Friday, November 02, 2012

The Dead Places


I read a quote recently about how fall is a reminder that death can be beautiful.  That resonated deep within me.  I feel like this stage of my life is about constant change and little deaths.  My life is so incredibly blessed that I would not complain that these deaths have been dramatic.  On the contrary they are simple small deaths of my own selfishness ~ long overdue.  But, as I have confessed many times, I am a slow learner.  

I grew up in a small town. My dad had a good job, and the whole town knew this.  I was told to my own shock by a boy in my 6th grade class that I was rich.  Really?  Up until that day, I had not known. We lived well below our means.  My mom was an enigma.  She held her own with the socialites when necessary.  But, she spent her days teaching an old man to read, taking meals on wheels to various older people, teaching Bible studies, and volunteering everywhere.  She had these friends with very little money, but they loved Jesus, so she loved them.  And, I remember going to their houses, and their houses weren't like my house, you know?  But, they loved my mom, and they loved me.  And, they prayed for me.  And, I remember one lady. She homeschooled her kids (and in my mind that made her a bit odd :-) and she didn't have much money, she had really long curly brown hair and she wore skirts and I think her husband ended up leaving her and her children.  Anyway, she used to pray for me when she and my mom got together.  And, when I graduated from high school she wrote in calligraphy this verse and framed it for me: "But, He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." Job 23:10.  This meant so much to me. She knew how high school was a struggle for me.  How just like my mom, I didn't quite fit with the socialites.  

For some reason this verse came to my mind the other day.  Just as it was the perfect prayer for that time in my life, it is the perfect prayer for these days of parenting.  Each day is a test.  I am tempted to be selfish with my time, my space.  I am tempted to be frustrated, to lose my temper.  I am tempted to give up, tempted to be too tired to fight for the battles that need to be fought.  I am tested daily all day long, and, oh, that I would come forth as gold!  Oh, how many times I fall so short, but it is my prayer!

And, I think of her writing this verse for me on a page of parchment, and I think of all that must have been going on in her own home, all her hurt and her struggles.  We all have struggles and temptations.  We all have things that we must put to death in order to give birth to the beauty of Christ in our lives.  When I think back to that eighteen year old hairspray headed girl, who took that sweet offering of a graduation present into her arms and hung it on her dorm room wall, I can't help but smile at how God has transformed that self-centered teenager into this mother of six.  Still quite selfish and still very much in process, but, years of dying little deaths has ever so slowly transformed areas of my life.  I'm not the same girl I was back then, and I'm so thankful for that.  When we give up these things, when we put them to death, these things like security and fear, like wanting my time and my way, God replaces these dead places with something so much more beautiful. Death can be beautiful.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I love reading your heart Erin! You always challenge and inspire me. Being a stay at home, homeschooling mom is the hardest thing I think I'll ever do--the noise and dirt alone can drive me crazy! But it's been so heart-shaping, and I know God is using the dirt and mess to teach me to keep my focus on what's really valuable.

Love you!

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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