Mary Poppins, Mary Magdalene, and My Mary

This morning I had a “moment.”
If you have seen “Mom’s Night Out” or if you are a mom, or a woman, or a human, then likely, you know what I mean. A “moment” is when you just cannot take “it” anymore, whatever “it” is. The truth is that my life is filled with a myriad of blessings: the cutest kids on the planet, and a wonderful husband, countless memories, innumerable opportunities to speak truth into their little hearts and minds, etc. etc….
All the stuff in between said mountain top experiences can be…um…really hard. Hamster wheel comes to mind whenever I think of cleaning or cooking or any of my other chores.
 I.just.don’t.stop.doing them.
 But there is very little to show for it. And sometimes, sometimes, when I look at my child step on or over their belongings for the bazillionth time I just want to shout…..PICK IT UP!! PICK IT UP!!!! Because somebody has to pick it up. And I am over it. OVER IT.
Then there comes the guilt and shame because really, whose fault is it that they don’t know how to pick up their belongings, clear their place, do their schoolwork, be nice, show respect, or anything else that I am responsible to teach them. Of course it is my fault. I am reaping what I have or have not sown. Right? Yes, so it is my fault. They are a mess because of me, and then I yell at them for it? Lord have mercy.
So I message a few friends, confess my moment, and pray. I resolve to ask the children for forgiveness because yelling is not nice. And move on. Moving on, in this case, literally meant moving on to the library. Oh it’s so clean at the library. I am pretty sure we need to come here daily, just to be in a quiet and clean environment. Or at least it was quiet.  Because five children just arrived.
So with all children either looking for books, or looking at them, I snuggle up on the chair with my Dianna and settle in to read Mary Poppins aloud for a bit to her. It is such a wonderful treat to read to the children. I love it more than ice cream. It feels so indulgent. Sitting. Not multitasking. Not folding laundry. Not listening to her read while I do dishes. Just her head on my shoulder, our eyes on the page, my voice in her ears. I need to do this more. And the story is so good! Way better than Disneys! So clever, and imaginative! I love it. Babies talking to birds, and the things they said!
And then I came to this page:
All day long Mary Poppins had been in a hurry, and when she was in a hurry she was always cross.  Everything Jane did was bad, everything Michael did was worse.  She even snapped at the Twins.  
Jane and Michael kept out of her way as much as possible, for they knew that there were times when it was better not to be seen or heard by Mary Poppins.
  “I wish we were invisible,” said Michael, when Mary Poppins had told him that the very sight of him was more than any self-respecting person could be expected to stand. 
 “We shall be, ” said Jane, “if we go behind the sofa.  We can count the money in our money-boxes, and she may be better after she’s had her supper.”
And somehow, I felt better. Even Mary Poppins, who we all know is practically perfect in every way, had her moments! Even as I am typing this, I had to stop, and close my eyes, and just feel God’s love for me. 
He did that for me. Somehow, that page was there, in this moment I needed it. 
It was all so “Truman Show.” 
And I am undone. Which is actually perfect.
So I kneel at his feet, and like Mary Magdalene, I break my alabaster box. I pour out all of my aspirations, all of my plans for the future, everything I think holds any worth, and I pour it on His feet. His feet. Because that is all my “good plans” are worth. Cleaning feet. And once I realize that my good works don’t define me, I also realize that my sins do not define me or for that matter, my children.
Yesterday we had to take a trip to the doctor. My littlest has trouble breathing occasionally, and this was one of those occasions. After some medical intervention, he was feeling much better, almost his normal self by the end of the day. And I was relieved. But his sister, my Mary, had a heavy heart.
 “I gave him that cough mommy,” she confessed sadly.
“You did???” I asked surprised. “Did you put it in your hands and give it to him? Like a gift?”
“No,” she laughed.
“Mary,” I explained. “You didn’t give it to him on purpose. You are sick, and sometimes those around us get sick, but you didn’t mean for it to happen. It’s not your fault.”
And it all starts coming together. I am not perfect. Not by a long shot. And yet God still chose me to be the mom of these kids, wife to this man, and daughter, and sister, and friend. His grace. It is sufficient. He tells me that and I want to believe Him. I will not ever be perfect. He knew this. But He chose me. And it brings me to my knees – like Mary Magdalene. She knew. She got it. Her sins were so many, but she knew she was loved. And His kindness leads us to repentance. I fall at his feet. And I know, that although I have this sin condition, and it is contagious, I am walking with Christ and His righteousness is enough.  He is enough. He is enough for my children, with or without me. He is the author and finisher of their faith.  Not me. So I take my children to the Great Physician. I read to them the prescriptions for life’s healing, His Holy Word.  I live a life of confessing and repenting. And He heals them. He heals us. He heals them of the germs that I have given them, and some they have picked up from others. I relinquish control and know now that my job was never to make them or me perfect. My job is to lead them to the Perfect One. And that I know I can do.

 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
James 5:16

When I see you smile..Psalm 17

I love the Psalms because David feels every emotion and shares every emotion with God and consequently with us. Nothing is sugar coated. But in the end, he encourages himself in the Lord. And that is where I need to be. In that place of encouraging myself in the Lord. At the beginning of chapter 17 we find David in this place of desperation. Running from Saul he took refuge with the Philistines. Why David? How deceived do you have to be to seek refuge with your enemy. He is at the end of his rope. He doesn’t want to fight anymore. So he cries out to God for us to read in Psalms 17
Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.
Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;

O You who save those who trust in You
From those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

Listen to me.
Show your loving kindness.
Keep me
Hide me.
Arise, O Lord,
Confront him, cast him down;
He has run out of ideas. He doesn’t know what to do. All He knows is that He wants God to do it for him.
And I can relate.
Lord, I am out of ideas. I don’t know what to do. I am praying. I am seeking. I am reading. And I am tired. But you. You are good. Hear me. Hold me. Keep me. Hide me.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
I want to be changed into his image. And the truth is that I become most like him when I have partaken in the fellowship of His sufferings. Sometimes we are called to act. Sometimes we call out to God to act on our behalf. But always, He goes before us. And He is able! And through it all, in this world filled with pain, I will be satisfied in Him. I will see His face in righteousness. And that is enough.

I Samuel 27- Enough already!

The first five words of this chapter tell us all we need to know about where David is headed. These words here:
Then David said to himself,
This is where the trouble begins. This chapter would tell a different story if it had a different beginning. Oh how I wish this chapter started with ….
Then David sought the Lord”
Because I am just a little tired of people seeking their own hearts for counsel. It is a recipe for disaster.
Humans have this amazing and simultaneously ridiculous ability to convince themselves of anything.
I am tired of the destruction. I am tired of the pain. I am tired of the consequences that so many are left to deal with when one person decides to follow their “heart” instead of following God. Because I have seen it over and over again, and that is just in the last 3 weeks. I am not talking about one instance or one mistake. I am talking about 3 separate situations. 3 circles of devastation. 3 families reeling.
They say that things happen in threes. I hope “they” are right, whoever they are. Because four might just push me over the edge.
But back to David:
Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand.”
David felt like he had no choice but to follow his feelings. He acted powerless. So for protection he ran to the Philistines. Seriously David? I mean, you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to know that the Philistines are not who he should be running to for protection. Did David forget his famous standoff with one giant of a Philistine? And now he is running to them for protection. How embarrassing.
I came to the Word this morning tired. Tired of people choosing self over sacrifice. Tired of people choosing to be a victim of sin instead of a victor over it. I came to the Word of life seeking the character of God. Seeking encouragement. But the Bible is not a book of inspirational quotes. It is real.
David had forgotten those words of truth spoken over him by his now wife Abigail. I wonder how she felt. Read again what Abigail spoke over him just 2 chapters ago.
The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”
He had received those words then, but forgotten them now. Now he acted out of fear. What was he doing???
In the last chapter David showed that his fear of God was greater than his fear of man.
Now that has changed.
But David was tired too. He was tired of fighting. Tired of running. Tired of believing.
And I can relate.
However, I have something that he did not. I have the Holy Word. I have the Holy Spirit. I can see example after example of what happens when one follows their own heart versus following God’s heart. And you can too.
Not to mention we have that scene in the garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will but Yours.” This is the gospel: aligning our heart with the will of God, and not the other way around.
So I refuse to seek my own heart for counsel. The heart is deceitful and wicked. Who can know it?
Instead I will:

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55: 6-7

Read what John Piper wrote in his blog about seeking the Lord:

Seeking involves calling and pleading. O Lord, open my eyes. O Lord, pull back the curtain of my own blindness. Lord, have mercy and reveal yourself. I long to see your face.
The great obstacle to seeking the Lord is pride. “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him” (Psalm 10:4). Therefore, humility is essential to seeking the Lord.

Through my own exhaustion I pray. I confess my own pride. And I ask that God would have mercy on us, and that He would reveal Himself. And I rejoice in the truth Isaiah proclaims!!

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.