Our church is doing a daily Bible reading plan, currently going through the book of Acts. Today I was struck by Acts 20:22-24...
"And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don't know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
Now that is radical living. Unselfish. Faith that propels him forward, even knowing that great suffering is in his future. This really spurs me on!
I will admit, there have been a few times in the past couple of years when I have complained, "If I had known how hard parenting/mothering would be, I'm not sure I would have chosen it." [I'm kind of a wimp.] Mothering has been hard for me because:
1) it requires a great deal of self-sacrifice—which goes directly against the flesh;
2) it requires a great deal of patience—which also goes against the flesh;
3) it is frequently messy, inconvenient, and complicated; and
4) you need to keep perspective and have a clear vision for the future.
These things have caused me "suffering" to some degree or another, as they clearly reveal my weaknesses/sinfulness, which has been pretty devastating to me. Obviously, in all of this, I need God's strength, because it doesn't seem to come very easily or naturally!
BUT, as Paul said, "My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus..." Yes!!! What else would I be doing—I mean, really—besides raising my boys... devoting my life to the mothering role the Lord assigned me? I will strive to do it with joy! If the Lord assigned it to me, He felt I was capable (with His help) of doing it! And "better is one day in His courts than a thousand anywhere else!" (Psalm 84:10)
[As an added note, I love my boys—they are wonderful! This struggle has far far more to do with ME and my perceptions than with them.]
I trust You, Lord God! You are good. I feel warmed by Your approval—not because of what I've done, but because of my faith in Your love and grace!