Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly...
So, Nathan is 13 days old today and since his birth, a lot has occurred. We've celebrated two birthdays, seen Daddy go back to work for the school year, finished out the little league season, and seen four of our seven family members go back to school (Daddy included). It's been a bit of a ride, I must say. But it's all been wonderful (for the most part), and we're just trying to take things one day at a time. I'm healing up really well. The swelling is going down and though I am a bit far away from my normal frame, I'm beginning to see some remnant of what used to be. It's good to have hope. So, in sum, life has been moving on at record speed with all the normal activities and we're simply trying to keep up.
Speaking of normal activities, this past Sunday we debated about going to church. We were just a little over a week out from Nathan's birth and we definitely felt tired. I didn't think I'd make it, as church can be such a physical endeavor in the first place with having all of the kids with us in the pew. But when it came down to it, we knew we hadn't been to church in three weeks and frankly, both Steve and I felt we really needed it, regardless of how difficult it might be to get there.
Once again, we weren't disappointed. It's amazing how being a midst the body of believers can encourage a weary soul. It was simply being there. I didn't hear much of the sermon. In fact, I hardly heard any of it. I was nursing the baby in the nursing room and Elliana was sitting on a chair next to me, chattering away about what she saw in the room. Yet in the background, I could hear the singing and that was enough. For I knew exactly where the service was going. All of the music, all of the standing and sitting, the rhythm of it all is etched on my memory thus enabling me to imagine myself a part of it all, as I heard everyone moving through the service.
And that alone blessed me. It was a salve that washed over me and renewed me yet again. Not that I am overly wounded but the transitions taking place and new responsibilities (not to mention the post partum period in general) can leave me feeling raw, even when I'm doing well. So in that renewal I could feel all of the pressure, the unknowns, the stress of starting over again and the fatigue from healing and Nathan, fell softly away as the voices were lifted to heaven. In that moment, I was made new.
After nursing, it was time to go and sit in the foyer with Miss Elle in tow. Steve had the other three inside and Nathan needed me to be moving in order to be rocked to sleep in the Moby. That's when the sermon started. It was on my favorite chapter in Colossians- Colossians 3. I know this chapter well.
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth..."
As the words were read, they came like a flood and washed me again, cleansing my heart.
"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you..."
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another..."
"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
And then the words that pierced my heart anew-"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly..."
I don't know what else was said. I wasn't able to fully pay attention. All I remember was the passage being read and our pastor talking about how Christ's words should dwell in us richly. That's what stuck with me.
And I began to wonder, how can I, a new mother of five on the brink of autumn and all that it brings, be passionate about my faith? How can I make it through this transition well? How can I even begin to do anything but just hang on, when I can hardly get to the bathroom, let alone have any sort of great time in God's word?
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
That sentence rang in my ears. Well, what word? And then my mind went back through that whole passage and how it gave an exact description of how my attitude should be right now. But how can I do all of that? I'm tired and feeling stretched.
And in that instant, God made it so simple for me. That sentence from Colossians was all I needed to hear at this time and so I began to cling to it and soak it in. And in doing so, I realized this: if I can allow God's word to accompany me throughout my day by telling myself the truth of the gospel, if I can just do that, I'm going to be okay.
I can choose to tell myself I'm tired. I can tell myself I'm confused about what to do next when I can't figure out what the baby needs. I can tell myself I'm frustrated by circumstances or kids' attitudes. I can tell myself I don't want to keep going. I can tell myself I don't feel like getting up one more time in the night, or going to correct that child again, or playing/reading to everyone.
I can tell myself these things and what I'll get is discouragement because there is no hope.
Or, I can tell myself the gospel. I can tell myself Christ is Risen. I can tell myself that God carries every burden. I can tell myself that He never sleeps and that I can talk to Him in the night. I can tell myself that He is the God of all comfort when I feel tired and spent. I can tell myself that He has made me clean even though my heart is so dreadfully wicked on its own.
And I can clothe myself in those truths because in doing so, I'm adorning myself with faith. Not faith in myself but faith in an eternal God who loves me. If I start there, I'll make it. If I speak discouragement to myself, I'll bail. It's that simple and I must choose.
In speaking the gospel to myself, God will show me how to love, how to give, how to stretch that much further and how to trust in Him.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
These first weeks can be hard as everyone adjusts. But what I tell myself during this time will determine my heart and my attitude. Christ's words in me are fighting words. They fight pride, discouragement, fear and failure.
And oh how I need all the help I can get.