Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lessons learned...

This week. Ugh! It's Sunday, though. That means a new week starts tomorrow. I couldn't be more excited :)

I've learned so much this week. And I'm not even sure that I can comprehend it all now or even tell you every little thing. It takes me a while to process. One thing is certain: God is faithful.

There is something that came up over and over again that I struggle with so often. Self love. I have a lot of excuses for it and a lot of "this is why" reasons, but really when it comes down to it I just love myself way too much. I love when I'm the star and when I am served and when I get what I want. Me! More so, though, I love myself often times more than I love God or what God wants.

So, there's that. But this week sort of crushed that - a lot. Caring for a toddler, who is pretty helpless without me AND caring for an adult, who was pretty much helpless without me made for a really humbling week. Everything I did, I thought, I said was with my boy and my man in mind. And let me confess this: it was the most beautiful, eye-opening week of my life. Through this hard and difficult circumstance I was humbled and encouraged and loved on by an compassionate, tender and powerful God.

You see, when I allowed myself to come last and to do what the Lord has called me to do, I was cared for. I found delight in the little things - hot baths after everyone was in bed, warm coffee as I spent time with the Lord early in the morning, nap time snacks all to myself, sweet text messages, emails and phone calls from friends and family.

When I was truly humble and selfless and making sure that our pipes didn't burst and that the drive-way was salted and that there was food in our house and that the bathrooms were cleaned and diapers were changed and medicines were taken and little bumps were kissed and water was being consumed and a dog was fed and people were informed and clothes were washed and snuggles were given...well, then I was doing just what God has called me to do. And He gave me the strength and the joy to do it well, and for His glory.

I couldn't have gotten through the last five days without the Hand of God. Making the choice to get up before everyone to spend time in His word and prayer was a powerful way to start my day. I prayed a lot. I recalled scripture. I prayed through scripture. I called out to friends and family for prayer. It was the Lord Who got us through this week - I know that full well.

There were emotional break downs. There were hard, hard moments. Yesterday I'm pretty sure I spend the entire day crying. Little tears, big tears, sniffles - God caught them all. I'm not sure I've ever experienced the Lord in this way before. He has been so sweet to me. Still, no words. I have no words to praise Him like He deserves.

Each time something felt hard or overwhelming or too much I remembered this: "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I have hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." {Lamentations 3:22-25}

I have hope because the Lord is my portion. This world is not my portion. Getting what I want is not going to help, or give me hope. Loving myself is useless - there is no hope in that! But the Lord, oh! His mercies and compassions are new every morning! His love never ceases! And I know that He is good to the one who seeks Him, and I will seek Him. But not because I want good. Because I want God and whatever He says is good for me.

Praise the Almighty God for meeting needs and answering prayers. Each small thing was a huge blessing. And while I know, without any doubt, that God is capable of an immediate and complete recovery for my husband, the lessons we are being taught are far more worthy and important that Patrick being healed quickly. And I'm okay with that. But I'll still prayer for a full recovery and that this trial will never return. :)

And, friends, know that today Patrick got out of bed and ate lunch with us. And he got on his computer to do a few things. And walked around the house. Baby steps. Little by little, my husband is returning. Oh my soul, be still! The kindness of God is truly more overwhelming than any difficulty through this all!

So, I end with these verses from Psalm 27. The whole Psalm has been a refuge for me and a source of constant prayer. But the end, well, it's just where I want to sit and praise God...
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." {vv. 13-14}

Needless to say, this week I learned to love God and the calling He has given me more than myself - and it was one of the most life changing things I think I've ever learned. And I'm so grateful that He saw it fit to teach an idol loving, harlot playing, sinner like me. I love this life He has given me, the place and "job" He has called me to. And now, I love even more that I have learned that I can walk away from myself and seek His face and find refreshment and joy. Praise His Holy Name!

PS...if this didn't make sense all together, I'm so sorry! Trying to find words and emotions and say everything I wanted was a little more difficult than I thought it would be :) Either way, let's shout God's glory to all the earth!


Mary said...

Thanks Ashley, truly God is good to those who call on Him out of a pure heart. May He bless you indeed.
I finally figured out how to create a google account so now I don't have to be anonymous!

mom of 3, hater of cheese and birds said...

Having walked through a difficult season w/ a sick husband in the hospital last April I prayed all the more fervently and specifically for you! Terry and I are continuing to pray for health for all FOUR of you.

erin said...

Continuing to pray for you and your family! I have been really encouraged by your attitude towards everything you have experienced -- finding ways to grow from it instead of being frustrated by it -- I pray that I can grow into that kind of maturity!
I love the scripture you mentioned about the Lord being your portion -- we were talking about that in bible study this morning about how the Levites literally had to rely on the Lord as their portion as their food came from the people's sacrifices - I love when analogies become more real to me!