Jesus didn't die for my comfort.
This has been a year and a half long journey that I thought I was getting to a place of understanding and then I feel right back in a place of getting slapped over the head with that lesson as if it was new again.
We have officially been home 7 weeks. It has been a great time. God has blown my mind with how well it has gone in some areas and how hard it has been in others.
The month in Congo was so difficult and taxing, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I was so reliant on the Lord minute by minute each day. Those were hard hours, minutes, days, weeks. A lot of times, I just kept thinking "once I get home this will be easier", "once I'm at least in the comforts of home, I will deal with this even better". I remember one specific afternoon I was pacing the halls with my daughter strapped in the carrier on my chest and she was hitting and biting in a rage. I remember pacing and praying and leaning hard onto the Lord and singing to him as I tried to comfort her. I remember God filling me up in those moments that I thought I could not go on. It was disgustingly desperate but it was beautiful.
Now after being home and going right back into "mom mode" and do-it myself. I have lost a little of that desperate dependence that I had on Him for every little thing in Congo. It's back to packing lunches, cleaning house, and car line.
You see, my time in Congo, some would say was the "rescue" of my children. I would disagree. Quite the opposite.
It was my rescue.
God used my 4 weeks in Congo to show me the depth of my sin, the depravity of my heart, and the depth he had to go to adopt me. Growing up a "good kid" in a Christian home, I somehow bypassed the rebellious "drinking sex drugs and partying" phase some go through. I grew in my relationship with the Lord all through my life (far from good or perfect, and definitely lots of mistakes along the way). But it was easy for me in the dark corners of my heart to think I was a pretty good person and had done life well. It is hard to understand the weight and glory of the cross when I could not see that I was the one who should've been on it. I was taken to a place in Congo where I saw the depth of my sin, the darkness of my heart, the way Satan could get into my thoughts so quickly. Each minute I was praying thoughts away, leaning into Him, claiming his truth over my life, and amazed at how God would rescue me. God walked me through those 4 weeks my own orphan rescue of how he took me from a pit and called me daughter.
I was talking with Reese tonight about obedience. And how just because we obey doesn't mean we will be "blessed" or rewarded. Sure blessings may come, but we obey God's word in all ways because it is what God asks, not because it will be better on the other side. This is where I am tonight. Coming to the realization that Jesus does not need to reward any obedience with immediate comfort or happiness. I am saying yes to God each day because he is worthy of my yes, not because I deserve some sort of happiness or pat on the back. I think that kind of thinking is the start of a dangerous path. Paths I have seen many go down in marriage. The point of our lives is not happiness. We think just because we have followed God and obeyed most of his commands, we deserve happiness and that should be God's aim. So if people don't find it in their marriage, they go outside of it, because surely God wants us to be happy, right?
Jesus' aim is not our happiness, nor our comfort, it is our worship and his glory.
One recurring adjustment thing we have been going through since being home is sharing. Granted with two 4 year olds in the house, one with total survivor mentality, sharing is of course going to be an issue. But what I have noticed is at the root of it, Maran distrusts my provision. Satan whispers to her that I am withholding my best from her. So she wants more, or different, or when she gets the thing she wants, she now wants something someone else has because surely it is better. It plays out time and time again each day. Wheeler picks up a toy, Maran wants it. She has to wait her turn for it. He shares it, and moves on to another toy. She gets the toy she originally wanted and now sees the next toy he has moved on to and looks to me to get it for her. It is a cycle and it repeats over and over again. It is a distrust in our provision. She believes we are withholding from her and she will miss out on the next best thing. There is no contentment without trust.
Being in Congo was somewhat easier than being here in the sense of leaning my full weight into Him for strength and joy. I find myself tonight empty and exhausted. Trying to get back to that place of dependence where He would fill me up when I would fail and fall again.
I cannot give to God that which cost me nothing.
It comes to mind so frequently these past few weeks. It is so true. My obedience, my surrender, my worship is not an offering if it is easy and costs me nothing. It would be easy to serve others when it is convenient for me, or tithe what is comfortable and doesn't throw off my spending. Mothering 4 children for the last 7 weeks has pushed me to places I have not been before. It has stretched me and shown me the depth of my selfishness in new ways. But this is my offering. It is extremely costly. It is extravagantly rewarding. So tonight I lay it on the altar before God and give to him which is costing me. I surrender my comfort and my happiness. I trade it in for joy complete and strength poured out from an Almighty God.