Have nicely stocked up my inspirational read library as of lately.....have so many good books to read that I hope will both teach me/inspire me more. I need to learn more. I need to change sooooooo much about me. I am in a work in progress. Before Ansen's pregnancy, I "knew" that I was a great Christian and that I had very few flaws. HAAAAAA! Along with the other 179 life lessons Ansen's pregnancy taught me, number 180 is that I am as flawed and sinful as every other person in this world. That was a hard lesson to take in..it was like a ton of bricks hitting me all at once. For 30 years, I had lived thinking that I was a "good girl". And I may seem like a good girl, but my daily sins are as real as anyone else's. I am grateful God hasn't given up on me and that he gives me the chance to start fresh daily/hourly/even minutely. Will I use up all my "get out of jail" cards one day? Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the gift of God's grace, only in that many times I don't feel like I deserve a 2nd or 3rd or 457th chance to start over. How can God not get frustruated with how I fail Him daily?? When I push His teachings to the back of my mind for a moment so I can do what I want to do in that instant. Again and again. Daily.
For Lent, I decided I wouldn't shop at all those 40 days. The night before Lent, I bought and bought and bought to prepare myself for my spending halt. And yet I have failed almost every single day after that. We live in a consumerist world. And those lessons have been so ingrained in me that I have had a really hard time with this. I joked with a friend that my Lenten promise has seemingly turned into 'I will make a purchase daily' instead. I have bought yet more inspirational books. I have bought clothes. I have bought knitting needles and yarn. I have bought knitting patterns. I have bought Journibles (which I think will be an amazing way to learn the Bible-starting with Psalms). But still, every one of those purchases feels like I slapped God in the face in regards to my promise. I made a promise, why can I convince myself in my moments of weakness that each of these small purchases is okay bc its something I want and need and deserve. I feel soooo incredibly guilty. If I was God, I would just want to wring my hands of myself and move on to someone who has a bit more self-control and promise. Yet he gives me yet another chance. A new day to try again.
I find grace so confusing bc its hard to understand with the human perspective we have. People hurt us over and over again in life, and we WANT to wring our hands of them forever. I think the closest thing in regards to God's grace in this world is parenting some of my strong willed children. They deny my authority in their lives repeatedly, they do the opposite of what I ask regularly, they break the rules as often as they feel like it. Daily, I have to take my frustruations with their behavior and actions and process it...and then move on. Because I love them and no matter how many times they may fail me, I still have high hopes for their future. That one day I might get a group of good natured, God pleasing, respectful adults out of this brood. Some days though, I am overwhelmed....some days this parenting thing seems too hard. I want to give up....but I can't. Because they are my children. I helped create them and I love them. They are my responsibility...I am not to give up on them, no matter how hard and hopeless some days may seem. And I am God's child. And He loves me. He loves me despite my deeply sinful nature and my love to spend. He loves the sinner, just not the sins. And he has high hopes and amazing plans for me, if only I trust and follow Him.
I am so grateful for God's grace. I don't feel worthy at all, but I am grateful. And I hope to get some major reading, growing and learning done in the next months/years/pretty much every day left of this life here. I am a work in progress...and I am in NO WAY near completion. Some days I think of myself at just the beginning of a long, arduous, beautiful metamorphisis that will take place. I have so much to learn though....it can be daunting to consider. Just like the desperate feeling I had when I had only 1 child and I knew there were meant to be quite a few many more to follow to complete our family (not just the typical 1 or 2 more)...such is the feeling in regards to what I have left to learn in this world. In the great classroom of life, I am maybe in 2nd grade here. Sometimes feels more like 1st grade though. Boy do I have a long way to go. I am eager and ready to learn though...my heart and soul yearn for this. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.
Thankfully God doesn't expect me to wake up and be perfect one day. But he does expect me to start each day wanting to learn more, try more and do more. He expects that I will try my hardest to fight against false idols and sins (both small and large) every minute of every day. I may fail at times (which is very frustruating to me....WHY when I know right from wrong-why can't I follow through the right way each and every time), but I won't give up. I can't give up. Just as He extends His love and grace upon me, I will always innately strive to make my Father proud. I will continue to work at this. Every minute of every day I have left on Earth. One day, this work in progress will be whole and complete.