Monday, November 17, 2014

Worth and Thanksgiving

I've been struggling a lot lately, friends.  Struggling with this weird life phase I'm in, with where we live, the career I've chosen... my circumstances, to name it all in some larger sense.  I keep wondering what exactly it is that I'm doing, and if I were to wake up tomorrow and it was all taken away from me, what would it mean?  What if tomorrow I had my nursing license revoked and was told that I could never practice nursing again? Would I be ok with that?  And what if Scott suddenly decided that this marriage was more than he bargained for and maybe we shouldn't be married after all (I will be shocked to death if this ever happens as we have both had extensive conversations over the past 8.5 years over what the covenant of marriage means to us and how we feel about divorce, but this is for illustrative purposes)?  What if I got evicted after all of that and had to move back home to North Carolina?

A lot of what if's.  A lot of wondering.  A lot of trying to sort through my life to figure out what I value and where I find my worth.  Is it in my work? My marriage? My clothes, my apartment, my cooking?  I keep wondering, what if everything I have ever loved and valued was stripped out from underneath me? Would I still praise God? Or would I curse him?  Scott and I read through Job a while ago and I think about Job and how he responded to being tested in this way.

If you don't know the story of Job, he was basically a really awesome guy.  He loved God and served Him well, didn't do bad things, loved his family, etc.  But God gives Satan permission to test Job, so Job had his home, all of his belongings, and his family taken away from him.  His children were all killed when a great wind came and struck down the house, and still Job says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21)

After this, Satan sets horrible sores all over Job's body, and though his only remaining family member, his wife, encourages him to curse God, he does not.  Instead, he sits with his friends for seven days and nights without speaking.  Seven days.  What great friends, to sit with him through his suffering like that.  Most of us can't last five minutes in silence sitting across from a family member with a new cancer diagnosis or a friend who is telling you that her marriage is crumbling.

But then, Job finally speaks, and he curses the day he was born (Job 3:1).  And I think that this would be what I would do.   I think I would wallow in self-pity and wonder about why God ever even brought me to be in existence if he was just going to bring all of this horror and suffering upon me.  And so I think of Job when I think about all of these questions that I've been struggling with lately.  I like to think that I could have the attitude of Job in chapter 1 when he sees how the Lord has given and taken away, but I think I would be the chapter 3 Job instead, unfortunately.

And what does that say about my worth? I think it speaks volumes on this-- suggesting that my worth is found in all of these things instead of the One who created all of the things and who chooses to bless me with them.  The job, the education, the apartment, the husband.

With that in mind, I'm really reflecting on what I'm thankful for in this season of thanksgiving in more ways than I normally do; the gravity of all I am thankful for is that much deeper this year, and the idea of not being grateful enough seems so shameful.  I am ever so grateful for the grace of Jesus and the gift I have been given in living a life free of bondage.  The fact that I can worship freely, talk about Him freely, read His word freely, that is worth more than any thing I could ever possess.

Maybe I'm overdramatic and over-analytical and overly emotional these past few months, but I must confess that though I've hated the process of growing and stretching, it's been an immensely valuable and worthy experience for me. It's opened my heart to the life I am really called to instead of the one I had been halfway living.

The pages in my blue Bible have been my life breath, the words on them my oxygen.  As Christmas approaches and the stores go crazy with lights, Christmas carols, sales, and sparkle, I want to remember the reason for all of the sparkle.  I want to remember that it's because of a little baby who is our Savior in the flesh, coming to the Earth to die for our sins such that we might live eternally with Him in heaven.  And I want to remember that this is my life's worth, and that this is it's true value.  It's never been about me; it's always been about Him.  And how many times do I still continue to miss that point? Daily.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."  Romans 3:23-25

I am thankful for that redemption.  Lots of love to you all this week.  My heart is burdened with the fear that I will not appreciate and value the gravity of these truths, but my prayer is that I would.


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