Well, I asked for guest bloggers and God has provided! Today’s blog is by a dear friend of mine. She has a heart for God and to help others. She’s SO cute, despite the fact that she often looks like a lunchroom lady, or someone from peopleofwalmart.com. She’s talented in many ways and this blog is awesome! If y’all don’t read every word y’all are dumb! 😉
As I was trying to prepare for what I might say and how I might lead this devotion, God quickly reminded me that he will provide the words and lead me in what he wants me to get across. I remembered a devotion I had read the other day, when I was researching for a song I was going to sing for a pastor friend of mine. I looked over it and was reminded that God is always faithful. It came to me with ease and clarity and actually I laughed! I don’t know why I am amazed that when God calls, He equips. And when he says speak, He will provide the words!
“Alabaster Box” is the song I was researching. I love that song as I can relate so much to Mary, and how she must have felt when she was looked down on and judged for the sacrifice that she made. Let me share a line from the song with you. “We really have know idea the cost of someone’s else’s praise or the life that has lead them to be who they are.”
Now, let me share a little about me. As some of you know my second husband passed away. What most of you, probably all of you, don’t know is how difficult my marriage was. The truth of it was that the marriage was a mistake on my part. I was too busy jumping ahead of God, ignoring the still small voice, then ignoring the loud screaming voice, to hold fast and wait! But there I was standing at an alter, all dressed up, my babies were all dressed up, and I was putting my family all back together again. I knew that when I was saying “I do” I should have been saying “I don’t”. I was trying to fix what my first husband had broken. The marriage quickly became very tumultuous. However, I felt like I had made a commitment and that I had made my bed, so I had to lie in it. By the time I decided I could take no more, Ray became very sick. This was about 3 years into our marriage.
Well, I certainly couldn’t leave now! I couldn’t make him leave either because he had no where else to go, and no one to take care of him. So with my desire to always be the fixer, I decided to stick it out . As noble as I would like to think I may have been I think that my reasons, in the beginning, were because I am a codependent enabler who just wanted to look noble. To make a long story short, the next seven years would consist of many ups and downs and lots of struggles with God. Not to mention me feeling like I had become the walking dead. I wanted my reasons for taking care of Ray to be because I was so wonderful and sacrificial; and I made it look like that on the outside! But on the inside I was mad and tired, and just defeated. I worked took care of Ray, tried to shield my boys from as much as possible, and smiled. I pretended like I had it all together, all the time. I was pretty good at that back then.
Until I truly accepted the mission that God had given me, it was a long hard battle that really didn’t have to be fought. Why hadn’t I just surrendered and let Him love and serve Ray through me?! HIS power not mine! Finally I had accepted the call and started to really serve Ray and care for him, and truly without a doubt, love him. It was still a hard job emotionally and physically. There were times that I didn’t think I could do one more day, but of courseGod always took me through one more day, and the day after that, and so on. At the end of Rays life I had committed to loving him and serving him to the best of my ability, and in that God changed both mine and Rays hearts! He died with dignity and a loving family by his side.
I quickly took care of the business of wrapping up all the lose ends that are associated with death. I am the queen of putting things in a nice little package and cleaning up the mess,so to speak, so that everything can look just like it had before the madness started. It’s almost so that I can pretend that it never really happened. That’s how I cope, and I was very good at that too! I had been trapped, or felt trapped for 10 years. I decided I had to get on with my life, brush myself off and enjoy this new found sweet freedom! Or so I thought it was freedom!
Finally, I am going to tie in how I relate to Mary, and how this rabbit I have been chasing really does relate back to the devotion from the beginning. I set out to have fun and enjoy not having to take care of anyone or anything for a while. I was very involved in church and still close to The Lord, so I was good to go. I had served and loved The Lord long enough that I wasn’t worried about making really really bad decisions. I was a middle aged woman, who had surely made all the bad choices I was going to make when I was young and dumb! Wow did you all know that you can make stupid choices when your older too!?! What the heck?! Hadn’t I learned through others? Hadn’t I told myself “Whew! At least I won’t ever do that!” Yet, I found myself living a life I never thought I was capable of. Going out till all hours of the night. Sometimes all night. It was a slow fade.
I no longer had a lot to say to Jesus. And I found that eventually had just decided it was best that I didn’t say anything to Him at all. The more fun I had the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the more fun I had to have. It was an endless cycle that I couldn’t escape. Truth is, it was making me miserable having so much fun. I found out pretty quickly, while in this time of freedom and life I was living, that I had lost my purpose. I am and forever will be designed to take care of people. That’s who I am that’s what gives me purpose.
I was so weary and tired of the heavy load of caring for my sick husband, and anybody else who needed (or wanted) anything that I couldn’t wait to finally be free and live!! Yet I was soon to discover that all those things gave me, and still to this day, my very reason for being! It’s what makes me thrive as a person! We are all intricately designed by our Maker. Yet we often think we can out make the Maker, or out smart the design, and redesign ourselves to be whatever we want.
All I felt was shame and guilt, and the feeling that I should have known better, I felt couldn’t be forgiven because I wandered too far. But just as I had found myself in a slow fade to sin, I ended up in a slow fade back to Jesus. What I had to offer Him was all I had left, which was dirty and pathetic. Still I sincerely longed for Him to take me back . Slowly, and with my head down as far as it would go, I started whispering Jesus’ name, and pouring my praise on Him, such as it was. Thankfully it was enough. And like He always does, and always will, He lifted my head, extended His never failing grace, and accepted my pitiful offerings. He picked me up, dusted me off, and set my feet on solid ground.
If only we could bring ourselves to fall in love with, and trust the Potter to make us and mold us into His masterpiece! We would/will be content with the purpose and plan and path he sets before us. Oh the ease and joy we would find in living and serving out our true purpose, and the mistakes and burdens we could avoid if we did! Man, I wished I would have learned this lesson long before now, yet would I be who I am and where I am had I learned them earlier? I have also learned to be grateful for all the paths I have taken,good and bad, as it also makes me who I am today.
My reason for sharing a little about me is to encourage all of us to understand what makes each one of us tick, what our praise may have cost, and to be a little more patient with each other. For us to love each other and extend grace when we don’t feel like it or when we want to judge. Maybe we are struggling with something, or we are still hiding behind the mask of “if they knew who I really was they wouldn’t want to know me!”! Mary boldly took all she had and poured her praise on Jesus, washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. And even in the midst of ridicule she just kept her focus on Jesus.
1Thessalonians 5: 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.