Monday, March 21, 2011

The Past Months

I have been going through alot of internal mixing and churning over the past two months as my parents' health deteriorates and I am called upon more and more frequently. For now, I am cooking most of my parents' evening meals and taking it over to them. Mother has not been staying on her sodium-restricted diet because of not enough energy to cook. Her blood pressure shot up and I took her to the ER last week. It hurts me to see my parents' in the condition they are in and although I do not mind driving them to their appointments and caring for them, it has caused some adjustments (as you can imagine) to my life and my husband's life. For some time, I have noticed a resentment building up in me and an irritation and frustration whenever conflicts arise--as they do from time to time. I was getting down on myself for not responding in my heart in a Christ-like manner and feeling pretty hopeless to change. I had no idea I could still have such anger, irritation, and  resentment in me after all Christ has done for me to give me my life back.

I realized something else. My anxiety over situations such as these stems from my self-centeredness,These past few weeks my anxious thoughts have told me: I can't do this. I can't be there for them all the time. What about me? I'm not that strong. I'll never be able to bear up. Too much stress is what broke me last time. And then the self-condemnation sets in: What kind of a selfish person are you? What kind of a believer are you? Where's the Spirit of God in you? He must've left you because of your sinful thoughts. You're a rotten example of God's love

After praying and praying about this--"God, please change me. Please help me be different. Please forgive me---yet again!"--I finally had a breakthrough. The Lord led me to Romans 7 & 8 and I read where Paul was talking about this same battle--the battle with the sinful nature. These chapters seemed to open up to me as I sat on the swing and read, desperate for a word from God. I saw the answer was to put my sinful self to death daily by the Spirit through faith. I saw that this is done by crying out to God--"Abba, Father"--for help right when I am in the conflict and not to try and be good in my own strength. If I pray right at that moment, the Spirit will intercede for me and so will Jesus Christ. A prayer needs to be shot up in the moment of need because I cannot be good on my own. Through the Spirit, then, I can be more than an overcomer! Praise God!

I also realized I am not condemned...I am forgiven, predestined, justified, and glorified. Not because I deserve it, but because Christ died for me and His righteousness becomes mine through my faith in Him. I am truly forgiven as soon as I confess and repent of my sins. And I can live out God's Word of Truth when  I bring the mind of Christ into every situation I am in. No, this is not like the last time when I broke under stress. Back in 2002 I believed I was all alone and God did not care. I know different now. I can live freely out from under my sinful nature and condemning thoughts and exchange them for the glorious, wonderful, loving thoughts of God. Through His outpouring of grace, mercy, and unfailing love, I can have those same qualities toward my parents, all my loved ones, and my own self.  No anxiety can hold back His work in me. God has not abandoned me and will complete the good work He began in me so long ago. These trials and temptations are teaching me how to die to the law of sin and to self-condemnation and to live, truly live freely in the love of Christ Jesus.

I thank God that He forgives wickedness, rebellion, and sin and that he encourages believers in His Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We can do the hard thing through Christ Jesus! If God is for us, who can be against us? Not even our old sinful nature can win over the Spirit He placed in us. Love never fails!

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