Monday, October 29, 2012

Those hard places...

Give thanks, always. We get busy. A crisis comes our way. We become discontent. Restless. Careless. Distracted. Bored. Preoccupied. Overwhelmed. But God stresses that we continually offer a sacrifice of praise & thanksgiving. Why?

Maybe because that's exactly what it is most of the time; a sacrifice. Hasn't sacrifice always brought glory to God?

A couple Sundays back I humbly shared how in the realms of being a patient, good mommy I had missed the mark horriblyearlier that week. Not that by any means I normally hit the mark--but some days I have failed in every way you can possibly fail. I think the worst of this is the guilt you carry of letting your children down so hard; over and over. Multiple times. We work so hard to protect our children from danger, from pain, from evil & yet we are the ones who can truly hurt them the worst I think. That's hard to swallow. So, I sat sharing my story  and looked around at the faces listening hoping to find grace in my shame. Mind if I share it here too? It really does have everything to do with thanksgiving. 

My weeks have been long lately. Apart from my husband working his regular job, he's been heading straight to our land and working on the house till bed time. We knew it would be this way and we were ready. I thought. Normally I'm accustomed to him getting home right before I start dinner and helping with the littles. These long days I saw him at bed time. The chaos of cooking with everyone at my feet, waiting. Sitting down at supper without him, over and over. Days going by without our family time and putting the kids down myself added up. 

Just a little insight into what my days had been...and will be for awhile. 
This one particular morning I remember struggling to get out of bed. Ah, the motivation, where was it? I believe motivation had run off because another week was just too scary. As dear Ann would say, sacrifice always starts by your feet hitting that cold floor, while this is true, it certainly doesn't mean that it's a glorious sacrifice. I walked into kitchen ready to bite whatever need came to me first. And that's exactly what I did; most of the day. I knew by that afternoon I had done my "duties" but I had cast a horrible shadow on everyone around me in the process...and I had left an altar to the Lord, empty. 

I excused myself from everyone & walked into my room and dropped to my knees. Isn't sweet surrender supposed to be...sweet? I felt aggravated. Frustrated that I needed to repent. Funny in a way huh. 

God, I am so annoyed that I am a sinner and that I sinned!

Needless to say, it wasn't a comfortable surrender. I began by asking forgiveness. I logically knew I was wrong---I just didn't feel very sorry. After repentance, I began to offer was not easy at first. 

"God, thank you my kids are all healthy & whole. . ."

"God, thank you for protecting Justin everyday, the things I know about, and the things I don't..."

"God, thank you I am healthy enough to do what I need to do..."

"God, thank you for all the food in the house, I'd hate to be scraping to feed my family..." 

*heart begins to soften*

"...And Lord, thank you my family is alive..."


Finally a sweet smelling savor on the altar. 

There's nothing better than an emptying before the Lord. Isn't the Lord happy with those that empty themselves from all their stuff so He can fill?

If anything, we know a hard sacrifice & thanksgiving in its self brings God glory, is this not reason enough to do it?

Though it brings glory to the King, there's a secret there that God knows so well. As it was with Abraham and the attempt to offer a very hard sacrifice, God met Him there with a ram and blessed him abundantly. 

We enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. 

And it's in those hard places that we offer up a sacrifice on that cold, hard altar, and that burning savor to the Lord can't help but leave its mark on us. We wear that fragrance. That fire melts the hard in us. We are the ones the walk away with the treasure. 

When I feel restless, aggravated, worried, overwhelmed I know where I need to go; the eye doctor,  the heart specialist...because we need new glasses, new vision & we need a heart change, and soon...doesn't this always take place at the altar of praise?
"Happy the person who has an empty vessel and God waiting ever ready to fill. Unhappy they who have no empty vessel. 

-George V.Wigram

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