Friday, November 5, 2010

Iron Sharpens

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens when it smacks hard.  This is tough news I think.... but once again, GOOD.  I need this good, tough grace at work in me:  smacking the pride and selfishness and narrow-mindedness that need to be whittled down.... no, that need to be mortified in me.  
On Sunday I shared about my difficult afternoon the day before (see the post below) with a friend and I caught her at a bad time.  She's iron though, I know that, solid and strong, and I do need and want to hear from her, learn from her.  But this was a down day for her.  She was really emotional (she’s admitted it since.)  And I identify well with tears and confusion and lots of emotion.  I’m pregnant.
We talked for a few minutes and then moved on to chat with others and then before we went home, my husband mentioned that I probably should go talk again with this friend.... that’s when the tears were flowing and emotions evident.  She shared with me how hard my struggle for peace, a submitted, gracious heart was for her to hear about.  She said several hard things.  We prayed for each other and for our friendship, I prayed for clarity for her- if there was a way I had offended her?  a specific to repent of? any specific thing I could do to encourage her? - and then we finally headed home.  The kiddos were wasted.  
The next few days I tried to sort through her words to me- what was right, what was true, what did I need to hear?  Then I decided, I don’t need to dwell on everything she said if some of it really seemed off base (my husband and another mentor both agreed- not quite true.)  In prayer I felt really convicted that I don’t need to hang myself on logic.  I need to pray for grace eyes, grace words, communicate love and acceptance to her, and receive Christ’s love and acceptance for me, despite my weakness and sin, because of his cross.

So... the gladness I write this whole post for is to say that there has been GRACE REAPED out of this hard discussion already. 
I really can’t think of the specific words she said, but I have been affected by our conversation to handle my heart more lightly when I see people reaching to pull my kids in close.  Kids really are tough, resillient!  Sometimes they’re not bothered by this kind of attention/ affection.  (Sometimes they are, and I will be there to lovingly protect them.)    My eyes are on them and they can handle a fair bit and I won’t let things get crazy, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone who was truly out to harm our kids.  Yea, local reactions of amazement to see foreign kids, and their efforts for friendliness can be a bit much for kids or adults to bear sometimes...
BUT I want to flex not just within my American flesh... not just accept as much as is tolerable to my American self.  I want to adjust, submit my heart for all that the Gospel allows.  Bend around the norms here as much as I can in wisdom and humility do for the sake for my King of Grace, for the sake of teaching my kids to love others, and for myself to be able to take deep joy and be refreshed by short or long interactions with these neighbors, onlookers and friends.  
This is a hard battle still.  I’ve written this post to mainly boast in the Lord’s grace to work through these hard words from a friend.  (...Not delivered well, not initially received well, but He is using them well!)  But I also still want to share with you, in this and the post below, so that you can understand what we face here.  I’ve got this (perhaps dumb?) thing about being understood and I want to help you “get” where we’re at.  I’m not trying to moan and groan, “woe to us!,” but instead to invite you:  “please pray for us.... that in the midst of this, the Gospel would ring out bright and clear and fragrant!”  

Honestly, knowing the difficulty of the battle and seeing his grace victorious in us will make it a brighter victory, I think, than having the mistaken notion that this is easy, and we could thrive here on our own, apart from any intervention of grace.  Not so.  We are clumsily, falteringly, clamoring after this prize... "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, [pressing] on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  (Phil 3: 14)  

Though grieving, limping maybe, we rejoice in these trials, that the "tested genuineness of our faith.... may be found to result in praise and glory and honor"  (1 Peter 1:7)....  We ARE victors in Christ!  (Thanks D!) And Victory in this battle- or any battle, really-  is simply not because of us.  It is all from, all for Him.  (Phew!)

Thanks friends, for "listening," for coming alongside us to understand this battle for us and to pray...  We love you!

1 comment:

  1. Praying for this friendship and that you will both receive what God intends you to learn, despite emotions, hormones, and communication misunderstandings, that you would hear His Voice and discern His Steps for you. I love you, Jillian!