I've been pregnant for a total of 560 days. I have been in labor for 34 hours. I have lost countless hours of sleep. I have been moved to tears of joy more times than I can count. I have lost my temper, lavished love, given a million kisses, comforted feverish children, sat on the cold bathroom floor through potty training and flu season, and danced in the kitchen barefoot with my arms wrapped around my husband and my babies–sometimes at the same time.
For those how have been married a long time, seven years probably seems like a drop in the bucket of monogamy. But for those newlyweds that are still trying to figure out a weekly menu that will utilize the pancake grill, waffle maker, indoor grill, outdoor grill, and panini maker they received (Here's a hint: you won't use any of them nearly as much as you will the Crockpot, trust me.)–we've put in the time now to qualify as married folks, through and through. We've been hitched just as long as Brad Pitt was in Tibet. So basically, forever.
When I look over the last seven years I have memories of my life. My wedding. My husband. My kids. My broken and mended heart. My loss. My gain. My success.
But if I were to squeeze in the footnotes of my prior number breakdown–I'd have to bring your attention to the source. Right before I walked down the aisle my dad prayed one of the sweetest prayers of my life. When I found out I was first pregnant, I prayed, "Lord, what now?". When I was in labor, you better believe a few prayers were blasted out on high frequency. When I've been in tears during the terrible twos–exhausted from trying to manage emotions– God gave me eyes to see that I was just like the unruly child in front of me. I've spoken harsh words that I had to ask forgiveness for–another time I relied on Jesus to annihilate my pride. Every big moment of "my life" has really been nothing but an introduction paragraph to the true story being told. The life that I grip with greedy hands in a contunual effort to hi-jack a heart that doesn't belong to me.
It belongs to my Jesus.
So the story. The big idea. The celebrations we toast, the birthdays we celebrate, the deaths we mourn- all of it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the one who is for us. Lucky for us, our Master Rescuer is the author. Even so, I can admit I keep trying to steal the pen and scratch my name into the byline.
Jesus knows that about us. And so, on purpose, he picked a ragtag team of disciples to follow him, and they–like us–always seem a step behind where God was trying to lead them. This week Pastor Brian preached on Mark 10:35-45. In it, James and John are asking to be seated at the right hand of God in heaven. They are looking for a reward for their faith, tangibly. They want to see results. They want to see the numbers crunched and the end result to be a splendid success. They want a pat on the back. And even though they are asking about heaven, which would seem a disclosure of faith in where their future will be, they are still focused on their own glory. Their own security. Their own story.
And Jesus says, "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,"
Pastor Brian asked something that resonated with me on this topic, "How often is our greatest desire not our greatest need?"
Here the disciples were: face to face with God. They knew who He was. They knew He could be trusted. And they still couldn't hand over the script. They still wanted to make it about them. And Jesus doesn't throw the book at them. He doesn't storm off and pout in the desert about how lousy his friends are at listening to what he has to say. He tries again. He points them forward. He says, serve. Serve and you will be great.
How often is our greatest desire not our greatest need?
For me, all the time. I could write an entire list of things that I desire. And most of them would seem practical. A laundry sorter. A boot tray. A gardener. An unlimited budget for kids clothes, school fundraisers, fashionable (but reasonable) clothes, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, gas, groceries, gifts, etc. But what is my greatest need?
Yep, it sounds like a Sunday School pad answer. Its sounds too simple. It sounds childish. It doesn't sound like something a really intelligent person would say.
And the best news is that until you know the Guy, it won't make sense. But when you do, you'll lay down that battered, busted heart that you're intent to dig your nails into while blood lines drip across white knuckles- and you'll get a new one. A new heart.
And that's the end of the story; right where you let Him begin.
We're in this together,