It came today.
It came in full force.
And not just in one thing but in everything.
Things aren’t going well with my “faith family” (church).
That’s a big one.
A HUGE one.
There are other things…
The kids are finally healthy after ten days of sickness.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m beyond grateful to the Lord for their health and the past weeks could have been way worse but that kind of time cleaning up messes, running to the bathroom, and not being able to leave the house is draining.
Mak has been in a miserable mood for past several days. Teething, maybe?
Oh boy, whining wears me down!
Also, she still isn’t walking and I have two and a half weeks till her sister makes her debut.
The idea of carrying two around plus keeping track of an easily distracted toddler gives me hives.
There are other things.
I’m ready to see our two beautiful dogs go to another home.
I have lost my appreciation for them.
I have lost my desire to care for them.
Three kids is enough for me! That’s where my attention should go. That’s where I want it to go. And no…. they’re not much work. They’re just extra. I don’t have much energy right now for “extra”.
I don’t feel like I’m giving enough of myself to the cause of Christ.
I can’t say exactly what that means exactly, but I feel like I’m underutilizing the gifts I have been given.
Gifts of time, money, talent.
And yet I have no idea how to be better about it.
I realize that moms of little ones have reasons/excuses to not be out of the home as much as they once were but the Lord has blessed our family with so many things. I want to have fluid hands so that he gifts that are given to me can freely flow to those in need.
But how do I do that when I live around schedules and in a small house?
What does that look like for someone like me?
But to be honest, right now I’m struggling mostly with “church stuff”.
I have been a part of the same body of believers for almost four years now. We came from a rather unpleasant church split that left us with some broken or weakened friendships. We also came away from that experience with a group of friends who we drew as close to as family and started a small church in a nearby city with the heart, passion, fervor, fire for service and being the hands and feet of the Lord. Over time that passion seems to have faded.
Speaking only for myself, I let life get in the way.
I took part in several early service opportunities from scrubbing toilets, to serving meals to those in need, to planting flowers all over the city. For me, serving hand in hand with fellow believers for the sake of sharing the love and joy of Christ was the most rewarding time in my life. There were no politics, just people in charge who had a passion to serve and the discipline to get up and go whenever there was a need.
Where that love and passion went, I don’t know.
Politics got in the way.
A self serving and inward heart got in the way.
My comforts, agenda, and desires got in the way.
I don’t think I’m alone in that.
I became frustrated with the politics and the lack of action that started to shape the last two years of the life of the church.
And now… now we are left with very weak, very frail and dusty scraps of what we used to be.
It breaks my heart.
It has been easy to finger point and blame others. There are easy targets/scapegoats in all this.
But ultimately, I can’t help but feel that the responsibility starts with me and others like me who have become too comfortable. Who have become used to sitting back and watching things fall apart and not stepped in to help or do anything.
Granted, there’s only so much one can do but that’s just where I find myself…
On one hand I have a fire in my belly to fight for the body of Christ. To work with all my might to get things back to the way they should be. To reignite the passion that I once had to serve Christ come hell or high water. I have a desire to throw out all things that hinder my service and that may mean those who are distracting to the mission I’ve been given.
I am also tired. I am exhausted from the little fighting that I and others like me have already done.
I worry that we am fighting alone, that there are too few of us to accomplish anything.
I have read time and time again where the Lord says to be patient. That vengeance is His and if any vengeance is needed in this situation then it will be brought about in His perfect timing (Romans 12:19). I have read that my job is to be silent before my Creator (Psalm 62:1, Job 40) and rest in His perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11). My job is to be patient (Romans 12:12, Psalm 37:7). For goodness’ sake… if Moses could wander for 40 years, what do I have to complain about after just two?!
And so I sit here and wonder… is enough ever enough? Is it ever time to fight? Is there an appropriate time to lay aside my concerns and just do? Does being patient mean being inactive?
I have no clue.
The only thing I know to do now is follow His word and His will because that’s the only way to be sure I’m right where I should be even if where I am doesn’t look so good.
So what should I be doing?
- Following the greatest Commandments: Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving my neighbor as myself (Luke 10:27) I can do this in or apart from a healthy church body. This requires something of me and not my situation.
- Praying: My job is to pray without ceasing (I Thess 5:17) and to not only pray for myself and my heart’s desires but for others and there needs. This not only encourages my heart to commune with others but also begins to cultivate a love for others that I ought to have anyway.
- Serving: I cannot allow the behavior of others to determine how I act. Ultimately I am responsible to me and if I am not serving (caring for the orphan, widow, and the poor) than when I face the Lord, alone, I will have no one to blame my inaction on but myself. (Romans 2:6, Galatians 6:4-5)
- Making disciples: Nope, this command hasn’t changed. (Matthew 28:19)
- Giving all glory to God in all I do and say. This is my ultimate duty. If what I’m doing is not glorifying the Lord, it’s sin. (I Corinthians 10:31)
- Be thankful: I recently read a fantastic book, “One Thousand Gifts”, on being thankful and how it is the way to attain true joy. Focusing on what isn’t going my way only makes matters worse. It’s when I stop to thank the Lord for all things, great and small, that I begin to recognize the blessings that flow straight from His hands and to know Him better. Discontentment is a thief. (I Thess 5:16-18)
- Find my joy in the Lord: The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
- Forgive: There is a reason there is a number placed on how often to forgive. It is something I cannot do just once and let it go completely. The reality is, all of us are fallen and human. Each and every person on this will disappoint at one time or another. My job has NOTHING to do with judging and punishing others but rather loving and encouraging them.
If I am able to maintain my heavenly focus, will that make it all better?
I should at least give it shot.