Thursday, July 28

I Am

I think one of my favorite things about this new life stage of parenthood I've entered into is the change in perspective or the new revelations it brings. Every season in life brings new lessons and new challenges: graduating high school, going to college, getting engaged, getting married, etc. And different people have different seasons; not everyone goes through the same pattern or has the same experiences which gives us all a unique perspective and unique understanding of life.

As I have encountered each season though, I have always been aware that they seem to be accompanied by growth and a deeper understanding of God and my relationship to Him. For me, it is as if God brings me to and through each stage in order to reveal something new and shape me into the woman he desires me to be. When Blaine and I were married, I came to a new understanding of God as my covenant love, my true husband who pursues me and speaks tenderly to me even when I deserve punishment (Hosea 2:14-20).

Now in this new experience of being a mom, God is showing me so many different aspects of his character that I never understood before. People always say things like, "Oh you can't really know what it's like to love a child until you have one yourself because you can't explain what it's like being a parent." While I don't really like repeating cliche statements or being one of those "Don't you wish you were a part of this circle" kind of people, I do have to admit that there is just no way to comprehend parental love until you are a parent. I never would have thought it was so, but when I look at that 4 month old baby boy there are unspeakable feelings of compassion, tenderness, mercy, protectiveness, and love that well up in me from out of nowhere and like nothing I've ever experienced before. Not to be overly dramatic, but I honestly feel like I would die or kill for this child if it was necessary, and I can't imagine (even in just the short time we've had him) what life would be like if he was taken from us. From the very first moments we held our son in the hospital, I have felt God showing me a new understanding of the love he has for me: an undying, unswerving, unconditional love of a parent who would never forsake me or abandon me no matter how I hurt, disappoint, or anger him. That is powerful to me.

As I've been thinking of these things lately, a song I like came to mind and I wanted to share it on my blog because I feel like it conveys what I'm thinking very nicely. The title of the song is "I Am" and it's by Nichole Nordeman, a Christian music artist. Here are the lyrics and I posted a link to the song on Youtube:

Pencil marks on a wall; wasn't always this tall
You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed
You watched my team win, You watched my team lose
Watched when my bicycle went down again
And when I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
And I said Elbow-healer, Superhero, come if You can
And You said "I Am"
Only sixteen, life is so mean; what kind of curfew is at ten p.m.
You saw my mistakes, watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I'd never love again
And when I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
And I said Heartache-healer, Secret-keeper, be my best friend
And You said "I Am"
You saw me wear white by pale candle light
And I said forever to what lies ahead
Two kids and a dream with kids that can scream
Too much it might seem when it is two a.m.
And when I am weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name
Oh Shepherd, Savior, Pasture-maker, hold onto my hand
And You said "I Am"
The winds of change and circumstance blow in and all around us
Still we find a foothold that's familiar
And bless the moments that we feel you nearer
When life had begun I was woven and spun
You let the angels dance around the throne
And who can say when, but they'll dance again
When I am free and finally headed home
I will be weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name
Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer,
Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer,
Lord and King, Beginning and the End
I Am, Yes, I Am

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

I've never really completely understood this verse in the Bible. When God tells Moses to speak to the people in Egypt and Moses asks who he should say has sent him to speak to the people, I've never exactly known what God meant when he says just tell them I Am. It's always been one of those confusing passages of Scripture that I never really took the time to figure out. I still don't know for certain what God means when he refers to himself as "I Am who I Am" and judging by what I've read, it looks like even biblical scholars aren't completely sure, but I do like this explanation I found in the notes of my ESV Study Bible: "The [Hebrew] word translated 'I am' can also be understood and translated as 'I will be'. Given the context of Exodus 3:12 ('I will be with you'), the name Yahweh is also a clear reminder of God's promises to his people and of his help for them to fulfill their calling."

The song above and my experiences with God throughout my life have helped me to develop a possible understanding of what God means when he says, "I Am". It's almost as if he is saying, I am all that you need. I am everything. I am beyond what you can understand, but I am enough for you. I am who I am and that is all that you need to be concerned about. God doesn't change, but we do and the ways in which we need him change. This is something that has really impacted me when I look at Brock, a little baby boy who will grow into a child, and think about the way he will look at God and how he will understand God and how God will relate to him. To a child, God is like a superhero, a scatterer of monsters, an elbow healer. As we grow, our understanding of God changes and the way we relate to him matures and deepens (at least hopefully it does) and in each phase of life, God supplies and provides for us, sometimes in a material or physical way but other times in an emotional way. God may not always give me the money or possessions I want, but he gives me the certainty that He is my Provider. He may allow a child to be taken from me, but he gives me assurance that He is my Comfort. God may not always rain down blessings of healing or security or wealth or anything I ask for, but he reminds me that He is my Joy, He is my Possession, He is my God, my Creator, my Savior, the Sustainer of my life.

God does not change but he is dynamic in how he relates to us. Just as I would speak differently to a two-year-old than I would to an adult, God reveals himself in different ways at different points in our lives in order to, little by little, give us a deeper understanding (though always incomplete) of the totality of his character, the I Am. That's what has been on my mind lately, and I just wanted to share it.

1 comment:

  1. Shelby,

    I just cannot begin to tell you how much your post ministered to me! I hope some day I will be have the chance and the words to tell you without tears forming in eyes. Thanks love the song too!