While driving out to Pahrump this weekend, Steve and I had a chance to have at length adult conversation. Something we have been struggling with has been our time management. I work three nights a week at my parents' store, we attend two amazing small groups, and only have two nights and one whole day left to ourselves. During the week, I have anywhere between 2-5 children in my home, make dinner, kiss Steve goodbye and head off to work until midnight.
Bonus, we've been fellowshipping with other Christians - having NFL nights, trading dinners, and tons of play dates. It's so awesome. But again, taking away time for one on one time as a couple.
It seems that God is always opening my eyes to untrue beliefs I hold and never even knew it. For example, as a Mormon my faith was all about works. What could I do to enable God to work in my life and change me? What works would hinder God from my life and for "thwarting" God's plans? If I had a problem with sin, it was all about practical application (with of course reminders to pray). Right now, I'm really stuck on what exactly God is showing me - but through the confusing fog of it all, I do recognize that He is showing me that it is not about practical faith, but utter and complete dependence on Him.
Right now, our schedules are so swamped that God has been really laying on my heart how best to overcome the feelings of distance between one another - and as an ex-Mormon, it's not what I expected at all.
First I need to actively seek Him. This means a lot of things for me - bringing myself into not only submission to His authority in my life, but also obediance to it. Saturday night after Steve had passed out from exhaustion after his reunion, I opened up my Beth Moore study and was completely convicted. I've acknowledged that my parents are my "trophies" and I have allowed myself to put their feelings and my desire for their approval before God in my life and heart. Beth Moore directly spoke to this Saturday night and gave it a name - idolatry. I realized how much idolatry was in my heart and over the past few days have been trying to follow Oswald Chamber's sound Biblical advice to "renounce" all of these things (2 Cor 4:2) as I recall them. It's not easy since it's also a battle of pride, "Really, was that so bad? Was it a sin?" And then, ironically, I must bring myself back to that Law - yes, it was so bad; yes it was a sin; and yes I need to repent and renounce it and move forward to become more like Christ.
Also, in seeking God first and setting idolatry out of my heart, it means I need to intentionally remember everyday to put Him before both spouse, children, and self. For the first time in ages, I actually woke up at 5 am and spent time in devotion with God - it was awesome and I know the only reason I didn't fall asleep and droll all over my Bible was because of God. He sustained me and kept me awake, He gave me energy to get the morning started, and have the home ready for my family as the each woke up. It was amazing.
God also placed on my heart service and that it shouldn't be based around comfort or convenience. A wise mentor of mine reminded me that service in the body should not substitute for daily time spent with God. Since I tend to forgot to manage my time and submit to God rather than my flesh when it comes to sleeping in, I know I have to actively remember this. Steve and I plan to serve together in the children's area of Grace Point - not sure what we will do yet, but whatever we can to further the kingdom or at least help it move more efficiently is fine with us. I've felt such peace about adding yet another item to our schedule, because I know that through serving God (and of course daily time with Him) we will draw closer as a couple and family.
I'm learning that it's not about practical application, but rather putting God first, keeping Him there, and dependency on Him. Still struggling with the conflict about how much works plays into our relationship with God, because I do believe our disobediance or obediance to Him does play a part in our connection with Him - but to what extent I'm not sure yet. Romans (5:6) says that Christ died for us while we were still ungodly, in effect, still in rebellion against God. He loves us so much, He died for us while we willfully rebelled against Him. How "ungodly" can we be as believers and still expect God to back us? Less and less of me says we can't - and more and more of me is coming to believe, that regardless of how we behave, God loves us. He loves us when we are obedient to Him and when we're not. When Iserael was completly faithless - to the point God likened her to a prostitute - He still remained faithful. With the eternal covenant of lasting salvation, with the completion of our faith in Jesus who redeemed us when we didn't even know we need redeeming, it appears that God is always faithful to us - even when we're not faithful to Him.