Abide in Love ~ Abound in Thanksgiving ~ Work in Joy...
Live Fully ~ Suffer Rightly ~ Trust Deeply ~ Bless Truly!


"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
~ Psalms 25:4,5

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Submission-An Unexpected Reversal

"Submission" - that word that seems synonymous with "doormat" in many minds.

Although it conflicts with the sinful aspect of independence that I inherited from Mother Eve, I have come to believe that what God explains in Ephesians 5:17-33 is truly that way that God designed His world to work best.  But, unfortunately, we live in a broken world that often doesn't look like that model and thus the conclusion has become that "submission" is the problem.  I would argue that it isn't God's way that it is the problem, but those not following God's way that cause the model not to work properly.

As an opinionated, independent woman the quiet and gentle spirit of the godly submissive woman in 1 Peter has been a struggle for me.  However, I saw an unexpected blessing of me having a submissive heart recently...

DH's Dad offered to buy DS4 a specific gift last week.  My initial response was a rash, "What would we do that for?" To me, it seemed ridiculous to buy a 4 year old this present.  So, it came back up and DH and I were discussing the progress Grandpa had made in shopping for this said gift.  At that time I respectfully shared my concerns...though I hadn't thought through an articulate explanation, I rambled enough that he caught the idea that I thought this gift might be a little "too cool" for our four year old who already struggled with having to be the best and the fastest and similar pride issues.  I was concerned that this gift would perpetuate those feelings, but that he wasn't at the emotional maturity level that we could just take it away if those issues did indeed arise.  

The decision wasn't a matter of one choice was sin and the other wasn't.  It also wasn't an issue in my heart of me just wanting it to go according to what "I think" is appropriate and thus me being an over-protective controlling mom.  I had legitimate concerns, DH heard them and assessed.  At one point he said, "I understand where you're coming from, but I still think it's OK."  

On the one hand I wanted to put on my attorney's suit and defend my case, getting him also to not just understand my position, but to "feel" the same way I did.  But, looking back, my heart was at peace...I was willing to submit to him giving his dad permission to move forward with the purchase, even though I could foresee problems, which I would prefer to avoid.  In the end, he told his dad to hold off...not a "no", but a wait. 

Ephesians 5:21 - "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

I felt very loved and respected that though he thought it was an OK gift, he saw wisdom in the wait and was willing to articulate that to his dad.  And I am thankful that Grandpa was willing to "submit" to our decision as parents - he was open to our input from the beginning & respected it (even though maybe he thought it unnecessary precautions).

So, "submission" could have looked like me just letting them go ahead with the gift without saying anything.  But the consequences of that could have been me getting bitter if there were issues I foresaw or the issues arise and they become a big problem that could have been avoided if I had used wisdom in sharing what I saw as "God honoring wisdom" (not putting an unnecessary potential temptation in front of our young son).  

That was a good practical lesson for me - submission does not have to mean not saying anything, but it does mean if you do say something it must be with a quiet, gentle, and respectful spirit, willing to relinquish my desire should the decision sway against my preference.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Already, but not yet...

This is a phrase I have heard in regard to our eternal hope..."already, but not yet"

We already have salvation, but not yet.
We already have the hope of living in peace with Christ, but not yet are able to experience the full effects.
We already have the security of Christ conquering our enemy, but not yet do we live in the fullness of that freedom.

I was reminded of that as I had the thought today, "I think I'll wait 'til Baby comes."  The way I chose to word that to myself struck me, for she is already.  She is here - very apparently here to me with the bulging belly:)  She has come, she is with us, she is our daughter, she is already, but...not yet.

To be fully with us, to experience her fully in sight and smell and hearing and touch, she needs to be born, she needs to take a living breath.

It seems that we can have three lives to from creation, where God knits us together in our mother's womb (Psalms 139) to birth, where God breaths into us the breath of life (Gen. 3) (our first physical impregnation to birth experience) new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) where we are reborn and the Holy Spirit breaths His ever-present life into us (our first spiritual impregnation, where we are in the dark not seeing the world as God intended it to operate until we experience our spiritual birth) creation redeemed, where we enter into the new heavens and the new earth (Rev.21-22) and experience God in all His glory and live in eternal peace and joy in the full reality of His presence!

Would this mean that our living the Christian life in this already, but not yet stage would be a second spiritual impregnation?  Where we are alive in Christ, but in the dark to the fullness & experience of the eternal promises of salvation, peace, joy, the full glory of God.  We are already, but not yet...we're in the pregnant stage?  But do we live with that reality - the bulging, living and active reality of these already but not yet promises?

I walk around just as I did before but now with a bulging belly that gets head turns and smiles - seriously I had multiple random people just smile at me in Wal-Mart yesterday and I seriously think that it's because there's something about being pregnant - the eager anticipation of the hope and the joy of birth, it brings smiles! (John 16:21)  Spiritually speaking, as we live in the "already" and wait in the "not yet", are we as the body of Christ bulging evidences of the eager anticipation of the hope and joy of birth into the Ultimate Kingdom of God, bringing smiles because it means there will be a no more pain, no more sorrow, no more sin, everything made right, reality of Creation real and true as the little girl growing in the dark of this womb!

And as we live in the darkness of this world run by Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), we can live out the reality of already, but not yet, grow in Christ and be the obvious, bulging, undeniable evidence that there is a hope worth smiling about - even in the midst of darkness, discomfort, pain, suffering!

Easier said than done, I know...But, she will be worth being joyful over amidst the discomfort & pain of pregnancy & child birth (Gen. 3:15, John 16:21) and so is HE!!!