Monthly Archives: February 2016

Let Go of Tidy Faith 

I am not a neat freak. At least when it comes to our home, my bedroom, and my hairstyle.tidy faith large

Unfortunately, I can be a perfectionist of presentation when it comes to my faith.

When life presents difficult moments, moments when I doubt God’s provision, I cling to this concept of tidy faith. When exhaustion, discouragement, and loneliness settle in for a siege on my soul, I cling to truth of Scripture as my life-line. I busy myself with life-giving tasks that remind me I am not defeated. I pray, hard. This is absolutely the appropriate response in difficult times… save for one missing piece: acknowledging the distress.

Recovering perfectionists like myself would never say out loud that we have it all together, but we try to present such confidence in our faith.

Tidy Faith skips the relational step of crying out to God: this hurts! It jumps straight to the part where we preach truth to ourselves (which, of course, is crucial). However, we should not pursue the strength to move on without acknowledging the need for an intimate outpouring of our hearts to God. (Psalm 62:8)

tidy faith

Messy Faith provides this avenue for intimacy with God. He is inviting us to just be real with Him for a change.

Tidy Faith is a breeding ground for false humility. False humility is, in fact,  pride. Often, I think so lowly of my struggles that I assume God does not care about these little battles. Because I am still thinking of myself, albeit negatively, my pride is still on full display. I rewrite first Peter 5:7 to say “cast all your cares on yourself, Becky, because they are too insignificant for God to be concerned.”

Messy Faith gets me thinking about God’s greatness, His kindness… His closeness to invite me, with all my own small problems, into His embrace. With eyes on Him, I can experience the true humility required to let go of presentable faith. Engaging in messy faith gives me permission to be real and honest with my emotions and discouragement. God says that He cares(!), so we should be humble, messy enough to cast all our cares on Him!

messy faith

Tidy Faith upholds a sense of respect and honor towards God. It drives us to worship Him instead of complaining about our distress. While this perspective is necessary and admirable, I believe God wants more than respect and honor. Many of the Psalms exemplify the reality of messy faith. To cry out in anguish, question the Almighty, and lay all burdens of woe at His feet, and still proclaim His faithful lovingkindness. God desires intimate relationship in the untidy moments of despair.

Messy Faith gives us that intimacy.

I should note that we cannot remove faith from the equation. It is tempting to simply allow ourselves to be messy, but we must not let our emotions run rampant, trampling down truth so it can’t heal our hearts. Trust is a choice that should not be confused with emotion.

Can we let go of Tidy Faith.

Can we embrace a messy faith which acknowledges pain, uncertainty, and discouragement?

Could we welcome a wild-haired faith, which brings all the real feelings of a fractured heart to the feet of our Savior?

Dare we champion a disorderly faith which, before moving on to strength-getting and onward-marching, relishes those uncomfortable moments where Jesus meets us, right where we are?

Campfire Check In:

How do you let go of Tidy Faith?

Join me in #40fasts with author Alicia Britt Chole’s book 40 Days of Decrease. Day 5 challenges readers to fast from Tidy Faith, the inspiration for this post.

 

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Am I a Good Mom? Confessions of a Mama of Twin Toddlers

am I a good momI wake up with a jolt. My husband is already up and in the shower and I ignored my alarm again. With less than 2 hours till the twins wake up (let’s be honest, they are probably already awake), I need to capitalize on these morning moments.

I struggle to slow down enough to stretch tired muscles before checking off a brief cardio session. I mean 10 minutes, my friends. “Ten has got to be better than nothing, right?” I think. “Am I any good at this mom thing?”

Aware of my weakness, I get on my knees desperate for Gods power today.

  • Power to say no to temptation, to my insatiable appetite for control.
  • Courage to choose to be present.
  • Self-control to refuse food as my comfort.
  • Physical strength to carry my bruiser of a son without redefining the alignment of my skeleton.

I beg for God to be strong in my weak areas as a wife, mentor, sister, and friend.

Coffee percolates, and I rush through a hot shower, wearing my retainer for the first time in months. Will my kids need orthodontic work like I did, I wonder. Trying not to add up the worrisome financial numbers, I tell myself “lets just get through teething first.”

And realistically, “get though” is all we can do. Pacifiers are a dentists nightmare, but right now, they are a family’s sanity saver. Not sure if this is a move in the “good mom” direction or not, but today will not be the day we quit the pacis. But it will be a day we fire on all other cylinders.

With my self-applied pep-talk hitting the spot, I intend to start the twins’ day with physical and spiritual nourishment. Groggy kids wake up to a feast of potato and spinach omelettes, whole-grain toast, oranges and bananas… and bit of Bible reading at breakfast to sustain our souls for the day as well.

  I snap a pic of this ambitious venture. These days, my Instagram posts are much different from the polished journal entries and pretty Bible-next-to-coffee set up. However, I must admit, I get as much truth from the Rhyme Bible as I do a daily devotional by a favorite author.

I barely get my first bite of breakfast in, much less two words from our Bible story, and the kids are giving me the “all done” sign. Food flies as 2 toddlers wave their hands frantically, exclaiming their discontentment.

Abandoning my hot eggs, I scoop toddler A out of his chair, wipe banana slime from little pink fingers, and plop his tush in the living room for some quiet playtime. Repeat for toddler B.

Trying not to be exasperated by the untouched orange slices and unread storybook Bible, I wonder again, am I a good mom?

And the Holy Spirit whispers to my striving soul, “you are asking the wrong question, Becky.”

This great God, having bent low not only to save me through Jesus on the cross, but also to breathe life and liberation to my mothering in this moment… This sweet Savior invites me to ask a different question: “is God a good Father?”

I start seeing the events of the day though the lenses of this new question. Each failure of this day is a canvas on which God paints his grace. Each achievement is a snapshot of His provision.

No longer concerned with my own ability to be good, I start to I notice His goodness over the next few hours:

In a moment of sweet-hearted kindness, Evi finds her brother’s lost pacifier and races it to plug his fit-throwing lips. (This molar cutting business is high class drama).

Becalmed for the moment, Titus drags his feet to my side at the couch, to which I have migrated with my half-eaten breakfast. He proceeds to demand and munch down my leftovers, sprinkling crumbs across the carpet like a farmer sowing seeds. At least he does so with a smile.

“Good Father,” I pray, “help Titus grow up to be a man who scatters spiritual seeds of truth and grace and Your great love for all mankind.”

Titus not so subtly reminds me that, right now, he is stubborn limit-tester, who hoards crackers and sippy-cups in the bottom of the blanket bin. So I pray he has the same kind of tenacity hide Gods word in His heart someday.

We have a dance party. I show Evi how to feed her baby doll a bottle. She lines up all 4 of her dolls and feeds them one at a time. I give Titus a light-saber tutorial. The kids read books, throw fits, trip over invisible obstacles and cry because it hurts to fall down. I put down my phone I’ve been staring at for far too long and kiss the invisible bruises.

My daughter brings me her baby doll for wardrobe assistance. I cram in a bite of room temperature eggs and adjust the doll’s hat. Snatching her from my hands, Evi swoops the doll in for an affectionate squeeze and a knowing look back at me.

“You are a good mommy, Sweetie,” I whisper in her ear. And I realize that Jesus is saying the same thing to me.

I have spent almost an hour writing these short, rambling paragraphs, fitting in the dictation between sharing lessons and rescue missions from the black hole in our home called a toy box.

Amazingly, I have almost finished a whole cup of coffee too. If the rest of the day doesn’t prove it, that cup of coffee reminds me that God is a good, good Father.

Humility helped me choose to notice His goodness today, and record it here to celebrate it again tomorrow. I’ll need these sweet memories to muse over my cold eggs next week.

Campfire Check-In:

Do you ask yourself the “good mom”, “good wife”, “good _________” question? How do you see God’s goodness setting you free from impossible standards in your life?

The High School girls’ Bible study I am leading, #joiedevivrebiblestudy, is currently accepting the #solongselfiechallenge in effort to recognize and celebrate God’s goodness instead of our own. Follow me on Instagram for more information: @campfiregrace.

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