Like usual, it happened during worship. The Lord used the proverbial 2’x4’ board whack upside my head, the weapon of choice when I’m being really stubborn. I had a thought so clear that I knew it was from God. “You are making your children’s happiness into your idol.”
See, we were facing orders. I know, orders are a part of military life, but this time was different.
This time, we were flirting with retiring.
This time, we were praying we didn’t have to move.
This time, our hockey boys would be seniors who didn’t want to change teams.
My twins picked hockey at the age of 5, forsaking all other sports. We started calling them hockey boys, their sister a hockey sister, and of course, I joined the elite group of hockey moms.
From Army base to Army base, we were fortunate to find teams for the boys. They benefitted from many coaches, but it was tough switching programs and making new friends. Plus, they had to keep trying out for each team.
And so, for their senior year, we really wanted to stay.
The thought of taking them someplace they might not even be able to play was a punch-in-the-gut, lay-awake-at-night, plead-with-God scenario for me.
As the waiting and the praying continued, two things became clear:
- God was keeping my husband in the military.
- Our family needed to stick together.
There would be no sending their father ahead. These boys needed their last year with their dad.
These absolutes dragged me into a hole, and I couldn’t see a way out.
What I’m Learning
Worshipping opens my heart to the Lord, so it shouldn’t surprise me that the 2’x4′ moment came while I was singing in a chapel service. Revelation, a sudden understanding, can come as something that rings clear and true in your heart.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” —Matthew 10:37 NIV
Think About It
I realized I was placing the boys’ happiness above God’s call for our family.
Moreover, I wasn’t trusting Him for what was best for my boys.
I didn’t believe God’s plan for my husband was also His good plan for our family.
Funny thing is, when the orders came and we told the boys, they were ok with it. “Yeah, I’m ready to try something new,” one said, “like playing guitar with the worship team.”
Well, hit me with a 2’x4’!
How I’m Learning
“Location, location, location!” they say in real estate. In Bible study, we should say, “Context, context, context!”
Recognizing context in these three ways makes a difference in understanding God’s word:
Consider the context of Bible verses. Don’t focus on a single verse without reading the entire passage. Also, understand it in the context of the rest of Scripture. When Jesus says “love me more than your son,” we know He doesn’t mean to mistreat your son in any way, because in the rest of the Bible that is never advocated. So ask yourself, “Where else does Scripture talk about putting someone above father and mother?” Ah yes, the marriage covenant in Genesis 2:24.
Jesus is challenging us in Matthew 10 to be in covenant love like a marriage with Him, placing Him above all others in our lives.
Study the Bible in the context of worship. Study and worship go together. When I acknowledge His Lordship and open my heart to what He wants me to learn, I understand more of what I read. Consider starting your study time with some form of worship:
- Sing a worship song or hymn
- Thank God for His blessings
- Praise God for His greatness
- Appreciate God for His love
Understand that Scripture comes alive in the context of life. God has an Individualized Learning Plan made just for me. At times, passages will remain a mystery until the circumstances of my life require that part of my education.
I had read this Matthew passage many times before with little more than a breath of prayer to ask for help in doing this. How to live out loving Jesus above my kids didn’t click—until faced with the choice of willingly accepting His plan, or trying to manipulate it to work on my own terms.
When you seek the Lord through worship and study, He will reveal Himself and His ways to you. You will be faced with the choice to go All In!
Embracing God’s plan for my family is All In faith.
Pray About It
Lord Jesus, I open my hands to let go, and to receive whatever You have for me. Please forgive me for building up idols. Deepen my love for You. May I follow You today. Amen.
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