Lately, I feel like I have too much on my mind, and the sea of thoughts and emotions hits me like a hurricane. Causing me to cry uncontrollably in Church after a good Word. Causing me to weep at the sight of my children playing together in the muck.
Causing me to cry silent tears as I drive by children playing alone in the streets. My brain never stops. I can’t even begin to process it all. Life speeds past me as I beg it to stop. It doesn’t listen.
It’s really only one question that burdens me, replaying itself inside my heart over and over until the tears well-up. “How do I possibly live this life well?” How? Where do I even begin?
I’ve known and loved God for a long time – since I was 8, to be exact. But for so many years, I kept a comfortable distance from truly embracing the Lord’s plan for me and mine. It was the kind of Christianity that put God ‘on’ when needed, in emergencies, when it was convenient, and on Sundays. Oh yes, of course on Sundays. It was comfortable, easy, but entirely unsatisfying.
There came a day when I began to look in the mirror and ask, “Who are you?”. I mean, really, “WHO are you!?”. Maybe I didn’t like the answer and maybe I partially didn’t know the answer, both of which scared the life out of me. I was 26, a grown “woman” (though I’ve never felt like one), a Mother of three, a Wife, and a multitude of other ‘labels’ I’d given myself and reluctantly (sometimes painfully) had given to me. Hippy, Weirdo, Country Girl Wannabe, ‘Homeschooler’ (yes, it’s a label in many cases), the Young Mom, the Girl Who Got Pregnant Before She Was Married, the Writer, the Opinionated One, the Anti-Media One, the One with Crazy Hair, the Long Skirt Lady, the Jesus Freak. I’ve heard them all. But which was I?
The question of who I am is slowly being revealed to me as I continue to seek heartily after God’s purpose in my life. I’m finally, slowly… ‘getting it’. That it’s when we allow less of ‘me’ that God reveals who ‘me’ is, in Him. I suppose I could be all the labels I’ve been given, but I can wear them well. I can wear them with humility, in remembrance of lessons learned, and graces given. But I’d rather live free from labels, having the only sticky notes on me, the ones that glorify God. Lofty goal, I know. But as a wise woman says, all is grace.
I’ve wept countless, heavy tears for answers to the pressing question of my soul, how can I live? I mean, truly, fully live? When I know all that I know about the grace poured out on me through Jesus Christ and the chance He’s given me at this ONE, yes, ONE life – how then shall I live?
I’m sitting in Church with my arms wrapped around a warm four-year-old. I’m listening and reveling while an infant and her parents are dedicated to living for God’s glory – and everything seems to flood me all at once. The chest heaves, the tears well, the chin quivers. This is it. This is life. God gives and takes away. “He gives and takes away… still I choose to say, Lord Blessed Be Your Name.” The song echoes in my heart. I glance around to see if anyone is staring at me, weeping when I should be rejoicing. No one notices. Only my husband. He puts a strong hand on my back. Maybe he thinks I want more babies. Maybe he’s right. But that’s not the point…
We are born helpless, beautiful, little pink infants and then we grow too quickly. Grow old and too quickly leave this earth. We are given one chance and one chance alone to Live. This. One. Life. Well. For God. For our spouses. For our children. For – eternity. My mind flashes thoughts of homelessness, and child abuse, and hunger, disease, famine, poverty, child prostitutes, anger, hatred, divorce, addiction, the wasted time of millions of people (two months of every year spent watching TELEVISION!), the dire state of so many families, children left alone, pains too deep to imagine, and I’m so overwhelmed with the want, no, the NEED to do something. To do something useful with this One Life. I want to reach out, I want to live selflessly, I want to GIVE and give freely, I want to RUN from a love of this world, I want to cling to that which is good, and pure, and right. I want to be wildly and insanely different. I want to move mountains, I want God to USE me and USE me profoundly.
But I’m only me. And me, isn’t that great. In fact, me often completely sucks. I ponder that for a moment. A long moment.
And here comes the GRACE. Grace poured like warm water on a weary face. Grace like hot coffee on a chilled, quiet morning. Grace like ice cream dripping down a gleeful two-year-old’s chin. Grace like every. little. gift. I’ve. ever. been. given. Even the ones I don’t realize, as I’m sure that’s most.
Oh, Lord, I don’t deserve this Grace. I don’t deserve anything. Thank you. Thank you. But, I still ask, How Then Shall I Live? WHO Then Shall I Be?
And the answer comes softly, quietly…
You are my Child. Hunger for Me; eat, drink, and never stop filling up on my divine love. You are my daughter, find your identity in Me. I make you whole, you are enough just as you are. I will show you how then to live. I will guide you. Seek Me with your whole heart, I will reveal WHO you are. I know you completely, I have formed you and molded you.
I will never leave you. Cast your burdens on me. Find safety in my embrace. Run for Me, find refuge in Me – for you nor anyone else can ever imagine what I have for you, and for all those who love Me, My child.
And there it is. Biblical truth. God’s living word. How can we live? With Christ as our head. How do we cope with the overwhelming burdens and concerns of what to do with this life? Cast our cares on Him. How do we live differently? By living for Him.
I will let Thankfulness be my native tongue. I will rejoice in all things, for He is good when I am not. He has the answers when I can’t find them. He dries my tears when salt water stains my cheeks. He is life, truth, all, One.
Broken but being built up…