Oh Lord, help this sinner!
Here I am, preparing to speak to a ladies' group at a retreat this weekend and I'm letting sin wiggle it's way right into my spirit.
I'm desperately trying to prepare for the retreat. I've got some sermons online that I want to listen to, I've got some scripture passages I want to write down and take note of, I've got time with the Lord that I need to spend just praying. I really, really, REALLY want to spend the next couple of hours focused on God and what I'm going to share and instead, a kid needs help with math, another kid can't find the keys to the ministry shop, one of the little ones is doing a terrible job with tying his shoes, and another one is asking for graham crackers even though it is our daily "quiet time" for Pete's sake! And on top of all that, my husband asked me to give some food to a neighbor and actually minister to him! Minister to a neighbor??!?!?!?!? DOESN'T HE KNOW I AM TRYING TO PREPARE FOR MY TALK!????!????
Like I said, I'm a sinner.
Here I am, about to share some living bread of life with a group of women and I'm stressing out because I keep getting interrupted by my sweet, blessing family.
See, I'm stressed out for two reasons.
Okay, probably more than two but two that are obvious to me right now.
First, I'm just a selfish self-centered person. I want my "me" time and I want to be left alone. I've got two talks to prepare for. I've got a group of ladies who are coming and expecting something. And by heck, I want to do a good job and them to be impressed with how awesome I was.
There, I said it. I know it is ugly, but it is true. How the heck am I supposed to impress them with a good message if I have to actually minister to my in-need kids, husband, and neighbor???
Second, I do want what I say to be used by God to change their lives. Yes, I don't want to mess up and be boring but a big part of me, the part that is like Jesus, wants to give something to these women that will draw them closer to the Lord. I want them to hear tonight and tomorrow morning the words of God that will free them up to live the life GOD wants them to live. For some of them, they need to meet the Lord as a real person for the very first time. For others, they know him but they've let their relationship grow distant. And for some, they are really in love with Jesus but need something to happen so they can move to the next phase God has for them.
I want those things for them. And I don't want them not to get out of it what God wants them to get out of it because I wasn't properly prepared.
But see, it isn't about me. The only person I should really care about impressing is God and I know, because I do know Him, that He'd rather me take the time and patiently help my son with his shoe strings and sweetly share some food and pray with a neighbor than to spend hours and hours of prep time and have a perfectly smooth message that came at the cost of not loving those around me.
And I also know that God is bigger than me.
I forget that.
I forget that He KNOWS I'm not perfect and He chooses to use me anyway. Heck, my friend Donna knows I'm not perfect and chose to ask me anyway. I can fool some people into thinking that I've got my act 100% together but I can't fool the Lord. He knows areas that need cleaning up that I'm not even aware of. Yet.
He knows that I'm not going to say everything right. He knows that I'm a busy mom with seven kids, a living and breathing husband, and a neighborhood full of folks who need prayer, food, clothes, and just someone to listen to them and show some interest in their lives.
But what is really, really cool is that not only does He choose to use me despite my flaws and sins and lack, but He is BIGGER THAN I AM. He is bigger than my failings. He is bigger than my mess-ups. He is bigger than my wrong thinking. He is bigger than my everything.
He is even bigger than my best.
What I have to cling to is that God loves these ladies more than I love these ladies. I don't even KNOW most of these ladies.
But He's known them before the foundations of the earth were layed. He knit them together in their mothers' wombs. He desires that none of them will perish but that all of them will have everlasting life through His son Jesus. He wants all of them to walk in His fullness and grace. He wants all of them to know that He is passionately in love with them and if they will just say "yes" to Him and His calling and ways, that He will give them a life better and more beautiful than they can ever imagine.
And just like He is using pitiful, little ole, irritated-easily me, to do amazing things for His Kingdom, He wants to use them, too.
He's not going to let me stop Him from speaking to those women. He's not going to let my imperfections hide His perfections. If they are wanting and open and listening, then He's going to make sure that they hear and see and experience what they need to hear and see and experience.
God is bigger than I am. God along is perfect. God alone can draw people to Him. God alone can save. God alone. God alone. God alone.
Yes, He wants to use me. And He wants to use you. And He will use us, even though we might not get that perfect, uninterrupted time that we wish we had.
And God still chooses.
He chooses me.
He chooses you.
And He chooses those women at the retreat tonight.
And He tell them that He chooses them even if I have a bad hair day.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for being stupid enough to think it is all about me and my perfection. Please forgive me for resenting the precious family you have blessed me with. Lord, you know that my busy life means I don't get the time spent alone with you, locked away in preparation. You know that I am a sinner who gets more concerned about what I'm going to wear than pleasing You at times. Help me to always remember that You are ultimately who I want to please. Help me to remember that all my words are nothing if I don't have love, love for You and love for those You have put in my life. Please forgive me God for my sins. Thank you that You keep loving me anyway. Thank you that You keep using me anyway. And Lord, please speak through me tonight and tomorrow. Please give me Your words of life and grace and love and truth. Please open my ears to hear Your heart. Please open these women's ears to hear your voice. Please set us all free, Lord, from the lies we believe from the destroyer and the lies we tell ourselves. Help us Lord to fall deeper in love with You and to believe only what You want to speak to our loves. Thank You, Lord. I love you. Thank You for Jesus who died for me, not because I deserved it but just because You wanted me as yours.