growing in faith amidst crazy shenanigans

I spent last night trying to wire a black bird on a girl’s headband. Yes, you all know that is what we mothers do for our children. My youngest son wanted to be Tonto for Homecoming character day. He was REALLY excited about dressing up this week which is a big change from the oldest. He does NOT get excited about dress up week, and can we all confess, most moms don’t either? It is hard work!

The little one and I laid it all out. The costume itself was borrowed from a cousin and I had to meet them to pick it up bright and early yesterday morning before work. The wig and headpiece were purchased (much to my chagrin) at Party City after making numerous laps through the costume aisles in search of anything Indian. Oh yes, let’s not forget the ever-popular breastplate that was purchased as well along with one black crow to attach to our headpiece. Thank goodness, I had salvaged some face-paint make-up from a Halloween gone by and could use it this morning for our war paint.

I am sure you can imagine the totals were climbing as to what it really cost us to be Tonto for one day. But, you see, my confession would have to be that I can be too much of a perfectionist and too little of a craft-minded mamma.

As I tried to think of ways to simply make the breastplate or to manipulate some seven-year-old Jack Sparrow hair for the headpiece, I realized that my day was too short and my craftiness just too lame to pull all of that off. So, yes, I resorted to my much less creative way and chose the easy way out.

This all brought to mind a few things in relation to my faith.

Do I work as hard at growing in my faith as I do everyday to pull off these crazy ideas and shenanigans?

In order to make this costume work, I got up earlier yesterday. I worked out my schedule to squeeze in a few extra minutes to pick up the items I needed to finish it. I spent some of my hard earned money to purchase what we needed. Yes, I rearranged some of my normal daily plans to fit all of this in all for the glory of a great costume for Homecoming week.

How long has it been that I really did all of that for God?

When have I ever labeled myself as a perfectionist when it comes to pursuing my faith?
When was the last time I got up a little earlier to spend time with Him? In prayer or in the Word?
When have I adjusted my schedule to fit in time for someone He has placed on my heart who needs encouragement or love or just a friend?
When was the last time I really sacrificed to help someone in need?
When exactly did I choose to do whatever needed doing to bring Him glory?

I am becoming more and more aware of how often I push those Spirit promptings to the back burner because of all my social requirements. And, yes, there are many days that those Jesus plans get overlooked because my Jennifer plans have overwhelmed me.

Thank goodness, through much prayer and His precious refining, the Spirit hasn’t given up on me.

For just a few years now I have added one simple prayer to my prayer time. Not even every day at this point, but early on, yes, I prayed this every day. More of you, Lord. Less of me.

Simple, yet profound in so many ways. That is really what He wants of us. He wants all of us so there will ultimately be less of us and more of Him.

No, he doesn’t require that we are perfect. He knows we never will be this side of heaven. But, could we just for a minute assume He wants us to seek perfection in our faith through Him.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” {Hebrews 12:1,2a}

By fixing our eyes on Him.

And, no, He doesn’t demand that I get up earlier to spend time with Him. But, I know after having done just this now for several months, He honors it. Think about the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus. It says ‘early’ she went to the tomb. What if she had missed the Savior?!

“Early {emphasis mine} on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”{John 20:1}

Time and time again, He meets me in my early morning hours. Really, He meets me any time I take the time to seek Him. Don’t you just love that He revealed himself to Mary after her seeking Him early in the morning, though? It just serves as a great reminder that He is always near and waiting to meet us.

I am also often reminded how ‘my schedule’ really isn’t mine. It is only by His grace that I am granted any time on this earth. And, that time really should be His. Never mine.

“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.” {Isaiah 33:6}

The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure – the foundations of your times. Don’t you love that it says that it is a rich store of salvation, wisdom and knowledge? My time is so much more effective with Him as its foundation.

And, in order to allow your time to truly be His, it requires great sacrifice. Not exactly a word that we choose to focus on in this day and age too much, but story after story in the Word deals with sacrifice. Some pleasing. Some not so pleasing. I love the following passage and the idea of being a ‘living sacrifice’.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” {Romans 12:1}

Yes, Lord, help me become a living sacrifice. In a world where self-seeking is the norm, help me to be self-sacrificing. Whether it be my time, my money, my actions, my attitude, or anything that I can give to show true and proper worship. Living worship. Don’t you just love that?

I really believe that He is calling us outside of our sanctuaries of worship and into a place of living worship. Worship that occurs all day every day.

And, in the midst of our seeking more of Him and less of ourselves, I am certain He will be brought much glory.

Not glory from a ‘perfect’ costume for Homecoming, but rather glory from serving a perfect Savior.
Not glory from the time we spend striving and working to be accepted by men, but rather glory from the time we surrender to a faithful Father.
Not glory from our material sacrifices that require little, but rather glory from the living sacrifices that happen daily as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

No matter the lack of perfection, the loss of time, or the change of heart it all requires, I pray we all turn our hearts to Jesus. Completely. Fully. With reckless abandon.

All for His glory.

Thank you, Father for using a black bird and a Tonto costume to open my eyes. Thank you for helping me see that even in my busy, messed up ways of striving for perfection, you are able to reveal a much better way and provide the perfect Savior. Thank you that you can take my small amount of time and my feeble talents and use them for much greater good and glory than I could ever ask or imagine. Thank you for the ability to see you when we seek you. I pray we all have a heart to seek more of you and eyes to see more of you. You are worthy of all our praise. May our lives be a living sacrifice that brings you much honor and glory. Yes, Lord, more of you. Less of me.

In the precious name of the most perfect sacrifice, our Savior, Jesus.


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