Doing this battle of life as a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mom, and a homeschooling teacher along with several kindred spirits with whom I am blessed enough to claim friendship. I am at a different place than each of them though in most cases not that far removed - one has grown children, two don't homeschool, one has fewer children, one has more, one has the same. The common bond that seals our friendship is our heart's desire to surrender our lives to the living Christ, the one whose strength is made perfect in our weakness. Not one of those ladies would claim to have it all together and yet I see them as some of the strongest Christian ladies I know.
They are real. They inspire me. They challenge and lovingly correct me. They pray with and for me.
I trust them with my heart, my deepest feelings and ugliness. I find no judgement, no rejection. I find love. I find encouragement. I am safe. True Christ-likeness.
I had a conversation with one of those friends today and was reminded of an analogy from C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that really struck me as it pertains to my own heart issues of sin, of becoming more Christ-like. I can do what God asks of me - to fellowship with Him, to pray, to read Scripture, but the real heart change comes when I allow Christ to scrape and scratch out the ugliness in my heart, my sin. It hurts so much but after it's all done...transformation!!!
In the book, Eustace, a rather ornery, complaining, very unlikeable sort, has been magically turned into a dragon wearing a constricting golden arm cuff. He has no way of turning back into a boy except for the help of Aslan, the lion. Aslan tells him that he must undress, so Eustace figures out that like a snake sheds its skin, maybe he can shed his scales. So he starts scraping and scratching. Much to his delight, he sheds one layer but as he looks down, there is another layer. He does this three times and each time there is another layer to peel off.
So Aslan says, " '...you will have to let me undress you.'
I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I though it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt...
...then he caught hold of me - I didn't like it very much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on - and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again."
WOW! Compare this fictional story to a real, transformed life in Christ!!! Double WOW!!!
I'm thankful in this new year for the complete Chronicles of Narnia book series to feed my addiction (he, he!) but mostly for kindred spirits and an expectancy to see real change and transformation in my own life and my friend's lives. It might be difficult, but we're in it together with Christ!!!