Lately God has been doing something I've never experienced before. And it's happened so often, it's almost funny.
My girls think so. I'm not so sure.
It all started with a normal activity: reading a book. It's a wonderful book, but I've read it off and on for a while now. So I didn't think much of it, except that what I read was a good thing to remember.
Here's a highlight from Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas: "Viewing ourselves as ancestors as well as descendants represents a vitally important spiritual transformation. The sacred journey of parenting changes our perspective. We travel from 'me' to 'us,' from individual to family, and we begin to understand the difference we can have on future generations.... Sacred parenting calls us to focus our brief lives on what will create the most impact for future generations."
See, great writing, great way to start with day with my kiddos.
So we get ready, eat breakfast, and then read from a book we're studying as a family. The book is another John Ortberg book, When the Game is Over it all Goes Back in the Box.
He's talking about life rules and the biggest lesson life has to teach is "the absolute necessity of arranging our life around what matters in light of our mortality and eternity."
I don't know about you, but I got a little shivery and wondered what exactly the Lord was trying to tell me.
This message being repeated happened again on the same day. This time it was about speaking words of life. I'd read in Ephesians 4:15-16, 29-32 and then opened a prayer book and was surprised to see the theme of the prayer was about learning to speak life.
I told the girls later I felt like I was living one of Jesus' parables where He spoke saying, "Verily, verily I say to you..." In other words: Listen Up!
We talked about how when God speaks, we should listen. And when God repeats Himself, we should pay close attention- VERY close attention.
I have to be honest here. I didn't think much about these two things as the busyness of our homeschooling day took off and we had martial arts class that night. In fact, I ended up in bed exhausted by eleven. I seldom see my pillow until one or one-thirty in the morning.
So God in His infinite wisdom and grace saw that I needed another dose of His verily, verily.
This day, the girls and I read in the devotional 101 Cups of Water about fearing pain. "The truth is, I have perfect circumstances today because the Architect of my circumstances is perfect and does all things well. What I have today is exactly and precisely what I need- not necessarily what I want, but certainly what I need. And that's the point: sometimes pain is what I need."
We read in Romans 5:1-4 about rejoicing in suffering because suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character, hope.
Unlike most days, we then read a second, totally unrelated devotional called A Woman's Path to Inner Beauty by Ginger Garrett. This has been a wonderfully encouraging devotional, one I'd encourage every Christian woman to spend some time reading and relishing.
Today's devotion was, you've probably already guessed, about finding God in the darkness. I loved this part, "We fear what lurks in the night. We fear the loss of goodness and hope. But in truth, God uses darkness to create, to call forth new life, to astonish us with His creative passion."
Ginger also talked about how Leonardo Da Vinci masterfully used shadows and darkness to focus the viewers' eyes on the light, to make light brighter.
We mulled over how darkness and suffering are tools in God's hands, for our good.
And one of my girls said, "Isn't this the second time God has repeated Himself to you? You'd better listen up, Mommy." She said it with a smile and in love, but it got my attention.
Later that day, a thorny issue arose. And in the midst of it, I cried out to God about how I've never been able to overcome my anger in this situation and I had no idea why He kept putting me in the same situation day after day but didn't show me how to change my attitude and my words.
I know, I'm a bit of a blockhead sometimes. Thus, God repeating Himself.
All the sudden, God whispered the word "Forgiveness," and I got it. The past few days' repeated messages all flooded back and I saw that God had prepared me for this very moment. To view it in light of eternity, to build up with my mouth and not tear down, to see how He uses suffering and darkness to mold us and make us more like Him.
I got up from that prayer and mended a relationship and loved someone dear to me in a way I hadn't been able to before. It became a sacred moment.
In a powerful way, God showed me how to run to Him and see His Word and His teachings come to life.
I'm pretty sure God smiled. Even though He had to repeat Himself a few times. Okay, more than a few.
All this to say, when God repeats Himself...Listen Up! He has something important to show you. It could matter more than you know.