Friday, October 5, 2012

Make me a butterfly

Hans, and my Mama. Nobody can set me straight the way they can, and do. They see through my excuses, self-pity, and self justifications. Call me out. And even tell me to change. They say some of the most furious, painful things. Render me speechless.

Because they are usually right.
And because they love me.

I prefer my grace to come sugar-coated, please. Nope, not from them. They demonstrate grace to me in all its wholesome glory—by laying bare the depth and ugliness of my self-deception, and offer a way out.

These days, the wisdom they give can be summed up with this:
Stop chasing after what I would like to do. Instead, learn to love what must be done.*
This is hard stuff.

To stop wishing that my circumstances were different, or that people were different, or that I was different.

To love what must be done.

To love doing dishes. To love wiping up spilled milk for the third time today. To love repeating myself for the fifth time within the past five minutes. To love going to bed early. To love paying bills and filling out forms. To love holding my thoughts captive, and keeping my tongue hostage. To love being pregnant (yes, my mom actually said this. Isn't she awesome?).

Because I get to do these things for the ones I love. Because in serving them, I am worshiping the God who saved me and gave himself for me. He saves me still, from myself.

To love His will and His way. To see my duties as my delight. To not think of them as chores, but as summons from the King. To believe that his commands are not oppressive. Instead, they are his grace to me, that he would use these hands to help, these feet to run (or, more like waddle), these lips to teach and kiss, this body to bear life.

My allegiance and my affection is again called into question. What do I love? Whom do I worship?

To to love dying to self requires nothing short of a miracle. In my self-loving soul, to love God and others is like telling a larva in the cocoon to fly. This is where I fall into despair.

I am learning to pray as Augustine prayed centuries ago: "Command what you will, and grant what you command — Make me a butterfly, O my God!" For I am incapable of such metamorphosis on my own.

This transformation, however, is not the passive, unconscious kind of a larva in a cocoon. Rather, it requires striving of the most rigorous and desperate kind. It requires persuasion of the mind and a change of the will. It requires faith, through the hearing and careful consideration of the his Word. It requires divine intervention and enabling in order that I might love truly and rightly.

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.

The saints and martyrs throughout church history did not live merely for the one to two events where they marked history. Instead, God was molding them in ten thousand mundane, everyday ways to make them who they became.

Therefore, do not be downcast, my dear friend. Be persuaded by the truth and beauty of his Word. Be convinced that he is faithful to finish the work he has begun. Smell the blossoms, taste the nectar, desire the Garden.

Command what you will,
Grant what you command.
Teach me to love your narrow way.
Undo me in order that I might do what must be done.
Make me a butterfly.

*Goethe said it so well. This is a modification of his words that I first saw over at Gracelaced.


Ruth@GraceLaced said...

What a gift to me today. It is a blessing to read your post, to know from experience the very words you are writing, and to praise God in thanksgiving, that He is truly faithful to form in us what He desires, and remove from us all that stands in the way of true worship. I'm glad to be walking the journey with you! ♥

E! said...

i see watercolors.

i didnt understand your love of butterflies in the little packet you passed me of papers you loved a while ago.

thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

my friend sent a link to this blog. you write beautifully and everything you say is encouraging. please keep posting :-)

Seda said...

Ruth - Well, you are actually a few steps (or miles) ahead of me... and i'm huffing and puffing trying to catch up. Thanks for the footprints though. Wthout them i would be lost. :) *hugs*

Esther - These are the watercolors YOU passed on to E and Y! :) I've always loved butterflies. Their beauty is so transient.

Anonymous friend - Hello! Thank you for the encouragement. You are sweet to drop by. :)

Michelle @ The Willing Cook said...

I love Augustine's prayer. I must commit it to memory. I struggle with my selfishness, yet I desperately want to worship my Savior through my everyday. My soul is willing, but my flesh is weak! Thank you for another reminder of his grace and how I need it every single moment!

The Barbers said...

Oh that we as moms would love what needs doing now. To realize our seasons and find contentment in "today." Thank you for writing this.
Grace For That

Jean Tsen said...

I got diverted from the work the King summoned me to because it got hard and He graciously let me wander here...

Sanku...I really think this is one of my top faves of your posts, if not the very top.

Jean Tsen said...
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Jean Tsen said...
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Jean Tsen said...

8◻ (Kleenex under glasses)