At the beginning of the year, my husband and I were asked to speak for my mother’s group on the topic of marriage. During our talk, I shared some stories on how our kids have impacted our relationship and how I struggle at times with anger and control in raising our four young children. Sharing the more raw details of life can be a scary risk that involves vulnerability but I always figure that if it can help someone else, being authentic is worth it.
Well after our talk, one of my mom friends who I respected and was a “super mom” in my eyes, came up to me and said how much she related to what I had to say.
It had been a normal Saturday with my husband and two year old son, John. We had plans to enjoy the morning at the lake. We parked our car and walked to the bridge where the geese and ducks were. The setting and serenity were perfect. My son stuck close to us as we showed him the beauty of God’s creation. Bicyclers flew by us and other runners on the bridge. Out of nowhere, my son darts out in the middle of the path just as a bicycler is heading straight for him. He screams, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Get out of the way!” My heart stopped…
I’ve heard lots of sermons preached that have given me a step by step outline on how to pray that include acronyms to follow and certain disciplines to have a better prayer life. I’m not saying they aren’t effective or that I haven’t used them- some of them have really helped me stay disciplined. But most of the time my prayer issues are not because of the how-to’s but deal more with the state of my heart.
Pride says, “I’ve got it figured out. I can handle it all on my own. When I really need God, that’s when I’ll start leaning on him…” These are the kind of control issues I have to battle.
And the reality is that pride kills prayer, making me useless in building God’s kingdom and being about his work. Pride is dealt with when I confess. Repent. Humble myself. Beg for a changed heart. Ask God to help me with any guilt or shame I might feel that would keep me from coming to him.
I love how Hebrews says to approach the throne of grace. It’s all about grace. Jesus gives us grace and mercy to help us in our time of need because he’s been there. He can sympathize with our struggles and pain because he was tempted in every way, but was without sin. He knows we need grace and mercy- we are just so weak without him. There is nothing that he doesn’t understand.
He wants to take my pride and replace it with something greater. He wants a heart that is humble. Humility is what breathes life back into prayer again. And I know it’s something I have to pray for every day.
Has pride ever effected your prayers? How so? Why do you think it’s so hard sometimes to have a humble heart?
I tend to have all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts about today, tomorrow, the end of the week, next month, next year, and so on. I think of great plans and how things will most likely turn out. I sometimes even tell God that I know He’s going to do what I ask.
Wow! Just writing that out proves that I’m pretty self-focused and think I have it all together. I’m so far from that though. I like to “think” I have it all together and that I’m in control. I love to control in my thought life.
But the reality is that God is in control. His sovereign hand is leading and guiding me regardless of my thoughts. And it’s when I realize that I’m not in control after all, I begin to surrender and life is actually more free.
Since college, I’ve always loved the verse: “In his heart, a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” I need this verse to be imprinted on my heart because I often forget that the steps are His.
How has God shown you over the years that He is the one leading and guiding you- not your own fancy thoughts?
Since then, we’ve been in touch as writer friends and I really appreciate her heart for God, her family, and her desire to reach others through writing. Ashleigh is the Editor of Ungrind, a webzine that encourages women in the daily grind of life. I recently wrote an article for her called Just Like Eve.
The article centers around the pride and anger I’ve had at times and how it has hindered me from having the kind of marriage God intends. It deals with my struggle in allowing my husband to be the leader he has been created to be (ie. I have some control issues, dominating issues, etc. and I’m thinking I’m not alone). I paint a picture of a “blonde moment” that revealed a lot to me about my sin and marriage. And I talk about what it means to be a “help meet” and how when I’m functioning in that role, it’s exactly how God designed it to be. There’s peace and I’m not like the foolish woman who tears her house down with her own hands. So…
Two years ago, fresh into marriage, Jeremiah and I went through a major trial. Several months ago, I finally felt led to write about it and I submitted it to Radiantmag.com. They posted it today. Click here to read it. It’s called When the Clock Struck Two.