Last night I was trying to read my Bible and to start rereading C.S. Lewis's book Miracles. I was having a hard time concentrating so I gave up before long and turned off the light. Sometime, in the middle of the night, I woke up to get Baby and discovered I was not feeling well. I nursed her and went back to bed trying to think of what I had eaten that had mixed up my normally healthy digestive system (I concluded it was the not-particularly-healthy mixture of a very large deli sandwich for lunch and the hotdog and other 'party' food I'd had for dinner at a friend's house!). The next time she woke up, I still was not feeling very well. It took me a bit to get back to sleep and as I lay trying not to think about my uncomfortable insides, I decided to do some praying. For some reason, I found my mind to be distinctly clear at that hour, quite opposite to the blur it had been in as I had gone to bed.
I was thinking of how I struggle with my tongue. That day, we had done some furniture shopping and other chores and my husband had to remind me to watch how I speak to the baby when I am impatient or frustrated with not being able to get done what I want to get done. Why, I wondered, is it so hard for me to be aware of the words coming from my mouth? Why do I not realize what I sound like? I know that the attitude behind those words is sinful. I am well aware that if I could cure my selfish tendencies to want my own time and my own projects and my own...everything, that the words from my mouth would be much more patient, kind, and encouraging. How true it is that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!".
I prayed, simply and shortly, for God to forgive my sin and help me to overcome it. I've done this before, but for some reason, in the early hours this morning, with my mind more clear and focused than usual, I felt I was really connecting with God. I asked Him to remind me throughout the day to be aware of my thoughts and attitudes as well as my words.
This morning I woke, late, but feeling normal again. We headed to church (and an eventful service in which a small kid pulled the fire alarm and sent 400+ people outside mid-service!), but also where we had a challenging message delivered.
Two people gave 'words' in which they spoke about being ready for what God is doing. Don't be sleeping! Don't be unaware! Be ready. The pastor's message was excellent. It was a challenge: Get things taken care of! God has work for us to do as a Body and individually. He had big plans for us. but we need to take care of the things that are in the way. How true that is! I've often thought, "God, how will you use me when I can't seem to get past this or that sinful behavior in my life?" I almost blame God for not taking care of it, but know perfectly well that the fault lies with me. He is waiting for me to truly repent. He is there waiting. It is not His fault that I stumble and wallow in my mistakes and sinfulness. Every word the pastor said seemed to resound. "Take care of the things you know you need to take care of! If you feel like God is far away, you are wrong! He said He would never leave nor forsake you, so your perception is wrong if you think He is far away!" As the hymn says,"Though the eyes of sinful man thy glory may not see". He is there. It is our sinful eyes that can not see Him sometimes.
As I listened I thought of how true that is. God has so much in store for us if we would just take care of our sin, truly repent, and grow in our knowledge of Him. "Lay aside the sin that so easily besets us" as Paul said so many years ago. I thought of my mid-night prayer and prayed again that God would remind me of His truth. He is with me each day. He has much for me to do. Right now, the first tiny step is to overcome the sin that besets me. My attitude as I go through my days must change. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self control. If I repent, seek God, and keep my heart and my head in tune with His character and His will, I will bear these fruits. It starts in my home, with my attitude and my words toward my husband and my baby and even my dogs!
Thank God for His little visit in the night, for His words spoken through other believers to encourage and confirm, and for the great plans He has for His people!