I was taught years ago that the word humble means low to the ground. Perhaps I got that from Charlotte's Web. Yes, I think that's it. Of course, since the time that elegant spider spun her theology lesson into my heart I've read all the dictionary definitions and still think this "low to the ground" word picture sums it up best.
Low to the ground.
And yet, humility isn't a self-deprecating, self-loathing, self-abasing sort of thing. Infact there's very little "self" focus at all, in the heart of the truly humble. Kneeling beside the vastness and grandeur of an omnipotent and yet personal God, who knows the hungry child in Africa, and the divorcee struggling with shame just down the pew; kneeling low is where we catch a view of His expansive greatness. The radical power of God, who shook off the lofty glories of heaven to rescue every sinner in need of grace, bending low to deliver His Salvation. And so we bend low.
Yes, I bend low.
Standing in our backyard last night, exactly two weeks after my dear friend Amber Lia and I launched our book Triggers out into the world, I watched God paint a fresh masterpiece across the skyline. Alone in the quiet, a damp kitchen towel still in my hands, the sound of my children shooting hoops out front, it occurred to me that God, in his omni-present power, was simultaneously at work beyond my horizon too - bringing His creative brilliance to every inch of every galaxy known and unknown, far beyond the orange hues of my limited view and comprehension.
It was all too big for the smallness of me.
I've only an inkling of His great bigness, and the might of His outstretched arm. Still, what I do know, has the power to raise me up in faith, yet keeps me ever low. I live in this paradox of a lifted up / bowed down life.
Two weeks, 16 days, and thousands of copies of Triggers later, and the only word that begins to express my emotions is humbled. And the part of it all that keeps me lowest to the ground, are the testimonies of transformation we're receiving each day - whether on Amazon or in our private inboxes.
Because God is doing something so obviously BIG, I can't help but feel small. It's much too much for me.
As a matter of fact, there have been times these past couple of weeks that I've felt like a fraud in the face of it all, because I know my own on-going sin-tendencies. I know my heart struggles and my home struggles. I could go into detail of my continued shortcomings, and confess, like the apostle Paul, to doing the things I don't want to do. But I'm not going to say all that today - because that isn't where true humility resides. The point isn't putting ourselves down, focusing on our failures (though they are many) but recognizing from that down-low position, the great big saving hand of a faithful God.
Oh, He is big! And His big love is continually made strong in our on-going weaknesses. And so today, I lift my head in praise, because He is doing some heavy lifting in the lives of women. And I am humbled, so very humbled and pleased, to be near enough to this work that He is doing, to see Him move.
PS - I leave you with an Amazon testimony below, written by a woman named Sheryl, WHO EXPERIENCED THE GREAT-BIG STRENGTH OF THE GOSPEL IN THE PAGES OF OUR LITTLE BOOK!
"I tire of Christian mommy self-help books. I've been introduced to quite a few through the M.O.M.S. group at our church, Facebook moms' groups and recommendations from friends. I've read and enjoyed a few, and I've enjoyed the conversation that a few a them spurred in my groups. But I tire of their step-by-step messages of how to fix this and do that better. I tire of their subtle guilt-inducing yet pandering and condescendingly sugary message, as if I am a tender thing to be coddled while a list of my failings is laid before me. I know they mean well, and some of them even contain the truth...somewhere. While I reject their trite offerings of an easy fix, I am ever aware that this mothering thing I'm doing is hard, that I'm failing at it in significant ways, and that there must be hope for doing it right, loving my little ones well, growing in grace.
This is not one of those books.
I've seen reviewers call this book honest, practical, biblical, and helpful, and it is all of those things. But this is not why I love this book. What Amber and Wendy have done for parents is beautiful and far beyond self-help or practical advice. You will not find in this book a message of sticky-sweet guilt accompanied by a list of things to do, quotes to pin on your mirror, and charts to make everything better. What you will find is the gospel, sometimes spoken in brutal honesty, but also in tender grace and humility.
See, the thing that tires me about all of those other books is that I know, to the core of my being, that I cannot just set my mind to be a good mom and make it all come out roses. I am weak, and I am a sinner, and I fail. I can memorize your list of alliterated correct responses to my triggers and somehow call that to mind when it seems like all the world is crumbling around me, but that won't save me, change me, or grow gentleness in me. That is the point of the gospel, and that is on glorious display in this book.
Whether you recognize a struggle with anger in your parenting or not, this book is an excellent resource. I don't know that I have ever read a better display of sanctification in progress. This is how it works. This is how God works- through prayerful repentance, humility, and the power of His Word. I started reading thinking I would pick out a few triggers that apply to me and breeze through the rest of it, but it turned out that every chapter arrested me. These are not easy or flippant answers; no cheerleading; this is truth and I think I can breathe again." (Sheryl)