Making Life Beautiful

This has been quite a weekend! Between two birthday parties (one for my own daughter), a planning meeting, a counseling session, and entertaining Janna's girlfriends, I'm beat. I woke up this morning with no desire to face another day, much less week, of endless toilet sessions, wiping up drool and messes, and countless reminders to stay on track. To be honest, I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself. I woke up in the unedited early hours of the morning with a dull, sinking feeling in my soul that not even a shower could remove. I sat down for a few moments of quiet as usual. Sometimes it feels like a ritual, not a relationship. This was one of those times. But God has a way of knowing exactly what I need better than I do. What I think I need is time to crawl into a hole and hide for awhile. That would be nice for me, but He  knew that in the bigger scheme of things, it isn't going to help anyone, most of all myself.

As part of my quiet time each morning, I've been reading through Sarah Young's Jesus Calling. This morning, she wrote this: "I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly. The degree to which I strengthen you on a given day is based mainly on two variables: the difficulty of your circumstances, and your willingness to depend on Me for help."

That really struck me. My life has definitely gotten challenging. Ordinary life has increased in difficulty tremendously. It is taxing my every ounce of strength. I can feel my emotions rise to the surface much more quickly. Sometimes what depresses me is the fact that this isn't a circumstance that is going to come and go. It is now my new life.

But do I limit God's power in my life because I am not willing to depend on Him for it? It is available. Will I take it? I have been memorizing in Ephesians this year, and have been reminded that if I am willing to receive it, I have been given His "immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe," the same power that raised Christ from the dead and is the same power that is far above all rule, authority, power and dominion. (1:17-21). I have been reciting those verses over and over this year. Am I going to actually live it? Will I walk into the inheritance that I have already been given? Or will I try to muscle through the day on my own?

The second thing I read this morning came from Journeys of Faithfulness, one of my review books this past season. I've been reading through Esther as my Scripture reading and reflecting on Sarah's insights. In her devotional, she shared about a time when she found herself in a job that she did not love. Not only that, it was sapping her strength from what she did. I totally related to that, even though she was 21, and I am twice her age.

She observed that perhaps Esther felt the same way too. After all, she was forcibly taken from her home and the life she loved. It wasn't her choice. But somehow, she gained the favor of those in the palace. What made the difference for her? In her reflections on Esther, she considered the possibility that maybe Esther made the hard choice to enter into those difficult circumstances that she was thrust into instead of just gritting her teeth and enduring it. Women who merely survive and shoulder their way through life without any spark of enjoyment reflect that in their faces. In order for Esther to not only gain the favor of the court but also the king? She must have had a life in her, despite her circumstances, that made her beautiful.

I related to Sarah's honesty and realized that I too have a choice. I can grumble about my lot in life. Or I can seek to make the life God has for me at this time one of beauty. It is certainly not because I have the power to do so on my own strength. I must call on Him, seek His power, and let it flow through me to create the life and the home that He has for me.

This is easier said than done, and the day hasn't even started yet. But that is what I am realizing. If I steel my soul to face the day on my own strength, I will also harden my heart. However, if I am willing to throw myself into His grace and receive from Him what He so abundantly has provided for me, He can use me to make life beautiful--not just for myself, but for others as well. Not only will I be able to walk in His power, I can learn to see His beauty in the midst of it.

I write this not because I have made that choice yet. I am writing of the choice I have yet to make. This is no pie-in-the-sky post. It is real life. However, this is true for us whether we have a special needs child or not. We all have a choice to either reject or enter into the day God has for us. There is no guarantee that it will be easy. But He will be there if we look for Him and reach out to Him. And He is what makes life beautiful.