“The temple I build will be great, because our God is greater than all gods. But no one can really build a house for our God. Not even the highest of heavens can hold him.” 2 Chronicles 2:5-6a (NCV)
This past week, my husband has been away traveling to participate in graduation ceremonies to receive his Masters of Divinity (Congratulations Richard!) and to be a part of his best friend’s betrothal ceremony (Congratulations Anbu!).
This past week, I’ve had food poisoning…
Between acting referee to my children, listening to booboo bawls and squeals of delight, witnessing loving moments filled with hugs and kisses, trying to keep everyone busy, singing, laughing, playing, scolding for biting, for hitting, for drawing a mural on the wall with black crayon, handling one daughter’s teething pain and another’s fever and cough…I’ve been running to and from the bathroom praying that the hum of Pocoyo and Peppa Pig in the background will keep the girls occupied long enough to do my business in peace.
Throughout this week, I tried to stay on top of things. I tried to get things ready to pack for our visa-clearing trip to Sri Lanka next week. I tried to get the better of the never-ending mound of laundry, clarifying which items are clean and which are dirty after the girls mixed the two together. I tried to keep the living spaces in reasonable order, picking up toys and books, sweeping the floor at least once a day to prevent an army of red ants from coming to snack on the remnants of breakfast, lunch, and dinner that the girls pushed to the floor uneaten. I tried to manage the kitchen, doing the dishes once in five days, half of the contents of our kitchen piled up waiting to be scrubbed. I tried to make the bed…I tried to change out of my pajamas…I tried to take a ‘shower’…I tried to brush the rat’s nest out of my hair…Needless to say, best laid plans.
The Lord is good,
giving protection in times of trouble.
He knows who trusts in him. Nahum 1:7 (NCV)
In the midst, I pressed into God for His strength. I praised, scraping the bottom of my reserves offering my ‘widows mite’ of gratitude. I laid open my heart to Him, honest in my frustrations at feeling like a failure, like I can never accomplish the things I set out to do. I prayed for help getting through.
And, of course, the Lord is good. And, of course, He met me right there, in the middle of it all.
Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”
Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)
Once more, He reminded me that it isn’t about what I can accomplish in a day. It is about what He accomplished on the Cross. It isn’t about how clean my house is or how well behaved my kids are in any given moment or how put together I am (He doesn’t even mind my stinky breath or my BO). It is about His Kingdom, the Kingdom of the True Living God inside of me, flowing out of me.
But if someone obeys God’s teaching, then in that person God’s love has truly reached its goal. This is how we can be sure we are living in God: Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived. 1 John 2:5-6 (NCV)
He reminded me that living like Jesus lived, means putting my complete trust in Him – trusting Him to give me the strength I need, trusting Him to support my perseverance, trusting Him to comfort, to heal, to protect, to provide, trusting Him to help make a way so I am able to finish tasks, trusting Him to help me love others, and even trusting Him to help me love Him.
He reminded me that in spite of it all, I prayed with my kids over and over again, reinforcing the importance of going to God for all of our needs. He pointed out that I shared stories from the Bible – The Beginning, Noah’s Ark, Moses, David and Goliath, Jesus’ Birth, Jesus’ Sacrifice – and found moments to teach the girls about how much Jesus loves them. He told me that coaching my daughters how to stand in His power against ‘monsters’ in the dark is preparing them for future ‘battles;’ it’s showing them that they can always trust in Him.
He showed me when trusting Him is the focus of my life, my children will benefit as I talk with them, walk with them, lie down and get up with them. His Kingdom will be established in their hearts and in our home, regardless of the chaotic and cluttered outward appearance.
And, that is when the messiness of life is beautiful.
Yesappa, Thank You for always meeting me right where I am every day. Thank You for being there for me, for giving me strength. Thank You for blessing me with children who help me remember that life is messy, but that life is beautiful in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.