Recently, my children and I were reading that man's primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
I used to think that in order to glorify God that my life needed to be a success. Whatever I did, I needed to do it really well. People always said that "God will never give you more than you can handle", so I got the idea that I should be able to handle my life and do things well, and then always give God the glory.
Well, that hasn't exactly been my real-life experience. I can look back to a point when I did, for the most part, have a handle on things and I can remember spiritually where I was at the time. Then I surrendered my entire life to the Lord and told Him my life was completely His and things began to get interesting.
Some of the books I had read for Christian women when I was younger had given me the idea that since God is a God of order and beauty that I should be able to reflect that by having a beautiful, orderly home. I got the idea that a good Christian wife/mother would have a peaceful, clean, quiet home where everyone could find refuge and rest from the harsh world.
I cannot even begin to tell you how that has not been my real-life experience.
My experience has been that of being called to do way more than I can possibly do gracefully.
The Lord has filled my house with children. The Bible says they are a blessing...and they really are. They have eternal value. They are created in the image of God. They are amazing, funny, precious, huggable little people.
As true as all of that is, it's also true that they are noisy and messy. It takes them years to learn to control their emotions and their bodily functions. They fight, they demand their way, they demand to be heard. You really need four or five little ones all within a couple years in age to get the full effect. It's something.
I really do love it, but this life I've been called to is bringing me to the end of myself. It's tiring. It's humbling.
I would love for it to be beautiful, orderly and peaceful. Some days I would just love it to be somewhat civilized.
I would love to do an amazing job and have it all together. Oh, how I would love that. But then maybe I would get glory. Of course, I would say that it was all the Lord and give Him the credit, but perhaps all the while, I would burst with pride and bask in the wonderful sense of my own accomplishment.
I remember reading a devotion about the very end of our Lord's life on earth and how it must have been viewed as a complete failure. It was brutal and gut-wrenching. It left his friends and family heart-broken.
But how that sacrifice brought glory to God!
It is by His blood that we are saved. The sacrifice of His life through the shedding of His blood is what redeemed us. It wasn't neat and tidy.
Obedience. Sacrifice. Laying down our lives for others brings glory to God.
God may call us to a life that looks foolish to others. We may not be able to always do it with beauty and grace, but if we show up and do our best, our obedience and sacrifice, even if it looks like a chaotic mess to others, will be beautiful to the Lord.