Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not Now

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to The to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou will, send me where Thou will, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."

On November 11, 1998 I wrote this prayer in the front cover of my Bible. I was reading Elisabeth Elliot's book Let Me Be A Woman. I had been a Christian a little over 1 year. I was single (though John and I were dating) and in college (little responsibilities). I clearly remember the day I wrote this in my Bible. I remember sincerely asking God to make this true in my life. Over the years I have glanced at it and been encouraged by it but I don't think I have read it since having children, until this week. Tuesday night I sat on the couch waiting for John to get home for me to leave for Bible Study. I was frustrated because he had planned to come home at 4 and it was 6:15. (work is tough right now with many long days). The kids were tired and whiny and hungry (he had told me to not cook - Mcdees and park time for the boys and daddy) and so was I. I had my Bible in my hand and I opened it just killing time and this prayer is what I saw first.
Since then it hasn't left my mind for the most part. I have really had some hard conversations with God this week about this prayer. The realities of this prayer for my life today seem 200 times harder than they did in 1998. Sometimes I feel myself screaming for just an inkling of my plans, my desires, my hopes.
But God is answering my prayer from almost 10 years ago...He is making this true in my life even on the days that I battle Him with every ounce. "The one who called you is faithful and he will do it" In the past few years I have made several attempts to put my "marketable skills" (so called by a dear friend) to work. I set out in my mind to make it work. I organized in my head how I could squeeze in time here and there. In my mind it would work plus it would help us pay off such a large amount of student loans - it was a good thing with good motives. But God said no, every time God said no. Not one time could my heart be settled. Sometimes I made it farther along in the process than others (even spent $10 for a business license once). At some point before I actually began he said NOT NOW.
But God you gave me these skills - let me use them for your glory...not now.
I can always tell when the itch is coming. Usually after I go through these battles with the Lord, I put my skills aside, even in my home (unless things need organizing cause I can't handle that :)) I have three empty picture frames on my living room wall that have been there for about 11/2 year. It is not pouting but I just don't even want to be creative, don't want to look at the magazines because it makes me discontent.
Well for about the last 3 weeks I have had the itch again. A couple of friends have ask for help organizing and so I have been thinking about the idea of being a professional organizer on the side and making money for it. (not you friends :)) On Tuesday, when I read this prayer I knew the Lord was again saying not now.
I really long for God's will in my life because I firmly believe that it is only there that I will enjoy life abundantly. But sometimes it is hard to wrap my head around this season of life being abundant life. All of me goes to others and even when my sweet husband gives me a break I find myself using it to research stuff about kids, parenting, saving money, serving my husband. Then I get all mad because I didn't just take me time. But even as I sit and write this I realize that I love doing those things. Apparently being "Just a wife and mom" is God's plan for my life. I am completely ok with being a wife and mom and I don't desire to "work" away from my home. My wanting to "market my skills" has nothing to do with me not being a stay at home mom. God has just given me skills that in our culture I could use to make money from home and pay off debt and have a constant creative outlet that I so long for.
I have once again stopped wrestling with God over this. He know absolutely what is best for me and one day He may make this desire of my heart His desire but for now it gets packed away for someday.

"Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. `Psalms 16

Just a little FYI - Betty Scott Stam wrote the prayer at the top. Years after putting it in my Bible I learned more about her: She and her husband were China Inland Mission Workers and they both were led to their death through the streets of China. They were executed by decapitation while their young baby lay behind in it's crib.


Kari said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I have those many times over with doing more hair, but God always brings me back to my purpose now, and that's being a wife and a mom.

Kristin said...

Wow... We need to go to lunch and chat, Amy. I'm right there with you... wanting to do a card business, a photography business, be a children's book author... It's on hold for now, but God continues to develop those talents in me while the "profits" are on hold.

Thanks so much for sharing all of that straight from your heart...