"God may ask of you far more than you planned to give, but He can give to you infinitely more than you dared ask or think." - Timothy Keller
These are two quotes I read a couple of months ago, and they just won't let me go.
I still have to remind myself at times that God needs nothing from me. He maintains His supremacy, His nature, His sovereignty, His worth all with or without my praise, my sacrifice, my service. However, in my laying down of my life, I say that He is more precious than all other desires.
Tonight I gave up something I would have TOTALLY enjoyed – a few moments of sane, silence without the littles. God doesn't need anything I have, and certainly not my moments of mindless suduko or knitting. Because I am human, I do need rest and moments away. However, tonight I gave it up.
Here, God, it's all I got – I lay it at your feet. I will dispel fights, play with Polly Pockets, sing again the silly song, laugh at the joke I've heard literally a hundred times, and enforce the bedtime routine. I won't run away. I will stay and follow through on the loving discipline. I will pray prayers aloud of thanksgiving for the girls and this day. I will confess my weakness to 7-year-olds and ask for forgiveness. I will help build their tomorrows by investing in their today.
God, these girls are treasures. Your love, Your compelling love, is my strength and Your grace my sustaining power. All my strength lies in You as I deny myself all sorts of things I want, and choose the higher calling You've invited me into. As I work to kill my self-absorption and self-centeredness, I thank You for Your mercy. This mercy which sustains me and helps me see the return on my investment – at least at times. A look of complete love, a huge hug, a reconciled moment, a hearty laugh. It's like Your "yes" to me. It's the joy of choosing best over good. It's investing in the profitable and not just the permissible. It's believing that eternity weighs in this moment. It's embracing that what I say and how I say it influences who these kids are becoming. We are growing people here. That responsibility, that calling, that gift - I do not take lightly.
I didn't know what God would ask of me. Years ago, if you would have told me I would be in this place, doing what I am doing, I would have been surprised. Because I had envisioned a table surrounded by my own biological children, a counter full of broccoli seed sprouts, and walking barefoot to my garden (in the middle of a beautiful, bug-less summer, nonetheless). I thought I might be growing as a seamstress and a top-notch coupon clipper. I imagined children finger-knitting while I knitted and looking at books while I read. (Sigh - o, the idealism.)
Instead, I love children like they were my own and do not even think about sprouting seeds - broccoli or otherwise. I have "adopted" families and children who love me, and I them. Everybody helping each other; and sometimes "helping" means getting on my nerves so that I see just how desperate for grace I really am. (Without a doubt, it also means me getting on others' nerves too, because Jesus loves humility. Which, shocker, is a full-time job reminding me of that. Sorry, Lord!)
So, I lay down moments of reading, writing, or, for heaven's sake, sometimes just sitting; and I pick up moments of patient parenting. Swallowing my pride, I pick up moments of repentance. I find God's grace sustaining, His work in progress, His strength my own.
The whole time I am saying, "God, I want You to be my treasure."
And His reply? "I am worth it - the wait, the search, the sacrifice. I am Your great reward and you will find that I am all you ever wanted."