From a very young age the Lord gave me a love of music. I pursued it passionately in high school, college and graduate school. I knew that the abilities and the opportunities that the Lord had given me were a gift from Him, and I believed that my life would be largely defined by what I accomplished in my field. I thought that marriage and a family were probably somewhere in my future, but I envisioned that music would continue to be the defining part of my life–that it would be the backdrop that everything else would flow from.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4:10
What exactly does James 4:10 mean? I used to think it meant that if I recognized my proper position before the Lord, He would send good things my way. You know–blessings. I would find favor with those around me. I would succeed in my endeavors when I desired to do them for God’s glory. He would take me to places that I never imagined, and in the end, I would end up feeling good about it all. But time has passed, and I’ve learned that “He will lift you up” sometimes includes Him taking you to places about which you once said, “I’ll never go there!”
Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I thought I would become a career mom; He has led me down a path of homeschooling. I thought we might have three children; He has blessed us with four. Years ago, upon befriending a woman with two older children and a younger set of twins I carelessly determined, “God didn’t choose me for that!” Now I have quite literally become that very woman! He has certainly taken me places that I could never have imagined. They are places that only He could have prepared for me, and they are far better than the ideals that I once beheld.
In spite of what the Lord is teaching me, I must confess that many times I feel inadequate to do the things He has called me to do. I feel that I would be doing a better job with life in general if things had turned out the way I had envisioned. But, as I seek His face, I’m learning to accept what He has given me and to be satisfied with His perfect provision. I am learning to trust that He will provide the strength that is needed to accomplish the task. I’m beginning to realize that He does not need me to be strong, but rather, my weakness is an opportunity for me to recognize the glory of His strength. I am encouraged as I remember that His plans for me are for my good and that His purposes include making me more like Jesus. Right here, right now is exactly what is best for me.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12
When I stop and take time to reflect on my life, I realize that if things had gone my way, I wouldn’t see my need for Him. I would be in a dangerous place, not unlike the people of Babel–putting my energy and effort into building a life for my own glory. In His grace, He gently removed the things that were becoming my idols and put them in a place of less importance.
I have lost much that in earlier years I worked so diligently to achieve. I have exchanged it for years of inadequate sleep, hours upon hours of mundane house work, numerous busy days devoted to both educating our children and to just plain survival. However, have also relinquished these things for the opportunity to watch our children grow and learn, to read and memorize God’s word together, to do life with my family, and to share the Gospel with them as they see my weaknesses and my own need for Jesus each day. It has been totally worth the sacrifice, and if I had the choice to make again, I would not choose another way, because I know that this way could never have come from me but only from the hand of a sovereign, all loving, all knowing, all glorious God. Let’s humble ourselves and seek Him. He will undoubtedly “lift us up” to heights that we could never imagine!