Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Camping Trip

Our annual camping trip was more glorious than I could have asked for it to be. We did a lot of sitting around watching the kids ride bikes. We ate more food than one Mama might need to eat in a month's time. We loved on our kids and each other. We laughed and we talked of life and love and the way that our Jesus is growing us all up into Him. 


My Jesus, He's been molding me as of late and although I am completely confident of what He's asking of me, quite frankly I simply do not want to let it go. 

I've been reading two of Ms. Helen Roseveare's books over and over again. On our camping trip I was blessed with lots of time to sit and read and soak up this woman's words, this woman's life, this woman's humbling journey into knowing her Savior the way that I want to know my Savior. 

She was a missionary doctor in Africa for nearly 30 years and she's left me asking myself a series of much needed questions this past week. She was a doctor in the jungles of Africa, I am a Mama of many small children out in the country. 

And although her book has absolutely nothing to do with mothering (she never even married), I found myself captivated by His voice, by His tender touch in her life, by His patience as she learned to lay down her own pride over a 40 year period of serving Him, by His faithfulness in her slowness to understand that His Kingdom is indeed completely upside down.

In a culture of personal rights, how does a woman learn to joyfully surrender all to the very One who gave it all out of obedience to His Father, "to the point of death, even death on the cross?" (Philippians 2:8)

What will my life look like if my deepest longing truly is "To know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...??" (Phil 3:10)

I've been thinking about what it is about my life that keeps me from knowing my Jesus the way that my mind begs to know Him? Am I willing to lay down all that I feel is mine (my rights) and trust that what He chooses for me is best? 

She asks the question clear as day and in the quietness of our camper in the woods, and I can't turn away from His attempt to draw me near...

"There is nothing wrong with an appreciation of individual human rights, but perhaps God is asking us to be willing to have a different attitude with regard to ourselves...

'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as high as the heavens are above the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,' (Isaiah 55:8-9)

'I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship' (Romans 12:1)

The Lord is pleading with us for full surrender, an absolute, willing sacrifice of all that I consider mine, which certainly will include my rights to decide and choose and act on my own initiative. It is not enough to give mental assent to doctrinal teaching. There must be a practical, realistic response. The plea is for action. "Present your bodies {all that you are}a living... sacrifice.' The Christian is invited to give God all. To make Him indisputably King over every part of life: to become, as it were, His bondslave in total obedience to His will."

Is that it? Is that what my mothering needs? 

Less and less and less of me, of my pride, of my determination to make them what I want them to be, and more and more and more of relinguinishing all to Him?
The daily  life, His?
The chores, the laundry, the constant heart- work necessary to keep all our eyes focused on Him?
My inabilities, my insecurities,  His?
A willingness to break, His? 
A breaking down of my pride, a willingness for Him to allow me to be weak that He might be strong?
A willingness to  consider all as loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I might suffer the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ. "
My will, my rights, His?

I do this mothering thing so imperfectly. I spend many days thinking about myself above the hearts of these little ones. But this is where He has placed me, the life-work to which He has called me to. It humbles me to a point where I often find myself at a total loss.  And yet it makes me aware that He is in fact molding me. 

I long to be that living sacrifice that He talks about. 

To be a living sacrifice  will involve all of my time.
It will involve all of my possesions.
It will involve all of myself, 
my love
the laying down of my own will 
in exchange for the joy of walking fully in His will. 

I left the farm gates last week with a heavy burden of self sufficiency, and came home with a renewed mind to live fully in the surrendering of it all. 

I'm in new phase of parenting. And although I often have no idea what to do with it all, I'm thankful for the learning. We've camped with the same family every year since our kids were born. And our Siah happens to be the oldest of our now large bunch of treasures, so I get to walk through all the unknowns first. :) 

It was shower day at the camp ground and my Siah asked if he could go into the men's shower and take a shower by himself. I'm just so used to doing everything for the kid. And he's only 8. So should I still be with him as he showers? 

I gave him a few tips and then I let him give it a go on his own. He was in the stall right behind me so I could hear him if any thing bad went down.   He did great! This year he did so many things on his own. I felt so proud, a little leery, happy and maybe even a tinge sad. 

I'm in a season of learning to let go. Learning to let him become the little man that the Lord has made him to be. Him and I, we got in a little argument the week before we left about clothes. {Yes, I argued with my SON about clothing}. 

And the Lord spoke softly to me, but my pride fought hard. Then the Lord used my Joey to speak even further into me, and my pride fought harder. What happened to the days when I could lay a pair of shorts out on the bed and he would just put them on and run outside and not even care? 

Now days, I've been informed that "Cowboys don't wear that!" My Siah, he only wanted to pack Cowboy clothes for the camping trip. 

He cares now. 

He has his own thoughts and opinions and style. I can either fight it, or save the battles for the heart issues. I'm in the learning. My pride is being broken down little by little, and I'm thankful. My prayer is that I will learn to be a good listener about the seemingly small stuff, so that they will want to come to me later about the seemingly big stuff.

I don't think I have laughed so hard as I did on this trip, in quite some time. And on the way back to the camper after the campfire one night, The Cowboy whispered in my ear, "I love seeing you laugh like that, all happy." I tend to forget how the little comments made in a marriage can make your heart smile for days. :)

 When the kids were small we would have afternoon nap time while we camped. But now that they are all a bit older we just have "rest time". And most afternoons this week the six older ones would climb into the Baron's camper and color all afternoon... I loved it. :)

At night we'd play Farkle for the coveted prize of getting our picture taken for the "Farkle Wall" that we add on to each year... and the Barons even got us Clarks some spiffy Farkle hats to wear this year while we played. 
 This year's winners... My man and Mrs. Anna Barron. Congrats guys! {I must confess that I'm a wee bit jealous that you got your picture taken and I didn't! LOL :)}

Thanks for living this life with us and for constantly encouraging us towards our Jesus!
We loved every minute of it...
Until next year....