Friday, February 27, 2009

Help for the Humble

I'm a mom of 3 boys. So, it is no exaggeration when I say that if I had a nickel for everytime one of them said, "I can do it myself", I wouldn't be blogging from my livingroom but rather a lovely mountain cabin somewhere.

I've been trying to wrestle with them through this statement for approximately 8 years and at times I've been successful and other time failed miserably. Another opportunity arose at the Costco foodcourt earlier this week. I was sharing a frozen yogurt with my two youngest boys when I tried to help my youngest dig deep into the yogurt to get to the vanilla. At which point I hear, "I'm a big boy, I can do it myself." I remained calm and quickly thought, "Lord, how to I get through to him"?

I shared with my son that I recognize he's a big boy that I'm aware that many times he can, indeed, do it himself. This time, however, I was trying to help because I love him and knew that I could get the coveted vanilla better than he. I went on to tell him that everyone needs help and it is an act of being humble. I stopped, quickly replayed what I just said and said, outloud, "Huh". To which my almost 8 year old asked me "what?".

I explained to him that God had just taught me something. God is always teaching me something through my children but he just happened to be there to hear me wonder aloud. We seem to be such a self-sufficent society. We revel in our ability to "do it ourselves". We are awarded various ways for this ability but as I reflected on what I had told my son, I realized that this really all comes down to pride and our sin nature.

I'm all for our children learning to be independent from us. It's the kind of self-sufficency I see day-to-day that disturbs me. Merriam-Webster defines it like this -

self-sufficency adj. able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid ; having an extreme confidence in one's own ability or worth

I want my children to be independent and able to think and provide for themselves. Believing that they are the only ones who can accomplish things or that taking help is a form of weakness is another story. The bible has a lot to say about being humble:

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.Psalm 25:8-10

The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.Psalm 147:5-7

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.Matthew 23:11-13

Webster tells us this, "Humble: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive"

Accepting help is a good thing. Hard to do in our pride but pleasing to the Lord, I believe, and an act of being humble. It's a good thing and something I hope to cultivate in my boys. In this world where "I can do it myself" seems to be a mantra, may you be compelled to allow someone to help you. You just might be giving someone the opportunity to be blessed too.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flawed but useable...

I admit that I've never really cultivated the idea of a quiet time with the Lord. I became a follower of Christ at 7 yrs old but a quiet time is something that has never been established solidly in my life. So I find myself, at 40, working at developing this most wonderful habit. I've always prayed throughout my day, talked about the Lord to my boys but that time of sitting still, reading His word and hearing the Holy Spirit speak to me has been a struggle for me.

So came this morning and I was determined, not by guilt but by deep longing, that I was going to start this day with a quiet time. I got up at 6:20 as my husband left. Got my bible and "Daily Light" devotional book and started. The reading today was about running the race set before us. Throwing off those things that hinder our running and seeking the Lord. It was a great reminder of what we are called as believers to do.

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind...I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

I was reminded, humbled and inspired at the scripture I read. I proceeded to prayer and had a list of those people I wished to prayer for. I found myself praying for my oldest son, who has autism. Prayer for his current treatment using homeopathy. Prayer for healing for his body. Prayer that his speech would become more "typical" in sound and cadence. I have not prayed for better speech because of embarassment but because I recognize that he has begun to notice that he sounds different or is frustrated when he isn't understood. I stopped for a moment and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, "Moses". I nodded and found myself opening my Bible to Exodus 4:10-12.

Moses said to the Lord, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." The Lord said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

God can use my son, speech issues and all for His glory. He can give him the words to say and isn't that the message for all of us. We are all flawed. Some of us have physical issues, some are our own attitude or feelings of inability but God can use us all. If we are willing, it doesn't matter what problems we have in the flesh, He is more than able to use us, even in our weakness.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in wekanesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12: 9-10

Paul has is right. Christ's power is made perfect in our weakness. God doesn't ask us to be perfect, he asks us to be willing.

Autism is definitely a weakness in my sons life, but God can use even that to be glorified and to spread His message of hope.

May you find joy in your weakness today as you see Christ's power made perfect in your life.