Some days it's easier to dig into the Word than others. Some days I can't get through a chapter without it ripping me to shreds. Today was one of those days.
During the girls nap I sat down with Eamon's bible. Lily & Norah had been fighting all morning, I'd been on the phone taking care of various business matters, impatiently waiting to hear back from a leasing department about an apartment... It had been a rough one. I chose joy ever minute of the day, but it was exhausting.
Eamon had mentioned (while I was glued to my mom's tv, waiting for the Prince & Dutchess to show off the new babe) that the royal fam was conaidering one of "his" boy names, "James". (oh no they di'ent) so I flipped over to James to see what the Lord inspired this Saint to write.
" 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let endurance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
Line by line, a painful blow that broke through to some long sought after clarity. I've read James... I don't know how many times, but today my heart felt something new.
My stubborness and unwillingness to take joy in our circumatances finally stung. I reflected on the dozens of times where friends or family have said "Wow, that's gotta be rough" and my reaction was "rough... ROUGH?!You're freakin kidding me, right? Betrayal by your father leaving you and your family of five, FIVE, living in your MIL'S craft room without a penny to your name, praying that you can get into a 950 sq ft, 2 bedroom appartment in government housing when you had a cute house with a yard and happy little life... Yeah. ROUGH's the word. Bitch." I didn't ever actually call anyone a bitch... I just felt like that should be there...
^That, my friends, is the response of a heart who has not let Endurance do it's work. Who has yet to see the fruits of Maturity.
"Oh, Lord, forgive that heart. Break it more, rip it away, help me LET. THIS. GO."
And then immediate affirmation of receiving no answers... My doubt. My ever reoccuring, pitiful, unfounded doubt. I thought about the seaweed that washes up at Padre Island. The waves bring it to shore from the depths of the Gulf. Before it is beached, it's tossed from surf, to sand over and over, incapable of controlling which direction it will take. To the shore if the wind is angry enough to blow it there, or back out to sea if the tide decides to reclaim what is her's. The seaweed cares not. It goes as it's surroundings dictate.
I got to verse 9 and remembered my plea to Jesus in the monthals preceeding Phoebe'a birth, begging him to strip me of my wants, my need of THINGS, my love.of my possessions, and then remembered crying at Eamon over the fact that our STUFF was too big and too much for an apartment and too "important" to let go of. I could only hang my head and shake it. My own greed, filling me with ugly pride.
And verse 12... A prayer answered.
I have been fighting bitterness over Phoebe's birth for months. "Why so long, Jesus? Why didn't you show up sooner? Why didn't you "redeem" Norah's birth? Why couldn't I have a normal "third time mom" birth?"
It has become very, very clear to me God has done for me, ever so sweetly, in my births. Lily's- cake. Lily's labor and birth could not have been hard, or fear inducing, if it were, I wouldn't have had the confidence *or endurance* to make it through 8 hours of painful transition with Norah. And now I truly believe that I made it through Phoebe's day long non progression because I knew that it was nothing compared to my pain with Norah and that Jesus WAS there, and she would come. I had two births worth of endurance under my belt to get me through it. Thank you, Jesus, for building that endurance in me, and for the lives of my sweet girls that it produced.
In truth, endurance scares me. It gaurantees that fruitful maturity is being grown, yes, but also that there is even more on the horizon. But in these past few weeks and months of trial, and having a hard time finding where God's promise is in all of this- I will cling to this:
"...that person will receive the crown of Life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
I love Him, and I will take that crown for me and my house.