To give you a backdrop I'm reading Humility by CJ Mahaney. I should say I'm being wrecked by Humility by CJ Mahaney. I commend it to you if you struggle with issues of pride...and if you don't struggle with pride then you REALLY need to read it. I'm convinced pride is the ultimate foundation of sin. Just before I typed that last line I was googling for a quote on pride to make myself sound smart. (sigh) Anyway, I'm just giving you some insight into what's been going on in my life. I am not entirely sure what it has to do with what I intended to write here but it's what started coming out when I started typing. ...making the connection...making the connection...
This is like dial-up...
Mahaney gives some practical ways on developing humility and slaying pride. Some really good ways. One of the things he says is important is looking for and pointing out "evidences of grace" in others. In other words, we should look to intentionally see the imago dei, God's image imprinted on others. The Bible is quite clear on this matter and I won't go into a ton of background here. If you want more on this read the Bible and Mahaney's book. I need to get to what I came here for before I lose you.
I've been trying to see God's grace in others over the past week. It's quite alarming when I begin trying to turn your snide thoughts and snarky comments into life-building exhortations. I've started just by doing it in my head. Practicing. Lest I open my mouth and look like a fool (see pride).
I'm making the bridge. Are you walking with me?
This will sound at first like an aside. I promise it ties in. Let me be really honest. A time or two I have gotten frustrated at waking up in the middle of the night to a crying baby. I have snapped at Jessica once or twice. (I am tempted to type "due to lack of sleep" or some other excuse) There is no excuse. Really. There's not. Don't get me wrong I consider God's grace daily! I am immensely grateful for Evie. But it's easy to lose sight of God's grace. I forget to be thankful for things sometimes. My pride gets in the way. I like my sleep. And God's grace slips my mind. I've had Jessica all to myself for more than half my life. God's grace moves to the back and my pride and jealousy steps forward.
I've now started looking for evidences of grace, even Evie and Jessica. It's pretty easily found in them, the ones you love most. In the twilight hours one morning I was feeding Evie and praying for her:
Lord, thank You for her lungs and breath that wake me up. I ask that she would use her voice to lead others to You, to speak truth, and to stand up for the oppressed.
Thank You for her digestive system that seems to only make messes out of one end or the other. I'm not sure how her digestive system will honor you, but You made every bit of her and I pray she honors you with her whole being.
God, I thank you for her hands that always seem to get into the spit-up. Lord, may her hands always serve others and bring praise to You.
This may sound odd or even funny, but I need to give thanks for these things. Maybe you do too. I must preach these things to myself in order to keep a proper perspective. An amazing miracle happened in the Old Testament, one that often goes unnoticed. As the Israelites marched through the desert for decades God caused the Israelites clothes and shoes to not wear out! Can you imagine that?!? My shoes don't last 2 years, much less a deacde! Much less 4 decades! Do you think they gave thanks for their shoes? I don't think I've ever said "God, thank You for my shoes. Thanks that they stay in good shape." I forget the grace that's been given to me. I don't thank God often enough. I'm going to do better.
Thanks for reading.