I’ve tried to start this blog about a dozen times but I think the time has really come for me to actually commit to it. Allow me to explain.
About two years ago, I started praying regularly that God would “Create in me a clean heart… and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10) and “remove the heart of stone from [my] flesh and give [me] a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26). My husband and I also prayed that he would bless us with children. I didn’t imagine that these prayers were related — in fact, we only prayed once before we got pregnant — but as it turns out, God is accomplishing the answer to one with the answer to the other.
Our daughter was born last spring and I can guarantee you that there is something different in my heart (if nothing else, I am now KEENLY aware of my depravity!). I know that my experiences aren’t unique. I can see that God has been working to systematically divest me of things that aren’t of Him, and I know that Christian parents everywhere can probably share stories similar to mine. But what got me writing was something that God was specifically working out of me.
I used to be a Congressional staffer. I didn’t think that my job was my life, but when I moved away from DC and opted to stay home, I realized just how much priority I’d given my job and how much of my identity was wrapped up in it. Time and distance helped to erode some of the unhealthy hold my old life had on my new life, but not all of it. Enter parenthood.
Every parent knows that parenthood is the most important job you’ll ever have with the least amount of recognition you’ll ever get. I had a lot of trouble with this. Even if I knew that this was kingdom work at its very greatest, I still craved the importance that came with my old job. So I was not shy over social media with my opinions on all sorts of things, political and otherwise, posting long-winded things on Facebook and quips on Twitter, craving the “likes,” and the retweets. I wasn’t posting every day, or even every week, and I always kept in mind that my words and my actions spoke about God so I did my best to be respectful.
But even if I was being respectful and not seeking to malign the Gospel, I was still doing it for the wrong reasons. Predictably, the likes and the retweets could not satisfy. Eventually, through studying Romans in Bible Study Fellowship, God convicted my heart of this right in time for Lent. So I gave up posting on Facebook for 40 days. I still allowed myself to skim, but I wasn’t allowed to respond to anything — no likes, shares, reactions, and definitely no posts of my own. And, perhaps not so surprisingly, when the 40 days was over, it didn’t seem so necessary to keyboard rage whenever something happened. God used that time to speak to me about the importance of spreading the Gospel, and if the Gospel was so important, why would I spend my time talking about anything less?
Convicted of this, nonetheless, I still craved. I wanted to write. I wanted importance. I want, I want, I want… So I did my best to try and trust that God was doing a work and I needed to trust that the importance I craved is really not found on a screen, it’s found in running a Godly household. I wish I could say that I dove into this idea with enthusiasm, but I didn’t. I moped. I was pitiful. I was ridiculous.
And then, one day at BSF, we were asked to share something that God was doing in our lives through our study of Romans. So I shared all of the above and talked about how hard it was, even though it all sounded silly. I got a lot of encouragement from all the moms in my group, and left feeling like I could still trust God with all of this. And when I got in my car, the song “My Story” from Big Daddy Weave was playing on the radio. The chorus goes:
“If I speak then let it be
Of the grace that was greater than all my sin,
Of when justice was done, and when mercy wins,
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in,
If I tell you of my story, let me tell of Him.”
… … … … … OK God, I hear you!
Then, one day not long afterwards, a funny, kind-of-ironic thing happened with my daughter and I posted about it on Facebook. A friend of mine who is currently expecting her first child responded that she thought that God give children to parents to teach parents that they aren’t in control (TRUTH!). I responded, “I could write an essay (or several) on all the things God is using parenthood to teach me.” Another friend responded, “Please write the essays. I’d love to read them.”
OKAY GOD, I REALLY HEAR YOU!
So, all of that to say, I don’t really know where this is going. But I believe that God has been revealing all of these things to me so that I can write about his sanctifying work in my life, and that if it is His will, by this He will be glorified.
I don’t want this to be about me. I want this to be about the grace that is greater than all of my sin, of justice done and mercy’s victory, of Jesus’ kindness, of HIS story in my life. So God, may I write of and for only you. In Jesus’ name, amen.