1:30am here in Norway, and Jimmy is about to take the stage for the 3rd time today! You'd think that'd be way to late to start a concert, but since it doesn't get dark till around 11pm, it's easier to stay up that long. I actually don't know if these people actually sleep at night! I'm definitely loving the long days, but 9pm comes so quickly when the sun is up! It's amazing how much I count on the sunset to let me know what time it is. I mentioned in my last blog that I have been hoping God would speak to me while we're here, and so far He's come through! Though the lessons I'm learning since arriving in Scandinavia have been good, they've also been hard. It all started with "an honest moment" I had with God in Sweden a couple days ago. Though I'm generally pretty frank with Him, I tend to keep silent when my frustration is aimed at how He is running things because I know how limited my view is. But every now and then, I just have to let Him know my grievances. Let me share this moment of honesty with you.
It began with a challenging travel day with Lively. I rely very heavily on His grace on these days to get me through each task and challenge. Sometimes those challenges are figuring out where to nurse her while at an outdoor festival or trying to soothe her on a 9 hour flight. This particular day was our first in Sweden and I had been asking Him for help with many things and all to no avail. Lively was fussy most of the day and all of my attempts to soothe her either simply didn't work or backfired. I didn't understand why God wasn't helping me like He usually does! At the end of the day, my dissatisfaction with how things had gone overflowed into one very angry prayer: "God, why aren't you helping me?! I don't understand! I believe you can help me because I have seen you do it before. Are you just not listening this time?! I really need you now, so where are you?!"
I don't feel like I got much of an answer that night, though it is always relieving to be honest with God. The following day was not any better with Lively. As I echoed my prayer from the night before, I felt Him respond to me: "So, you want me to make everything easy for you, is that right?" Sigh. Yes, I guess that is exactly what I am asking. As I realized the truth of what my request meant, I thought to myself, "And that is rarely what God wants... for things to be easy." I recalled what He had recently shown me through the Word (Lessons in Sleeplessness): I am to consider myself His servant in the midst of stressful and trying circumstances. Goodness, how could I forget that so quickly. I had also forgotten a fundamental thing about motherhood: like many things, it is intended to sanctify me, to get rid of the selfishness still left in me so I can become more like Jesus. (1 Tim 2:15, Rom 8:29)
Often, being a mother prevents me from doing what I want to do when I want to do it. And quite frankly, it's really frustrating! For example, during the festival in Norway, I was really enjoying talking with all the other bands and Norwegians backstage when Lively began to get upset. Of course I hadn't realized how close it was to her bedtime because the sun was still up. I had hoped to explore all the different booths, find a Norwegian shirt, and then stick around for Jimmy's acoustic concert. With every cry I felt that plan falling apart. Instead, I headed back to the hotel to put her to bed and wait around until Jimmy got done. Lame! I'm in Norway! Who sits in a hotel room when you're in Norway! A mother of a 6 month old, that's who.
It's in those moments I say to myself: "I can't do what I want to do when I want to do it. And that is exactly what God wants for me." He wants to show me how to sacrifice my own wants and preferences for the sake of serving someone else. That is exactly what Jesus did for me, and my life goal is to become more like Him right? Not to see Norway.
The process of sanctification is not fun; on the other hand, it is very hard. And yet what it produces makes it so worthwhile: freedom from self-worship and selfishness and the fruit of the spirit: joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control and more. I greatly dislike the process, but am always glad to find that afterwards I am able to tackle even more difficult situations with peace and joy. Right now, I am still kind of in the disliking part, but trying to make the best of it and enjoy the quietness of our sleeping sweetheart. But at the end of the day, I am sure grateful that God's current instrument of sanctification in my life is the cutest little girl I've ever seen. And truthfully, I'd give up seeing Norway any day for her. =)