Little by little, step by step, I feel the fog lifting. Coming off of three children in a row... One in 2011, another in 2012, and a third in 2013. I feel like I have been underwater for years, and I am finally getting a little air!!! The air has come in two very distinct ways....
Several months ago Zeke began sleeping through the night! GLORY!!!! So, now my phone sings a wake up song soft and slow at 4:45 every morning. And, I sip coffee and read and pray from 5:00 to 6:00 every single morning ~ even on weekends. It. Is. Glorious!!!! Some mornings I just sit there and in between sips of coffee I say, "Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for this. How I've missed this! Thank You, Jesus!!"
The other way is that I use recess to run on the treadmill. The big boys watch the little ones, and I get in a short little one mile jog all the while listening to Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen, Jen Hatmaker, Emily Freeman, or the like on you tube. It is divine! I'm so thankful!
During my run earlier this week, Emily Freeman said something in an interview that I have been thinking about ever since. You know how sometimes you hear something over and over your whole life, and then all of the sudden one day it makes sense to you!?! Well, this was one of those times! She was talking about her book Grace for the Good Girl which is an absolute favorite of mine. Anyway, she said, and this is a total paraphrase... "I always tried really hard to be patient and peaceful and faithful and good, but then I realized... I already am all those things. If His Spirit lives inside of me, all that fruit is already there. I am all those things. I don't have to try hard to be them."
One thing you must understand... I had 7 kids in a little over 10 years. My youngest is 1 and a half and my oldest is 12. Not losing my temper, not losing my patience, not freaking out, not panicking, not becoming completely overwhelmed is a moment by moment thing here. This is my frontier. I may have thought for many years that I was a good girl, a sweet girl, but I am now constantly aware of my sin, every second of every day. I wake up fresh and try so hard to be kind and good, gentle and patient. I try with all my might, and I fail. I need grace like crazy!!! And, this statement by Emily got to me. I kept hearing it over and over in my head all day....
He lives in me. The fruits, they reside within me. I've had it all wrong. I thought my active role was to try to be patient, generous, good, to muster it up from somewhere deep within. But, really my active role is to not to try to do good, but rather to not quench the Spirit! If I let go and let Him be Him, He will pour these things out of me. Semantics? Maybe. But, to me this way of thinking focuses on not striving but rather relaxing in the fact that I am loved as I am. And, then letting go.... When I feel flesh rise up, see it as attempting to quench that which lives in me and wants to come out rather than gritting my teeth and trying hard to pull myself up by my bootstraps.
And, ya'll, it is there. The love is there. Let it loose! The patience is there! It really is. Sometimes it just takes believing it and living out of that belief. Rather than telling yourself you are hopelessly selfish... Realize that you are hopefully selfless, so act like it! Do something selfless, loving, and feel it well up inside of you. Like when Corrie TenBoom shook the Nazi soldier's hand. She didn't feel the forgiveness when she reached for his hand, but when her hand met his, she was overwhelmed by it!! The Spirit poured out of her and onto that man. She didn't will herself to forgive, she just held out her hand and God's Spirit poured it out.
Thank You, Jesus, that we don't have to muster up the love and patience from within our broken selves. It is a ridiculous statement. It would never be. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit to live through these broken vessels. What a beautiful grace ~ broken vessels made beautiful by the overflow of Your Holy Spirit!!