Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A little bit about revival and me

There was a time in my life when I was a young wife and mother that I was very materialistic. I had goals that were totally separate from Tom's goals. I thought that we could live together as husband and wife and still each do what we wanted.

I wanted a social life apart from my children, whom I saw as nuisances, though I tried to cover that up with an outward show of devotion to them. (That is, people outside my family thought I was fully devoted to my children as a godly mother should be. My children knew better.) I wanted material possessions such as a new car (not an old one that Tom had to constantly work with to keep running), our own nice big house (not a rental or a fixer-upper or a sardine can of a trailer), and plenty of money for things. I also wanted an old-fashioned farm. (I still go back and forth on that one.)

Tom wanted revival.

I strove hard to reach my goals by nagging Tom to be "more efficient" with our finances. I wanted to take over the money and spend or save it my way, for what I wanted. I looked at what others had and coveted. I planned, schemed, connived.

Tom worked just as hard at reaching his goal. He prayed. He fasted. He preached--in churches, in nursing homes, in truck stops, in rescue missions, in jails, wherever the door or pulpit was open to him. He passed out tracts on street corners. He shared (or tried to share) Christ with his family. He spoke of Christ to whoever would listen.

I am ashamed to say that Tom embarrassed me.

Did I miss that verse that asks, "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" Because there were only three options for our marriage: his way, my way, or no way. My goals were so totally opposite of Tom's goals that there could be no compromising.

Once I said to him, "What is it with you and revival? I am just so sick of hearing it from you." I don't remember his answer, but I will NEVER forget the look of hurt on his face.

I continued in this materialistic frame of mind for quite a number of years. In fact, you dear Canadians who asked us to come to your church did not get a godly pastor's wife. Thank God you did get a godly pastor. But I was not on board with him at all. When some of you helped us look for a house, and he told you I wanted to live in the country, I thought, "FINALLY I get MY way!"

But since I've been here God has been gradually working in me. The work was slow because of my own reluctance, but God never gave up on me. Why not? I don't know, other than that His mercies are great.

I'm different now. God has worked in me a desire for revival in my own soul. A rather weak desire at first, but it grew a little stronger every year. I'm not there yet. I've still got a long way to go. But this desire for revival is stronger now than ever. And I know now that this world, with all its things, is NOT my home. I'm just passing through. While I'm here, my light needs to burn for Christ, that all who see it will glorify HIM, and not me.


zorg said...

Oh yes mom, you are so different! I guess basically I don't feel like your little slave any more, I feel like your daughter. And all the anger I had towards you has completely disappeared, God is good.

Prudence said...

Philippians 1:2-6 and
I Thess 5:23-24 come to mind for you both.

Melissa said...

I think balance and reasonableness are the keys. While we are alive in this world we do have to take care of our children and provide an environment that will foster a love for God. For each of us that environment is different, for you it just happens to be the dream of a farm. That is not a wrong dream or a bad thing. You know you have young children still to care for and there is nothing about a farming lifestyle that will hurt them.

Tom has his passions and they are as legitimate as your passions. I think it is natural for a woman's heart to turn to her children and her home. God created us that way!

Jesus did tell us to be content with sustenance and covering. Paul told us that a man had to take care of his family. From all of that I get that balance is completely necessary. God does want us to spread the word to others, but how sad would it be if one spent so much time teaching others that one's own children did not accept Jesus? Not that I see that happening in your life, but I have known people who spent so much of their effort and energy on the church that they seemed to forget their own families. Balance!

There is nothing wrong with a comfortable, inviting home, a healthy, country atmosphere, a properly running vehicle; they are all tools that can help both of you reach your goals of evangelizing and raising a Godly group of young people.

Sometimes we do need to adjust our attitudes and our wants. We need to enjoy what we do have and spend our lives in a useful and fulfilling way. But always remember that God loves us despite our faults and he will work with us to overcome any wrong desires.

Cathy said...

Melissa, the goals I had were not necessarily wrong in and of themselves. Tom and I still talk about that farm. It's just that my priorities were all ME centered instead of GOD centered. I had no peace, no contentment, no joy because I was living my life to serve ME, not CHRIST. God only gives His best to those who serve HIM first and foremost. If His best for me includes a farm, then I am willing to receive it in His timing, not mine.

Also, Tom and I needed to be on the same team striving for the same goals. It wasn't a matter of me sitting back and waiting for him to get his way first, and then I could have my way. It was a matter of both of us working together to go God's way.

My heart needed to change. I needed to adjust the priorities of my goals. There are also some things I have been thinking through regarding the fact that I am not just anybody's wife. I am a pastor's wife. As such, I think that some things will be different for me than for other wives and mothers. But that's a topic I'm saving for another post.

Melissa said...

I understand. You know I care about you and just wanted you to not feel badly about yourself. I think sometimes women tend to beat up on themselves and that is not something that is in your families best interest or that our Lord wants! I think one of the best ways to draw people to Christ is to have a happy and joyous attitude and that attitude should not depend on what we have, but should come from inside of us no matter what is on the outside.

Where we live and what we drive and how we dress doesn't define who we are, but how much we care and how much we give and how we conduct ourselves in our daily lives. I always think the fruits of the spirt are a wonderful reminder.

I have always thought of you as a very dear sister in Christ, and I want you to know that you are very valued and admired for your Christian walk. Yes, we can all do better, but don't think you have done badly so far! You are an inspiration to many.

Marcel said...

Hi Cathy

This is a courageous confession that you have made.

I have very often noticed that it is when we speak to others about our weaknesses that we help them the most.

We all all to struggle to have a Christ-Centered life because we still have our sinful nature.

We tend to forget the Master's words: "But seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and his righteouness; and all these things SHALL BE ADDED unto you". (Matthew 6:33)

We also tend to forget that for are not our own anymore because we have been "bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's". (1 Corinthians 6:20)

We very often read verses without really realizing what they really mean.

As we are slaves of Christ, we have to accomplish the Master's will. But we have an infinitely good and merciful master. And who knows, when the Master sees that we want to really do His will, He sometimes strech us the golden sceptre and gives us what our heart desire. He does it sovereignly and when this grace does not place our soul in danger or towards materialism.

We all have the tendency to be "dull of hearing". (Hebrews 4:11)

But "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain MERCY and find GRACE to help us in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16)

The throne of grace is the solution to ALL our problems and needs!


Marcel Longchamps

Twinklemoose said...

We're strangers and pilgrims on the earth, just passing through! When we get focused on the things down here, we're not happy, and when we get focused on Christ, then we're happy. When we die to ourselves, then we start to live. If only I could get myself to stay dead.