Less of Me, More of Him

lessmemoreyou

He must become greater; I must become less.  John 3:30 NIV

Well, as usual, I’m coming to this whole blog posting thing pretty empty.  I don’t really feel like writing anything, and I don’t feel like I have the time.  As it is with God, though, that is where He usually has me when I write.  He has me at the end of myself, so that He can speak.  So that it’s His words, not mine.  I have nothing good to say anyway, I mean, apart from Him.  What would be the point of saying anything without my Lord and Savior?  I wouldn’t even want to try to live life without Him, He is my everything.

I have been praying and thinking about what to write about for this post, and as usual, I could go so many directions.  God is teaching me so much, and I feel I am really being tested, pressed, just pushed past my limits.  I know why this is happening, He wants it to be all Him.  He wants me to be completely surrendered, and obey even when it feels like there is no way I can do what He is asking of me.  I can’t, but He can.  He is teaching me to face temptations, not really big ones, but just showing me I don’t have to give in.  He wants me to face things head on, hard things that I’d usually ignore or just shy away from.

The one thing that I would normally shy away from writing about or talking about is pride.  I know we have discussed many issues in our Christian walk, and probably kind of mentioned pride here and there, and we know it can be a problem.  Here is my problem with it, I feel it way more often than I would like.

I was pretty shy when I was younger, but I still got in trouble for talking in class.  Surprising, right?  I was always the type of personality growing up that put myself down, and never really thought much of myself.  I played Clarinet starting in third grade, and majored in music in college.  During all of that, I rarely got prideful about the talent that God gave me.  It wasn’t until probably sometime in my adult life that I started to have some prideful attitudes.  Most of it was all in my head, I would never say half the things I thought, because I knew it wasn’t quite right.  I would also have a lot of judgmental thoughts as well.  I guess those both go hand in hand, don’t they?  Pride and judgment.

As my relationship with Jesus has deepened, I have lost some of that pride and judgment.  There were seasons in my life where I asked God to humble me, boy did he answer those prayers.  I didn’t know what I was asking for!  I was a little sorry at first, but now I am so glad He answered.  He is still humbling me, and it has been a painful and sometimes embarrassing process.  Parenting has humbled me more than I ever imagined it would, and having a hysterectomy is one of the most humbling experiences so far.

The place where pride has grown is in my voice of encouraging women.  At first, I wasn’t sure of my place, or my part in God’s body.  As I obeyed God, I saw it growing towards serving and encouraging other women in my life.  Over time, I have had the privilege of leading and co-leading Bible studies, or just being a discussion leader.  Through those opportunities, that’s where you hear how women are struggling, and you try your best to listen and encourage.  So, over time, I was better at encouraging, and had gained a lot of experiences through parenting, and just trials in life that I felt I could share with others.  I guess sometimes we can get lost in our own stories, and then somehow make them about us instead of Jesus.  I think I got lost in that for a while.  I didn’t mean to, that was never my intention, but sometimes attention and encouragement can go to your head.

I hate to talk about it here, and to really tell you these things, because well, you might think I am pretty awful.  Well, the truth is, I am.  Without Christ, I am truly a sinner, the worst of them all.  I hope that you know though, that we can have Christ.  He stood in our place, once and for all.  He has saved us, and we need only to believe in Him, and accept Him as Lord and Savior of our life.  I’m so thankful He saved mine!  I am so thankful that He loves me, and wants to use me for His glory.

So, back to pride, I just felt God laying this on my heart.  To confess that this is a sin that I have struggled with.  I have cared about other’s opinions above God’s.  I have cared about being important or known over being humble and less.  I have made it about me, when it should have been about Christ all along.  I want it to be all about Him, and I want this life of following and obeying Him without condition to be my life.  No matter how hard, and boy is it hard at times.  It can be so deeply lonely.  Sometimes, I don’t feel like even writing on this blog, because, well, I get tired of putting myself out there.  I get tired of putting my business and my struggles for all of whoever wants to criticize or judge me.  God reminds me though, that yet again, it is not about me.  It never has been, and it never will be.  He has asked me to write to encourage women,  in whatever way, I have to obey.

God has shown me that I can’t serve Him in the way that He is calling me, if I am prideful or concerned about what others think.  I can’t serve women and be humble if I am concerned about being important or known, or well, liked.  That is a hard one for me, I want everyone to like me.  God is really showing me that through these trials that I am facing now, and especially in the trying time I faced with my hysterectomy, that He is making me less.  There is so much less of me, but the beautiful thing is I can see there is beginning to be even more of Him.  He is making me into who He wants me to be to achieve His work on this earth, and for eternity.  Why wouldn’t I want that?  I think we let the hardness of our life circumstances get in the way.  I think we let our struggles or temptations get in the way.  Would you bring them out into the light with me?  I know it’s risky, I know you don’t want others to see where you are ugly.  Can you do it, so that God can work on it?  He can only work on it if you bring it out into the light.  When we see these things in the light, they aren’t as bad as we thought, because you see, God will start working on them immediately, to make them beautiful.  He wants to make all things new.  He wants to take those broken places inside of you, those things that are in the way of where He is taking you, and He wants to transform them.  If you let Him, He will take that private sin and turn it into something that connects you with others.  What do you have to lose?  God wants to use your story and mine of how He is changing us to lead others to His throne.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord…But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.   Ephesians 5:8-10, 13 NIV

 

 

Transitions

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I don’t know about you, but I feel like a hot mess at the moment.  I feel like crying at the strangest times, and I just feel so out of whack!  I know I can thank the hysterectomy partly, though I did get to keep my faithful ovary friends.  I guess part of it is just being a woman and dealing with the extra feelings we get to have.  I’ve been walking this journey of this whole hysterectomy thing, it’s just been something.  I can’t write about the whole thing tonight, because, well, it’d be a novel.  So, I’ll give bits here and there about how God has taught me so much through it.  I hope you don’t tire of hearing about it.

So, I’m to the point where I’m back in regular life pysically, but I was out of everything for about 6-7 weeks.  I didn’t do much socially, well, because I couldn’t, unless thy had a recliner!  So, I’ve just jumped back into my regular life, but I don’t feel like myself emotionally.  I’m trying to get my bearings, after not having to be responsible for much for a long time, and having nothing on the schedule.  Now there’s school, Bible studies and other things.  I just hit the ground running pysically, but I forgot to finish working through all of the things I need to deal with.

I’m the kind of person who will tell you anything, I love talking to ladies, and you don’t have to know me to be my friend.  There are certain feelings that I don’t know how to always talk about, or how to process.  I can tell you tons of mom feelings, but when it comes to deeper things, I don’t want people to know some of the ugly stuff, or just some things that seem silly.  Lately, when I’ve been around younger moms, and moms that I used to be right in the trenches with, I feel irrelevant to them.  I feel I’m not like them anymore, an imposter.  I cried to two of my sweet friends, I just told them how I felt, because, well, I couldn’t help it!  It just came out at the weirdest time.  I was just crying like a weirdo, but they hugged me, and encouraged me.  Through all of my outbursts, and weird emotions through this process, I’m realizing, it’s a transition.  Duh!  We go through these as moms of little ones about every week.  Why did it take me so long to see that?  Through all of the events that have happened since my surgery, God has been speaking to me, and pushing me, as He is changing me once again through things in life.

I don’t mind change, I kind of like it, but some of the mom transitions are hard.  You wake up one day, and you don’t have babies anymore.  You aren’t able to have more either, which is strange, because the younger years drag on in some ways, and it never seems to be over.  It seems like you’d always be able to have another child.  That isn’t the way life is, so I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that!  Now, I have one in kindergarten, and a three year old.  They don’t need me as much, which is great in some ways, but in others you feel, well, not needed.  Strange, something you’ve been wanting for awhile, now I have it, and it feels foreign.  Sometimes, I’m just not sure what I do now.  It’s weird to be here, but also good in many ways.

Dealing with the fact that my ability to have kids is gone is much harder than I would’ve thought.  We were pretty sure we were done, but then the decision was made for me, by having to have the surgery.  That was cruddy, and was not how I would’ve planned it.  I’m glad God is God, and He knows how it all fits into His big, big picture.  Through all of these emotions and realizations about what my life is like with older kids now, its just a transition.  Its shaky at first, figuring out this new mom I am now, and figuring out my new kids.  They are changing all of the time, and I’m trying to keep up!  I never thought about the emotions of slowly letting go as they grow, but that is what we do…we must.

I finally understand why sometimes older moms don’t hang out with younger moms.  The older ones, well, feel old.  You don’t feel you have much to offer as well, the memories do fade, as someone said to me.  Things do fade, but as we transition to the different kind of mom, let us not forget the desperation of sleepless nights, and the constant crying. How we just wanted to talk to a grown up human, even if they just stared at us.  I don’t want to forget that, and I don’t want to fail at being there for the beautiful moms that are a bit behind me on my journey.  They need us that are ahead of them.  They need our listening ears, and our “I remember that, that was hard!”.  Moms in all stages, you are needed!  Who can you encourage that might be in a different stage?  It can be anyone, even if you can only offer an exhausted smile.  Ladies that are ahead of me, we need you too!  I need to know what’s ahead, how I can bring up my kids to know and serve the Lord!  I crave that wisdom only you have to offer, please share with us.  We are all relevant to one another in the body of Christ!  We need each other, your life and your stage, unique to you, has so much to offer to the people God has placed in your life.  Single, married, mothers, aunts, fathers, uncles, young and old.  God made you for a purpose, and He made you to love others, and glorify His name in a way only you can.  Don’t let these bumps in the road keep you from being who God made you to be, and lean into how He is growing you every day.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body…Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  1 Cor. 12:15-20, 27 NIV