Beginning, Middle-ing, & Finishing by the Spirit

In the middle of today, which has been a a pretty normal Monday–

  • Sharing a full carafe of coffee with Drew (depending on how early I’m up, it may be more like making sure there’s at least a cup left for him 😉 )
  • Morning time and schoolwork, interspersed with my favorite part of every weekday, when I get to sit down on our schoolroom couch with each kid one at a time and read aloud to them (currently it’s board books for Gray, a bedtime story anthology for Talia, and Amy Carmichael and John Paton biographies for Regina and Jude) and then pray with them for their needs and for a specific country- I highly recommend this book as a prayer guide!)
  • Grocery pickups and meal prep
  • Playing Jenga with the younger set

— I remembered that this blog still exists and that it’s been dormant for a minute. Long enough that God’s added another person to our family (Nadia is wonderful. Fifth girls always are!) and that homeschooling has become a full-time gig and is a different challenge than the initial babies-and-preschoolers-only days. The way that I memorize & review has changed, too. It isn’t anywhere near as regimented and I’ve forgotten a lot of passages I used to have down word-for-word. Yet I can honestly say that God has made me even more convinced than ever that His Word is “more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold, and sweeter than the honeycomb” (Psalm 19)

God absolutely used the time spent drilling the chapters and books to open my eyes to *my* sin (see here) and to give comfort (see this post) and for many other needed rebukes and encouragement. And He’s also using my slow progress in memorization to remind me further that I’m weak, easily distracted, and wholly dependent on Him as the True Vine to be able to produce any fruit. After we started school in earnest in 2021, it took me a year to memorize two Psalms. Yep. I needed that shot of humility after thinking once that maybe by 2030 I could have the whole New Testament memorized – hah! So rather than set a finish-by date I’ll keep on with my snail-like pace through 1 Corinthians (currently I’m a few verses into chapter 7) and ask God to be patient with me as He uses it to knead the truths there deeply into my heart and mind so that by grace I can “wed doctrine & practice”.

It is innate in our earthly selves to track our progress (and others’- but that’s another post altogether!) by varying measures and standards, and our surroundings typically feed that urge. Evaluation is good and helpful in its proper place, too (1 Corinthians 10:12, 2 Corinthians 13:5) and yet I can go overboard with it and slip into the belief that God’s love for me depends on my progress (or lack thereof). Galatians 3:3 calls me out: How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” I know from Revelation 1:8 and Hebrews 12:2 that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Author and Finisher of my faith. And as I’ve been learning and have reflected before, the motivation of worshipful love for Christ > > > guilt and trying harder. He cares for us, desiring that we rest upon Him and so have the strength to fight whatever battles arise and complete the tasks we are given to conquer!

In re-reading before I publish, I remember that I don’t blog often because it feels like a bunch o’ rambling, but it can’t hurt to encourage you again to remember that if you are in Christ, you fight against a defeated foe and can press on in His victory, bearing fruit for the Kingdom one day at a time until we see Him as He is and spend forever rejoicing in His glorious presence. Maranatha.

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