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She shuffled up to the offering box, her worn hands clutching the two small coins. I imagine she kept her eyes low, to avoid the critical sneers of the wealthy religious crowd. Somehow, even here in God’s temple courtyard, the unspoken caste system was in full force. She dropped her treasured offering in the slot and hurried away.
Away from all those staring eyes, away from the place of her insignificance.
Hurried away from the place where she was not enough.
Feeling shame at what she did not have.
I’ve been here.
Looking down, seeing all I have is just so little.
I should have worked harder, pinched more, prayed more.
I see attitudes in my children that glare my failure in teaching.
Or perhaps just display the reality of humanity in us all.
Regardless of who is to blame, I see needs all around me every day.
My shoulders sag a little lower at the weight.
I sigh because surely I’m failing God. I have so little to offer.
I stare out the window, freshly smudged glass throwing a haze between the evening light and me. I want to be out in the field, dancing in the fleeting hours of gold, but supper preparations and nagging uncertainty keep me indoors. Unfolded laundry goads my conscience and knowing that the girls’ room badly needs to be organized further smudges my view.
Have you ever wondered, how is a mother ever to really rest?
How can we pause and dance with our children in the yard when housework and cleaning always cry for attention?
How can we sit down and grab a book that refreshes our heart when there is always a load of laundry to put into the dryer and a toilet that needs to be cleaned?
How are we to keep a heart quiet and secure in a world of noise and chaos?
It all seems like a great big accident,
this calling to live holy in a world full of bulging trash bags and diaper rashes and homework.
God calls mothers to a place of impossibility.
Of endless giving when we don’t have it physically, yet we were created for this very thing. To give, to serve, to touch people and fill hungry stomachs.
He calls us to the greatest of all things, to love and nurture and then let go.
We are raising children to become tomorrow’s adults, to change the world.
But he calls us right in the middle of our own needs. Our own struggles. We look into our hands and instead of a wad of promising cash, full of worth, we see two sweaty coins. What can God do with that?
What can God do with the little I have?
Can God use this struggling, fearful me?
I am becoming convinced that God calls us to this place of impossibility on purpose.
He brings us face to face with the vast need and our complete brokenness,
so He can step in and flow through us. How humbling that the God of the universe chooses to reach down and flow through humans. Through you, and me.
Rest is less about what I should be doing, and more about an attitude of embracing.
It’s letting the quiet of fall settle deep into my heart.
It’s about listening.
It’s about sitting still and letting God whisper in my heart that my value is not in what I do. My value is seated deeply in who I AM.
And who I am is deeply rooted in who HE is.
Elizabeth Elliot dug deep into finding her rest in God, as she faced her husband’s killers, and moved into their rural village with her child to show the love of Christ.
In her book “Keep a Quiet Heart” Elizabeth says:
“Jesus slept on a pillow in the midst of a raging storm.
How could He?
The terrified disciples, sure that the next wave would send them straight to the bottom, shook Him awake with rebuke.
How could He be so careless of their fate?
He could because He slept in the calm assurance that His Father was in control.
His was a quiet heart.
We see Him move serenely through all the events of His life–when He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He knew that He would suffer many things and be killed in Jerusalem, He never deviated from His course.
He had set His face like flint.
He sat at supper with one who would deny Him and another who would betray Him,
yet He was able to eat with them, willing even to wash their feet.
Jesus in the unbroken intimacy of His Father’s love, kept a quiet heart.”
You see, this story isn’t about how much change you have in your pocket.
About how skilled and capable you are.
About how well you mother or how well you can cook.
About how much you have to offer the world.
“God reminded me how beautiful we all are to Him, after all, we were created in His own image, and He looks at me, at you, in all our sweat and dirt and brokenness, and says,
“I choose you. You are beautiful.” Katie Davis from Kisses from Katie
You can come to the offering box with confidence in your step.
Shame has no place on your shoulders.
Throw your head back and laugh into the warm, friendly sky.
You were given exactly what you need.
Nothing you can do or make or say will change that fact.