Thursday, September 28, 2006

His refusals are always mercies

Life is likely to continue to hold many forms of torture and dismay for that unhappy person and for all who refuse to receive with thanksgiving instead of complaint the place in life God has chosen for them. The torture is self-inflicted, for God has not rejected their prayers. He knows better than any of us do what furthers our salvation. Our true happiness is to be realized precisely through his refusals, which are always mercies. His choice is flawlessly contrived to give the deepest kind of joy as soon as it is embraced.
This quote from my Elisabeth Elliot devotional hit me hard today.

I know God's mercy is "not getting what I deserve," but somehow it's always conjured up some soft, cushy, feel-good place that makes my heart thump in a worship service. He just loves me SOO much and I FEEL it!

His refusals are always mercies? Hmm.

I was complaining lately to a friend. At first it started about my schedule. Now, we are very particular about activities, but even with good planning and only one activity per school-age child (I am not a big preschool “activity” fan), there is something going on – a sport, an appointment, a function – virtually every afternoon. We try to keep evenings free but it is just not possible.

But then the complaining took a different turn. The housework – never done. Character issues – ongoing. And even when we are home, and things are going smoothly, there are fifteen different interactions going on at any given time. It gets a little crazy. It’s the one thing that I couldn't have anticipated, back when I had rosy visions of a large family (I think they might have included color-coordination and possibly even hair bows—yeah, right!), and it is probably the most difficult thing for me – one who wishes for structure but really never gets it. Not perfectly, anyway.

I find myself getting out of sorts when I’m being pulled in a lot – say, um, FIVE - different directions.

And yet this is my life. The place in life God has chosen for me.

Could this be His mercy? Taking someone like me, an analytical-controller, one-ring circus type of gal and saying, “Embrace the fact that you're never going to be done with the work." Or, "Embrace the idea you just may never have a complete handle on your schedule for the next couple of decades?”

Or how about this one: “Embrace the fact that it’s not about you?”

Do I really believe that it is in thanking Him for my current state that I find joy?

Oh, I wish I could say I was there. How I want to live my life content in the beautiful, if not a little crazy, plan God has laid out for me. Content knowing it's not who I am, but His doing, in spite of who I am.

I want to be able to respond to His mercies - His refusal to take away the aspects of my life that challenge me most - as Mrs. Elliot:
Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for He is already there.

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup" (Psalm 16:5, NIV).

Shall we not gladly say, "I'll take it, Lord! YES! I'll trust you for everything. Bless the Lord, O my soul!"

9 comments:

Susanne said...

Yup, the hairbows are always the first to go, aren't they? :vD

Seriously though, how true is this. I think a person has to seriously take baby steps towards having this total contentment for their current state, especially if your personality leans towards having to have perfect order. I gave up the perfect part a long time ago, that'll never happen in my lot. I'll be happy if I achieve order some of the time! :v)

voni said...

I love the last part of Psalms 16;15 "You have made my lot secure" There is security in His plans. Learning to rest in that and trust Him is what brings us freedom and peace. I haven't learned this lesson very well. I was having a huge attitude today after I did the sixth load of laundry. Your blog entry was timely:) Thanks!!

Andrea said...

Katherine
Wow, this post hit me right where I needed it. I also read Elisabeth Elliot's devotion this morning and it was just what I needed to hear, coupled along with this post.
I so often feel like you: out of control but wanting to be in control. My own visions of my family of 6 are not what I thought they would be.
Anyway, I am learning to take my portion, and take it gladly. I am thankful for that. I know and feel His leading. It's exciting.

Katrina said...

Wow, this is one of those areas that God is really working on with me - I seem to be reading or hearing this message everywhere I turn. Guess I better listen! Great post, Katherine.

Jennifer said...

God has been teaching me about reaching out in faith this week--asking for the big things. I wrote about it today, after being inundated with it, but I think this fits right in, too. It's the refusals that keep me from even asking, so I'm working on it. I honestly don't usually have a problem accepting the refusals, but to let myself even hope for the yes that I'm seeking--that's the tough thing for me.

Ivey Elizabeth Sirmans said...

Hi. My friend Jennifer sent me over to your post. This is great. I have been having a little disagrement with God here lately about some of his mercies. I have been bullheaded about accepting my place in this life. I am a mother of three, two toddlers boys ages 3 and 2 and a five month old girl. I have accepted my life with my baby girl will be much different than the fairytale I had envisioned since I was a little girl myself; however, I have had a hard time letting go of the dream. Thank you for this breathtaking view. I have my portion and my cup.
Thank you,
Gwen

Renee said...

Thanks for this post. We have 4 very young boys and expecting baby #5 in May. I often feel pulled in many different ways, even at their young age, and you've given me perspective as to what life is really like with 5. All of your "Embrace the fact...." comments are right on. Thanks for the reminders and encouragment.

Lisa said...

Wow! Thanks for writing this. It came at such a perfect time for me. I'm the mom of 6 children from 17 years to 6 months. I definately feel the pulling. I can never be where they all want me to be, and when the chaos is in full motion, I find myself questioning my convictions. I don't like that at all. Thanks for the encouragement! Lisa

Munchkin Land said...

Oh my, I'm definitely going to have to come back when I have a few more minutes and really digest what you're saying. It's hard to skim these blogs when I find something so meaty, I really want to stop and take it in. I'll be back...