The other night I lay in bed, wondering how things had spiraled out of control so quickly. We’d pulled into the garage, tired but satisfied with the day. It really had been full and wonderful and we were all plain tuckered out and ready to hit the hay. Then somehow the day veered off course and words collided with sharp and jagged edges, hearts hardened and harsh words were exchanged, and now our hearts beat bruised and forlorn. Sometimes, I’m afraid we do allow the sun to go down without resolving our conflicts, hoping that the night’s rest will cool tempers and refresh our better natures. I tried talking it through, but eventually just gave up. After kisses goodnight, cool and distant, I retreated to my waiting tub. Discouraged, frustrated, and put out, I slid into my bath to vent some steam to my Comforter. With one wailing thought I began my lament. “God, I don’t deserve this.”
Following close behind came the others, easily coupling with my dispirited soul. I had provided so much, sacrificed and lavishly shared, thought of others first, spent myself on their behalf, lifted them up, stepped up, reached out, given, given, and given some more.
Even been there? Of course you have; every single one of us has. We all know exactly what we have done “out of the generosity, goodness, and the huge expanse of our ever-lovin-hearts,” don’t we? We are quite aware of how we have faithfully and tirelessly served our husbands, children, family, friends, perhaps co-workers, and probably even strangers. We know the slights and stumbles of others that we have stoically born and allowed to pass by without a murmur or complaint – each and every one. The world’s got your back with messages that tell you you’re “worth it”, you “deserve a break today”, don’t buy a “lame” car, “follow your heart”, and “it’s all about me.” Honestly, Generation Me is as old as Cain and Abel... older.
How many myriads of relationships have been dashed upon the siren’s rocks of The Unappreciated? Marriages torn apart because of irreconcilable differences, grudges nursed and fed for years, prejudices fortified into fortress-like stature, unforgiveness nourished and kept alive in all its fullness, all because we cannot bear to let go and lose. Yet how is it possible that we can all be that person who lived the day so saint-like, and yet our little worlds feel so banged up by everyone else sometimes? How indeed?
By the time I climbed up into bed, I’d been dealt with. Lying on my back, I relaxed my hands and held them open. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot, my brother, whispered in my ear this sweet reminder.
I know what I truly don’t deserve, and what I’ve been given – the saving knowledge and grace of the redeemed. When the Lord called me to our girls, it just so happened that I was away on a weekend Women’s Retreat with ladies from my church. In very creative fashion, He used a number of scriptures concerning both adoption and feet to speak to me, and then pursued me in an extremely direct and personal way to know His will for us to be family. In Romans 10 He says, “How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News!’
As His child, I am one who is sent to preach the Good News. Willingly lashed to the mast, may the song of my heart, mind, soul, and lips be one that drowns out that of both my selfish nature and the world. In humility and thanks, and only then, can I possibly sing.