Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seven years

It took seven years of hard labor for Jacob to win Rachel. Did it seem long to him?

There are lot of things that feel long to me. A day with sick children. Boredom at work. The last hour before bedtime.

The reality of hard labor can be so wearying and discouraging, I think.  There have been many long days, some very long months, and now as I look back, seven years in my life in Arizona filled with many disappointments.

You could be saying, "Nora, look at you! You have a nice husband, you have two great kids, a house, jobs, a book contract... What's wrong with your life?'

Sure I do. I am thankful.

But someway and sometimes it is okay to grieve a little. Life can be rough on a wife and mother too! As a wife and mom, I usually try to keep it all together. But sometimes I just can't. I have to feel a little and grieve.

Maybe for you, you look at the fridge and it's empty again and you heave that sigh of "O no, not again." You look at the bookcase and you realize all the books you should be reading. The exercise DVD starts giving you the guilty stare-down. The laundry mildews in the washer machine. Your friend never calls you anymore.

For me, it was my closet. I looked in my closet last week and I realized I hadn't bought any new clothes since before Kate, Everything else was second hand. Sure, it hasn't been that big of a deal in the ups and downs of four years of baby incubation and breastfeeding.

Clothes signify to me taking care of myself. It just hit me again that it's been really hard. Money has been really tight. And its been like this for years. When you are married and have kids, everybody's needs take priority. Even to take a breath, to cry a little, or to go buy clothes takes a major act of organization, delegation (and usually child bribery and manipulation).

Yet God is speaking to me. He is reminding me that all these years have given me a gift, one I didn't even know I needed. Like Paul Tripp said in his Wednesday words,
"He sends the rain of failure, so that we will get our identity from him and not from our achievement. He sends the rain of want, so that we will grow in faith and courage. All of these things are blessings of his love, but we tend to not see them as blessings. In fact, in the moments when we are experiencing these things we often are tempted to question God's love."
I was wrestling with these verses this morning from Isaiah 53:4 "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" and Philippians 4:11 "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."

I know God cares about my griefs, but what is this secret I am supposed to get out of it?

I believe it is the last verse of that phrase in Philippians "I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me" (HCSB). The translation of those words  is crucial
"to do" from the Greek word ischus; to have (or exercise) force (literal or figurative) :- be able, avail, can do ([-not]), could, be good, might, prevail, be of strength, be whole, + much work.
"through" a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively).

To be whole and to be in a fixed position. 

What more could I want? To be wholly found in Christ, to be whole in body and mind and spirit, and to be fixed upon the hope of Him who transforms my life. Sometimes, the difficulty has taught me to wait. Sometimes I have learned courage. Sometimes I have learned to pray without ceasing. Sometimes I have learned to rest.

Jesus understands our weaknesses, our difficulty, our pains and our griefs.
Life is teaching me this secret:
I am more whole and that I still firmly fixed with Christ.

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