Tuesday, September 18, 2007

sheepish

Well, I called it last night when I said that I would regret posting what I did, because I do regret it. I feel better physically this morning, and that, of course, improves my mood dramatically.

After I wrote that post, I was reading some blogs I haven't had time to read in a while, one of which is Amy's Humble Musings, the blog of a Christian mom that my friend Katie told me about a while back. I don't always totally agree with what Amy says, but fundamentally, I think, we probably agree about a lot of things.

Anyway, she is pregnant, too, and was talking about a conversation with her grandma where her grandma listed out all of her health complaints. And then Amy said this, "I mentally noted my own long list: nausea, back pain, acid reflux, sleep deprivation, various cold symptoms, and general feeling of wanting to jump out of my skin."

Yeah, pretty much what I feel a lot of the time and again, pretty much exactly the things I talked about in my post last night. It definitely caught my eye, that list of my exact complaints, and kind of primed me for what she'd say next.

Amy went on to share a bit of insight she gained from a book by John Piper, called Life as a Vapor. She said:

The message of the tiny book, Life As a Vapor, I think, is that since our
time is short, we ought to live (and suffer) in such a way that makes Christ
look great. Since we are His and He is ours, our satisfaction in Him (which
includes the tiniest details of how He orders things, including our troubles)
brings Him the most glory. The heavens declare His glory and we ought to too.
It’s what we were made for.

Hoo boy, talk about convicting, especially after I posted that huge whine last night. I feel like this is the lesson God has been trying to teach me over and over and over again over the past few months, really, throughout the past year -- through Brett's lack of job, through the miscarriage, through the sickness that has accompanied this pregnancy, and through some other circumstances we've endured.

By this, I don't think Amy is saying -- or that the Bible says -- to gloss over suffering, to ignore it, to refuse to acknowledge it, to live in some happy-all-the-time la-la-land of Christianity. That is a sinful worldview, to think that because you're a Christian, life is going to be all flowers and smiles. I think what the message is instead is that we are to give our suffering, no matter how large or small, to Christ, and let him be glorified in us through that suffering.

While this is an oft-quoted passage on this topic, I think it's obviously a relevant one, and one that it never hurts to remember. Romans 5:1-5:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

So my prayer today has been and will continue to be that I can give my suffering to God and let him be glorified in me through that. And it's hard. I want to whine. I want to gripe. I want to complain. And yes, I think it's ok to do that a little, to acknowledge my suffering. I certainly think that I should be honest about my feelings. But really, my overall attitude needs to be what shifts here, from one of grumpiness, negativity, and complaining to one of peace and of "the hope of the glory of God."

3 comments:

Marci Larsen said...

Amen, Kathleen! I have had the same life lesson to learn over and over again. Of course I wish certain things had never happened to Caleb and I (miscarriage) however, we learned so much through it and it really changed our lives and our relationship with the Lord. I'm so excited to see your heart turn toward Jesus and Him shine through you!
Much love,
Marci

Kris said...

Kathleen, I really like this post! It was just the uplifting I needed (we're making the big move this weekend).

jon&kate said...

that is totally what i read amy for--a good kick in the pants! it's all part of that stupid pruning-maturation-agh stuff. :) Amen.