Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A repentant heart

So think clearly and exercise self-control. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, "Be holy, because I am holy."
(1 Peter 1:13-16)

I'm going to be very honest here. I couldn't figure out why I was initially repelled by these verses. It felt like condemnation... but no... that is the devil trying to deceive me. God doesn't condemn, He convicts. Yes, what I'm feeling is conviction—guilt that leads to godly sorrow and then repentance. The biggest, most obvious area where I "slip back into old ways of living to satisfy my own desires" is on the computer—not because of what I'm viewing (none of it is impure), but because of when I'm viewing it (while I should be hanging with my boys).

Mothering is probably THE hardest thing I've ever done—requiring very significant amounts of endurance, patience (long-suffering!), and sacrifice—and I find myself often looking for an escape... obviously not in drinking, drugs, or affairs... but on the internet (primarily email and blogs). It is precisely for this reason that I do not have a Facebook profile! [I have no other vices—I can't even have coffee or chocolate, because I'm taking a homeopathic to support my thyroid, and caffeine and homeopathics don't jive!]

Help me, Lord, to have self-control... to not turn on the computer unless the boys are napping or in bed for the night... to just BE WITH my boys and find joy in that! I don't want to live my days with a guilty conscience. [I wonder how much that contributes to my questioning of God's love and grace?] "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." (James 4:17) This may not be "sin" for everybody, but it is for me, for right now. I violate my own conscience when I sit at the computer while my son(s) are left playing alone. (I feel they are too young at 2- and 4-years-old.)

I am tempted not to make this humble [humiliating?] confession; however, I sense God leading me to do it in this way.

Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. {2} Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. {3} For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. {7} Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. {8} ...give me back my joy again... {9} ...Remove the stain of my guilt. {10} Create in me a clean heart, O God... {12} Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.

{16} You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. {17} The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

(Psalm 51:1-3, 7-10, 12, 16-17)

Wow... my heart actually feels much lighter! I feel cleansed and purified! I think I'm really starting to take in God's grace and mercy again! Not because I think I'm good enough, but because I am seeing it for what it really is: undeserved favor! Awesome!


Irritable Mother said...

This is fantastic, Sara. Clearly God is speaking to you and you are responding. And I know that delights His heart!
I understand what you're saying about computer time. My kids are certainly old enough to play by themselves. They don't really need me for entertainment. Even so, I think it is important for me to not be on the computer when they get home from school, so I can give them my attention. It's a God-nudge, and I want to obey.
So thankful for His unfailing love!

Chris said...

Sara, Do you think your thyroid issues are contributing to your struggles? Over the years, I have suffered from a few health problems, and I used to be so hard on myself thinking I was a bad mom for being so drained and worn out from a day of mothering, before I realized that my poor health was partly to blame. I had to learn to let go of my guilt and unrealistic expectations and not beat myself up for my limitations.

I've also come to feel that my struggles with mothering eventually led me to being a better mom. God was refining me. Try to give yourself some grace today. :)

And in a strange way, you have helped me see how far I've come. For that I thank you!

Sara K. said...

Chris - Oh yes, fatigue while trying to get my thyroid "right" has certainly contributed to my struggles. [I have really learned the difference between being *fatigued* and just being tired -- big difference!] I am thankful to have energy again!

I'm glad you are able to see how far you've come -- how much God has grown you through motherhood! That encourages me too! I know we will never be free of struggles, but you are living proof that we can have victory in them "through Christ who strengthens" us!

Karen - good point about heeding those "God-nudges!" Even if our kids are older, they still need our attention, and right after school is probably one of the most important times!

luvmy4sons said...

Mothering is so very hard. I love your heart that responds to God's leading. Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world and I think it is so helpful in giving us understanding into the mind of our God! blessings! thanks for stopping by my place!