i read a blogpost that someone had posted to facebook about it being harder (impossible) to blog the teen years as intensely as you can blog the baby/toddler years. That comforts me a bit as these last couple of years have seen a lot more quiet in this place that has brought me so much joy over my journey through motherhood.
It's true that circumstances are sometimes completely unbloggable... sometimes unsharable or unspeakable. That's when you just exhale - surrender - and trust that He is shaping you in the midst of the desert time.
That said, every so often, I realize that I do want to raise my hand in the crowded room and offer a small piece to record here - as my children seem to grow before my eyes and time mercilessly marches ever forward... So here's a small breath of praise to the One who continues to draw me "further up and further in!"*
At the beginning of this year, I kept seeing people post their "word for the year" - and I searched my mind and heart for a word that might fit for me to meditate on and grow from, but instead of a word, there were two phrases that have kept coming back to me these first two months into 2014.
The first is that I am learning to see the value, less in 'trying harder' and more in surrendering.
It has been spoken aloud in a million different ways - almost on a daily basis as I've been listening for His still small voice in conversations with other believers, in my bible reading, in my quiet time with Him. Surrender is a whole different ache than "trying hard". And I've loved the picture that He has given me - that surrender makes it His - and He will faithfully take, and make beautiful, what no amount of my own effort ever could...
i guess an example of this type of surrender would be in the area of self control. i know sometimes my little ones will have a burst of fury and as i try to talk them down, "Chill out, relax...", i get the standard indignant response, "I'm TRYING!!"
What a funny little twist in our own thinking to think of surrendering our fury, our sadness, our broken relationships, our lack of self control - instead of constantly "trying harder..." I've had to laugh at myself too as I'm the queen of over thinking - and sometimes i find myself, "trying harder to surrender..." That's when I've missed the point - and i need to take a step back and take my mind out of the situation completely...
The second is more of an image - another trading of one thing for something better - but it's the daily decision to (by the miracle of grace) trade my heart of stone for a heart of flesh. **
What a scary decision that can seem to be when flesh seems so vulnerably unprotected; we experience flesh's suffering rather than a stone's coldness, tenderness rather than hardness, painful growth rather than deadness... It's His precious gift to me - to strip away my stony humanness - and give me a gift of a heart that beats for Him.
And I think that these two ideas are connected for me. I've run up against so many situations that are out of my control - He's allowing me to see, that I can try and try and try... until I'm exhausted and spent - but if I could just surrender - it might be painful, but through surrender, He'll take me places i could never get to on my own. A heart of flesh that is living and beating can do things that a dead heart could never do. A heart of stone can't soften itself, it can't warm itself, it can't make itself come alive...
But through surrender, the stone can be made flesh - all things are possible.
* a little Narnia love... ;)
** check out Spurgeon's sermon The Stony Heart Removed.