The last several weeks have been really hard. My toddlers have been misbehaving and having a hard time sleeping, which means that not only am I getting less sleep, but it feels like every waking moment I’m parenting and losing in a battle of the wills with at least one toddler. It’s just been hard.
Even more than that, I have felt my hope and faith growing weary. My family’s life is not even close to conventional, and we have tried our very hardest to walk by faith and do what we have felt the Lord has asked of us. And this year that has meant following Him from a stable job offer (with people we dearly love), into a financially unsure job that ended up being financially impossible. And so we are now in the boat of continuing to work part time with the opportunity He led us into, but are trying to financially make it by scrapping together little amounts of money from lots of different odds and ends. I frequently think about the job offer and how much I wished we would have taken it, but at the end of my thinking I still come back to this deep rooted feeling that I know we did the right thing. Then why is it so hard? It’s been so hard and our life is constantly teetering just on the edge of seeming disaster. It’s bugged me. I even wrestle with talking to other believers and feeling embarrassed by the situation we’re in- like it is irresponsible and something to be ashamed of. But the Truth that I keep reminding myself is that God asked a ton of people in the Bible to do things that seemed irresponsible or crazy. So if it worked for them, why isn’t it working for me? I feel a tendency to buy into the thought that God doesn’t do stuff like He used to anymore. But I just can’t settle there. I know the Bible is True, and if it’s True the God I’ve been reading about is that same one that I worship now. And so if the problem isn’t with Him then it must be me. Maybe the approach I’ve been taking needs some tweaking.
And it was at this realization a couple weeks ago that I stumbled upon a Beth Moore book that I had briefly picked up but never kept reading. And on those first few pages I felt some companionship as I read her struggles with the same thing. She voiced the same conviction that God is still the same, but that our experience with Him and faith is greatly different- and that is not His plan. She gave a couple of phrases that she encouraged the reader to memorize and repeat as they were feeling discouraged. The first two are: “God is who is said He is” and “God can do what He says He can do”. It has been so encouraging and helpful to remind myself of these things when I start feeling crazy. My God is the same one that did those things I’ve been writing about here. He is the same and He has not changed. And He has not become less capable or willing.
When I originally started blogging about these 3 chapters a couple weeks ago, the theme was not that different. God wants all of us. He has asked not for half of our lives, but the whole. The commands in chapter 12 to stay true to God and not worship the other gods the people around them did has stayed the same but now I’m challenged with a new application. Chapter 12 also instructs that they not only don’t worship the other gods, but that the Israelites cannot worship God in the same manner that other people worship their false Gods. And I think that this is the sin that I am in danger of committing. The difference between following Jesus and following another god is that Jesus is alive. God the Father is alive. The Holy Spirit is alive. They were not a created idea and explanation from man. So when you boil it down, the most that other philosophies and religions have to offer is a perspective and framework on how to live life. And so they show their worship by following the rules and living within the framework as best as possible. But I fear that even though I am not worshiping these other gods, maybe I have taken how they worship their gods and translated it to the Living God. Maybe the sin that is keeping me from knowing and experiencing God like those in the Bible did is boiling Christianity down to a perspective and philosophy.
And so, I have started a journey through those points that I found in the pages of Beth Moore’s book. (Man, am I thankful that she has gone through this struggle before me and is daring enough to share her experience!) And I am hoping that my journey will end me less on the philosophy side of religion, and help make some sense of the crazy things God has asked us to do. Because God is most definitely who He says He is, and is therefore able to do what He says He can do!