Thursday, August 7, 2008

 The Most Important love Story

I had promised to share more about my relationship with Jesus and I am so excited that I finally have a little window of time to do so! This is the most important part of my life. I remember before I met Dave I had a 'wish list' of qualities I hoped to find in a potential husband. Some were a little bit ridiculous, :) but some were nonnegotialbly important. One of the important ones was that the man I marry would always keep me in second place. Seem strange? Not to me. I knew that if I were to come before my husband's relationship with Christ things in our life together would begin to take a downward spiral. The optimal order of things would not be reached. It continues to be a prayer of mine that I will also always put my relationship with Jesus first. Above my beloved Dave. Above my wonderful children. I mess up alot and have to re-order my priorities. I am so proud of my Dave when I see him being such a strong spiritual leader for this family! As I alluded to in a previous post, I struggled for years with trying to be good enough, working in my own strength to reach a level of righteousness that seemed impossible. I met discouragement at every bend in the road. Let me share an excerpt from an email I sent to our pastor one year ago. ...There is really such infancy in my perspectives and my spiritual life that I am ashamed and discouraged. The things I am struggling with are such integral elements of the Christian faith that I fear I am no farther along spiritually than some one who accepted Christ this very minute, probably behind them in fact! At 26 years old, having been a Christian for 21 of those years, traveling through the amazing journey of faith and challenge that God has led us down, and now the mother of 3 precious boys, I would certainly hope for so much more! My study and meditation on the holiness, sinlessness, purity, and righteousness of God began as an experience of worship and awe, then something strange happened in my heart and I couldn’t read any more in The Word with out crying. All I wanted was to run from it. Seriously, Dave came home one day only to find me weeping into my Bible. All I could think was, "How can He even look upon me with out turning away in complete disgust?” I know that I am not to live up to the world’s standard, but God’s, and that standard is just…WOW! Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect therefore as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” 1 Peter 1:15 & 16, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.” How I fail daily! Why is it that the old nature, which is supposed to be ‘taken off’ and ‘put to death’ (Colossians 3) continues to show up? I can’t fathom the truth that when he sees me He sees righteousness because of the blood of Jesus. God sees our hearts, knows the motives of our hearts and nothing is hidden from Him. In Ephesians 5 it talks about being imitators of God and the behavior that is improper for God’s holy people. We are his set apart chosen people. How grievous it must be for Him to see our hearts. Here is an example: K has a large puzzle mat that consists of four 2’x2’ foam pieces. The other day he asked if I would please make him an oval out of this puzzle. It was pretty funny at the time, and Dave and I have laughed about it quite a bit since. I explained to him that I could make him a large square, a rectangle, or diamond shape, but I just could not make him an oval! I can’t ever make a perfect oval for him out of those four squares. The more I study the holiness and purity of God the more I see that standard as a perfect oval to my four squares. I try desperately to make the 4 squares into an oval of exquisite perfection and it can’t be done. Still, I try and try until I am sapped of all energy and am in despair – seeing what a failure I am, in that all I have accomplished has been exhausting myself and disappointing my God. This strange desperation to meet a standard that I can not is beginning to show up in many areas in my life. I have noticed recently that when my house isn’t spotless, my marriage is lacking, my children are acting badly, or I have not met my goals for my day I begin to feel almost panicky. We joke that I am becoming a bit obsessive compulsive and we all laugh at it but in all honesty, I am. That being said, I don’t feel like I should stop trying to meet God’s standard. Aren’t we supposed to always be striving for this perfection? If so, than how can I do this with out getting to the point where I have nothing left, and haven’t gotten even close to where I should be? Despite how far I have to go in my walk with Christ (for I fear I have just revealed how immature I am yet in Christ), I believe with all my heart that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I fervently take hold of Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And thus, I fall down on my face before Him, broken by my own unworthiness, but deeply moved by his love and forgiveness. My human mind may never be able to get around that. When I hear about God’s grace towards me I feel such a strong temptation to reject such thinking as just too good to be true. It’s almost as if I am afraid that if I accepted such a way of thinking I would let down these walls of protection that I have worked so hard to construct and I would then be vulnerable to failure, hurt, and God’s displeasure... Some of these things still present a challenge in my life as I continue to grow and learn, but I am pleased to tell you that God has taken alot of that confusion and in the past year he has turned it into something beautiful! Confidence in Him. Reliance on Him. Promptings to stop striving on my own. Dependence on His strength. A deeper love for His Word (cultivating the discipline to spend the time reading it is something I am praying for right now). You see, I had a mind set that told me I had to work for the love of God. That I had to do things a certain way or he would be very unhappy with me. The truth is that although God expects his children to always put him first, be kind, love others, and desire to live according to his plan, he does not get angry and cut us off from him when we slip. He's the one who made us - how could we think he would not know our weaknesses? And how proud am I to think that I could ever attain righteousness on my own?! He's there to pick us up. He convicts our hearts and leads us to repentance. If we would only listen to that still small voice we would be drawn in to the most amazing relationship we could ever imagine! God - the creator of the entire universe who is all powerful - made you and I for His pleasure! He delights in us! He longs for us to fellowship with Him! Is that not amazing! "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. he will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 And once again, I believe I had to go through that phase of working, meeting discouragement, and questioning, so that God could take me to the next level. He knew I would be there. He met me there and used it to show me my weakness and His strength. To give me an awestruck thankfulness for the reality of what I was saved from. There's more... I have struggled with insecurity, feelings of inferiority, and insignificance for years. It is still, at times, a daily temptation to go back to those things. But guess what? My heart is changing. I look forward to sharing more next time. This love story is amazing! God is taking a little girl who had downcast eyes and a slump to her shoulders and making her feel like his beautiful adored princess who has significance in His kingdom


Little Candle said...

Isn't Jesus amazing? I can relate to so much of what you have shared. I have struggled with feelings of failure and insecurity. I run away (or want to run away) and my Savior always pulls me back into his loving arms. Despite what I feel are baby steps in my growth, I know that I would be so lost without him, in this life and then lost to him after death. He is the rock that I cling to. One thing I struggle with is the fact that he loves and cherishs me despite my tremendous failings. He knows my deepest, darkest self and loves me just the same. I think that's whay I love the parable of the prodigal (sp?) son. I wonder how he can possibly still want me and he always does and always will...Amazing!
Anyway, thank you, thank you for sharing this post!
And thank you for the craft love...I do enjoy a good craft. And I do hope I am and will be a good Mama. It's such a massive undertaking, yet I love it.
Hugs to you!
Sarah :)

Heather said...

Thank you for your willingness to be transparent and honest. I know that I appreciate your story, and I'm sure that others do as well.

Becoming Me said...

I so relate to you and your struggles and your hope...isn't so beautiful that He never just leaves us how we are?

Amanda said...

oh how i love your transparency...your willingness to share. definitely have missed being able to visit you more often...i feel like blogging has had to take a back burner lately. i so related to the insecurity...the feelings of failure...and am utterly awed by God's unfailing grace and love...the reality that His love for me is not dependent on what i DO ...incredible!

Sarah M. said...

I've got to get done with "Captivating" so I can pass it on to you! What I have been learning from it and TRYING to wrap my mind around parallels so much of what you have shared. From one precious princess to another, I love you!

Anne Elizabeth said...

This post is amazing! I feel like I'm reading about myself. In fact last night I cried my eyes out to Jesus, about some of the things you wrote about in your email. It is really encouraging to see where the Lord has brought you. I'm not there yet, but I hope to be soon.

MoziEsmé said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart - it is truly inspiring to read of others going through some of the same issues I go through.

I've been struggling with the "race" analogy lately - I'm "pressing on" towards the goal, but is it me or is God doing the pressing for me? And haven't I already won the prize of salvation, or is the prize that of perfection, or that of living the life God intended for me on earth? I wish Paul were around to discuss this all with!

This one thing I know, though; that Christ loves me, and His love ultimately covers all my imperfections, no matter how badly I wish I could measure up as the perfect mother and wife and friend and employee and and and.

Mari said...

Glad to be a fellow traveler on this journey with you.

Three years ago on my knees at the altar I prayed and asked God for an insatiable hunger for His Word and He was faithful to do that. Without His Word I would be a puddle of tears somewhere right now. His Grace is sufficient and His Word is Life!

Thank you for sharing your heart and touching so many other hurting hearts!

cathy | Mommy Motivation said...

Wendy, thanks for sharing! You know, I sometimes wish that I was further along in my 'story' so that I could help others that hurt. The fear of God's true heart towards me spurs a lot of self-doubt, and walls around my heart. And yet, it is what I need the most.
I have so many questions, and so many struggles. It is sometimes overwhelming, you know?
Till next time,

dani said...

wendi, i am reading these in order and commenting in order as well. what i am about to say i mean with all my heart...
i believe that God comes to those who are "the least of these" so that HE can fill us up to over-flowing... sadly, i think it takes an empty vessel to go looking for HIM in the first place, for a person who is "however full" of self doesn't NEED HIM!!!
the first scripture HE EVER gave to ME was this one:
9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 corinthians 12: 9-10; niv).