I know, I know….make a list…cue the eye rolls and one more thing I have to do. Now, I roll my eyes at lists, too! My mom is a list maker and when a big event comes around, she has like 17 list of things to do….more things than any one person could possibly get done. My lists are normally in my head, but I don’t create lists to the extent that my mom does. So let’s get back to it. This is NOT a to do list. Phew! You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. I am not telling you another thing you have to do or how to make your day get better or how to get everything done.
This is not that kind of list. This is a burden relieving and faith building list. It’s the kind of list that should remind you that when you don’t get your list done, you have Someone who will build houses for you that your work didn’t earn, who will plant vineyards for you that you didn’t plant, and who will increase the output of your work without you having to carry the burden. I know what you are thinking….really? Is this a joke? Absolutely not. God multiplies what I sometimes view as my failures and he makes them into blessings just when I need them most. I have Scripture and an experience to show you this.
Scripture first from the Message paraphrase. First one is Deuteronomy 6:10-12: When God, your God, ushers you into the land he promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you’re going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn’t build, well-furnished houses you didn’t buy, come upon wells you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn’t plant. When you take it all in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don’t forget how you got there—God brought you out of slavery in Egypt. Second one is Romans 8:27-28, 31-39: He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. Last one is Matthew 11:28-30: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
So here’s my experience. I am the kind of person who likes to get it all done….you know that ever list growing in my mind and not on paper. I like to have it all in order, and I sometimes forget about grace and carry the burden myself. That is so not how God intended it. He intended for me to trust Him. To lay down my lists and trusts that what he tells me to do in any given day is enough, and He has been so faithful to show me that. These are all very practical, but so helpful to moms and dads who stay at home with their kids. So I am 37 weeks pregnant, slower and more tired than I used to be…which is okay because I am growing a precious human being in my belly. (I need to say that out loud for myself to hear…so I trust God and not me.) Going up and down stairs a ton is not on my list of favorite things to do. So the other day, I left a diaper and wipes in my purse and didn’t put them away, which bothers my getting everything done personality a little. God brought that to my mind, and on a day when I just needed rest, I didn’t have to walk upstairs to get that diaper. So thankful. Second example is Emme going on the potty. She’s not by any means consistent, but she has started to ask to go on her own. So helpful to me because with another one on the way, the less $$ we have to spend on diapers the better. So proud of her, and I haven’t pushed that at all. Trusting God to take care of it, and He has already begun His good work there. Last example, I will give you is about an injury Emme got. She fell not too long ago and split her earlobe and had to get stitches. We prayed for her, and honestly, she didn’t cry for more than 5 minutes during the whole 5+ hour process. God took care of her pain. Then, Joel and I were waiting for the bills. You get two now just in case you didn’t know. One from the doctor. One from the hospital. Total bill was $4200. We expected to pay our deductible + a little more because of the structure of our plan. We are only paying $100. That is God. And we are so thankful!Let me just encourage you to start making a list of His faithfulness. Write it in a book, a journal, on your phone, on your computer, wherever you can add to it and view it easily. Why? It’s a testimony. It’s a faith builder. It reminds you when you face a struggle that God will take care of it. You do what’s in your heart, but trust Him with the overall situation. And we all need reminders. Everyone does…even people you think don’t. My pastor always says a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument. Your eyes will be open more and more to His goodness in all areas of your life, and it will strengthen your heart and trust in God, which allows you to give Him more and more to carry, so you can carry less and less and just enjoy what He has given you. (1 Timothy 6:17: 17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money (or anything you have), which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.) So make a burden relieving list and trust God. His provision is always in front of you. This list helps you have eyes that really see the serendipitous grace that we often don’t notice, and your list will be so full of big, medium, and small provision that your faith will grow. God loves you. He wants to carry your burdens, and all He wants is for you to trust Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9: For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.” A perfect heart just trusts and rests in the love and grace of their Father. Enjoy your life, your kids, your day, your rest. He wants those things for you!