God is teaching me so much so fast right now. I love these periods of growth and am so thankful for them. I feel like He's making up for lost time. Like, "Okay, you weren't ready to hear this last month, so let me show you this now. . . oh, and while I'm at it, there was something six months ago you refused to hear, but now that you're listening, here's this too. . . wait a minute, you still need some work over here. . . oh, and this thing has got to go already! You've been dealing with this for years!! Time to let it go too!" It makes me think that maybe He's always speaking to me, I'm just not always listening. I have a lot of catching up to do when I really start listening to His voice.
I've been listening attentively for the last few months. Getting up in the dark with Him in the wee small hours in the morning to meet for coffee and a chat. Reading through the Bible. Studying and memorizing the book of James. Attending a homeschool mom's retreat and asking Him to meet me there. I feel like I'm on a chase, always seeking to see Him and hear from Him because I'm so desperately in need of His Presence. He is so faithful to meet me wherever I am. I can always tell when it's Him I'm hearing from, because there is no condemnation in His voice, just love and a desire for me to be holier than I am. He wants to move me and change me, but not in a legalistic or binding sort of way, in a freeing sort of way. From the inside out.
First He's had to show me what a wreck I am. Seriously. I cannot keep my house clean. I cannot stay on a schedule. I cannot figure out if the curriculum we are using is good or if my children need a change. I cannot make them succeed. Or listen. Or be nice to each other. Or eat their vegetables. I can't even get them to obey me sometimes! I'm a wreck! I'm not a good listener. I am slow to listen, quick to speak. I want my way. I am forgetful. I want to be liked. I want to look good and be admired. Pretty much if there is a flaw, I own it. And that all bothers me because of my pride. I wish I was really awesome. He is showing me that HE is the only awesome One. Any awesomeness I might have, comes from Him. I am a mess apart from Him. I should boast about my flaws instead of trying to hide them and act like I'm great. Oh wait, that sounds familiar. . . "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12: 9-10.
He is revealing some idols in my life. I don't think of myself as a control freak, but I am. I have gotten an idea in my head of how large our family is going to be, and what started out as a beautiful vision from the Lord about what He could do in our home has turned into a restless, unquenchable idol. It started out as a good thing- giving control of our family's size over to the Lord. That is a wonderful thing. But when I start to take back the control and try to tell God that we need three more, or five more, and we need them now, then I am no longer serving God but seeking to have Him serve me. It's all about relinquishing control. It's all about surrender. I said yes to the call of God to homeschool my children. It started out as a God thing. But then so quickly it became about me being a great teacher and them being involved in the best programs and having the best curriculum. Their educational success cannot be about me or even about them. It has to be about God. If it's not about HIM, it has no worth. If it doesn't point them to HIM, it is a failure. It all comes down to believing in the marrow of my bones, that whatever He has planned is so much better than whatever I have planned. That HIS way really is the only way.
So, He has me on this journey of surrender. He's asking me to surrender things to Him one by one that I didn't realize I was holding onto so tightly and trying to control. There are a few beautiful passages He showed me this weekend in His Word that I am clinging to. One is Job 22:23-26. It says that when I assign my gold to the dust, (my gold being anything I am loving more than Him), then the Almighty Himself will be my gold and my precious silver, and then I will delight in Him. I love that. Isaiah 58:13-14 says that when I get my plans and my desires, myself, out of the way, then I will find my joy in the Lord. Another great verse is Psalm 62:5, "My soul, wait patiently for God alone, for my expectation is in Him." I read that verse early in my homeschooling and was reminded that my expectations must be in HIM, not in my children or my husband or even myself. Again, it's all about HIM. Expecting HIM to show up and be the Hero. Feeding on His faithfulness and remembering Who He is. One of the session leaders, Missy, said something that stuck with me: "Don't teach your children 2 + 2 = 4 if they are having a problem with lying. You stop teaching that math and deal with that character issue. God will make sure they know 2 + 2." Wow. How many times do I get so caught up in teaching 2 + 2 while there is a glaring character issue that needs to be addressed. And why? Because I want my kids to be geniuses. But what good is a genius who doesn't love Jesus? Why am I doing this anyway? To point them to Jesus. To produce lovers of Jesus, not geniuses. Again: It's ALL ABOUT HIM.
I'm learning that my response to Him has to be obedience. Complete, immediate, joyful obedience. So many times in His Word He says that that is how I am to show my love for Him- by obeying Him. He asked Peter three times if he really loved Him. Each time Peter said yes, Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep." That passage really speaks to me because I believe that's the reason He has me at home educating my children in this season: to feed His sheep on His Word. I have to remember that a successful day is one in which I have fed the sheep He gave me on the pure milk of His Word. That's it. Not a day in which everyone completed four math pages or helped clean their rooms or got along. A day in which we delighted in His Word.
So here I am, just chasing after Him and waiting to watch Him move. It's a beautiful place to be. . .
"My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning." -Psalm 130:6
"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him." -Lamentations 3:25
"Here am I and the children the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion." -Isaiah 8:18