I visit with an old friend and in response I bring up an old enemy.
While there are days that I have wrestled greatly with fear, there are more days that I wrestle with comparison.
That old enemy of my eyes being on the lives of others which brings eyes of discontent onto my life.
And as I wrestle with my feelings, this overreaching desire to criticize her choices and her life brings me to a new place.
I drive down a highway pleading with God to remove this discontent.
I attempt to pray for this friend every time I start to mull over her.
Then I am stopped in my thoughts by this…
while comparing my life to others I am living in discontentment, yes, but
I am even more saying to God that the choices I’ve made; the choices that I know He has led me to,
That with each frustration over my life compared to hers;
with each jealous thought that stems when I think of what I don’t have
I am telling my Jesus that He has me on the wrong path;
I am telling my Jesus that I don’t trust Him.
So then my prayers for her turn to prayers of forgiveness for me;
for my sin and my shame.
And then I am reminded of Ann’s words:
“Every breath is a battle between grudgery and gratitude.”
Every breath is a battle between
comparing and loving.
Again I remember what Ann writes it is “impossible to simultaneously give thanks and feel fear” and I add that it is impossible to keep my eyes onto the blessings, to recognize the details of God in my life and ponder the better life I think others might have.
I walk home from dropping off my children at school. It is a crisp morning, one that stirs you up, energizes and renews and I am overcome with gratitude. I am overcome with the simple act of walking my children to school. I am overcome with the healing in my body, but even more the change in my soul.
I hear the words of Zephaniah playing in my head…
The Lord your God is in your midst and living among you
He is a mighty, victorious warrior who can deliver and save
He takes great delight in you, rejoices over you with gladness.
He renews, quiets you with His love, He no longer rebukes you, His love calms your fears
He shouts for JOY over you, exults over you with singing…loud singing.
How and what could have ever brought me to the place where I think my life is so much worse than others…that the choices, places, things He has given and led me to could ever be wrong? Or that their choices are wrong?
And I look at the words I’ve started to sew and I continue the count. Knowing that every number I count is one more step, one more detail, one more way that I am emptying myself of all these things that keep me from Him.
431. opening the windows on a September morning to feel the coolness
432. stepping outside after a rain
433. the smile of my girl this early morning
434. the bearing of wounds in the heart of my son
435. twinges and pulls slightly dimished
436. an overwhelming sense of Him as I walk home
437. a raging conversation with my God as I drive down the highway
438. old relationships
439. emails that blow my mind
440. arrival of parents/grandparents after long being away
441. the joy of ice cream in the middle of the afternoon
442. a fridge so overflowing with His bounty that keeps on giving
443. worship, conversation, relationships growing
444. the reminder that, yes, He rejoices over me!
445. quiet, stillness
446. the look, swagger, walk of a husband so proud of the work he has accomplished
447. a lifting and stirring that I’ve long prayed for in him
448. the blue and green and light outside my window
449. laughter right before sleep
450. the perfection of His provision