Right now, I’m ending my day with Francine Rivers’ “A Voice in the Wind,” the first book in her Mark of the Lion series. The book follows a young Christian woman who survives the destruction of Jerusalem, only to be sold into slavery.
Francine does a wonderful job walking her characters through the mean streets of ancient Rome and Ephesus. It’s a page-turner.
Living Out God’s Glory
I begin my day with a study time, devotional time. The past couple weeks I’ve been reading Kathy Collard Miller’s “Pure Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory.”
Kathy is a woman of great faith who’s written a great many books, like over 50. I know! Kathy asks insightful questions chapter after chapter. She asks about our motives, wondering about the impact of fear, selfishness, and even immaturity and their impact on our ability to live out God’s glory. Her personal reflections connect those feelings to our walk with God. I was all in by the end of the first page.
In several chapters of her book, Kathy referenced the impact of childhood experiences on our relationship with God, their connections to those fears, selfishness, and immaturity. I blew right by sub-headings on Perfectionism and Performance, Instability and Worry. And then in Chapter 8 there was a section titled, Childhood Experiences Label God.
Childhood Experiences Label God.
When thinking about living out God’s glory, do they? Did they? Will they?
I thought back on my own stand-out experiences as a kid, remembering that from an early age, I balked at being told what to do. In first grade I had a place at the chalkboard where I stood in front of God and everyone when Mrs. Teasley had had enough of my talking.
In second grade, I stood in front of the classroom more than once getting a harsh scolding when Mrs. Krumm had had enough of my talking.
In third grade Mrs. Stay just moved my desk closer and my friends further away.
Earlier this week, one of our Fave ladies shared a picture of her daughter wearing a T-shirt with the words, “Dear Teacher, I talk to everyone so moving my seat won’t help.” Yep, true.
Growing up I spent an inordinate amount of time challenging my parents and teachers. I became a perfectionist, silently daring those around me to say anything about my misbehavior after I’d gotten an A on the assignment, an A on the test. Mixed in were smirks of defiance and a growing hate at being told what to do.
By high school I was struttin’ my stuff in all the wrong places in all the wrong ways. I lied about where I’d be going and with whom. I made sure I came home late. No one was going to tell me what to do and how to do it.
Surrounding it all was a very warped understanding of house rules. Rather than view my parents’ guidance as guidance, I figured their rules expected me to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people, so I might as well be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.
Yeah, that worked well.
At the same time, I was also challenging God, my Father (capital F) in heaven. Using that same warped understanding of parental guidance, I defied God’s law, too.
I really felt God’s rules for right living, His biblical guidance was just divine intervention—and not in a good way. His commandments were just His way of saying “Gotcha!” At least that’s how I felt.
I really didn’t understand parenting until I became a parent. I really didn’t understand parental love until I experienced parental love. I really didn’t understand the connection of love and guidance, love and discipline, love and expectations until I looked at two little boys, my own sons, and knew I wanted only the best for them.
How has your childhood shaped your view of God? How has your view of God changed as you’ve gotten older—and wiser? And as Kathy asks us, how are you living out God’s glory?
Raising Kyle and Kevin, there were times when I immediately stepped in with corrective words and actions. There were other times when I thought to myself, This is not going to be pretty, but they’ve got to figure it out. There were moments with praise. There were moments with a sharp, “No, that’s enough.”
Why? Because I loved those two little boys more than I ever thought possible and wanted only the best for them.
Raising Kyle and Kevin, there were times when I was at my finest and times when I was not. Lessons in grace abounded.
Looking back, my own parents had moments when they were at their awesomest and others when they were not. Too often I’ve used those experiences to define my relationship with God, to define Him. Not getting what I want and I’m having a little temper tantrum. Not getting it when I want it and I’m wondering if God’s really there, really paying attention, really caring for me. Not getting it my way and I’m wondering if it’s to be, it’s up to me—and not living out God’s glory.
But here’s the deal, ladies. God is God. He’s not just some better version of an earthy father; He’s the divine, perfect Father (again, capital F). His way, His will, His when is perfect, and His way, His will, His when is perfect for me—is perfect for all of us—always was and always will be.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reminds us that God will be a father to us, and we will be sons and daughter to Him.
We have a God who values relationships, who put us in relationship with each other, but most important, who put us in relationship with Him, not to catch us in the wrong place at the wrong time, but to help us be in the right place at the right time—with Him and each other.
And for that I want my life—my words and deeds—to be living out God’s glory, to give God glory.
I pray you might be living out God’s glory too.