Friday, April 17, 2009

A seed. A spark. A flame

So I begin this blog with a little brief history. As many of you know I didn't grow up as the girl dreaming of having babies and being a mom. I knew I would have kids some day, but it wasn't the first thing on my list...or the second...or the third! I baby sat once and it was a disaster. Caring for babies and young children intimidated me. I was never around any so it was totally an unknown subject for me.

Unfortunately, this fear grew and turned to criticism as an adult. I so quickly judged parents for every perceived negative action. Unruly kids in restaurants or grocery stores and the parent's disciplinary actions or lack thereof are just some of the things I would judge in my heart...and being the psychology nut that I am, I totally justified my thoughts because I was just "analyzing" them and supposedly coming up with better solutions, which in reality, I had no clue.

So years of judgement finally brings me to the year before I became pregnant with Alyssum. During worship at the Stirring one night, the Lord told me to put out my hands because He wanted to give me something. So with my eyes closed and my hands out in front of me, I see His hand reach down and set something very small into my hands. I asked Him what it was and He told me that it was a seed. In my curiosity I asked what the seed was for. He said it was a seed of love. Of course, I'm thinking do I not have love? But He said it was a seed of love for a child...

My response: Ok....

So a couple of months later, Matt and I were enjoying a nice evening in my parent's hot tub. For some reason long car rides and hot tubs are the best places to get into great, deep conversations. So, as usual, we get into a great conversation which somehow leads to the Lord convicting me of my critical heart. By this point I'm crying in repentance because this is something that ran deep in me. While in this posture of repentance, the Lord shows me that this judgement is really coming from a place of fear which He was now removing from my heart. After He did this He reminded me of the seed He gave me a couple of months prior and places the seed in the now void spot of my heart. His perfect love (for children) casted out all of my fear (of having children and being a good mom). It was the beginning because 3 months later I became pregnant with Alyssum.

In the middle of my pregnancy, I was at life group one night and the Lord put it on others' hearts to pray for me. During this prayer time the Lord took me on a little journey showing me how He had healed my heart, layer by layer, over the past 4-5 years and how now there was one little corner of my heart that was still completely walled off. I could see the wall in my mind, but I had no idea what was on the other side of it; what had I been protecting or closing off all these years? Well, when He broke through the wall there was the word "motherhood" on the other side. Apparently, I did have it in me all along, I just barricaded it off a long time ago (probably after that disastrous babysitting experience). And now that it was no longer walled off, He was going to start growing it and strengthening it in me...with His seed of love.

So fast forward to just a couple of months ago, I started seeing evidence of just how much God had already grown this part of my heart. I started experiencing feelings I hadn't before...for example, with this second pregnancy and knowing what to expect with having a baby (all the hard stuff), all I could think about was how I couldn't wait to hold her and love her. This might sound strange to some of you moms out there thinking that this is a totally normal feeling, but it wasn't for me. All I knew was fear. Yet, because of what God had already done thus far, my heart is so much more open to loving my kids now than it was even just a year ago. Of course, this is just a testimony for Alyssum and how God has used her so powerfully in my life at such a young age. But after realizing how much God had grown my love already, I felt like such a better patience level went up and my attitude drastically improved. In other words, my flesh decreased, and the Spirit increased in my parenting skills.

So now to just 3 weeks ago. I woke up, went to church, and was in the worse mood ever (I blame the pregnancy hormones). During worship I just stood there not wanting to do anything but be mad for absolutely no reason. So God told me to just close my I did. (If you haven't noticed by now, I love the use of imagery, so God speaks to me very much in this way). With my eyes closed, I picture the opening of a cave and hear the Lord tell me to go inside. So once I'm inside I see a campfire burning and He tells me to just go and sit by the fire and rest. After sitting by the fire and gazing into it's flames for awhile, I look down and notice that I'm no longer pregnant, but Olivia was in a little cradle nearby. He told me that she was completely taken care of and for me not to worry, but just to relax, alone, by the fire. By the last song of the worship set, with my eyes still closed, I look up and see the Lord's presence on the other side of the fire...not in human form, but a large bright glowing presence. By this point, God had unhardened my heart just enough to sing the song and lift my hands up to Him, only in my minds eye though, by the fire. Then worship was over. I opened my eyes and sat down feeling drastically different than I did when worship began. How amazing that God brought me so much peace and rest and even a little break from being pregnant. He knew exactly what I needed to change my heart and attitude. As the rest of the day went on, my attitude got better and better without me even trying. Also, with my stressful week that lay ahead, He took me back to that cave by the fire every night as I fell asleep.

So 2 Sundays ago during the 5pm Stirring service we sang a song by Delirious and David Crowder called Obsession. The chorus repeats the words "my heart burns for you". So the first time we got to the chorus I closed my eyes to sing it to the Lord. I was only able to get through saying the line one time when God immediately brought me back to the cave, the fire, and His presence standing there with me. He cuts me off and starts singing these words to me...that's right...He's singing it to me! My heart was overwhelmed with His love. Not only was He singing to me, but I realized that this fire I had been sitting by, relaxing by was His heart burning for me. That's why it brought me such rest because I was staring into His heart, His love burning for me. My tears were uncontrollable at this point. I felt so undeserving, especially because it was my bad attitude that led Him to bring me here in the first place and all He's doing is overwhelming me with His love! After fully understanding His love for me in this moment, He then has me look over to the side, by where Olivia was (still in the little cradle), and while giving me a spark from His fire, He told me to have a fire like this for my that they would be able to look and see my heart burning for them. Right after that I could see the spark turn to flames. I now had a small fire burning, my heart burning, for my kids. My tears kept flowing. I had been praying for months for Him to show me how to be a better parent, to show me how to love my kids, to not let my flesh take control. He showed me by giving me a true understanding of His love for me! The amazing thing is that it still isn't my human love pouring into my kids, it is His love flowing through me to them! So wonderful!

I can't explain the freedom I feel. The love is just pouring out of me onto my daughter and my unborn daughter. A huge lesson from the women's retreat was that we cannot love others unless we are receiving God's love first. I can seriously feel this truth flowing right through me. So many years were spent living in fear. Not only is the fear gone, but His love and freedom are surpassing it beyond anything I could have ever imagined! I just can't wait for the fire to keep growing!


Becky Moseley said...

Your transparency and insight are touching, Sarah. I know we've talked before about a lot of this motherhood stuff, but reading the whole story in its entirity was so special. I feel like I understand you and relate to you in a way I didn't before, so thank you for the encouragement!

Sarah said...

I just love you Sarah...and you are an amazing mother! It's so amazing the things the Lord does...he restores, redeems, and even gives us anew...:)
I always love hearing about your journey towards motherhood, and the things the Lord tells you about each gives me hope;)