Sunday, August 19, 2018

Embracing my limits

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:5)

This past week was our first full week of school, and I was not well for much of it. I had a bacterial infection that made it difficult for me to teach a full class between trips to the bathroom. I was also in pain on and off along with feeling feverish at times. It wasn’t my best week. There were several times this week that I was not able to do things that I had hoped to do. 

Honestly, around 4am on Wednesday morning I was laying in bed, awake, in pain, and feeling like a failure. I was thinking of so many things I wanted to be able to do or to do better and resenting my limits. I wanted to be able to meet with some of the women from my Bible study on Tuesday to help them prepare for teaching on Saturday. These women had not led before and I wanted to equip them. But I was feeling ill and needed to rest when they were meeting on Tuesday afternoon. I wanted to do a good job teaching my classes, but for some of them I had to just sit in my chair and teach from there due to the pain when I moved around. I also wanted to spend more one-on-one time with my kids, but I was so tired from being sick and from the first week of school that I wasn’t able to do that much.

A few days later, I began thinking about how God has even used my limits for His good. When I wasn’t able to help the women prepare for the Bible study, they prayed for me and still were able to read God’s Word together and prepare to teach. When I wasn’t able to teach as well in my class, students in each class had the opportunity to work problems on the board and teach their classmates, using their gifts and solidifying what they had learned. And I am praying that when my children need someone to talk to, they will learn to go to the Lord first in prayer. I still want to be available for them, but I won’t always be around. Their Heavenly Father will. 

Sometimes, when I get frustrated that I can’t do all that I want to do, it is because I am trying to take the place of God. Sounds pretty terrible, huh? But as I have been thinking on it more, that really is the bottom line. When I resent the limits that God has allowed in my life, like hours in the day, needing to rest, and even sickness, it is because I think people need me most, and I forget that what they really need is God! I am learning to repent of my pride in thinking that I am what others need. I am learning to trust that God knows best. He is infinite and I am finite. He is in control and in his grace has given me limits. He knows that I tend to put myself in his place, and it is a grace that he uses my illness to remind me to repent. I want to worship Him as the only Infinite One, the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. He is the best hope for all the people in my life, and all the people in the world! So today, I am thanking God for my limits. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018


This week David and I are celebrating 21 years of experiencing God’s grace in our marriage. We were both 21 when we got married, so this year we have lived as many years married to one another as we lived single. God continues to teach us more about His love and forgiveness as we show these to each other. To celebrate the gift of these 21 years, we came to Wildwaters, an island resort on the Nile. It is such a beautiful place! Seeing the water rush over the rapids with such power is an awesome sight! 

Watching this massive amount of water rushing past us, I have been thinking about the power of this river, and I have been thinking about the power of the Creator of this river. 

During our few days here, I began reading Jen Wilkin’s book entitled, None Like Him. The book is about the character of God and is subtitled, “10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and why that’s a good thing).” She begins the book with the importance of fearing the Lord with “worshipful reverence.” She states, “When we lose sight of the majesty of God, we invariably fill the gap in our vision with the fable of the majesty of someone else.” (p.13) 

I can see this tendency in my own life in too many ways. When many people liked and shared my recent blogpost, I started to feel really good about myself. People liked what I wrote, and instead of worshipping God, I wanted to steal some of His glory. I wanted it to be about Lisa and how she can encourage people (and receive their approval). It is sad how natural that sin pattern is for me. But in God’s grace, he showed me the rushing waters. He showed me His power. And He reminded me how I can always repent of worshipping the opinions of others, and instead fix my eyes on Him. 

Through these 21 years God has also been teaching me that I should not look to David for the things that only God can give. David is an introvert who works with people, has a large family, and lives in a cross-cultural setting. And sometimes I look to David to receive the attention, love and approval that I can only fully receive from God. But David often needs time alone. David is finite and fallen. God is infinite and perfect! When I remember that I have been loved perfectly, even lavishly by God, I am freed to love David rather than just need from him. 

So as I celebrate these 21 years of God’s grace in our marriage, I am also celebrating the One who “has measured the waters in the palm of his hand.” (Isaiah 40:12) These constantly rushing waters outside our room, along with this good book,  remind me that God is infinite and immeasurable. He is the One I need to fear with worshipful reverence. And worshipping Him takes my eyes off so many lesser things, like the idols of approval, others and self. 

I am so thankful for God’s grace to me! Even though I still tend to care too much about the opinions of others, I know that His forgiveness has washed over me like this powerful water rushing over the rocks. The rocks are gradually changed by this powerful washing. I am thankful for the ways He is changing me and helping me to shift my focus to worshipping Him. I’m also thankful for the 21 years that God has used marriage to help David and me taste His grace. Our God truly is Awesome!