Thursday, February 19, 2009

The shape of things

It hasn't been a particularly relaxing week. But there have been moments of pure joy in it. Like Tuesday night when it was Mom's night at AWANA. Though I couldn't participate in the game time because my back was out, I got a huge kick out of; 1) watching my husband help everyone line up for the three-legged race and relay races and try to create some semblance of order, 2) the look on my son's grimaced face rounding those corners, full of determination and desire to get that pin, and 3) watching some mom's HAUL like it was a high school track meet (one was even in a skirt). During large group time our son's wrote some "good words" about their mom's after hearing Ephe 4:29 and Prov. 16:24. The idea was to write it on a little cut out in the shape of a hand. So there's a word on each finger and the palm. Ryan wrote; "Christian", "Fun", "Kind", "Advice" (I asked him later what kind, because I know when I give it, he doesn't always think it's so good) "Loving" and the palm said "Football Wise". Because, what's better than a Mom who knows about football? That kid melts me.

Wednesday night was another highlight. Caitlin had a band concert and even though she's had a cough for almost two weeks, she did a tremendous job. There is something so precious about gathering in a room to listen to a bunch of kids make music together. She is terrific. I'm not just saying that because I'm her Mom, the kid can play. And I appreciate that there is still an activity that kids enjoy and are willing to work at that doesn't plug into an outlet.

Things have been extremely busy at work (I know this baffles people who know I work at a church, but have never been to the one I work at). We've all picked up some extra responsibilities as we're a little short-handed on staff with the economic situation. For the most part I've been happy to have a job I love and maintained a complete peace in the midst of the hectic schedules. Until today.

I just lost it today. Not so much outwardly (although my co-workers might disagree) but inwardly I was resentful and feeling very ill-equipped for the tasks set before me. I left for my lunch hour to run an errand and while I was gone I was listening to a radio program on WMBI in the car. Nancy Leigh DeMoss was talking about Joshua. My instinct was to turn on WXRT, but I listened instead. She was talking about the early days when Moses (on behalf of God) told Joshua to go fight the Amalekites (see Exodus 17) & the ridiculous odds he faced. First of all they were fighting on the Amalekites' home turf. Joseph had never been there before, didn't know that land at all. Secondly, Joshua was outnumbered. By a lot. Thirdly, he was out-ranked by the leader of the Amalekites who had been in battle at least three years with a well trained army. All the circumstances pointed to this endeavor being a suicide mission. But Joshua obeyed. And Joshua triumphed. God used that event to shape Joshua.

She related it to the battles in our own every day lives. How the odds seem to be so stacked against us some days, we have no idea what we're doing or even where we are. That's why it's so crucial we put on the armor of God (see Ephesians 6). Battles require warrior gear. But half the time we don't know the battle's coming. And usually our reaction (or at least mine) is to withdraw or not even engage in the first place. We're not big on messy.

Then she said something that really struck me - if you're a parent and your son or daughter is in the midst of a battle, consider what God may be doing before going in for the rescue. Because the truth is we're not their savior. And believe me I've tried to be my kids' savior. I was woefully incompetent. Our faith can't replace theirs. Our faith is just that...ours. It tends to deepen in the middle of battles. At some point their faith will become theirs and it will be stronger than anything they can inherit from us. God shapes us in these trials.

These long, cold, deadline-filled, illness-ridden days in a poor economy with unlimited expectations on our time and crazy drivers on cell phones are our battle field. And God is using them to shape us.

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