This week, He's really speaking to me. And what is most surprising, and beautiful, and amazing.....is that I have felt so far away from God for months. Months. And I feel like perhaps these little insights he is mercifully giving to me are a direct result of a prayer to make me humble.
Now that's a loaded prayer.
Help me to be humble....and gentle.....and giving....and kind. These are not things I am normally. Caring for people does not come naturally to me. I'm hopelessly conceited and arrogant and self-centered. I'd love to blame the whole thing on my artist temperament......but, no; it's just me.
I listened to our pastor, Michael, talking about how he sees God in his life. And I was faced with so many questions of my own.
How does one see God in their lives? It's easy to see the fruit of following God when someone starts an orphanage in Uganda.....or works alongside the homeless of the streets of Charlotte......or adopts a house full of children from all around the world.
But what about those of us who haven't done those things? Or don't even feel remotely called to do those things? Where is God in my life? Is he active? Has he abandoned me? Am I so far off the path that He gave up and moved on to someone else who has it all together?
Like I said above....loving people does not come naturally to me. It's all I can do to say 'please' and 'thank you' and remember to ask people how they are. I'm self-absorbed.
But.....as I sat there listening to Michael.....all these thoughts flooded through me.
I was a disaster in every relationship I ever had. I had no idea how to have a healthy relationship with the opposite sex so I generally destroyed them and walked away (the relationship, not the dude). I don't deal with things. I run away. Nothing usually lasts with me. I'm afraid of everything and I mask it with SUPER thick walls. Let's just say my walls have walls.
But......mysteriously......I have a husband who loves me. Who hugs me when I lose it.....who tells me I'm beautiful.....who has seen me at my disgusting worst and stays married to me. The fact that I'm able to make unselfish choices in loving him (even though I miss the mark time and again) or that I'm married at all.....that's God in my life. And it's not just that He gave me this amazing man....but that I'm able to love him. Really love him.
My kids.......I'm not the greatest mother. It's so hard for me to not just put them in a room with a TV so I can do my own thing. But, when I sit and listen to them read a book or go outside to play soccer (really BAD soccer) with them in our backyard, or calmly help Lilly with her piano (and calm is VERY hard for me)......that's God in my life.
When I take the time to sit outside my gallery with an artist friend who I just bought coffee for and ask them how things are going and then listen without interrupting with my own issues.....or when I remember that someone is going through a tough time and I actually remember to call and see how they are......that's God in my life.
Because none of these things are normal for me. And if I didn't have God in my life, these things would not be happening.
There's a million other subtle ways I see God working. They would seem small to anyone looking in but for me looking out.....I see greatness. Not my greatness. The greatness of God doing seemingly insignificant things....but they are huge to me.
And there are many issues I have asked God to heal me of or take away. And I get angry about a particular one that I've prayed about for 23 years now. And I'm realizing (thanks, Michael) that some weaknesses are meant for a purpose. If God can come alongside me in my weaknesses, such as my selfishness and lack of empathy, and work through them and help me to change....instead of magically zapping them away......well.....that's nothing short of a miracle. It shows me time and again how much I need him and it keeps me humble. Humility is not a strong suit of mine, either. Hence, the loaded prayer. I'll touch more on this one in another post. It may take a while.
So.....I know this was a long one. I needed to get my thoughts out. But the whole point is, God shows his power in my weaknesses. He loves me through them and softly nudges me in the right direction instead of making me into someone else. He doesn't want me to be someone else. He wants me to be me......He loves me where I am.....who I am. And when I believe that He loves me.....ME.....the person I never thought anyone could love.......Me......the person who could never GIVE love to anyone else.....then I start to believe that perhaps other people love me, too.....then I start wanting to be a better me. A more loving me. A more caring me. A more unselfish, humble me. And I notice little changes. Little, sweet, lovely changes.
And that's God in my life.