Over and over I read the words, first in one translation and then another. Day after day I journaled, prayed, wrote poems, scripts, and examined my life searching and probing … Could I ever become a wife of noble character? “What am I cultivating to enrich my family?” I remember pondering. I stretched and stressed and feared … I couldn’t measure up to the standard I believed I desperately needed to meet. God was not making these demands, but I felt convinced I owed Him (I do, but He already paid the debt and simply wants my love in return).
Since traveling with “A Wife of Pretty Good Character” conference, God has opened my eyes and like a newborn, I blinked unable to distinguish colors for a time, but now the fullness of His love overwhelms me. Like a flood, I see that God longs to show Himself mighty in my weakness. Only when it is evident that it’s not me who is able to tenderly love and care for my family will it be clear that God Himself is doing such great things in me. Like a flood, this love pours over me, pulling me down and into it and I drown, but revive a new creation with a new life source.
Having accepted a challenge to begin reading the New Testament in thirty days, I have been reading through the gospels and Christ’s compassion caught me. Every time that He felt compassion for a people or group of people, He benevolently poured out blessings and grace. Anytime a person was overflowing with belief and faith, He poured out blessings and grace. The valve that shut it off? Unbelief, lack of faith and no desire to cultivate it.
What do I truly need? Faith and His compassion. I’ve been so long trying to be the Proverbs 31 wife on my own that I missed how God poured blessings down on her. I have been so sure that it would be in God’s best interest if I needed less and made do with less that I tried to ask for almost nothing, at least for myself, as though that was what He desired from me. I wanted to do more for others, fast from my excess so that I could give God everything. This is not bad, until I deny Him the opportunity to bless me, until I begin lying to myself and pretending I have no desires and that is what makes me holy. (Only One is holy, Him!)
My God is not ascetic, nor has He required it of me. Recently, He has encouraged me to ask to be blessed, but I am fearful of self-indulgence. I am fearful I won’t keep my focus on Him. But He meets me in my fears and doubts, when a hand-me-down iPad was recently stolen, He graciously provided a new one! In our family’s study of impoverished countries and desiring to love them with our prayers and mission funds, we planted a garden to better understand the hard work so many have each day just to eat. In this garden, great things are happening. My faith is growing as God reduces our grocery bill and gives us gigantic vegetables to share with friends and neighbors. Again, His love astounds me!
In order to continue serving Him, there are expensive things I feel I need. A research trip to North Carolina to polish my manuscript, a Bible software program and a Master’s in order to be more thoroughly grounded in God’s Word. I will not perish without them, and I struggle feeling unworthy (again, I am, but He sees me through the lens of Christ!). But I see it is not about who I am, but who He is and the plan He has for my life. He will continue to pour out His great mercy so that I might share His glory with others. What better way can I spend my life?
For further meditation:
Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 11:5-13