Monday, April 14, 2008

Struggling

I started blogging as a way to express myself, to get my thoughts down, and of course to remind myself of the crazy things my kids do on a daily basis. Somehow, the kids have taken over. It's just easier to write about the fun and funny things they do and say and how I feel about that. This started as a catharsis in my journey through losing Ruby. I kept a journal from the time she died and eventually I quit journaling and began blogging. I sit down at the computer many times and plan to share something personal or what is really on my heart and then I convince myself that I don't have the emotional energy to do that, and that I'm just not in the mood for more seriousness.

I'm so tired. So is everyone else. I feel like God has been giving and giving and giving to me for so long through so many people and I should be so full of Him that it would be evident in my life. And then I look at my life and it's kind of the opposite. I still feel like I'm taking and taking and taking. I can look at this last year or so and see that He has brought me to a different place spiritually, in relationship to Him, than I have ever been before. I see what He has given me, how He has drawn me to Him, how faithful He has been to me even though I've done nothing to deserve it. And I've praised Him for that like never before. I adore Him. He is awesome. When I get to heaven, I'd like some portion of eternity to be spent rockin' my baby Ruby, since I haven't gotten to do that here, but then there's nothing I want more than to sit at His feet in worship. Forever. And ever. It's not that He hasn't brought me a long way. It's just that apparently, I had a really long way to go, because I still feel like I've only taken a baby step toward Him.

And somehow I can't get past the adoration of Him. That's safe. I know He accepts me, enjoys my fellowship (I don't know WHY, but I trust He DOES). It's all the other people in the world that He wants me to serve. I don't wanna. I just want to stay safe in my cocoon I've built, praise Him, get through life. That sounds really bad when I put it like that.

Boy, have I got it backwards! I KNOW in my head that He asks for my first fruits for a reason. Duh! Because that is how I am truly filled so I can pour out to others. I've been trying to give out of my own supplies, and they are just depleted. There's never quite enough. So I know this, but why don't I just do it? I can look back on a thousand times in my life when I put Him first (usually because I was so depleted that I had no other choice), and HELLO...HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL! Always. Completely. Faithful.

Always. Completely. Enough.

Enough to bless my husband with the respect and attention he deserves. Enough to mother my children and not just provide daycare. Enough to care for the material blessings which He has made me responsible for now. Enough to be hospitable to my extended family, neighbors, and others God puts in my path. Enough to not see the little bit of missions translating and volunteering at school as burdens, but to see them as the acts of service that they are. Enough to take me out of my little tiny circle of safety and show me ways to serve Him daily through looking beyond myself and my family.

Every few months, my friends and I beat ourselves up for how self-centered and child-centered we've become and how we manage to be "salt and light" to our kids (sometimes) but certainly are not to the world. We wander through our day, rushing to the next event, or spending the day at home with our children dictating everything we do. We justify this by saying that "it's just because our children are young" or "our home IS our mission field"...which are both true. If I served the whole world and ignored my family, I'm pretty sure God would hold me accountable for that oversight. But we beat ourselves up, and then never make any changes. Me included. I have no fresh insights on what to do on a daily basis to get out of my kid-rut. I just SO want for my children to at least see me trying to get out of my "comfort zone" and live like I really believe and trust and have faith in what Jesus tells us. He doesn't give me a "get out of jail free card" on being a mom. He asks me to be a servant. To give. And then to give some more. And to have faith that He will provide. He will fill me back up when I am depleted. But not so I can sit around and enjoy being full, but so that I can praise Him for His faithfulness and then give it all away again.

So how can I do that? I know no one else can answer specifically for me. I'm asking Him this too, privately, because I know He will show me what He wants from me right now. But does anyone else struggle with this or have any ideas?

6 comments:

Jeanne said...

Only daily! I can remember as a teenager thinking, "When I go to Harding I will be more spiritual and serve like God wants me to."

Then when I was in college, I thought, "When I'm married and settled..."

Then when I got married, "When I have children..."

Then when I had children, "When the children are gone..."

Then when the children were gone I realized there wasn't an excuse any longer. But I still struggle...every day...

God will always provide opportunities for you and you just have to pray that your eyes and heart will be open to those opportunities.

I know you and I know that you are a very caring, giving person, Melanie. I know that you love God so much. You inspire me constantly as I read your words...I see in you a depth of spirituality that is awesome.

Just seek Him...and oh yeah...don't beat yourself up too much... :)

I am so thankful that you have this blog because I think it gives you a great big perspective on your life and your feelings and yourself as a child of God. Keep it up.

I love you,

Mama

Amy said...

I know this is a personal struggle for you right now, but in this post you've given voice to my personal struggle as well.

So much of the post spoke to me, but this line really stood out -- "Enough to mother my children and not just provide daycare." Too often I fall into this trap. Thank you for reminding me this day to mother my children, to be the mother that God wants me to be. How can I raise my boys to be Godly men if I don't guide them as a Godly mother?

I feel like God is filling me up right now -- after years of basically ignoring my relationship with him or just going through the motions, I responded to his call for me to get back into His Word. I'm being filled and blessed for it. I hope I can be a blessing to Him in return.

Zoe's Mommy said...

Melanie, I am so glad that you posted this! I really needed it today..... especially today. The Spirit is speaking through you in this post, not only to me, but others. Keep it up girl!

Michael and Hannah said...

I feel miles behind you... I'm striving so hard to just get where you are. Reading this post felt like sitting at the feet of a wise teacher. I know you feel that you lack knowledge (and time), but you clearly have the heart and the spirit and the humility and the honesty that I crave in my spiritual life. I read this and I think, "Wow, that's the child of God I want to be." I've always struggled with trying to understand why it is we are saved by faith if we are still called to works. Reading this post has brought some clarity. It makes me begin to understand that it's really not about answers or results. It's about desire and effort. "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6 You're right where you need to be. Pull me up! I need your intensity in my worship. I have no doubt you will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant," and will be rocking your sweet Ruby to your heart's content.

Teresa Kimbel said...

Melanie, I only read this today and have not been able to get you off my mind since reading it. Would you please give me permission to write a blog in answer to what you're "struggling" about? Over 20 years ago I had such similar struggles that I want to share with you, and how God helped me deal with them. I would love to do this for you and all the "moms" out there going through the same thing. Please let me hear from you soon. You have no idea how much you encourage me through your blogs. I hope to encourage you as much as you have encouraged me. Thanks, Teresa

Dana said...

Sweet Melanie, I've felt this so many times. And, to be honest, while a lot of parenting tasks get harder as they grow, this one gets a little easier. When they're a little more independent, you will have the ability to help others as they watch. But, my suggestion is that you make serving others a family affair. In doing so, you are serving others and your children at the same time. Visit the elderly with your kids. Older folks LOVE kids, It teaches your kids the importance of serving in this way, too. Bake cookies together then drive them to the home of someone that needs encouragement. There are so many things you could do that we be fun to do together. Don't beat yourself up! (This coming from someone very adept at self beatings....see my latest post for details.) When your kids get older, I have no doubt they will spend time in the mission field with you. You are also serving the world right now by breeding servants. Ever thought of that? Love you!