He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The problem with tomorrow...

Does God teach you through themes?  That's how He seems to work in my life. Maybe He knows I'm THAT thick headed that He has to come at me from a lot of different directions for something to sink in, but that seems to be how it typically works.  I hear something somewhere- maybe a sermon, maybe even just a casual conversation with a friend, then I read a devotion along the same lines, then I read something in the Word to confirm what I'm hearing, then I hear it again somewhere else and on and on it goes until I finally I realize, "oh! maybe I should be paying attention here..."

And by the way, just a warning, this is a processing post.  I am processing various things that God has laid on my heart and the end result may not make a lot of sense, but I'm processing and that's usually when God teaches so I'm trying to listen while I write and you're welcome to come along for the ride.  Just don't be disappointed if you get to the end and think, WHAT is she saying here?  Most likely, I'm not sure yet...

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of "today" as opposed to "tomorrow" as it relates to being a good steward of whatever thing God has entrusted me with at any given point.  Is that clear as mud?  I've had these 2 recurring themes in my mind lately and I'm seeing them beginning to converge.

First- being faithful with what God has entrusted to me.  His Word, His message, the lives of my kids.  These are BIG DEAL things.   I've been in James 4:13-17 where it talks about not knowing where we'll even be today or tomorrow (yeah, we can just a little bit relate to that- 14 something moves in 17 years of marriage...) but simply being in the Lord's will, and the verse I keep coming back to is verse 17 at the end of this chapter...

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." 
James 4:17

So he goes from talking about not knowing what the future holds and therefore doing God's will by seizing the NOW and living in TODAY, to not boasting about our own plans, to reminding us that not only is DOING wrong sinful but NOT doing something right is also sinful.  Huh.  I need to unpack this a lot more, but for now I am looking at how this applies to my role as mom/wife/organizer of our home.  

Here's where the problem with tomorrow comes in, and the second theme that's been running around in my head- today vs tomorrow.    If I know of something good that I need to do TODAY, whether it be something as simple as spending 30 quality minutes of reading time with Naomi or something that takes a little more brain power like working on a story I'm memorizing in Arabic, if the Spirit leads me to do that thing NOW, TODAY, who am I to offer the excuses of my well laid plans and organizational ideas as an excuse for not doing that thing.  

In other words, if I look at my family chore chart and I see that Tuesday is my day to do the living room vacuuming and dusting myself and scrub all of the long brown hairs off of all of our area rugs (have I mentioned that all females in our house just might have to shave their heads?  Wait.  Never mind) but I feel the Spirit nudging me to spend Anabelle's nap time meditating on a scripture passage or memorizing a story or getting a craft ready for the big girls, am I going to serve my own plans and schedule and be proud of my organizational skills and check off that thing on my list or am I going to set those things aside and LISTEN to God's nudge and OBEY in that moment. 

Immediate obedience is something I'm pretty good at preaching to my kids, but I don't know how well I actually do at it! 

 I'm wondering how many opportunities I've missed because I convince myself that my plans and schedule, none of them BAD in and of themselves, are more important than the interruptions God might bring my way.  I don't want to be guilty of telling God I'll get to something TOMORROW that He has clearly shown me needs to be done TODAY.  

As someone who was in the church every time the doors were opened and then some for as far back as I can remember, I can't exactly leave this topic without referencing Matthew 25 and the parable of the talents.  Of course, those verses have been swimming around in my head too.  I want to be the servant who was "faithful with a few things" so will be "put in charge of many".  I want to be invited to "Come and share your master's happiness." (Matthew 25: 21)  

As I've meditated on these verses,  I come back over and over to the fact that God has entrusted Jason and I with our beautiful daughters and we are to be faithful in our work of discipling them and teaching them the things of Jesus.  These are the "few" things right now that He is requiring me to be faithful with.   And what precious things they are!   These precious ones SEE how I react to the curve balls life throws- the little interruptions that just might be divine appointments.  Do they see me setting aside my plans and joyfully embracing what God might bring our way each day or do they hear me whining about the inconvenience.  Ouch!  Not sure I like the answer to that!  It's so hard to be flexible in the midst of busy- ness!  Thankfully we serve a God who is endlessly patient and tirelessly teaches us from His Word.  To bad it so often takes me oh so long to hear it!  

He has faithfully reminded me this week in the midst of my thinking the job is just too big and I will most surely mess it up, that He is giving me bite sized pieces and I am to faithfully be a steward of one day at a time.  I must pray as Jesus did for my "daily" bread knowing that He is in control of my tomorrows.   How wise of Him to remind us in His Word that tomorrow is not to be worried about.  (Matthew 6) Now If I can just remember to LISTEN!  I am not at all saying tomorrow should not be planned for, just not WORRIED about- that's a big distinction for me!  

My prayer for myself each morning this week has been that I would be faithful with His message today in the lives of my kids and anyone else he brings my way, and that I would not put off until tomorrow anything that the Spirit is leading me to do TODAY.  Even if that means sacrificing my plans and my carefully orchestrated schedule.  

And mainly, AM I BEING A FAITHFUL PRAY-ER FOR MY KIDS?  Nope, not near enough.  Don't think it can ever be enough actually.  In my notes in my Bible on the James 4 passage (yes, I still use a book Bible NOT an electronic one, can't let go of my years of sermon notes and family memories scribbled in the margins!), a sermon I heard referenced 1 Samuel 12 and the fact that FAILING TO PRAY for someone could be a sin.  Lord, let that not be true for me especially in relation to my girls!  I am LISTENING for your voice and I will be ON MY KNEES when you tell me to do be!  

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.  And I will teach you the way that is good and right."
I Samuel 12: 23

So much more I could ramble on about on this topic- I've only scratched the surface of what I feel God is teaching me, but I just looked at the clock which sadly says 12:30 which means that my alarm will be going off in 5 hours.  Sigh.  Yeah, and considering this morning I slept straight through said alarm and woke up to a panicked Abbey telling me we had just missed the bus and why were we all still in bed at 7:30, and then we all ran around like crazy people and got out the door 30 minutes later only to have a flat tire on the way to school and be even later because we sat at the gas station for 30 minutes while they put a straw (? not sure- my Arabic was scratchy on this one...) in the tire during which time we all sang High School Musical songs really loud and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that we were completely mortifying 13 year old Abbey and I reveled in the new discovery that I am now VERY capable of THOROUGHLY embarrassing my eldest.... whew. (are you as tired from reading that sentence as I am from writing it?  that was the point...)

Learning to live in the moment... be careful what you pray for!

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the msot of every opportunity.  Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." 
Colossians 4: 2-6  


Charlie Cameron said...

Whew!!! YOu are amazing, kiddof
Your girls have an amazing Mom!
We love you and are so very proud of you, both for your spirit and your commitment to being a good mom,

AJ said...

I'm tired just thinking of how crazy your days are! And, hey, if you can sing silly songs in the middle of a situation like that, you're doing an amazing job. This post made me think of someone telling me that whatever you do, do it 100 percent. That sounds simple until you have to decide that you're going to rest or read or spend silly time with kids for an hour and be there 100 percent, not thinking of all the other things you have to do. I laugh when I ask someone how they are and they say, "Busy!" Compared to whom? These are crazy days. Thanks for reminding us to follow the Spirit's leading and not our desire to cross things off the list..

Madelyn said...

Oh sweet, capable, God-sensitive lady, I have been painfully reminded this week that we really do need to follow those nudgings. Immediately. It can sometimes get too late to act really quickly. Your list - like the laundry, death, & taxes - will be there later.

Melsb4j@gmail.com said...

So good Kelli! I needed to hear this!

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

You're a great mom! Thank you for this post and for linking up.

Cooking Up Faith said...

Thank you for sharing this - just what I needed to read today!!

Jennifer said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this! You are a wonderful mom!

Kelly’s Korner said...

As someone who worries too much about tomorrow - I need to live in today! Thanks for sharing! And linking!

Tonia Hobbs said...

Thank you for sharing! Loved hearing your heart!