My house is quiet, but my mind is alive and running this morning.
Sometimes I wish I was one of those fortunate people who could sleep in every now and then, but I find myself greeting the day before the sun is up all too often. Maybe early bed times and quiet, dark mornings are my gift from God in this busy season of life?
The “to do” list swirling in my head includes writing out homeschool lesson plans and goals for next week, cleaning up a cluttered house, running errands, scratching out a menu plan, mentally mapping out business plans for the coming season…
But for now, I prefer the luxury of simply taking in the silence in the company of my own thoughts.
I went to bed last night telling God how impossible (in myself) it is for me to do and be the things He is asking of me right now.
The amazing thing is that those thoughts brought sweet freedom to my heart. Why?
Because I know I can’t.
But He can.
Looking back over my twelve-plus years of motherhood, I shake my head at the way I have pursued perfection like a holy passion.
Truthfully, it is an unholy pride.
And it costs me a lot, because no matter how much I try I am never “enough.”
Yes, I am broken.
I don’t mind saying it. In fact, I rejoice in it because it was when I finally acknowledged my brokenness that I found wholeness in Christ.
I’m not the kind of “broken” you might be thinking of.
I cut my teeth on church pews and grew up beneath the shadow of a church steeple (literally, since I lived with my family in a church parsonage).
I don’t know what drugs and alcohol look, smell, or taste like. As a kid, I thought “shut up” was the “S Word.”
But I’m still a broken mess of humanity apart from the grace, mercy, and amazing love of Jesus Christ.
I used to despise my faults and limitations, but the funny thing is God doesn’t.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
The only thing that will cause Him to push me away is the very thing I have clung to as my trophy of goodness- pride.
God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.”
It’s funny how we humans rely on our own goodness without even seeing pride’s ugly face behind the mask.
For few years, I’ve led worship in our church on Sunday mornings. One particularly hectic Sunday morning, I lost my temper with my kids while we were getting ready for church.
After I finally loaded all five kids in the van and headed down the highway for church, my heart started twisting inside with guilt and condemnation.
How can I sing and lead our congregation in worship when I’ve been yelling at my kids all morning? I’m not even worthy to get up in front of everyone and pretend to be spiritual.
Instantly, the Holy Spirit reproved my thoughts with a probing question,
Are you ever worthy?
I knew the answer to that. No, I’m never worthy.
Not even on the “good” days when I’m being gentle and sweet. Not even on the days when I read my Bible and respect my husband and do all the right things.
That Sunday morning changed me. I apologized to my kids for being unkind, accepted their forgiveness, and carried in my heart a deeper humility than I think I’d ever felt before.
This time, my sense of humility wasn’t based on a list of faults and shortcomings that keep me from being “good”, but on a deep awareness that despite everything I’m not, I’m still loved, forgiven, and precious to God.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
C. S. Lewis
I guess I’m slowly realizing that the only reason the Lord would ever choose to use me- on the church platform or at my kitchen table- has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.
That is the greatest freedom this weary perfection-seeker has ever found.
I rest and rejoice that because He is enough, I don’t have to be.
And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
II Corinthians 12:9 & 10
Above all else, grace. Grace from Him, to give and receive.
Remembering my affliction and my misery… my soul has them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.”
Grace, purpose, and freedom are gifts of God… not to the achievers, but to the broken.
Live abundantly today in His grace, my friend!
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.