Over Christmas I found myself dealing with a struggle I thought I had overcome, but over the last 20 days I've noticed the battle is still there. For nearly 2 weeks prior to Christmas we had sickness in our house and it wasn't the 24 hour flu. People (my husband and 5 kids) were sick for 4 days at a time...looking back I'm grateful we had some overlap!!
Through it all I'm thankful I stayed pretty healthy and I also realized there is a reason I never pursued nursing!! I also discovered another thing...sometimes I still struggle with equality. Early on in marriage I knew this was true; I hate to admit that I was an official score keeper in our house. I knew how often Job did something fun and what extra money he spent. Then along came kids and it seemed I was the one tied down...the one who gave up my job, some hobbies, my freedom. It pains me to type that, but friend that was reality. I compared everything and had the mindset that things should be equal.
Thankfully God opened my eyes to the sin that was in my heart and the reality of Genesis 3:16 in my life. Our heavenly Father also helped me open up and share my struggles with Job. We've come along ways since those early years! But last month God helped me take what I believe will be a big step in really overcoming this wrong mindset.
You see as I comforted and dealt with sick children, my typical Christmas prep work was left undone. We had baked cookies, but never really got around to frosting them. Decorations were left in the box. Traditions were forgotten. Sickness consumed our days...or so it seemed.
When the kids weren't sick they were disappointed with the change in plans and missing traditions. To be honest I was a frustrated and tired Mom and again had to surrender control. I wanted to make my kids better. I wanted to make Christmas perfect. I wanted everyone to be happy. Everything I wanted to do, I couldn't.
Christmas eve came and one of our little guys still wasn't 100% so I stayed home from Christmas Eve service with him and his lil brother. That was hard and again I found myself keeping score in my marriage. I didn't say anything to Job, but as the grumblings went through my mind and as my little guys drifted off to sleep God put a verse on my heart.
Philippians 2:6-8 came to mind, "Who, although He (Jesus) existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
The phrase, "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" hit hard and would not go away. I wasn't seeking equality with God, but I sure was with my husband. In my eyes his job seemed easy...he had been sick for 4 days, but I'd been taking care of sick kids (and him) for a long time. He provided finances for presents, but I did all the shopping, hiding and wrapping. My focus was ALL wrong...that's what keeping score does...it puts you against them. Friend, our husbands are not our opponent - they are on our team!! Trying to keep things equal and wanting all the good it seemed Job was experiencing led to problems too.
As I thought about Jesus' example all of this became clear and God revealed one sin after another. He also reminded me - if Jesus, who is God can give up His desire to be an equal, I need to let it go as well. I need to empty myself and be a servant....and friend, if you call yourself a believer, God expects you to do the same.
Now don't take me wrong...this is not a license for someone to take advantage of you or harm you, but instead an opportunity to live like Jesus did. A chance for us to embrace God's sovereignty and share His love. Oh friend, I know this is not an easy task...it can be simple to read these words and agree with them, but when sickness hits, changes come and life is unfair - it is hard!!
But friend, Jesus, the One who didn't strive for equality or keep score with us, died so one day we could go to heaven. That is not all though, He died so today He could live in you and me. Friend, the power that resurrected Christ is in us. It will help us put the score book down and will equip us to serve others, especially the ones we love the most!
My prayers for us today is to live out Ephesians 5:1-2 - "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."