Getting close to five weeks. It’s crazy how fast that has gone by… and how slowly. (Almost) five weeks ago, Shane and I were in a hospital room, trying to wrap our brains around the sweet little “love lump” (as Grandma Barnard calls her) that had just arrived. We STILL are trying to wrap our minds around it, but to be honest, our minds are a little too tired nowadays. I know for myself, I can’t really remember the last time I fed Lucy, let alone the last time I showered… which can be scary.
But, wow, isn’t the Lord really as good as He says He is? I have been tasting and seeing that, especially in the last two weeks. Things (and when I say “things” I mean: motherhood, marriage adjusting to parenthood, every day life, life in God, etc…) are getting a little less blurry and coming into focus– what a huge, overflowing, overwhelming blessing this season is.
I couldn’t even begin to share all the things He has spoken to me in the last five weeks. I’m not sure if I should, really. Some of those moments are untypable and unbloggable. There really aren’t any words FOR them. Some of my moments with the Lord lately have been wordless and pretty unassuming, except for the “still small voice” that brought quiet and peace and worship to my heart. I’ve stared at Lucy and just sighed and smiled till my face hurt and my eyes were all watery. I’ve stared at my husband holding her, or comforting me in an emotional moment, or waking up with me in the middle of the night to make sure Lucy and I were alright … and wondered, How did I get this blessed? The faithfulness and tender heart of God has been shown to me through Shane consistently pre-Lucy, but now it’s something I lean on daily.
All of that to say… this morning I had a really sweet time with Him in our sun room. I was reading Galatians 5 about the fruit of the Spirit… LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL… and had this deep, restless hunger in me for the evidence of the Spirit at work in my life. I know He IS — I wouldn’t be able to get through a day if He wasn’t! But, when I looked at that list in my Bible and then copied in my journal and traced over several times, I could tell by the ache in my heart that I don’t pursue those things. More like, I don’t pursue Him to the point of those things just naturally bearing fruit.
Sure, I have joyful days. Sure, I have moments where I choose to be patient. Sure, there are times when I have to have self-control and do.
But, all of those things? To walk in the Spirit so deeply and authentically that all of those things are evident in me? I’m not sure.
And then, I flipped over to Ephesians. I saw a verse in (I think) chapter 5 talking about “giving no opportunity to the devil” … and I started to think about how many times in one day those fruits I just read about are challenged. How my flesh, and beyond that, my unseen enemy are hostile towards God and stand in opposition to those things taking root, sprouting, and producing sweet fruit in season in my life.
“10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
I know it’s kind of an unattractive book of the Bible, but I have always, always loved Deuteronomy. Side note: if you haven’t ever spent much time there, you should give it an hour of your day. Flip through the chapters… there are so many that point to Jesus. Anyway, I remember it being a theme in that book, especially talking about the law, to obey the WHOLE law. To offer WHOLE offerings to the Lord. To love the Lord with your WHOLE heart.
For some reason, that word stuck out to me today… whole. I want to know what it is to experience all of the fruits of the Spirit- the wholeness of it. And, in Ephesians 6, I have a high and urgent calling to put on the WHOLE armor of God… my life depends on it.
So, I’m seeking Him for these things in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
And I want to begin each day with these things armoring me in the unseen: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness given by the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and praying at all times.
The beautiful thing about the Word… and about the Lord… is that, in order to experience freedom in it, you can’t omit the things you’re uncomfortable with or inconvenience you. Kind of like how I have a joyful day here and there, where I really am joyful IN the Lord… I have days here and there when I pray at all times. Or I arm myself with the Word at the beginning of my day. Or I chose to wrap around me the truth.
But, I don’t want the glory of victory that that passage talks about in pieces! I want to experience what it’s like to really, really, REALLY walk in the Spirit. With my WHOLE heart.