Abundance

In the months before a milestone birthday, I recall spending a lot of time taking stock of my life.  Mulling things over, sitting with them, parked on myself, really (and yeah, that’s *never* good is it?).  In that space, I looked at my life with a magnifying glass and came up lacking.  My life didn’t look like I expected it would as 40 candles approached.  And I was disappointed.  With my life.  With myself.  And if I were brutally honest, I would say that I was also disappointed with God.

 

I looked around and saw abundance in everyone else’s life but in my own?  Not so much.

 

That birthday begat a season of contemplation in my life.  Because here’s the thing…if God promised me abundance, I must have it, right?  He’s the Author of Truth so if he’s promised something, there it must be.  What was I missing?

 

As Christmas approaches, as I’ve helped my small congregation prepare for worship throughout this season, and even via my Facebook feed, Mary’s Song has come up repeatedly.  While drawning in these words, I’ve wondered about Mary.  Young girl, younger than my oldest daughter, really.  Engaged to be married and thinking of all the things that go with that exciting season of life.  And then it happens.  An angel of the Lord steps into her sphere of influence and boom!  Nothing in Mary’s life will ever be the same.

 

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant….for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is His name.  ~Luke 1:46-49

 

As Mary sang this song, I wonder if she could have even begun to imagine what her life would look like?

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What was it like to parent Almighty God?  As Jesus learned the trade of His earthly father, did she expect that one day He’d lay it down and walk into a place of ministry.  Did she know His touch would heal?  Did she know His words would change the world? Did she have an inkling of a cross, of her beautiful baby boy crying out in agony, giving over his very last breath so she herself would have life?  And if she had foreknown these things, would she still have sung that song?  Would she still have offered her life as an act of service?

 

Mary was chosen by God.  Handpicked.  But on the day she praised God for what He was doing in her life and in the lives of the Jewish people by extension, I doubt she could have guessed the path she’d have to walk.  Because the honest truth is that God’s plan for us looks very little as we’d expect.  This is our reality.  We want picket fences but instead there are hard places.  We want a picture perfect family but husbands stray and children wander and relatives struggle to connect.  We want happily ever after but the world is broken and happy is both relative and elusive.

 

Mary offered herself to be used by God because she KNEW God.  She trusted in his absolute truth.   She was willing.  And then she watched God’s promise unfold in a very tangible way in her life.  She held God’s very most precious promise in her very human hands and she knew that God is exactly who He says He is.

 

Paul reminds us that God is able and willing to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”  (Ephesians 3:20)  Though these words were yet to be penned as Mary rocked her sweet infant, I believe they would have resonated with her.  Mary was bathed in a life of abundance even though there were hard, hard places.  And we are too.  But that abundance will have a different vein for each of us.    Ultimately it becomes a question of perception:  Do you choose to see it?  Do you choose to receive it as is?

 

It’s rare that our lives take on the shape we expected they would, although some certainly do.  But God promised that He’s using every single thing for the good of those who love Him.  (Romans 8:28)  He is well able to redeem even the messiest of situations in our lives, but will they resolve as we think best?  Nope.  Not likely.

 

There is beauty in giving up control.  There is peace in resting in your Savior.  There is blessing in obediently showing up. There is life in His Word.  And there is abundance as He promised. There is.

 

How has God blessed you with abundance in your life?  During this Christmas season, which is beautiful and hard all at once, how can you purposefully choose to joyfully receive the abundance that is placed before you?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Mundane…

If you are visiting after reading my devotion on http://www.wearehisdaughters.com today, welcome!  Well, and even if you didn’t find me that way, a hearty welcome to you, too!

 

On a dreary December morning, my friend asked me the dreaded question:   What are you doing today?

 

I found myself heaving a sigh as I mentally calculated all the things I could do, weighed with the things I should do and divided by the things I must do.  Trust me…it was a lot of things.  And none of the things was something I wanted to do.

 

Some days it seems like everything that comes across my desk is so mundane.  Repetative.  Boring and unfun.  It’s not good to feel so defeated by 7:30 on Monday morning.

 

As I responded with a whiny text message, the words I saw reflect back to me from the screen gave me pause.  Claity on the screen, as it were.  The reality of life is that while I know that many would love to even have the energy to I have to complete the tasks at hand or the physical ability, I’m seriously never going to love scrubbing toilets or returning emails.  I’m just not.  Still, how I choose to think about those things in the scheme of what God says about me personally makes all the difference.

 

What does God think of me?  Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it?  It’s one I’ve struggled with since I was very young and it’s a question in which the enemy seeks to keep me limited and demoralized.  Which is obviously why I need to hear God’s honest truth over and over and over.  And over.  Eventually it’s going to stick.

 

As I reached for my Bible, I opened to Ephesians where I’ve been parked for a while and these words jumped off the page…

 

It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we’re living for.  Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designes for us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.  ~Ephesians 1:12-14 (MSG)

 

Did you catch that?  Before you heard of Christ, He had his eye on YOU.  I’m not even kidding about this.  And not only did He notice you, He had a PLAN for you.  A design for glorious living.  I’m going to repeat that because it smacked me between the eyes.  God.has.a.design.for.GLORIOUS .LIVING.for.you.

 

Listen, when you are up to your eyeballs in toddlers who won’t sleep and PTO meetings and Christmas shopping, life doesn’t feel very glorious.  And when you’ve been up all night because of insomnia and you back is against a deadline for a project or program and your high schooler rolls her eyes at you and stomps out the door because the lunch you packed for her doesn’t meet her satisfaction, it’s really easy to question the so called plan God really has for your life.  I get it.  If I had a nickel for every time I wondered if I had taken a potty break when God was handing out purposeful life missions and got stuck with this rag-tag group of high strung people and pets because all the good missions were used up, well, I’d have lots of nickels.

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The truth of the matter is that God truly did CHOOSE me to be the mama I am and he CHOSE me to minister in music with the gifts and talents that I have (not to be confused with the super awesome gifts and talents other people have.)  He chose me to be a light in my corner of the world.  Right here.  Right now.  And, sweet friend, He chose you too.  He did.

 

We are his treasured possessions.  We are a holy nation.  We are chosen.  We are.

 

So take that, Monday morning!  I may have mundane chores to do today but I am not mundane and I do not serve a mundane God.

 

And neither do you.