Friday, March 13, 2015

I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;

Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way,

As almost drove me to despair.

-John Newton 

more faith.  more love.  more grace. more patience.  more wisdom.  more self-control.  all of these requests have rumbled around inside my heart and mind over the last days, weeks, years. and these, unlike many other requests i have made, i am confident honor the lord.  he delights when we ask for more faith, more patience, more self control. when we ask to know and understand more of his salvation of us, his sacrifice for us, it must bring him joy.  and i ask for these things, because they are the desire of my heart.  they are not the desire of the part of my heart that is still prone toward sin, that still is acquainted with folly and selfish indulgence.  but they are the desire of the part of my heart that is inclined toward God because he so inclined it.  and how i desire these things so very greatly.

but, and maybe i am alone in this, i often pray for these things as if i expect that God will super-impose them into my heart on demand.  more faith? 'boom'.  more love?  'bam'. more wisdom?  'voila'  more patience for your toddler?  'why of course, here you go'.  more humility toward your husband? 'and would you like fries with that?'

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

and i am sure that sometimes he does work like that, just granting us more of fruits of his spirit. however, i am noticing more and more, that when i ask for these things, and when God's answer is yes, as it always is to those things which please him, it usually means that he is going to bring about circumstances that grow them in me.  how does fruit end up on a tree?  has anyone ever noticed?  because i, in my very little knowledge of trees, have observed that it must grow.  it must start off small, it must go through a process, it must overcome obstacles. it must grow.  i have never seen fruit appear on a tree.  (again, obviously he can and does grant us these things when he deems that it should be so).

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith."

you want more faith.  i grant that you will struggle and circumstances will not be what you had expected.  and i will grow faith in you

you want more love.  i grant that your heart will expand in ways, though sometimes painful, that i will use to grow love in you.

you desire more grace.  i will show you how my grace is sufficient by removing everything else that you think is.  this will be very difficult.  and i will grow grace in you.

you ask for more patience.  i will allow your toddler, your students, your life, your family, to stretch you so very far until you are at your wit's end, and by those means, i will grow my patience in you.

you seek to have more wisdom.  i will bring about situations which bring you to your knees because you are at the end of yourself and your ability to reason.  and then i will grow more wisdom in you.

more self-control.  i will show you how very little you control yourself.  i will make you acquainted with the most evil portions of your heart and allow that knowledge to undo you. and by this, i will grow self-control in you.

you want to know more of salvation.  you want to know more of what i have wrought by my life, death and resurrection.  i will allow you to come face to face with yourself at your most rotten core so that you may see that from which i have rescued you.  so that you may truly glory in your redeemer with freedom.

"These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me."

grant oh lord that i should grow, and truly grow, by whatever means you deem right and holy and appropriate.  that i may find my all in thee.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

please remember not to forget (part 5)

moments go by so quickly, at a pace that leaves me winded at the end of the week if i have not had a chance to stop and reflect.  im resolved to do just that, and this is issue five of my notes on what to remember.

we had many snow days this winter and one of them afforded us the opportunity to stay in bed extra long in the morning and let eden sleep on us.  it reminded me of when she was so so little and she would sleep through anything.  we were so delighted for these few moments with her.  it felt a little like we were playing a trick on time and the forces that are making her grow so much faster than seems possible.  
she loves to have a napkin and wipe her mouth and hands repeatedly during her meal.  she pats it around her lips like a little lady and then smiles at me contentedly.  

she say ' peese outside' for the window to be rolled down when we are driving in the car

she whispers when we go up stairs because in her world, her baby is always asleep up there.

she requests shake it off  'ek a off' every.single.time we are in the car together.  oh sometimes she changes it up and also requests let it go 'eh e go'.  i am sure there are other songs in the world, i just dont remember any of them.  

she tells godrick to 'go go go' when he is trying to eat her food

she loves to somersault and jump and dance
she loves to put on her coat

she loves to pick up anything and everything and say her version of 'and whats this?', which i cant even attempt to spell phonetically.

she is also obsessed with throwing things away.  she will find a piece of fluff on the floor, pick it up, and start repeating 'gaba' (garbage) until i give her the go ahead to throw it away.

she quacks when she sees a photo or image of a duck, she loves the wooden animals in her puzzle and she carries the goat in her hand mumbling 'goap, goap, goap'

she calls evelyn 'eya' and simone 'moaaaan'
when she is trying to accomplish a task and then is successful, she exclaims 'i dod it' ( i got it)

she is really able to listen to and follow detailed instructions, although she is not always willing to listen and follow detailed instructions.  two very different things, let me tell you

she loves carrying bags in the crook of her arm with necklaces or socks in them

she loves socks.  she loves to find them and then put them on her hands.  weirdo.

she loves my hair, she loves brushing it and calling it 'hay'
none of these things in and of itself make up who she is, but all together they are a record of how she is growing and learning and changing my world.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

eye to eye

at last at last its the month of spring's arrival.  we finished february up in style with souper bowl II, which christine blogged about here.  it was enough to warm our insides and propel us into the month of march with soup in our bellies and hope in our hearts that the warm weather and sunshine are coming soon.  i took eden with me to this lovely night of ladies and soup and mulled wine and bake brie with pastry and fruit.  i love this photo, captured by christine, because i feel like it sums up my entire life right now: getting on eye level with eden and explaining.  explaining what a word means, explaining why she must be kind, explaining why self control is necessary.  words words words, so many words. 

in this picture i am telling her that she must be patient.  im fully aware that God alone can actually develop this fruit of his spirit in her heart.  but i want to model it for her and help her recognize what it looks like.  its incredible to me how much benefit there is to helping her learn patience and self control.  when her spirit is restless and the outpouring of her darling little heart is angry or unkind or rough, i love to hold her close, with her back to my chest, wrap my arms and hers around her little body and show her, 'eden this is self control'.  a dear friend of mine, a mother to be reckoned with, the lovely redish head across the table, has taught me many many strategies for helping little hearts, and this might be a favorite of mine.  because it actually shows her what it physically feels like to have self control.  it feels like wrapping your arms across your chest, taking a breath, and holding yourself together. and it works wonders for her.  when i ask her to show me self control, she crosses her arms, somewhat reminiscent of mc hammer, and mumbles what must be 'self control' in her words.  when i hold her, i feel her tense little frame relax as she takes a deep breath in and nods in compliance as i ask her to have self control.  and it simultaneously helps me remember myself well.  

'i know she is disobeying you for the hundredth time today but, pause, self control and a well thought out and measured response'     

'i know you want to scream in frustration but, pause, self control and a bitten tongue'.  

'yes, she is on the very last nerve that you own in the world but, pause, self control and show her what it looks like.'

i frequently do this with her immediately after she has done something, but before i correct her for it, so that i ensure that she knows im not acting out of anger, and so that i don't act out of anger.

and as im holding her, teaching her, teaching myself, i am so aware of how the spirit does produce this fruit. and what sweet fruit it is.

oh that we may both bear more and more of it. 


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