I became alarmed and took the previous post down yesterday. I'm not accustomed to allowing anyone a peek inside my 100-Fold life, taking a tour of my prison cell, seeing my “boils” - and I started feeling a little naked. I don’t want to be a voyeuristic distraction for the Flowers. I don’t want to be pitied. I want to be envied, if you will. So, I prayed. This blog is meant to gird the loins of those who are in Joseph’s prison, experiencing the true afflictions of Job, and, sharing in the sufferings of Christ. An “OK, if she, a regular Mom, can run the race and carry her cross, by the Grace of God, I guess I can, too.”
I know it’s ugly, at times Circus Freak Show ugly, but my children are so beautiful, talented, and godly – they shine like stars among their peers. Never confuse this. The suffering has made them what I call “three-dimensional.” I coined that term about 15 years ago, when I noticed my older daughter standing out from the crowd. In fact, I dubbed her my “Sparkler” and bought her a ring with three stars on it for her 8th grade graduation gift. I look at most young people and they are vapid, even in their desperate attempts at uniqueness. Many Christian young people have sincerity, but no depth. That is the stuff that only the suffering of Christ can produce.
I’m a great believer in not sharing anyone’s testimony, but we are such a close family, that some times it’s hard to isolate my cross from my kids’. I purposely omitted much of my son’s horrendous suffering in the original entry, because that will be his testimony to share with people in eternity. But, nonetheless, we felt too exposed.
We are blessed. The suffering provided an opportunity to impress upon my children the commandments and love of the Lord upon their hearts (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). God’s word is true – I have feared the Lord and kept his commands and it has gone well with my children (Deuteronomy 5:29). Not in the worldly sense, but in the their hearts, minds, and faith in God. And they had huge crosses for such little people. To be perfectly honest, I had to pray about EVERYTHING when they were growing up. I wanted to be sure that my reactions and responses to our daily battles reflected those of a godly Mom - not an impatient, angry, bitter, vengeful victim. I didn’t want them to forsake God because of my Christianity.
As a young family, we had been visiting another church. The kids’ dad was starting to feel a little uncomfortable in our regular church – people were starting to notice that his evil was showing. At the new church, they had an altar call. I went forward for prayer. I was so confused – how do I handle my life, do I stay or do I go? This very short man, who I didn’t know, laid his hand on my head and started to pray. The dad had followed me up there, to make sure I didn’t reveal any details about his misdeeds, because the praying man didn’t know anything about our situation. After a few minutes of prayer, he said to me, “I see you pulling a huge cart, you’re pulling with all your might, perspiring. The cart is loaded down with many things, your children,” and at this point, the man opened his eyes, and turned to the dad, and said, “and I see you, in the cart, on top of the whole pile!” It was a daily prayer battle just keeping that cart moving.
As of late, I am waiting PATIENTLY on the Lord (I think putting the word 'patient' in all caps is an e-oxymoron:). I am waiting to be released from my prison sentence – like Joseph. I am waiting for, dare I hope, a double-portion – like Job (except for giving birth to another set of kids). As David expressed in many of his Psalms, I have felt that God doesn’t hear my prayers. He responded to God's silence with such moxy and actually told Him to “Wake up!…Rouse yourself!” (Psalm 44:23). At times I wonder even how to pray for myself, because I believe “Not my Will,” and I confess, I don’t always know God’s will. Job, and his buddies, spent hours guessing about why Job’s life was in shambles – and God rebuked them soundly! They were misinterpreting God’s will for Job (without knowledge Job 38:2).
I prayed about the blog from the beginning. My intent was to write for my kids, but it would be such a blessing to me if my life could positively impact other 100-Fold warriors. Other than teaching Sunday school on and off for 20+ years (ages 3-15), I've never had a ministry. Well, let's not jump the gun - 8 posts and 2 "Followers" does not a ministry make. But for now, I don’t want our shredded lives to be anyone’s entertainment so I will continue to pray because discretion is the better part of valor.