Sometime between my first and third pregnancies skinny jeans became popular. It took awhile for me to appreciate this look, but eventually I liked it. However, I was pregnant for five Christmases in a row and there was no way I was going to try this trend with the extra pounds that came from all of my babies.
Last winter was my time. And I was ready to brave the new 'me'. My mom had given me some boots and a black sweater that actually made me feel not quite so post-partum. I bought some skinny jeans and was all set to make my debut to the annual ladies' event at church.
I put on the jeans and boots and was feeling pretty good. Then, the sweater. I could barely get my arms in the sleeves. While I had been sick in bed with a stomach bug my husband had graciously done the laundry, but he put my favorite sweater in the dryer and it shrunk. It was ruined.
And I came undone.
He found me upstairs, face down on the floor, crying hysterically.
I tried not to be angry at my husband, he was just being helpful. He didn't realize this sweater was supposed to hang dry.
As the tears fell and I hit the ground in my child-like temper tantrum, I began to realize I wasn't crying over the sweater. I was crying because nothing, not even something as simple as picking out a cute outfit could go smoothly.
And for the first time I cried to God what had been simmering in my soul for months: "Why are you making things so hard for me? Can't just ONE thing go right? Isn't it enough that Mason has Down Syndrome? Wasn't it enough that Jennavieve was in the hospital for two weeks? Isn't it enough that David died? I don't want anymore of this! Can't You just make ONE THING go the way I want!?"
The weeping continued, but a door had opened in my heart. I had finally expressed my deepest hurts to the One who could have made things different, but hadn't. And in those moments of desperate crying out to the Lord, He whispered into my heart, "Am I enough?"
I began to realize that my life wasn't going to get easier. Not now. Maybe not ever. And God didn't have to make it easier. He wasn't required to give me easy things. He wanted Himself to be enough.
Would I accept and believe that He was enough? Could I really enjoy Him? Not because He made things happen on my timetable, kept us all healthy and safe, caused all the details of life to remain as I picture and allowed my clothes to fit. But could I find joy in Jesus? Could I bless God just because He was God, not because He gave me what I thought were good things?
A work began in my heart. A work to believe, and feel, that Jesus is enough. Just knowing Him, expressing my heart to Him, being in His presence, depending on Him--this is enough.
Nancy Guthrie says, "When Jesus offers himself to us in the midst of our pain, most of us think, That's it? That's the best you can do? I was hoping for more. The truth is, we're often more interested in getting what God's got, not getting more of God. We've put in our order for a miracle of healing or relief, and the miracle of his presence to us seems like the consolation prize."
I'm learning that Jesus is the best prize and His very presence is healing, comforting, reassuring, life-giving, hope-filled and joyful.
I thought I knew what was best for me and my family. Doesn't it seem reasonable to want 'best case scenarios' in every circumstance of life? That's what I would choose. But for me, those things that I thought would be the perfect path for my life were becoming too precious to me. I was clinging to my desire for ease and comfort. Removing them was painful, but necessary.
A.W. Tozer, in The Pursuit of God, said this, "To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free."
There is great freedom in releasing that which we hold so dearly. And when we release those things, we are able to bless God for who He is. We can praise and worship Him even when nothing in life goes as we want, because we know that He is enough.
This is Day 14 of a series: Made to Pour, living a life of blessing
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