Dying to self


I don't know if these thoughts make any sense together, but they've been on my heart for several days now.  The last couple of Sundays have been doozies!  I'm praying for a gentler day tomorrow...

The sudden deaths of both Kristen and my mom were events for which I was not prepared.  They were not wanted or welcomed, but rather thrust upon me in heartbreaking succession.  I am not silly enough to think that I am, or ever was, in control—I know Who is, and it’s not me.  My recent frustrations are not the result of trying to exert control over anything in my turned-upside-down life.  Rather, I think that they are directly related to a heightened sensitivity to order.  I am (mostly) an organized person, but I’m not a fanatic about it.  I don’t have to have my finger on every tiny detail, but I do like to know what’s going on.  I like to be "in the loop."

My involvement with many things outside of home and (home) school has been scaled back a lot over the last couple of years.  Initially, it was due to a difficult pregnancy, then because I had a new baby, then there was the anticipation of Kristen’s surgery, then her subsequent death.  It's been a blur of emotional events.  I am grateful for others who were (and still are) so very willing and capable to take up my slack.  As I’ve tried to work my way back into the swing of things, I have felt much like an outsider – a puzzle piece that no longer fits.  I suppose that’s to be expected.  I am not the person I was two years ago.

Perhaps because I've felt like I had so little order (or at least, not the order of my choosing) in my life over these past 17 months, I seem to be seeking it all the more.

Last Sunday morning, my pastor referenced the following text from John MacArthur's writing:
“When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult of the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ—that is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient loving silence—that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it—that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God—that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown—that is dying to self.

When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances—that is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart—that is dying to self.” —Anonymous

Based on just the first part of that, I have a very long way to go in dying to self.  Even last week, I was stung and hurt with the insult of an oversight and my heart was NOT happy.  Following times when I have taken things in patient (though not necessarily loving) silence, I HAVE let anger rise in my heart.  That anger was a temporary guest, but one that seems to return now and again.

This molding of me that God is doing is very uncomfortable, even painful at times.  It would certainly seem that losing my daughter is loss enough; also losing the "me" I knew seems to add insult to injury.  I know it must be necessary, but oh, is it hard.

I know it won't always feel this way.  This heaviness in my heart won't always be such a shroud over me.  I am trying to see the joy and embrace the beauty in my life, I really am.  And I see glimpses.  I'm just missing my youngest daughter so very much right now.


Betty @ http://peacecreekontheprairie.com said...

(((HUGS))) Kim, I completely "get" what you are saying here. On a whole different level, losing my dad at an early but needed age. I let many of the activites that I was involved in while he was alive go. I needed to step away, now nearly 15 years later, I am trying to get back a couple of those activities. It is hard, but in the end, I pray that it will have been the right choice. Those activities have somewhat been "thrust" back at me to take on. ;) Continuing to pray for you and your family.

Kristie said...

Kim, I really feel God speaking to me through this text, and through your words. I am not the only one going through the transformation! (BTW - I would like to repost your John M. quote.) It totally applies to me this week. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jennifer said...

My heart hurts for you Kim! It hurts because I know how very much you miss Kristen and your old self. Sometimes death is a painful process. So, maybe that is why dying to self hurts so bad sometimes and we resist it so hard. You are an amazing person and you are allowing God to lead you in His way! Love and hugs coming your way and many prayers being sent up.

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