If I could sum up the last year of my life in one word it would be growth. Er, well...and grace. Because goodness have I ever learned just what that means for me. I have seen God's hand in my life more clearly than I ever have before. I have been the recipient of much grace, not only through opened eyes, but by way of friendships, a beautiful church family, and even the deep challenges of motherhood.
It wasn't until this year that I learned to be thankful for challenges, for days when I feel weaker than I ever have, for days when I blow it big time. Paul Tripp calls it "uncomfortable grace", and that is the opportunity for trials that allow the Holy Spirit to turn my eyes upward, away from myself and my circumstances, and onto the only One who can satisfy in the midst of it all. He could have left me where I was, where I am, but his kindness and grace brings me along. They are opportunities to realize and submit to the fact that I am incapable in and of myself, and that it is only by the Spirit within me that I am able to do anything. Opportunities to remember my standing before the Father, made right by the cross. Opportunities to see my worth not from what I do, because I will fail, and not what I succeed in, but from the finished work of Jesus on my behalf.
The glorious gospel. It's transformed my life, my perspective. In the middle of my weakness as a mother adjusting to life with two, figuring out how to juggle responsibilities of home, trying to love my husband well, learning what it means to live in community, I am learning what it is to live out what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9..."I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me".
Motherhood is simultaneously the best and hardest thing I've ever done. Most days we're a hot mess over here. Just yesterday I bundled the boys up to get out of the house before we all, and by we I mean me, had a meltdown. We drove to Chickfila (of course) and as I parked to dole out chicken nuggets, I sobbed. I wasn't doing anything right, I've been yelling more times than not, my patience has been thin, my temper flaring, my words harsh and biting and blaming. I was broken over the sinfulness of all that, but also broken because I was reminded of my need for Christ's sacrifice on my behalf and of the gift that has been so graciously given to me, in which lies no condemnation, but new mercies. New life. When I am reminded of that, I can be thankful, not only for grace, but for the trial that helped me see. I can also depend on the Spirit to change my heart to make me more like Him.
It's a daily process, one I'm thankful I'm even able to journey. It helps me look back at the sovereign hand of God in every single circumstance that led me to this moment, and then trust. That's how joy is possible, even in sorrow, frustration, and pain - to trust in a God who works all things to His glory and for our sanctification and to find our satisfaction and worth in Him alone.