Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Children

Child of the King

It’s one of those days when I feel so plain.

A tad, well, ordinary.

And I know, I know, I know the truth.  That I am.  Ordinary.

Except I’m not.  To Him, I’m not.

Why is it such a struggle to be okay with the ordinary when surrendering to that makes us so completely extraordinary?  Why do I look for the praise of man, the love of others, when I know the unfailing love of the King and the pride of Big Brother Jesus?

It’s like this fever within us, the desire to be more.  More than ordinary.  And it creeps up when we least expect it, even when we’re in the midst of reveling in the extraordinary that He reveals to us.

At first, it’s just a quiet whisper.

We shove it aside, hoping it will go away on its own.  But it doesn’t.  It grows stronger still, this whisper that we are ordinary, plain, nothing special.  And gaining strength, the whisper goes even deeper. You are weak. Your faith is weak. You are worthless.

With a groan, we turn to it, not wanting the whisper to be true, but fearing all the while that it is.   Why do we turn to it before turning away, my sisters?

Why do we listen to that whisperer, the Father of Lies?

Why don’t we turn instead to that Voice of Truth?

The Voice that calls us Beloved, Chosen, My People, Redeemed Saints,

Vessels, Lights in a dark world,

Worthy of a one and only Son, Brides of Christ.

Is there anything ordinary about being a bride?  I think those of us who are married would say it’s the day in our lives when we felt most special, most beautiful, most beloved.

There is nothing ordinary about bearing the names He gives us!

Be still, whispers.

Roar aloud, Voice of Truth!

Because Satan is defeated.  And we…we are new creations.  He no longer has dominion over us.

So, be gone foul whisperer!

We.

Are.

Children.

Of the One True King.

Ordinary people, extraordinary children.

We can be confident of that.

1 Peter 2:9

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,

a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,

so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…”

Jen 🙂

It’s Five Minute Friday, and I’m linking up with Lisa Jo again.  You can join in, too!  Five minutes of raw, uneditted, stress-free writing on a word prompt she gives us.

I might also be linking this post up with any of these lovely blogs.

Advertisements
11 Comments »

Through My Grace-colored Glasses

perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord.  Some days I can ignore him and others I can’t escape. And I know it’s Perfectionism and not the Holy Spirit because of his voice.  He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different.

You see, my husband and I were up much too late because we were arguing about a financial issue.  I felt angry and disappointed and fearful.  The familiar panic of how can I possibly do right in this situation and still get my point across welled up within me, and I knew a battle was swiftly approaching.

I know some of you are chuckling right now, and rightfully so!  It’s the quandary every woman who ever lived on the face of Earth deals with.  To obey the Lord and demonstrate respect for my husband or to take control and make my voice heard?  God’s way or my way?

I have to confess to you, my sisters in Christ, that this right here is why I’ve blogged very little about marriage thus far. I know the way I relate to my husband is so, so far from where it should be, from where I long for it to be.

When it comes to submitting to and respecting my husband, I so often feel like Paul in Romans 7. I know what I want to do, what I should do, yet I feel powerless to actually do it.  I’ve believed so many lies for so long.  But the Lord is faithful, and I know He promises to carry that work in me, in my marriage, until completion in the day of Christ (Phil. 1:6).  I’m so thankful for this Hope, this Promise, and for a husband who is patient. 🙂  So, I’m sharing with you anyways, in spite of my weakness, my inadequacy…but, I digress.

confidentingrace verse

Later, after our apologies were spoken and we both felt at peace, we finally turned out the lights in hopes for at least a few hours of sleep.  And that’s when it happened.  In the stillness of the dark, my husband’s voice broke through Perfectionism’s insidious whispers and stated, “Thank you for being so calm and patient with me tonight.”

Stunned, my disbelieving heart rejected his kind words and earlier tears returned. “But I wasn’t patient!” I cried. “I was so angry and so disappointed and I struggled, I really struggled, not to say mean things.”

My husband’s reply was quiet, yet firm, “Babe, even though you were angry, you were patient with me. You didn’t bite my head off. You maintained control. You gave me space and that helped me.”

At that moment, the truth of his words broke through Perfectionism’s grasp.  No, I didn’t handle the situation as well as I would have liked; I wasn’t perfect.  Yes, there was definitely room for improvement.  But his words rang true.

What normally would have developed into a full-fledged, hours-long (if not days!) fight was briefly resolved.  By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, I saw that we were definitely making progress.

That’s when I saw Perfectionism for what he was – one part self, one part Satan.  Self was prideful, Satan was deceitful, and the combination of the two brought me chains of defeat I no longer wish to carry.

In Perfectionism’s chains, I so often measure in black and white, success or failure, either/or.  Praise the Lord that my Redeemer is teaching me to put on my Grace-colored glasses and see the shades of gray, to celebrate even the smallest steps of progress, to proclaim every small victory because of His work in me.

I hope I never forget that moment.  My husband spoke freeing words to me last night, and the Holy Spirit confirmed them within me.

Jen, you are the good that you so desperately want to be, not because your efforts are so grand and your reach so high, but because you are walking a path of progress, trusting in the Promise of redemption.  I never asked you to be perfect, just willing. At the same time, daughter, you are perfect, not in yourself, but in my Son because He already carried these burdens with Him and nailed them to the cross.  They were buried with Him.  But you daughter, you rose with Him in perfection, a new creation, beautiful to behold, born of His glory.  And now, Jen, you live in Romans 8 as more than a conqueror, confident in the promise that you will never be separated from His love!

new creature

I don’t think I’ll ever ceased to be overwhelmed by these truths, these promises.  In the midst of  my sorrow and my shame, my Savior showed up. He handed me a pair of Grace-colored glasses.

Perfectionism, you’re no longer welcome here.

Jen 🙂

When you feel perfectionism’s hold on you, what promises do you cling to?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

You may find me linking up with any of these lovely blogs.

Also sharing with:

50 Comments »

When Temptation Lingers Near

Today I want to share with something I wrote many months ago.  It was written during a time of discouragement and trials galore.  My husband and I were both under a lot of external stress, both personal and from ministry, and our marriage temporarily suffered.  I felt like one of the Israelites in the desert, bemoaning my situation and feeling helpless to enact change.

When I first wrote it, I was not intending to ever share it anywhere.  The words just sort of poured out in the middle of my frustration and attempt to make sense of the chaos around me.  I often find that writing helps me to communicate with God and understand the wisdom He’s trying to impart.  So, I share it with you today, hoping that it may encourage you if you’re facing a situation that seems impossible or a day, or even a moment, that seems unbearable.  I hope you find comfort in the fact that you are not alone and that He always provides a way out!

temptation, marriage, victory

It’s almost supper time, but the stove top sits empty and no pleasing aromas fragrance the air.  I’ve not even yet decided what to cook, let alone made any sort of preparations.  Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom trying desperately to pray while my preschoolers whine for attention right outside of the bedroom door.  My husband, whom I’ve just argued with, sits just outside the door as well at the dining room table.  He’s grumbling over the budget and seems unaware of the noise around him.  There is no peace, no quiet.

But I NEED to pray because I am one moment away from falling into temptation.  One moment from allowing my impatience, anger, resentment, and frustration to spill over onto my family.  One moment away from blowing any chance at doing right.  At this moment I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Satan has set his sights on me; I’m being tested.

It isn’t the first of such evenings in my home.  In fact, our marriage relationship has been under strain for a few months now, and I’ve grown oh-so-weary of “fighting the good fight.”  However, this past week, God has shown me the truth of my situation; I haven’t been doing my part, either.  I have been selfish.  I have been lazy.  I have been avoiding the time with my Lord that I need.  Thus, I recently resolved to make some positive changes, knowing full well that temptation would linger near.

So as I sit here in my room praying while the chaos rages just outside of the door, I laugh.  Yes, I laugh!  It’s absurd, even comical, that every other person in my home (and there are five) would suddenly become distractions at the very moment I attempt to find peace.  I want to complain to the Lord that I’m trying so hard to do what is right, to seek Him in my moment of weakness, but He’s not making it very easy!

no temptation

In that moment of laughter, I realize the truth that as long as I’m trying to do right, to obey God, Satan is not going to leave me alone.  In fact, He’s even going to use good things like bible study and prayer against me by causing frustration and chaos at just the right moment.  Thankfully, now that God has shown me the truth of the matter, Satan cannot win.  I see his game plan for what it is, and prayer is a powerful tool!  Sorry, Satan, I’m getting up from my throne of self-pity and frustration, and I’m cooking supper tonight!

Lord, I thank you for always providing a way out for us, even when it seems impossible or unbearable!  I ask that you would encourage my sisters in Christ today to look for the way out when they face temptation. Help them to see the truth in whatever situations they face.  Remind them that You are with them always, every step of the way, even when it doesn’t feel like it.  Give them the strength they need to resist temptation and to flee the Devil and remind them of your unfailing love and grace for them because of your Son, Jesus Christ.  I ask all of these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Jen 🙂

You may find me linking up at any of these lovely blogs.

12 Comments »