Friday, April 06, 2007

On Dying

Our church had a service today at noon - a solemn assembly to grieve the death of Jesus on the cross. Childcare wasn't offered for it and I definitely don't have a baby you can take into a church service. So I took Jackson to Gymboree like I normally do on Fridays. It seemed ridiculous to be going there while everyone else was at church observing Good Friday. But God is so faithful. He had prepared a solemn time for us together while I drove out there and back - about an hour total.

During my first two years of college I would drive home for the weekends in my '87 Mustang with an old Sons and Daughters tape playing. He and I spent lots of time talking about the condition of my heart and mind. I was coming to after several years spent under the influence of the flesh instead of the Spirit. Those kinds of things usually aren't changed or healed overnight. We did some serious business during those car rides. I'm no stranger to His works on wheels.

So today I popped in the Hymns CD from the people at Passion. Jesus and I talked again about the condition of my heart and mind. It wasn't real pretty. I had a very strong sense of His worthiness and a very deep sense of regret for a spiritually wasted year. I wanted to put on sackcloth and rub my head in ashes. My love for Jesus has not abounded more and more in knowledge and depth of insight (Phil. 1:9). Instead there have been excuses, self-inflicted boredom, self-pity, and compromise. I can probably squeeze a big ugly complacency in there, too.

Becoming a mother requires a woman to die. The one who did what she wanted, when she wanted, wore what she wanted, and hung out where she wanted and with whom she wanted, has to go. It's not about what she wants anymore. It can be a slow, horrible death if it's fought and resented, or she can give up the ghost quickly and accept her new life with a smile. I was probably somewhere in the middle. (I'm making this sound bad. It's not bad, but it is hard. And very much worth it.) As I surrendered more and more of myself for my son, I think I took back pieces of myself from Jesus. Why did I do that? I'm not sure yet. I suppose it has to do with wanting control. And rights. And not wanting to "lose myself."

Here's what God used to shine a light on my heart this morning. It came out of Reliving the Passion, by Walter Wangerin Jr.

Take my life. And consecrate it to thee. Take all that I have and all that I am; replace the self in me with thine own holy self - that when the wicked world would kill me it finds me already drowned in thee, untouchable. Death in the world is death indeed. But death in Thee is life forever! Amen! (p. 73)

I am ready to die, Lord. I repent of not dying to myself each day. I repent of letting my spiritual pace slow to a crawl. I'm ready to run again.

40 comments:

Jen said...

I am a big fan of long car rides because I know how He works on me during those times. I found myself exhausted, trying to keep myself awake as I drove to my parents house in Little Rock last night. So I blared the worship playlist on my i-pod and spent some good time thinking about what the words to the songs actually meant. Isn't it scary how easily we forget how deep our need for Him is, and how much better it is when we leave Him in control of our lives? I'm definetely with you on this one!

Big Mama said...

This is one of the best things you've ever written. Sometimes God just has to shake us a little to show us where we've left him out.

I've been there, sister, I've been there.

BooMama said...

You hit me right where I'm livin', sister.

This is my favorite post of yours yet.

Anonymous said...

one of my dear friends prayed over our singing group and i will never forget her words...

"thank you Jesus that despite the depth of our fall, your sacrifice is always deeper"

...i love that she said "is always deeper" instead of "was always deeper"...cause it's every day. every day i fail Him a thousand ways. i too make excuses, i become complacent, and i compromise passion for pleasure every time. but EVERY time he digs his hand deeper down and pulls me up again. (and sometimes jerks me back to reality) ;)

i yanked my old shoes out of my closet today. care for a running buddy? :)

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Yes, amen and amen.

Amy said...

Amen. Thanks for sharing that! It so encouraged me to get up and pour out for the Lord... a little bit more than I've been giving, and after that's done, a little bit more again.

Cheers from a sister you've never even seen ;) but with great love in the Lord,

amy

Susan said...

Amen, sista! This is one of your best yet!

Some of my favorite times with the Lord have been spent in the car with my babies in the backseat. At times I have even gone so far as to forget where I am going...not such a good thing.

My closest moments with Christ have been some of the sweetest moments, but I often wander away and sacrifice that closeness for control. Sacrificially laying it all down is a struggle for me. For some reason I think I can control things much better than He who sees the whole picture can.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

Panda-Mom said...

Thank you for being so open and honest. Your heartfelt words have moved me to respond to God about certain issues I am holding close instead of allowing Him to change in me. I know I am a total stranger to you, but we ARE sisters in Christ and He uses anything to get our attention. Thank you, Amanda.

olivia and henry said...

amanda, you are an encouragement to me. your faith is real, your love for our Lord so authentic. thank you for reminding me to run and not crawl...
bless you, angie

Jennisa said...

I saw that you commented on the Double the Babies blog, and so I came over to check out your site! Does baby bangs mean what I think it means? I had my second child about 5 months ago, and for the past month my hair has been falling out like mad. I remember with my oldest (4 1/2) when the hair grew back, I complained constantly about baby bangs...is this what your blog title refers too? If so, way too funny! Stop by if you would like...
http://mysweetlittlefamliy.blogspot.com

Danana Banana said...

Wow - such truth. Thanks for speaking so openly. I really struggle with keeping up a facade of spiritual wonderfullness, when really I'm struggling, and struggling a lot. Your words have really challenged me.

Now I'm off to the shower - that's my deep thinking space. :) I think God knows better than to let my mind wander when I'm behind the wheel!

The Preacher's Wife said...

I have four children now but remember well when I had my first. My feelings for him overwhelmed what I felt had been my spiritual progress up to that point. When I first began pondering this, I thought in some way I had to 'tone down' the love I was feeling for my child. God very clearly said, "You don't have to love Him less, just love Me more." That was and remains to be a profound challenge to me.

This was a beautiful post...

Lisa

Tawnya said...

wow this is truly an amazing way to share... appreciate it so much! thank you! happy easter.

Terri @ In His Hands said...

Beautiful post that touches the core. I needed that.

Blessings~

Tracy said...

I think I need to print this out and hang onto it. What an awesome raw and honest encouragement! I appreciate you sharing this.

Tracy (also a preacher's wife)

wendy said...

I well remember the struggle I went through after quitting my part-time nursing job to stay at home with my two kids. I knew it was where God wanted me to be, and yet a part of me wanted to keep that for myself. Praise God He was faithful and patient as I struggled my way to acceptance. I think every mom, whether they want to admit it or not, has been there. Your honesty is a blessing, and keep it up!!

Rocks In My Dryer said...

Here via BooMama--this was lovely. Thank you for sharing your heart!

it's a Mom thing said...

I came over here after my daily reading at Boomamas.

Wow, is what I can say right now. You've said in words what I've felt (but not wanted to admit) in my heart since having my daughter. Your honesty is refreshing and your words beautifully written.

I think I'll visit again and I pray I can come to repentance before the Lord, just as you have.

Karen said...

I, too, am here via BooMama. This was a beautiful post, and one that I can so relate to. Thanks for sharing your heart. I've enjoyed my visit here and plan to be back! Karen

Debra said...

This is beautiful. God reaches down and scoops us up. I am so thankful.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

There is nothing like motherhood to show us where we lack the most. Thank you posting with such honesty, Amanda. This is worth reading again and again.

Clemntine said...

The ability to be aware of falling short and the desire to run again ~ miracles indeed.

Beautiful.

Stephanie said...

Thank you for an eloquently written post! Definitely the kickstart to thinking and praying about an issue this mommy grapples with way too often. God bless you mama for your honest and heartfelt words.

Sarah said...

Visiting from Boo Mama's link. Amen to your post, thanks :)

Jennifer said...

Over here from Boomama's--

This is so true, and I would be sitting here feeling completely unworthy myself, if it weren't for His redeeming grace.

(I never had a baby that you could take to church either)

Lucy said...

Amanda, this is a great post. Transparency is so incredibly important in our lives. There are so many (way too many!) unbelievers who have this notion that Chrisians "have it all together." They don't realize that when they see "our" strength and "our" joy, they're actually seeing His strength and His joy. I am so blessed to have a church family that is open with their struggles and so very generous with their encouragement.

"...that when the wicked world would kill me it finds me already drowned in thee" - I LOVE that!!!

Keep on keeping it real!!!

Susanne said...

I know what you mean about those car rides. And I've had the same complacency problem since having kids. Thanks so much for your words! I'm praying for God to help me die to myself and live for Him. He is risen!

Sue said...

Talk about hitting me between the eyes...thank you. I will be checking back to this blog!

Isn't God so good that He would love us enough to expose those parts of us that are still needing Him!
I just love Him!

Pam said...

Yesterday in Sunday School, we were talking about things that hinder our spiritual growth. I knew I had been struggling, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Thanks for the insight.

kathy said...

That's pretty darn thought-provoking. What a hard balance it is to die daily for the Lord, and also give up more and more of yourself for your kids... It does seem sometimes like I disappear as a mom - and how hard it is to remember John the Baptist's words that we must decrease that He would increase. Man. Thanks for the reminder. I'm off for a long drive now...

Amy T said...

It's so hard to remember that sometimes. Thanks for posting this. We feel that we are to love our kids so much, when really we just need to love God so much and he will give us more capacity to love everyone then.

Girl Gone Wild said...

Here by way of BooMama...

That was wonderfully worded. A post I'll return to as need (often!).

I'm one of 'those' that died to motherhood kicking and screaming. I wouldn't change my life with the boys for anything, but I haven't died quietly either. Thanks for the honest prod to run with the Lord.

Coach J said...

Found you through BooMama. I had my first baby at 19. I did NOT want to give up anything, so it took me loonngg time to change. But change, I did, and I wouldn't go back for anything! God exchanged my plans for my life for more than I could ever dream or imagine! (Eph 3:20, but you probably knew that) I've found I don't even MISS what I gave up-God is good that way.

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Beautifully put. I've felt that same "dying to self" feeling despite waiting 'til my 30's to have babies, struggling with infertility, *really* wanting babies, finally having them and then thinking "what was I thinking?" LOL I want "me" back!

Parenting has taught me more about Christ and His love for us than any sermon, song, or sacrifice. You did good putting into a coherent thought! LOL

Kristen said...

What an amazingly honest post. Thank you for the encouragement and touching and sharing. I'm struggling with the balance. I never thought of it as an actual death although I've often referred to life before baby as my "past life." Thanks for the new perspective.

The world is a better place because of you.

Diane said...

I found your site through a link at BooMomma. Thank you for such a poignant, honest post. Through the years, parenthood has taught me some amazing lessons on how self-centered and selfish I really am... and how much I tend to fight for control. Thanks for your honest encouragment! Keep listening to and seeking Christ! Blessings, Diane

Jill said...

Thank you for your honest post. This is also where I have been and working with the Lord to move ahead. Thanks
Jill

Christi said...

What a beautiful post - definately speaks to me today.

Thanks for sharing.

Jackie said...

Wow, that really hit me right where I needed it. As a 25 yr. old mom of a 2 yr. old- I have struggled for 2 years trying to find balance between giving of myself as a mom and completely losing myself. In the early months after Sara was born, I completely lost myself (she was in the NICU and had health probs.) but then I began a very real and still very current struggle of balancing being a wife, a mom, and a teacher (I teach mentally retarded children) on a daily basis, all of which are EXHAUSTING. Thank you for your inshight and honesty- glad I am not the only one who deals with this- you are just open and COURAGEOUS enough to write it- THANK YOU! -jackie

Grandparents Corner said...

Amanda, I'm so thankful God brought me to Boomama's today and found her pointing me to your blog in order to read this. I thank God for that nudge I needed today.

If you have a moment, may I ask please if you can drop by to read my blog post? I'm hoping we can link together a virtual prayer circle regarding the victims & injured on 4/16/07 at Virginia Tech. Thank you.
Hugs & Prayers,
Bonnie