"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
As I am going through my book, Dancing With My Heavenly Father in my podcast, I am reminded so very often that all of us have context to our story—where we live, our past, our present circumstances, our hurts and pain, our successes and productivity. But it is in our stories where God is building faith, character and commitment. Strength comes through training of muscles exposed to great pressure.
C.S. Lewis is one of my heroes. I love his writing and thinking. Yet, I appreciate him even more because of his very difficult life. He wrote great psychology of many characters not just because of his imagination, but because of the experiences of His life which taught him to forge through the dark times to strain into the light.
I hope you will enjoy my podcast today talking with my friend, Michael Ward, where we discuss the context and perseverance of Lewis’s life. His faith inspires me to have faith.
This weekend I will be repeating a very familiar trip—one from London to Denver and then to Monument. It is long, taxing, but the reward is home at the end. As I was packing, I was remembering another time when I had taken this trip. And it applies to living into the season of stretching towards godliness, as Lewis so deftly points out.
Flying Home to America
Twenty hours of flying and waiting and standing and carrying bags left me a bit weary and exhausted, but the feeling was a familiar one for me, and I knew that in a few days I would be over jet lag. But on my journey, I sat next to a young mother from Paris who had a 9 month old baby to wrestle with through out the wakings, feedings, playings and keeping her precious little boy sequestered in one seat on the plane.
As I was watching her in constant motion--changing, cajoling, nursing, bouncing, and doing it all over again, I was reminded again how much being a mother of my children has shaped, stretched and enlarged my soul.I could fairly see the soul and character of this young woman being stretched.
Often times we consider our tasks as being performed for the benefit of the children or babies.
But from God's point of view, he gave us children that we might learn how to become unselfish, to love generously, to work more heartily, to understand forgiveness, perseverance, endurance, graciousness, creativity, the skills of life-giving--because through this great work of motherhood, we are slowly being conformed into the image of Christ--and from this commitment of motherhood, we come to better understand His fatherhood, His sacrifice, His unmerited favor for us. His plan has a purpose that will create beauty of soul and heart and mind.
The very act of submitting to His plan for motherhood, became the long term instrument through which He shaped and crafted my soul.
But to become this vessel where He is willing to dwell and to become the soul that reflects Him and his gentle love and powerful reality, we must submit to the building and crafting that He has designed by making us mothers after his own heart and submissive to His design. I did not know that this journey was about soul-making, but now I see that in the shaping of my soul, He also designed the end result to be deep fulfillment and happy pleasure. For being with my adult children is my greatest joy and brings me the deepest happiness in my days of living on this earth.
Dr. Ward can be found at: http://www.michaelward.net where you will enjoy finding the books he has written, his speaking schedule and all things he is involved in. What a privilege to have him on this podcast.
I will have such great pleasure in being back where I belong, in the company of Clay and Darcy, in my beloved Colorado, in my own bed, sitting on my front porch watching the sunset. Yet, I will also have Oxford and the sweet memories I made with my precious ones, always in my heart--and it feels so very good to be in the place that I belong, here or there. My belonging is with my people.