Sunday, February 16, 2014

Putting on my oxygen mask

As a teenager I used to think it was so selfish how they told the parents if there was trouble on a plane to put on their own oxygen masks on flights before putting on their children's. I think this thought permeates our way of living somehow and especially women and moms tend to serve others first at the expense of ourselves. At first take it sounds extremely self focused to focus on your self before helping others. But as our premarital counselor so wisely told us, "you can't pour anything out of an empty cup". And there's a reason God commands us to love him first before going about loving others. 
Putting yourself in the backseat is not always humble, it can sometimes be foolish. I've realized I have to prioritize time with God and filling myself up daily before I can pour out. Otherwise I am pouring out from my own strength and it is not kind or useful. 
God has used this year and a half after doubling our children to remind me that he has put me in a place of desperate dependence. Coming off of my month in Congo I felt like I could finally live and breathe again. Congo felt like this huge intentional pause and reset button on my life as God walked me into suffering, sat there with me, and reminded me of his nearness. However once coming back home it is always so tempting to take my eyes off him and live in a place of doing it myself. 
 As I reflect on this last 16 months I realize God has orchestrated circumstances to remind me that I still must live in desperate dependence, I still, minute by minute, have to choose to SET my eyes and affections on him. Even though there's more mouths to feed, more kids to get more places, more things to do around the house, I have to consciously put myself first at his feet and get filled up. 
I watched the IF conference online and two (if not all) of the talks pointed right at me. One point of Jen Hatmaker's was about the verses of communion in Luke 22. She talked about how this was a spiritual upheaval of the systematic ritual of the Passover. Instead of methodically making the way through the meal, Jesus became the meal. He asked the disciples to do this to others. As a kid we always thought "do this in remembrance of me" meant 'think about me when you take communion'. But the word choice he used actually meant to continually day by day be broken and poured out for others. To actually make the gospel real for people each day with our words and our lives. She asked "who is God calling you to break yourself and pour yourself out for? Who is God whispering to make the gospel real for?" For me, most days, these people reside in my home. But I also have to remember I am not the bread or the wine. He is. And I have to receive that from him before I pour out. 
This weekend I spent in the company of a dear group of friends. 
A group that speaks truth over me, challenges me, checks in on the tough places in my life, we hold each others marriages up, call to action, pray for in mid conversation something someone is talking through a struggle. This is bread. This is wine. This is filling up. Pouring Jesus out for each other and into each other. Such a beautiful picture of community. 
I'm sitting on a plane headed back to my house where my amazing husband has been daddy all weekend. He's made meals, taken kids to and from school and birthday parties, even got the girls manicures and made homemade yogurt Popsicles.  From afar he has filled me up. Not with his own efforts, but pointed me to Jesus. Who provides and sacrifices and serves gladly, without bitterness or misguided intentions. 
So I'm so grateful for a weekend of intentionally filling up. Focusing and reflecting on my growth. This is the best gift I can give my kids daily is to point them to seek his kingdom first and everything else will be added. 
Thank you Jesus.

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