"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Willing to Change

Ask a question and be willing to change to meet the answer. This is my new mantra.

For quite some time I have been feeling very scattered. Overwhelmed by too much and not sure where to start to make sense of it all. God hears every prayer. Even those that are half-way flung and partially muttered. All of a sudden, I was reading so many scriptures that all were directing me into God’s plan for me, but I was unwilling to change. So, God met me in more places in more obvious ways. I was looking for confirmation that I was doing a good job and God would bless my current path. It took him awhile to finally get it through to me that to find the answer to my prayer I would have to completely re-assess my priorities.

For the last two years I have been a very active sponsor in our youth group. I absolutely love working with them and feel that I have found my niche leading the high school girl’s small group. By no means is it an easy, or usually even gratifying, ministry. There is usually more frustration and heartache that I would wish for. I have put countless hours into mentoring, listening, directing, correcting, loving, caring and praying for these girls. I wouldn’t change where I am now for anything. I just didn’t realize that I left my first two ministries, my marriage and my kids, in a very distant second and third on the priority list. In several ways over the past few months God has reached out to both me and Bob, trying to show us that we were not doing what He had planned. The first thing that really woke us up was our first parent-teacher meeting of the year with Kevin’s teacher. We were informed that Kevin, who is in third grade, is reading on a kindergarten level. We both knew that he was struggling with reading, that he has several learning disabilities. We placed him in an afterschool program that was to help him with his homework. He works with a resource teacher throughout the day and we have taken him for speech/reading therapy. We thought that was fine. We allowed ourselves to believe we had the problem under control. Until our meeting. It became very clear that we had completely failed to meet the standards that were ours, as parents, to meet. We had allowed others to work the problem so that we could have time to do what we wanted. Plus the fact they got the stress of working with him and struggling to find ways to meet his needs and help him learn while keep him from getting so frustrated that he just gave up.

The second thing that really opened my eyes to how far off the mark I had gotten was when our friend (also conveniently the youth pastor) met with us. One of his questions was to find out how we were doing in our bible study time. I thought that I was in great shape there. I was in my bible all the time, looking things up, studying topics, coming up with lessons for my small group. He then talked to us about the fact that we were spending all our time in the bible looking for things to help others, not to deepen our relationship with God and find direction for our own life. This was such an unexpected observation that it took me a few days to process it. How right he was. I have absolutely no idea how to study the bible for myself. I have been so concerned with being prepared to meet others needs that I have never taken the time to find out what God wants for ME.

Finally, I saw a backward trend in the way Bob and I were relating to each other. I had gotten back into the frustrated/angry responses instead of trying to sit down and think out what I wanted to say. I hadn’t put him first in my life in so long that I didn’t really know how to get back in the habit of meeting his needs. I have always said that when he walks in the door, no matter how bad my day has been, I feel relieved because I know he is there to shoulder the weight of the things that overwhelm me. He has always made me feel protected and loved, but by not putting him first, I was not meeting his needs in the same way. I have been more interested in going and doing and running and being busy busy busy than I have in wanting to connect with my husband. God put us together to be a compliment to each others strengths and a support for each others weaknesses but we have not been connecting on either point.

So, what has God had to say on the subject?

Exodus 14:14
“I will fight for you says the Lord. You need only to be still.”

Proverbs 31:10-12“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich is life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:28
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her.”

Titus 2:4-5
“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:4
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

This is just a sample of what God has put before me in the past weeks. It hasn’t just been in my bible studies because, to be honest, I am still struggling to make being in the Bible every day a priority. It has been from friends, devotions, books, even a coffee mug. Sounds crazy, but God will get his desire across any way He sees fit.

So, we have made a commitment to re-prioritize. It is really hard because, to be honest, it is fun to hang out with teenagers. They are funny, energetic and smart. We do fun activities and get to go on weekend retreats and week-long camps. It is just fun. But, God wants us to scale back on the time and funds we put into this ministry. I have struggled to really let go of my desire to go and run and do all the time. It has been so worth it though. I still get to spend time with the teens but I am putting the bulk of my commitment back into my family. I have already noticed a difference in how Bob and I are relating and connecting and I hope that it will have a positive impact on Kevin’s grades as well. I am even starting to lose that scattered and overwhelmed feeling. I can concentrate on the moment I am in instead of trying to plan for the next thing on my to-do list or activity on my calendar.
That's where I have been the last few weeks. Thanks for being there with your prayers and support and encouragement.

It took me a little bit to be willing to change to meet the answer God provided to my prayers, but I am so glad I am working on it. We are still trying to balance and be flexible and open to God’s leading, but by doing so we are building a more stable, God-designed foundation to our marriage, our family and our ministry.

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