, my familiar city...and going somewhere new and remote and friendless was terrifying to me. What if I became a missionary and missed my brother or sister's wedding? Or their children being born one day? What if I left and couldn't handle missing my mom so sorely? WHAT IF I COULDN'T GET THE GOOD KIND OF MILK?! (Shaking off the hysteria.) Ahem. All of these questions were relentless and scary. But the questions didn't cease.

I finally realized that God wasn't going to clarify His question for me yet. That the real question was "Would you do whatever I asked you to do...for My sake?" Whoa there. And I thought it was scary before.

Would I be willing to agree now, as a young mother and shaky but dedicated Christian, to do whatever God asked of me down the road. Would I sign over my plans and dreams and move when He told me where to go?

My mom's council was wise and characteristic of her: Pray. If it doesn't seem clear, pray some more. So I did.

And like I said before, I wrestled, because I didn't like the implications this conversation with God held. I picked my scariest possibilitiy, to use for mere example. I implored God, "What if I miss David's wedding?? Karen's children being born?? What if I really really really miss my mom and cry 'cause I can't handle being there without her?" (I never went away to college; it doesn't show much, does it?) But God didn't tell me how He would address those possibilities, He just kept asking if I'd agree no matter what. (No, not with a voice in my head. A pressing on my heart. Let's not get carried away.)

So finally I caved. With tears and choked voice I told Him that I would go where He wanted me to go and do whatever He wanted me to do. But that He needed to understand my limitations, my issues. And that I would agree, but that these issues would be paramount and deeply effect my attitude when the time came that He called. And that I would need His strength and provision to take me where my issues forbade me to go.

Three years have passed, and so far I've received no clear call to change my immediate circumstances. I've agreed to cut back on being on stage during worship time, continued and changed my Bible study leading, gained new friends, shed others, agreed to try homeschooling our children. I've started gaining confidence and drive and peace. I've started really loving people. And I've started writing again.

I asked my mom awhile back if I should try to be a writer. And her council was wise and characteristic of her: you are a writer. Making money doesn't really make it much better, but don't tell the professional authors that. Keep writing and use your craft to bring glory to God. Enjoy it for what it is.

So I have. Oh, the practice and enjoyment I've earned.

All this to say that no, I still do not know exactly what God is preparing me for. But this morning, I thought about one more intricacy that has kept me wondering as I move on down the path of life, "Why has God allowed me to have so many children at such a young age, and in so little time?" Matt and I planned on waiting several years before trying for children, and I knew next to nothing when we started. Each time we found out we were having another, I kept wondering if I'd be ready for it. But at this point, I've started realizing what having children can do to you, if you're willing for them to mold you: they can firm up your squishy, selfish, wimpy parts and soften up your tough, rigid, protective parts. My kids have made me sweeter, stronger, gentler, more patient, more lavish, more modest, more content, more determined, more creative, more motivated, more protective, more loyal, more capable, a better speaker, a better listener, a better musician, a better wife, a better friend, and yes, a better Christian.

Perhaps many would argue that children are not means to an end, that children are precious gifts in and of themselves...and with these wannabe antagonists I would agree. But looking back on the me of 6 years ago, I am quite sure that God has a double entendre in these fabulous kids. He's been getting me in shape. And it doesn't really matter for what. He and I have already had that conversation and the answer is "yes."

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make. ~Truman Capote, McCall's, November 1967


June said...

Your Mom is right.....you are a writer.

aswine said...

IMHO, America needs the more missionaries than the rest of the world nowadays. Other countries are sending missionaries to the US.