Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. --Luke 1:57 (NKJV)
For anybody who missed it, this post is really about death and LIFE -- specifically a teeny tiny new life God blessed us with. We'll get to meet this new little baby in August and we couldn't be happier!
And in the midst of that joy, I found myself complaining! I was transitioning to a new and sometimes hot and noisy country, tired, and busy. I was nervous about hearing negative comments because a 4th baby seems like such a diversion from the 'socially accepted' number of children and because this pregnancy came in the midst of a busy international move. I kinda just wanted to go home! It was not the prettiest thing when it came out in a long whiny string to my husband one evening after the kids had gone to bed. And those kids had been picking up on my complaining spirit even if they hadn't heard the words -- they were kinda whiny too, which happened to make my life a little harder, by the way, so I added that on the list that evening too! It was not holy missionary wife material.
But after that conversation with my sweet, consoling, strong-yet-tender husband, I began to ponder where God was in this situation. Had we made a mistake by coming here and being overwhelmed? Or was I overwhelmed because of my sinful, selfish attitude? In my praying, verses I'd memorized ages ago kept popping into my mind convicting me. "Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it" (Mat 10:39). "Neither was man created for woman but woman for man" (1 Cor 11:9). "Helper"(Gen 2:18). "Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children" (Titus 2:4). "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you" (Isa 43:2). OK, God, I get it! I need to surrender in this! You brought us here; You have this husband who has this vision as the man for me; You authored this little life; You are here helping me; You have called me to serve in this family, not be served by it!
So, I gave up my little whiny, "I want to go home" dream.
And I found that Matthew 10:39 truth I've heard since I was tiny come alive for me that day. I laid down my
life and God gave me joy, and abundant life in return! I found myself unable to hold back from running my hands over my husband's and children's heads and kissing them every chance I got, I just loved them so much. I found those little serving-them tasks were no longer burdensome in such a negative way. Oh yes, it was still 'work,' but I was honestly glad to be able to do it. God has put me in a really valuable place. This work which the world might view as unimportant is actually very important to these 5 people He's placed in my care. And this change in my attitude was infectious! Everyone else seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and smile too. "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your home and your children like olive shoots around your table" (Ps 128:3) seemed to live in our home. I believe as a wife and mother, my attitude makes a big difference to the rest of the people in the home.
So praise God for this sweet turn around. It gave me a boldness to share the news of our new little baby with confident joy in the Lord's provision for us. It changed the tone of our home. I wonder if it may have played a role in the return of my energy for life -- I'm even able to speak Spanish to our kids most of the time now! Not to say I don't get tired and appreciate a chance to rest. Not to say I don't feel squeamish about some foods still. Not to say I get it right every moment. Not to say I'm superwoman. But I've got a "river of life flowing out of me" that did not come from a source within myself. God is truly here, providing and sustaining and giving an abundant life in our home! But that will only happen as I "abide in the vine" (John 15:5). That's the thing about being a "living sacrifice" (Rom 12:1), you could always make the choice to crawl off the altar. So I'd love your prayers that I'll be able to "continue in what is good" in this area! I share this testimony not because I think I've got it all figured out or am perfect, but to encourage you that there really is such wonderful LIFE and JOY in surrender! I'd heard it before, maybe you have too. But I'm telling you, IT'S TRUE! If God is pulling on you in some way like he was pulling on me to lay my life down, don't be afraid! He takes care of his own!