I can be just a wee bit stubborn. (Everyone who knows me well is laughing right now).
A recent change to the day shift, having a normal sleeping pattern, friends that speak the brutal truth to me (who I often stubbornly ignore), early mornings in silence alone with God, and very, very long walks in my favorite place……. What did I expect? Well, I expected that God would confirm for me all of the things that I wanted to believe. I expected He would answer me about the things that I thought I wanted to do, and give me HIS reasons why I ought to do the things that I wanted to do! And to be honest, I figured He would show me that some of my biggest concerns were all in my imagination.
It’s been a month now. I’m sleeping eight hours, my back feels amazingly much better, I’m back to working out daily at the gym, my eating habits have returned to healthy ones, and I feel better than I have felt in a year or more! But, did He do ANY of what I’d hoped for?
Nope, not really.
God did NOT confirm for me those things that I wanted to believe. He did NOT give me His reasons for MY desires (because they were MY desires, not His). And He did NOT dismiss my concerns.
What He DID do was show me my stubbornness (and yes, pride). He showed me the heart of my own desires (OUCH, that one hurt). And, while confirming my concerns, He reassured me of His sovereignty and complete control (NOT mine). He left me with a hunger for more time alone with Him at this kitchen table, for more walks in my favorite place, and most importantly, for HIS Will – not mine. He also reminded me that wanting His will above mine does not come naturally to me, that I can easily find myself seeking my own will often, so I must daily pray for my desire for His, instead of mine.
I have often said how different my kitchen table feels now that my sons have been gone for three plus years. One lives in another state, and my other son only comes over a couple of times each year. I am – alone. But this morning (and the past few) have been different. It’s as if God was happy that I had finally rested (in so many ways), was finally almost completely out of pain, and was not distracted by the things that have distracted me over the past year or more. This table, alone in the mornings, has recently been my favorite place BECAUSE of my aloneness.
I don’t have any big revelations to share – just some little things I’m thankful for, beginning with this table. My shamrocks and house plants surround my laptop right now as I write this blog. In the past three years, I’ve discovered I’ve got quite the green thumb. As simple as that is – I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for my sweet roommate who, when our busy lives allow our paths to cross, sits across from me and we share our hearts, our lives, our hurts & desires, and often a wee bit of wisdom as well. I’m thankful for rest, which the Lord waited for me to have before He spoke – maybe because He knows I’m too stubborn to listen when I’m tired. I’m thankful that as this blog comes to an end, my favorite park opens up and I can be one of the first walkers to enjoy the early morning waves on the lake and watch the young fisherman sit on its banks in silence waiting for a bite, and share a “Good morning!” with them. I’m thankful for friends who speak the truth to me in a loving, caring way, and wish the best for me. I’m thankful for God’s mercies, which are new every morning. He never, ever gives up on me – even when people do. I’m thankful that He does not tell me what I want to hear, or tell me to do what I really want to do. No, instead, He tells me what is even better for me, and gives me even greater things to do.
I don’t have to buy or earn His love for me. He lavishes it on me at no cost – because it has already been paid for in full by His Son. And THAT is the greatest of all things to be thankful for this morning.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23