Sunday, October 07, 2007

Lower and lower

This morning before church, my oldest daughter and I were in disagreement with each other. It started with me suggesting she wear different pants and then, as these things go, it spiraled downward from there.

Inward, over this small little thing, I was stewing. Let's see if I ever give her anything again or do anything nice to her again! I'm going to ignore her until this all blows over! And such.

But I remembered this little saying I have running around in my brain, one I use quite often in relationships: love is a choice. I tried my best to keep it together in the car ride to church, to pray grace, to pray love for her. I did not do very well, for indeed I found something to pick on her about at church, just 'cause I was still mad. Lord, give me grace.

For something we do not know, and we need to be reminded of again and again is that part of love...true love...of making yourself lower and lower; more humble, that is. In turn, we are to respond in love and grace, even when rejected, and especially when it's hard. Our culture says "love yourself", the Bible says "deny yourself":

And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Luke 9:23-25
Responding in love is what Jesus does, and it's what we should strive for, too. It is our aim to go lower and lower, in humility, in responding with our husbands, our children, in relationships. Do we want to model forgiveness and love, or religious rules and corrections? Something to think about. I know I need to.

As Elisabeth Elliot said in the book Keep a Quiet Heart: "May we not let slip any cross Jesus may present to us, any little way of letting go of ourselves, any smallest task to do with gladness and humility, any disappointment accepted with grace and silence. These are His appointments. If we miss them here, we'll not find them again in this world or any other.


Goodlikeamedicine said...

Oh, Andrea, I needed this today. We must have had the same thing sprinkled in our breakfast! (Ha - or, um, our sinful nature - Ha.)

At breakfast I asked my daughter to hang the smaller diaper bag on the door knob, so we could have it ready when we left. It takes me forever it seems to get 3 kids under four dressed and out the door on Sundays because my husband leaves before we wake up to go to church and lead worship. Well, she danced around and didn't listen to me, and we were 10 mins. late because we were hunting the bag that she "just forgot where it went..." I was so mad and screamed and stewed the whole 30-min. drive to church. Our pastor basically brought these same truths, and your post has again reinforced it. I felt about 2 inches tall in my chair.

I know I wounded her spirit, and I wonder how my lack of humility damages their reception of the Word with joy in corporate worship when I get angry like this on Sundays.

God is teaching me more and more the sweet and rare jewel of humility and contentment. We need humility and need to keep asking for this grace!!

I'm with you - and I am so thankful we are not left in our sins. All praise to Jesus!

anya* said...

oh how i wish i had read this and been reminded of these truths BEFORE a ridiculously self centered argument with my husband this morning...

Beck said...

Your posts always seem to come when I need them.
Thank you for this.

dorothy said...

Such good truths in this post, Andrea. I need to keep them in the very front of my mind for each reaction when my children need grace instead of my wrath. I like that quote from Elisabeth Elliot.

tonia said...

ditto what beck said.


:..Rebekah..: said...

What an amazing quote from Elizabeth Elliot!! I'm going to have to write it down and read it daily. Of my four children, three are girls, and I've had plenty of opportunities, or appointments, I should say, with my oldest, especially. (I know plenty more are coming with the other two as they get older) Unfortunately I don't always clothe myself with grace, gladness, and humility. I can honestly say that I've probably never been clothed in silence! :>
Thanks for sharing this, and thanks for the wonderful quote!
God bless,

e-Mom said...

A lovely post, full of wisdom and truth. You also seem to be talking about submission here.

I'm reminded of John the Baptist's statement "He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30) Yet, Jesus called The Baptist the "greatest man who ever lived." (Matt 11:11) Wow. Great in God's kingdom means humble or servant. Elisabeth Elliot has the concept of servant-leader down pat! Blessings, e-Mom :~)

Beverly said...

Sigh. Thank you, Andrea. I needed this. Grace and Silence (from the Elliot quote) - so often I forget!

Terry said...

Your honesty is refreshing and encouraging. As a mother of a teenage daughter, it's so comforting to know that someone, somewhere understands the challenges. I also appreciate the gentle adomnishment and reminder from scripture (Thank You!) to humble myself as Christ would rather than assert my own way, even if I think I'm right. Another great post.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I know! Don't you sometimes feel like the adolescent yourself thinking, "Well, I'll teach her. . . . " I know I do. I have to remind myself that I am the adult. I am the one who is supposed to be bearing more fruit and to have learned more along this journey. I am thankful that my daughter and I can usually talk through things (at least after the fact), and we are both up to continue learning.

Elise said...

(((Andrea))) It can be so hard. Humility.

May your heart and mine be quiet, so we miss no appointments. Even the smallest.

Mary Brooke said...

Thank you for your candidness. These truths about humility and teaching love come at a perfect time for me. Our oldest child is only 5 and it's also enlightening to look ahead...and to enjoy these years even when I am attending to physical needs constantly. Mary Brooke
ps We enjoyed "Ushpizin" and your potatoes au gratin on our beach trip. I highly recommend the "7 Up" movies that follow children in England beginning when they are 7..fascinating

Kendra said...

Why is it that we so love to hold on to that anger when it feels so good to let it go?
For me, I think it's just my pride. Yep, pretty sure it's my pride that causes almost all of my sin.
I really appreciate your parenting teenagers posts, I'm sure I'll be coming to you for advice in about 5 years.

Andrea said...

Oh, Kendra, you're sweet. Please don't come to me for advice on teens, though, I'm feeling this one through. I've never been a parent to a teenager, you know!! ;)

Mrs. Pivec said...

A wonderful post, Andrea - challenging, but wonderful. :) Like you, I have a phrase similar to yours of which I remind myself and that is, "love reaches." He reached out to us first, He was humble first and He forgave us first. I have plenty of moments when I have been humble... but more like "humbled" - and a little too late. Those are the times when I relive a scene in my head and cringe and then usually go ask my child for forgiveness. I'd love to think the heat of the moment never gets to me anymore, but it does. I'm getting better, but, sometimes it certainly does.