This morning I was reading Psalm 16 and verses 5-8 caught my attention:
“My choice is you, God, first and only. And now I find I’m your choice! You set me up with a house and yard. And then you made me your heir! The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with God; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. ” (The MSG)
God chose me. This fact encourages me. It makes me think of grade school when I would stand in a line on the playground and wait to be picked for a game of kickball, or any team sport, and the feelings of insecurity that would race through my mind if I was not picked early in the picking process. It was embarrassing to be chosen last or even close to last.
We long to be accepted. We love knowing that an individual or a group thinks that we are worthy of being chosen. Over the years I have learned that my identity does not rest in whether or not I am picked for something, whether or not somebody likes me or accepts me. But, on occasion, I still struggle with those grade school questions, why didn’t they want me?why didn’t they choose me? I think we hate to admit it sometimes because it sounds childish…but we like to be liked…as grade school-ish as that may sound.
God chose me. His decision to pick me didn’t rest on my skills as a kickball player. His decision to pick me didn’t rest on my abilities at all. I don’t have to worry that I might wake up one day and God wont want me on his team anymore because I had a bad game yesterday…or a bad season. His love and acceptance for me is unconditional. All I have to do is acknowledge that He chose me. He had his eye on me long before I ever knew Him. My place on the team is secure. God chose me.
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (Eph 1: 11-12 The MSG)”
My son has been calling me back into his room on a few occasions after tucking him in at night. He tearfully asks me why he always has to sleep alone, “You and Daddy get to sleep together…why don’t I have someone?” He then goes on to tell me that he wishes he had a little brother or sister.
I try to explain to him that even if he had siblings he more than likely would still sleep alone. Most of his friends who have siblings still sleep in separate rooms. It helped a few weeks ago when he and I picked a night on the calendar when he could look forward to me being his “sleeping buddy” for the night. Now, he wants a special night on the calendar when Daddy will do the same! This seems to have helped when he cries about being alone. I really don’t think it is so much the sibling he desires but rather just someone there with him. Regardless of the true reason for his sadness, his tears and quivering lip pull at my mommy heart strings.
About 3 years ago, I finally came to a place of peace with not being able to have more children. After one miscarriage a year after my son was born and countless trips to a fertility specialist trying to conceive again, I finally “let go”. It was a hard journey getting to that point of surrender. I so DID NOT want my son to be an only child. I had never pictured my life with just one child. My ideal life included having at least two kids. I had to have another one! That was the plan.
I agonized over this for a couple years until I finally heard God’s voice speaking to me on the subject. Loud and clear, I heard Him say…But Eileen, I am okay with you having just one child. I am God AND I know what I am doing. Immediately, a calm came over me and I let go– finally willing to accept whatever path God thought was best for us.
Another thing that happened when I surrendered was a deeper understanding that just because my life was not going along quite as I had planned in my head, it didn’t mean that I had failed or was “less than” or that I did not measure up somehow. God had other plans and regardless of how many children I had (zero or 10), my Heavenly Father loves and accepts me and knows what is the best plan for my life. I think this place of acceptance and surrender is much easier to reach when you already have one child. But through this whole journey, the Lord opened my eyes again to the fact that even though I didn’t understand the “why”…God does, and His plan is perfect.
I know that when people are confronted with trials in their life that don’t seem to make sense, they tend to comfort each other by saying “Well…God has a plan.” Well…that’s great… but most of the time that answer doesn’t do much to ease the pain or disappointment we often feel. I usually have to walk through this explanation before it brings me any sort of peace or comfort. Why should it matter that God has a plan? I once heard a quote from Francis Chan that now pops into my brain anytime I feel like life is not going along as I have carefully planned it out. “You might THINK you have a good plan…but YOU don’t have a universe!” The God that created the universe, the God that placed all the stars in the sky and counted every hair on my head and knows every tear I will ever cry…maybe, just maybe, He knows more than I know about the trials I will face.
Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.Psalm 73: 21-26 NLT
I really love this passage. I think my favorite verse is “Yet, I still belong to you.” Those six little words fill me with so much comfort, so much hope,and so much peace.
Yet, I still belong to you.
No matter how many times I fail or how many times I’ve pushed God out of the driver’s seat and taken the wheel…yet even then…I still belong to Him. No wrong turn that I’ve made in my past, no mistake that I make today, and no bad choice that I will inevitably make tomorrow changes this promise. Yet I still belong to You.
This morning before work I was tempted to not take a moment and sit down and have a quiet time. So, while I was on the computer, I decided to play “I Wonder What This Chapter Says On Biblegateway.com” It’s the high tech way of randomly opening up your bible to a certain page and reading it. I know it is not the most efficient way to have a quiet time…but sometimes it at least gets me started.
I typed in 2 Corinthians 5, not knowing for sure what topic it would bring up, and read the NIV version of the first 14 verses. Then, I flipped it to The Message translation to read it there too. I laughed out loud. “Spacious”…the word I blogged about yesterday was there!
2 Corinthians 5: 6-8 That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
God cares about every detail of our lives. Even when I am tempted to rush through my quiet time…He supplies me with everything I need! Thanks, Lord!