Monday, September 21, 2015

Note to Self: To See the Beauty in the End

I am up to my eyeballs in Exodus 3 this morning and had to stop.  I love studying to teach {and read that humbly, please, because I don’t take it lightly one bit.  Freaks me out EVERY. TIME.}  but I needed some “marinating” time and a chance to pin some of these floating thoughts down.  I turned 45 last week and birthdays always make me thoughtful, but this one slipped by sandwiched between a surprise trip to Georgia, missing time with my neighbors in our home, changes to a 12 year work schedule and a difficult parenting week.  I was sure celebrated-- Jeff leads in that, but it was overshadowed by the reality that life doesn’t always go how we think it would or should.  I don’t like one bit that my Mom was so sick she had to be hospitalized.  I want her to be healthy all the time. I don’t like change so when they start messing with my work schedule it puts me out of sorts.  I also don’t like that I have to dole out consequences when my children disobey.  And I certainly don’t like their choosing disobedience.  So today, kids are at school and I’m thinking.  And since I am in Exodus 3, it’s God and Moses I am thinking about.

I am often struck by the intricacies of the paths God weaves in order to carry out His plans.  I mean, it’s nothing to Him because His mind is capable.  Mine?  It begins to overheat.  Think of the ramifications of all of it-- what family you are born into, the personalities of your parents, their love for God or lack of it, your siblings or lack of them, their personalities, your extended family- cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, the neighbors or friends you had growing up, their parents and siblings, the teachers you had, the babysitters who kept you, the church you did or didn’t belong to, the coaches/instructors you had, the kids in your schools, the moves you may have made, the people who loved you, hurt you, invested in you, ignored you, the jobs you had, the books you read, the trips you took, the deaths you endured, the classes you took, the movies you saw, what you chose after high school, who you ran around with, who you met at “random” places who became friends for life or someone you never saw again-- and a zillion other factors.  Do I believe God had and has purpose in all of that?  You bet I do.

We all see it in Moses- the Levite mother who made the waterproof basket {in, like, 1400 BC?!? And LifeProof thinks they are clever}, the sister who watched him float to safety at the exact time Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing, how Moses’ mother was chosen to nurse her own son-- but the one I never thought of before was the two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who let the Hebrew baby boys live-- Moses being one of them.  Who were these women?  Who were their parents?  How were they raised?  They defied the command of an evil ruler. Risked their lives to save baby boys.  Who were their biggest influences as they grew from child to woman?  How did they become midwives?  What paths led them to Moses’ mother’s birthing bed that day?  God had it all figured out-- nothing surprised him on Moses’ birthday.  He knew Shiphrah and Puah would be in place that day, to save the baby that would grow into the man who He would use as the instrument to deliver His beloved people from the bonds of slavery.  And the story goes on..... and it makes my brain smoke thinking through all He ordained.

I can’t think on my life very long because it’s too much.  God’s got it so I don’t have to but to look back and see His Sovereign hand on my life is many things-- mind-boggling, humbling, encouraging, and awe-inspiring.  There are many, many big events but I wish I remember what factors were involved in my getting to camp in the summer of1990- the week I met Jeff-- and what got him to work that camp that particular summer.  And then I think of the timing, the conversations, the relationships, the choices that led us to our adopted children.  See?  I can’t think of it for long.  Too much.  Too much grace.  But it’s His hand, His work, His sovereignty-- and why do I ever doubt it?

Do I really think at 45 He has stopped?  That His hand of grace has been removed from my life?  That the paths and the weaving together have somehow come to an end?  Can I really think that the circumstances in my life RIGHT NOW aren't leading to a greater purpose than just the clock ticking off a day?  Most of you reading have the advantage of looking back a few years.  What do you see?  What paths weren’t chosen for you but now, you see great purpose in it?  What paths did you choose and can you see God’s sovereign hand using that to get you in position for something else?  How have you responded to the circumstances in your life- big and small?  Can you see His work?  Do you believe He’s got everything to do with it?

Did Shiphrah and Puah have ANY idea?  Did they  live to see the Exodus?  To see Moses, chosen of God, deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians?  Did they live to be free?  Most likely not, depending on their age, but we can bet their children or grandchildren did.  And unbeknownst to them, all because two midwives related to them decided to defy a king and save the life of a Hebrew baby boy.

My quick trip to Georgia to help out with my Mom?  The hard weeks of parenting that drive me to pray and self reflect?  The neighborhood we chose to make a home?  The changes taking place at my job?  What has that got to do with anything?  I don’t know but I do know God’s hand is gently nudging it all in place.....  just more pages that make up this big story that one day I can look back on........ and it can be a beautiful one.

So... notes to self:  To see the beauty in the end, I must pray to stay soft, not allowing regret or anger to harden me.  I must pray to be yielded to His will and purposes knowing that His plans for me ARE always good because He can’t BE anything other than good.  I must be fully devoted to Him willing to go as His hand leads because it’s only in Him will I find the satisfaction and abundance for which I crave.

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