Friday, January 7, 2011

insufficient but grace abounds!

My dad refers to getting cash out of an ATM as playing the lottery. He jokes that he endured several unlucky years before finally winning.  Now he wins regularly.  I've had my share of losses at the ATM, too.  NSF.  Insufficient Funds.  Oh, that's the worst.

There are times when I feel like I have NSF stamped on my forehead.  Actually, I guess it would be NSMS... Insufficient Mommy Skills.  I find myself totally lacking in many areas of motherhood that seem to come so easily to other moms I know.  I realize that comparing myself to other moms is no good at all.  People have different strengths, different areas of weakness, yada yada yada.  I try to tell myself these things.  But I wouldn't describe my weaknesses as "areas that need improvement",  or "places where I fall just barely short of the goal".  No, I'm talking about complete wipeout-mud in the teeth-dragging along the ground-brutal KO-you shouldn't be here, honey, just go home- that kind of insufficient.  It's not my children that make me feel insufficient, my kids are awesome.  It's the rest of the job.  The having it all together part. Guess what... I don't.  I might never have it all together.  I'll probably always feel insufficient.  Not because I have self confidence issues.  Because I actually am insufficient.

** the section above was written over 2 months ago.  I'm ready to finish it now, and move on!**

I've been drowning in the guilt my insufficiency, my weak areas.  Dragging myself down with the weight my inability.  God has been faithful to attempt to encourage me.  Verses like "My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness" and "Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world" have been comforting me but I was not really listening or letting His words soak in.  I was still overwhelmed by my insufficiency.

Until last Sunday.  We stayed for the second service at church because we teach the teenagers during the first service.  The role of a pastor-teacher-prophet is a very wise part of God's design.  Somewhere in the middle of Robert's sermon, he brought up Moses.  Moses, a shepherd, listening to the voice of God in a burning bush.  God, giving clear, detailed, specific instructions to someone who couldn't hear or believe because he was so focused on his inability.  Moses threw back several what-ifs... as if God hadn't thought through His plan all the way.  God patiently answered Moses and encouraged him, at first.  Finally, God says, "Okay, Moses, you've heard the plan, now go!" Moses (unable to comprehend anything but his own insufficiency) said, "O Lord, please send someone else." Then the clincher, exodus 4:14- "Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses." Yeah, that sort of caught my attention.  I think the way Robert put it was something like, "Moses, SHUT UP!"

I had been telling God (and myself, and Braj) for two months how much of a mess I am and unequipped to be a good mommy I am, how hard the daily grind can be and how unfair it is, and me me me me me me.

I'm so glad God finally broke through my naval gazing (Elisabet says that, Robert's wife... anyone else ever heard that expression?) and said (lovingly), "SHANNON, SHUT UP!  I AM WITH YOU, NOW LET'S GO, WE'VE GOT WORK TO DO!"

Tremendous relief.  Amazing grace.

Well, now that that's off my chest, I am free to blog more and post some pics.  I've got some good ones coming up.

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