There are a lot of exciting things going on at The Mercy Ministries, and I will share all of those with you in the coming weeks. This week I'd like to share an encouragement God shared with me recently...
I was thinking about how in some seasons of my life ... as a parent, as a spouse, as an employee, as a member of my church, as a member of my community... I have sometimes had the privilege of shining my light for Jesus with my gifts and talents. One of my favorite things I used to do was teach Bible study to young adults. It was so fulfilling to see them "get it" for the first time!
Other times, during a season of being a mother of young children, I felt like I was eclipsed by the needs of my family, carpooling, sports schedules, dance classes, science fair projects, the dog, the cat, grocery shopping, laundry, social events and all that comes with having a full life.
There have been times when I felt like that one lone sock in the pile of laundry that's just buried and invisible, wondering if anyone will ever see me again. In that dark place, I couldn't help but wonder if I'd ever see light again. What if I was that one sock that got tossed in the garbage because no one would ever claim it or find it's match? What if I just disappear and they don't even notice I was ever here to begin with? What if my kids never know and appreciate the real me, the cool me, the me that does more than clean up after them. This laundry lady you see is not the real me! I'd want to scream inside.
Would my children know what a not--exhausted version of me looked like? Would they ever know the me that was once fun and carefree? The me that I was deep inside had no room to exist outside of the never ending list of to-do's. I felt like I was disappearing, dying even, and no one noticed. I felt like Rose on the Titanic when she said, "I feel like I'm standing in the middle of a crowded room, screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up!"
My mother once said Rose was simply too strong willed. She would've never survived being married to such a man. I agreed because I was a lot like Rose. I wanted to LIVE life to the FULLEST, not become invisible as just someone's wife or mother. I loved being a wife and mother, but that wasn't all there was to me. There was so much more to me that wanted to be taken on an adventure of discovery. I craved learning and world travel and more world travel. I wanted to see ALL this world had to offer. To me, not being out there among the world was like someone cutting off my oxygen supply.
So, believe me when I say I really do understand how a person can feel so small and insignificant, trapped in a tiny one-note place, while desperately desiring to be a part of something MORE. Desperately wanting to feel significant and feel alive, not merely believe it.
I haven't felt that discontentment or fear for many years now. My children are pretty much self-sufficient at this point ... I no longer feel trapped in a tiny house in a tiny town ... but I remember it well. I was afraid of my adventurous soul's death, and my death being all for nothing. What a waste of life that would've been, I felt at the time. I wanted to give my kids the best life possible, but at the same time I was afraid of being invisible, or altogether forgotten.
Thankfully, today, I've grown up A LOT and learned how to be content where God has me, be true to myself, stand up for myself, and balance motherhood and all life demands without losing my own unique, God-given identity. It took me years to get here, but I no longer apologize to the world, or even to my kids, for being me. God made me thirsty for knowledge for a reason, and I love who I've become because of it. I'm comfortable in my own skin, and in where God has me in this season. I know if He wants to show me something in another country, He'll make a way for me to get there someday. I no longer live in the fear of the unknown.
I believe God gave each person a unique identity. There are things for you to do that only you can do well. There are things only I can do well. Regardless of our differences, however, one thing WE ALL must learn to do well is abide in God's truth, casting off all fear, during the season we now find ourselves in!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."
If we walk with God long enough, we find out life has many different seasons. Nothing lasts forever. Even the moon has days when it shines brighter than others! So hear me ... if you're a dad who feels like all he does is bring home the bacon ... or if you're a mom who feels like a zombie who's just existing ... or if you're a single person waiting to find a spouse ... or if you're an orphan waiting to find a home full of people to love you ... or you're an employee who doesn't feel seen or appreciated ... or you're sick and no one seems to care ... whatever season you're in rest in knowing YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE TO GOD!
There are seasons for us to shine, and there are seasons for us to serve in the dark back corners of the laundry room. Rest assured, whatever season life has you in at the moment, there is purpose there in that process. God wants to meet you in the laundry room. God wants to meet you at your desk at work. God wants to meet you on your sick bed. He wants to show you more of His character.
God's not hiding you from the world or the world from you. He's keeping you all to Himself for a little while SO THAT your relationship with Him can grow, and so that He can show you your true identity in Him, without all those other people telling you who you are.
So often we want God to change our situation, when really God wants to change us!
God didn’t keep Daniel from the lion’s den; He met him in it. He didn’t keep Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace; He joined them in it. He didn’t keep Joseph from being a slave to Potiphar; He gave him favor in it. And He met him in the prison as well. The proof in knowing you are where God wants you to be in your detour is that God doesn’t deliver you from it but rather joins you in it.
- Tony Evans
So, let's purpose in 2019 to accept the season we're in, and allow God to restore our identity and dignity in Him. Instead of running away in fear, let Him do inside of us what He wants to do. He wants to rid us of fears, solidify us on a firm foundation of His love, and fill us so full of JOY there's more than enough to give to our families, friends, co-workers and especially those in need!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father, forgive me for giving myself over to my fears instead of resting in your great love for me. I know You see me and have a purpose for my life, even on the days when I can't feel it. Sometimes that purpose is to shine, and sometimes that purpose is to draw away from the world savor the quiet moments I have with You. Today, I choose to surrender to this season and process You now have me in. Help me to learn what I need to learn here in this place. Speak to me throughout my day, and show me that even though I may feel like I'm in a dark season, Your light has not diminished and this eclipse will only last but for a moment. When I am in a season of serving others and I feel invisible, I turn to You to learn all about Your love and light. And, when I'm in a season where You make a way for me to shine and live life to the fullest, help me carry Your light with meekness as You use me to light up a dark world. Thank You for being so long-suffering with me in every season of growth and light. Amen.