January 2018 will start a new, and very interesting, chapter in our lives. In my life. With Jake heading to Basic on January 2, our day-to-day lives will look very different, for 9.5 weeks. Minimum. And while I’m excited for this new adventure, I’m nervous, for obvious reasons. Jake and I have never been apart. I have two little boys to take care of. I work outside the home, meaning there is a lot of extra coordination. Have I mentioned that Jake and I have never been apart?
But you know what I’m most nervous for? The work I know God is preparing to do in my life.
Proverbs 17:3 says, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts.”
The Lord is going to test and try my heart. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I tend to be very selfish. I like for things to go my way. I like to have control in the situation. I don’t mind a little chaos, so long as I know that there is a time planned for ending the chaos, bringing order, and then getting some quiet time.
But when I’m solo-momming it over here for more than 2 months…. THE CHAOS WILL HAVE NO END.
Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly. Maybe (I mean, have you met Archer?).
But the point stands. Yes, I will have lots of help, thank goodness. Yes, I have friends and family close who I can (and will) call upon when I need something. But the day-to-day, regular grind, routine, get-things-done will be a challenge.
I’m not so much worried about how I will manage. Women have been holding down the fort at home for millennia (or longer, if you’re an old-earth creationist). I was born to mom-manage, so I know I’ll rock that. It’s the selfishness and the self-serving bent I have that I know I will be forced to give up. And I don’t wanna give it up. That will be the hard part.
One thing I’ve really tried to be intentional about, especially as Archer gets older, is to pause and pray (out loud!!) immediately when I feel that I need some divine intervention. It’s not uncommon that I’ll be folding laundry or doing dishes in the evening, and suddenly I’m super-irritated that Jake didn’t take out the trash three Wednesdays ago. (???) And in those moments when I feel that my marriage is under attack and that I’m about to majorly spend some time in the flesh, I *try* to stop and ask God to change my heart, give me peace or joy or love or insert applicable-fruit-of-the-spirit here, and help me to see that moment as an opportunity to worship Him and serve my family.
It’s surprisingly effective! I’m not saying I don’t still have to work at it. But that perspective, and that direct request for Holy Spirit power is so helpful. Even if I find that I’m still frustrated or stressed or upset, I always feel more equipped to handle the situation in a way that pleases God.
And as I pray and prepare my heart (and my home) for this season ahead, I know that the moments I spend crying out to God for help will become even more important. While a large part of me is dreading this refining fire that God will use to grow my faith, there is also a part of me that is excited to see what God has for me on the other side. My prayer has changed from “God, help me survive this challenging time and make it fly by” to “God, help me see You and grow in You and desire You. Help me to have JOY as You refine me and make me more like You. Give me a desire to make much of You and spend every moment of my day in joyful worship and service to You.”
While I can’t say that it will happen every day – that I’ll be joyful through the struggle – I do believe that this prayer is in line with God’s will, and He will give me the strength I need to push forward.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9
“but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13b-14
So here I am, boasting in my infirmities. I know how selfish I can be. And I know that my lack of control will, to say the least, be a challenge. But thank God for my weaknesses, and thank God for the opportunity to experience his grace and strength and power!
I would so appreciate your prayers as Jake prepares to leaves. And prayers while he is gone. I know I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family and to be covered in prayer by people who love me. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for our family this next year. 💙