things we found in the fire, #2

To catch up - here is segment #1.

On a particularly hard day of this little inferno, I didn’t really know what to do. I felt discouraged and called to peace and trust – so none of my normal methods of coping could ease my fears. By now I was starting to understand the answer was not yelling at my husband, worrying myself sick, crying to a friend, or even crying to the Lord. While some of those things (some) are certainly permissible, for me – they were far from beneficial.
The current battle was disappointing news and I knew I needed the Word – but for some reason I couldn’t turn to the normal trusting and faith verses – my heart was called somewhere else. Super vulnerable time. Do you have a big sin problem? Like, a really yuck one, that plagues you and makes you want to hide under your covers? Mine is blame. In my head, nothing is ever my fault. Here is the REALLY gross part – I usually don’t blame on the outside, so people can’t really call me out on it – I just do it in the comfort of my heart. So, I know that if I have a particularly stressful morning and Elias knocks over my coffee, in about ten minutes of yucky-inside-my-own-head-blaming, it will all be Nick’s fault somehow. (I told you it was gross).
To combat this, I’ve been storing up verses on marriage and wifehood and when something bad happens, and I know I’m going to start blaming Nick (even if it has nothing to do with him), I just read those verses. They’re literally written out in longhand in my journal. Pages and pages of truth about how to love your husband or how to be a righteous woman.
I got to one of my favorites – 1 Peter 3:4. … but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. Sigh. Too bad. I suppose I’m discounted from this passage, because I will never possibly be gentle or quiet. On that day, I not only still felt extremely discouraged about the battle – but I felt defeated and unable to ever measure up to the standard of a woman of God.
For a few days, I thought on this and prayed on it. When I talked to the Lord in the mornings, I would ask very fervently for a gentle and quiet spirit. When I messed up with the kids and prayed with them, I would confess to them and the Lord that I had a lack of a gentle and quiet spirit. I asked Nick to pray for me concerning a gentle and quiet spirit. Still, I felt little hope. I know who I am. I know that I often interrupt people when I get excited (or just whenever), I know I don’t always speak in hushed voices, and I know that gentle and quiet are the two last words someone would ever use to describe me.
A while later, I was taking a shower (read: complete silence and no babies to hold – providing LOTS of peace) and felt the Lord unpack something for me. What He said was this,
“Would I have created you loud and rough? Would I have created you with an incredibly ability and propensity towards non-gentility and rough, sandpapery hands? NO.”
A professor I once had explained that the Lord can be a mystery and we can not know His ways – but He can’t be untrue or contradict Himself. So He wouldn’t long for me to be gentle and quiet and create me in the exact opposite manner, would He? Never. This means, at the core of my heart – at the part that is truly Christ in Jessi (the only good part), He has created me gentle and quiet.
Do you know how much easier it is to take off loud and rough than to build quiet and gentle within yourself? To create characteristics that you don’t understand? And it’s not just semantics – this changes everything. Specifically, everything changes because I can no longer discount myself from biblical womanhood due to the nature of my personality. What the heck is a personality? Some of it for certain is God-given and the rest is built, pieced together by ourselves. I’m done with that story.
He created me to love dancing with my kids and to be gentle and quiet. He created me to enjoy making people laugh and to be gentle and quiet. I’m made with a love of design and the ability to love Jesus with all of my womanhood. These things are no longer mutually exclusive for me.
And as I prayed through this and walked in the taking off of the old things (rather than the building of others), I saw how much easier it became. I could choose to (literally) whisper rather than yelling when disciplining my children – rather than praying for fifteen minutes each morning – begging the Lord to make me gentle. To treat my husband, the world, a stranger with gentility became so much more of a joy when I saw that it was truly the natural response.

So, that is one more thing I have found in this fire. That I was created to be a woman, and I can claim those biblical truths for myself.