When I was a young writer, like most of my ilk and age, I was jealous of the gift and stingy with my praise of others, as if what I had received was meant for my glory and needed to be hidden from the eyes of those who might steal it from me, and as if shining light on genius elsewhere might cause speculation that I was wanting any of my own.
I didn't ken the Giver would be the thief, taking back so that I would cherish Him and nothing else.
The Lord saved this lesson for me just when I in my expectations assumed the opposite would happen. Just as I was preparing to re-enter that occupation as a writer and editor, as my children grew older and I had more hours in a day available to muse, it was His timely determination that I needed to learn not to presume that I could simply pick up where I left off and that, going forward, I was owed prosperity of words.
Teaching me this when I was a nonbeliever would have been a lost lesson. It might have been significant later when God moved time and space to allow me to circulate with great authors and thinkers in the world of publishing and theological think tanks, and yet, I suspect the glitter and stardust that settled in the cracks of my life were a necessary part of the instruction in comparisons and contentment.
So He instead brought me into a new phase of life. And being the valiant daughter of the king that I was, I courageously and virtuously put aside my pen for the noble calling of wifery and motherhood. It was my pen to lay down for this righteous work I would do on the Lord's behalf, and it would be there for me when I was ready to pick it up again so that I could continue to be one of His greatest servants. And could I be blamed if, while I jaunted off to the mall on an errand I was convinced was necessary or factored school committee meetings into my schedule, my paths kept crossing with people who were dazzled by the sparkle? Who asked me what it was like to work with ______? Thus I uncomplainingly fulfilled my calling, always with a secret eye on the stage I'd exited. Long days of diapers and grocery lists piled up on the scales, and I felt certain that God, being the fair and just God He is, would balance it out one day with opportunities to "use my gifts for Him again". My days of humiliation would be paid off with due exaltation.
So in His wisdom, when my mind dulled and my words stumbled, He was teaching me not to grasp the things of this world, nor the gifts He dispenses for His own purposes. Whether it was the unexplained grand mal seizure, or the possibly related memory loss episodes, or the undiagnosed concussion -- or some combination of all three -- a day came that I found writing and thinking and even speaking before a classroom of children an exhausting burden and a trial which I would do anything to avoid. The more I pushed to produce at even a tithe of what I'd done before, the more the words and thoughts -- and pleasure in either -- drifted away from my grasp. My pen was broken.
That was His wisdom, but don't let me be negligent in praising Him for His mercy and patience. Presuming upon God's fairness to balance the scales -- as if I deserve any! Dictating to Him what justice looks like -- as if the criminal could lecture the judge! From Isaiah 29:16: This "turns things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, 'He did not make me'; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'?"
Learning to be content with emptiness in my brain provided space for my fleeting thoughts -- which were really just barely held together and by God's grace alone -- to examine my inclinations, my vision, my devotion. Whom did I really love?
Jeremiah Burroughs writes in A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness, “It’s certain that the thing a man’s heart is most taken with and set upon is his God.” And in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment: “If I become content by having my desire satisfied, that is only self-love; but when I am contented with the hand of God and am willing to be at His disposal, that comes from my love to God.”
I came to realize that “I am discontented because I have not these things which God never yet promised me, and therefore I sin much against the Gospel, and against the grace of faith.” (RJCC). Where did God promise me accomplishment, celebrity, glory in this life? Nowhere, of course. But my yearning and maneuvering and plotting assumed that these pitiful apparitions of glory and fame that are rooted deep in the darkness of my sinful, selfish heart are greater gifts than the one of faith that He provides at the expense of His Son's humiliation, bloody death, and bearing of the wrath of God for my sin. They are mere sparkles of glitter and fading star dust. He is more worthy than the finest gold, the brightest Sun of righteousness. (Micah 4:2)
“Thus, a godly man wonders at his cross that it is not more, a wicked man wonders his cross is so much.” (RJCC)
So here we are in month 10 of #thereyougothinkingagain, a blog begun when it seemed the lessons had been learned, yet words are trickling now, not flowing like in the early months. Discontentment threatens. O, Lord, May I ever have my eyes on the cross, my imagination set on its wonder. May I screw heart-guards in place to resist chasing stardust expectations of glory never promised to me. May I cherish this contentment spun of pure gold and be thankful for the adversity that unites me to the Goldsmith, as He pounds away at the impurities. May I dispense with holding Him to the measure of my assumptions and be pleased with the chastisement He dispenses.
What dross is mine in comparison to Jesus! "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1:3)
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
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