From grouchy to glorifying

I took this today in our front yard. What an amazing blue sky!

Yesterday’s getting-ready-to-go-to-school was grouchy. Nothing major, just a lot of little things that resulted in rubbed tempers that we carried all the way to the car and on the drive to school. We lacked harmony.

As I drove, Maddie recited her memory verses, Psalms 86:10-13. She had a Bible in her lap, but she wasn’t really looking at it, just reciting, and I was sure she had one of the phrases wrong.

“Look at it, Maddie,” I told her. She repeated the same phrase.

“Are you looking at it?” I asked her.

“I’m saying it, Mom.”

“I know, but is that what it says? You’re still saying the same phrase.”

Repeat above conversation—maybe a couple times.

Then Em jumped in. “Mom, she’s reading it.”

“No, she’s looking at me in the rearview mirror.”

Repeat THAT conversation.

Finally Maddie looked, saw the correct phrase, changed it, and went right on with the rest of the passage.

Being who I am (a little stuck on being RIGHT), I felt I had review what had happened. “Mads, do you see what I meant now? I just wanted you to LOOK at it. It’s not a big deal, but I didn’t want you to memorize it the wrong way.”

She said, “yeah, I do,” and conversation went on in the car, but it all felt “off” to me—the entire morning.

So after I dropped the kids off, I started examining both the morning and my heart. Why didn’t it feel right to me? What, exactly, was wrong? What should I have done differently? I couldn’t even seem to talk to God about it: my prayers felt distant and stiff. What was going on?

As I wrestled, a little chorus in my head got louder and louder until I finally paid attention to it.

It was a phrase from the verses Maddie had been reciting.

“Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness.” (11a)

Little aha! moment then: His faithfulness, not MINE. Part of my being unsettled was due to my feeling that I didn’t handle the morning well. I’d been relying not on God’s faithfulness but on MINE—yikes!

More revelation: His faithfulness, not my CHILDREN’s. Oh, a very real moment of clarity. Whenever I rely on other people—that they should do the things I think they should do, that my well-being and my state of mind is based on how they act or react to me—my reliance is on THEM and not on Christ. I had not been relying on God’s faithfulness—a solid rock—but on the shifting sand of people’s faithfulness.

Then real prayer came. “Oh, Lord, You alone are faithful. Forgive me for relying on anything or anybody other than You. Forgive me for wanting a smooth morning more than intimacy with You.”

The end of the passage came flooding to mind then. Verse 13: “Great is Your love for me; you have delivered me from the depths.” Yes, once again He had rescued me from my pit of self-sufficiency and self-focus—and He did this because HE LOVES ME! Because He wants fellowship with me! Because He is not willing for me to live a fake, less-than-real life but wants me to have abundant life with HIM!

I was now full circle around to the first verse of the passage. In just a few minutes God had brought supernatural change to my heart—and heart transformation is no small thing! Psalm 86:10 says, “For You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God.”

Yes! Only God can change a heart.

At this point I was able to recite the entire passage—and mean it.

“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;

Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

For great is Your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.”

Amen.

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