Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I Can't Do...

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. It’s embarrassing to write, but it is true. Poor me. Why me?

We think, Noah, our youngest has a wheat intolerance. And I believe I do too, except I have often chosen to ignore it. I know I feel better when I cut wheat (and dairy) out of my diet. But, do you know how hard it is to eliminate wheat in our modern day American culture? Do you know that (at least it seem like) wheat is in almost every processed food available to us? That means none of our regular store bought breads, pastas, granola bars, pizzas, cookies, cereals, etc. Not only that, many of our condiments contain wheat and so do Campbell’s creamed soups…and the list goes on and on.

I enjoy cooking, but I’ve never learned to cook completely from scratch. No, I’ve always used those shortcuts that are so typical in most American kitchens. Do you know how much more time consuming it is cooking completely from scratch? This means relearning how to make almost everything.

Then, the thought hit me, “We will never be able to go out to eat again!” No more Pizza Hut or McDonald’s…not that either are healthy or even my favorite. Yet, they are convenient and to think that we can never eat at those restaurants again…ugh! How will we ever travel to Indiana to visit my family without a routine stop at McDonald’s?!

One day my mind was fixated on all the things we can’t eat and how I was going to readjust our “normal”. That night I read our oldest his nightly devotional. It retold the story of Eve in the garden. Hopefully, you’re familiar with this true tale. God told Adam and Eve they could eat from any of the trees in the perfect Garden of Eden except for one. The serpent tempted them. They ate from the forbidden tree.

In Andrew’s devotional it pointed out that there were many different kinds of trees in the garden. God told them they could eat from all those trees except for one. And yet, when they were tempted, they chose to eat the forbidden fruit. This was the beginning of the fall of man.

This spoke to my heart on so many different levels.

First, this was a reminder that God has provided many other food options for us. There are many other grains besides wheat. In addition, we have a deep freeze full of Angus Beef (best steaks, burger, roasts, even brats and wieners you ever tasted!). We have whole chickens, sweet corn, green beans, salsa, strawberries and jam in the freezer. We have our own canned applesauce, jelly and juice. We have chickens that lay fresh eggs for us every day. Not only that, there are tons of wheat free options at our local grocery store (there are more and more gluten free/wheat free options available these days than ever before), plus various meats, fruits and veggies.  No more McDonald' what?  I get healthy, nurishing food!

In reality, I just need to change my way of thinking…and do what is best and healthiest for my family.

Then, it hit me. This is like so many other things in my life. Sometimes my focus gets stuck on what I can’t have or what I don’t have, rather than on everything else God has provided for me.

I am so blessed! Yet, sometimes I focus on the stains on my living room carpet more than the little blessings from God who made them. Sometimes I focus on all the things that are “wrong” with the house, rather than all the things that are “right”. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t do this thing or that thing today, rather than “one of these days”, and I forget all that I do get to do today!

In November, I stepped down from my role on the Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat leadership team. It was a tough decision because I love that ministry. It is especially dear to my heart because I was one of original team members who helped start the conference. I enjoyed my role on the team, and found my God-given gifts were well put to use. And still, I felt God tugging at my heart to step back and focus more on my number one ministry, one He also called me to…home.

It seems like it should be easy to make a decision to simply “stay home” with the ones I love the most. It wasn’t…and still isn’t. Of course, it doesn’t makes sense to continue doing something, something I was doing for Him in the first place, when He has clearly showed me that it is time to step back. And still, at times, I feel a grief rise up in me over the loss of this role. I wonder why I can’t continue on (even though, in reality, the answer is right before me). I know He has called me into women’s ministry, so it doesn’t completely make sense. Yes, I’m still coordinating our local MOPS group, and I enjoy that. But, why would God want to “take this away from me”?

Then, I am reminded of all that He has given! I get to be a wife and a mom! I looooove being a wife and mom! I love my family! Even in a culture that generally devalues these roles, He does not!! He has chosen me for these role. What an honor! In this season of life, home is where I need to be most. My husband and sons are gifts from Him, whom I get to nurture. He isn’t taking anything away, He’s giving me an opportunity!! Although sometimes I feel so inadequate, He equips me for these daily roles, and is building my character for future ones.

Not only that, it’s amazing that I ever got to be on the Rise & Shine leadership team in the first place! What a wonderful experience! I learned so much about Him, myself and ministry. I will cherish the memories, remember the lessons and apply much of what I learned throughout the rest of my life…even now as I get to help encourage other moms at MOPS.

Furthermore, I see all He has provided. Not only has He provided a way to eternal life for me through Jesus Christ, He provides all I need for each day. I reflect on the destructive road I was once headed down, how He provided a way out, and gave me this life, one better than I had ever dared to dream of. I’m not perfect, I still fail Him and yet, He forgives me again (and again). He continues to love me.

Another thought: sometimes people get so fixated on what they can’t do as a Christian (or if they became one) that they loose sight of what God provides for those who love, honor and obey Him. They don’t want to give up what they want, but forget about the peace, hope and joy it will bring if they surrender their will to Him.

In reality, I don’t want my way, I want God’s best…in all areas of my life!

No more feeling sorry for myself. I must change my focus from what I can’t do and what I don’t have to all He has provided! I am grateful!!

Could you use a change of focus too?

…be content with what you have, because God has said,
 "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5