Sunday, February 12, 2012

God's grace flows to open hands

Closed-fisted.  This is my general approach to life.  I enter each day tightly grasping on to the things I know.  The things I love.  The things I have.  All of these things only allowed to be mine by the grace of a loving God. And even then, never really mine at all.

This has been learned over 17 years of being a Christian.  And I am a slow learner. The older I get, the more I watch my younger children and long for the ability to rejoice in simple, untainted, faith. The kind of faith that has them pray with their hands open wide.  Open to blessings they believe in faith will be there.  They haven't yet been weathered by the storms.  Storms of broken families, broken people, and a broken world.

The storms.  They are there.  They come. Satan laughs in triumph when I close my fists and cling to what I have because I want to hang on to the little bit of good in today for fear of the storm of tomorrow. The Truths of scripture tell me better. But I still choose to keep my fists closed.  In pride.  I can do this. I can fix this.  I can control this.

I can't. So simple.  But so freeing.

I was talking to a friend this week and we were praying through some struggles in our lives. Struggles so familiar to us both.  And familiar to others I have spoken with.  It was freeing to be honest.  Honest about how insecure I am.  Honest about how much time I waste in this precious life worrying about what other people think.  Honest about the truth of this quote:

"If I focus on humility, I look inward to assess if I'm sufficiently humble, and in the very act, humility darts and I'm proud, self-focused.  It doesn't work." ~ Ann Voskamp

It is a struggle.  Pride.  Pride in self-sufficiency.  Pride in family.  Pride in talents. Just stupid pride. Where is the balance?  Where is the line drawn?

How do you find the difference in rejoicing in thankfulness for the provision the LORD has provided and not on your own means to provide? How do you rejoice in gratitude over the gift of family the LORD has given you without making your spouse, children or grandchildren idols?  How do you use your God-given talents for His glory in humility without it becoming a stumbling block for yourself?

I can't.  But the gift of daily grace for me can.  Thank you Lord for the gift of a new day.  Thank you for your mercy!

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! 
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Thank you Jesus for your good and perfect gifts.  Thank you Jesus for the gift of children that can so vividly remind me how to love freely, laugh often, and pray in faith.  Thank you Jesus for the gifts you've given me (and every believer) that are to be used for your glory alone.  Thank you Jesus for conviction of heart, whether that comes from a small, sweet prompting or the spiteful words of another. I will choose to give you glory. All of this will break me to come to you and beg for humility of spirit.  Praise You for open hands!

You Alone are Good.


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