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"anything" - missing buttons/losing control

"We are supposed to want God all the time for everything and trust Him with every aspect of our lives.  We are also supposed to hand write thank-you notes and vote in local elections."

Let's face it.  We are "supposed" to do lots of things.  We are supposed to be good, love others, be beautiful and together, prompt, organized, genuine, on and on.  Praise God for giving us grace - but that doesn't mean everyone else does.  Jennie points out that when God gives us grace He takes something from us.  He takes our control.

Last night I listened as my daughter Meredyth gave her testimony in small group.  Her stories were my stories.  As tears ran down her face and I listened to her words, I relived every moment of her pain.  I thought of how much God had taught me since she was born.  Ah....my plan was to dress her in frilly dresses and big white bows and protect her from every hard thing.  I was single-minded in my pursuit of perfect motherhood.  I wanted absolutely none of the horrible things that I had endured to touch her in any way, and I never wanted her to feel the insecurity and helplessness that I felt.  

But...life doesn't work like that.  

If I had my way, Meredyth would have never felt a moment of pain in her life.  She would never have been broken and afraid.  I felt like I failed when I could not protect her from life, but God had a plan all along.  His plan is so much better than mine!  My role was not to protect her from all the hurt, it was to teach her who will heal those hurts, put her back together, and make her stronger.

What I see in her that I struggle to see in my own life is that the broken places are actually the beautiful ones.  As women, we are most beautiful when we are vulnerable and teachable. When we let go of control and fear, and trust God with our stuff, He gives us freedom.  What a trade!

"Freedom isn't found in rebelling or pretending.  Both places bind us tighter.  Freedom is found in a person who took care of the buttons we are missing, the places that are scarred in us and stolen from us......If I view God rightly, I run to Him the second any weight descends on my shoulders  He deals with it.  I go to Him broken, like the adulterous woman in the Bible, and he takes my hand and helps me up and says to me as He said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you, go and from now on sin now more.' (John 8:11)

And from the final page of the chapter:
"This is the gospel:
We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
And then God did what the law could not do.  He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.  (Romans 8:3 paraphrased)
Christ did what none of us, no matter how bright and shiny could do.
We get to be free."
Hallelujah.





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"anything" - abandoning entitlement

Expectation.

Unfulfilled expectations are something I have struggled with before, and probably always will.  Anyone else?  

I don't think I really expected my life to be perfect or easy, because it didn't start out that way.  I did, however, have a plan and a goal and I headed toward that with everything I had.  I mean, ever since I was very young I had a picture in my head of what my "ideal" life would look like, and I orchestrated lots of details to make it happen.  

But..... what happens when life doesn't look like that?  Honestly, it feels like failure.  

In chapter 5, Jennie explains that "It is too easy in this country for blessings to become rights, for stuff and money to become what calls the shots in our lives.  And before we know it, God's gifts have replaced himself."  Wow.

Why do we settle?  The point is not that we have a plan and it doesn't work out.  The point is that we shortchange ourselves when we pursue our plan and not his.  On pa…