When I was about three, I remember a visit with my Chinese grandparents in Michigan. Their master bathroom had beautiful white carpet and a special desk where my Paw Paw kept her jewelry, makeup, and perfume. One lazy afternoon, I let myself into her room and crawled up on the chair in front of her makeup desk. There, I noticed an interesting mirror sitting behind the makeup – it made my face bigger! I remember studying an enlarged view of my face. Were those freckles? I liberally applied my Paw Paw’s foundation to my skin, enjoying the sensation of the liquid sliding over my cheeks and legs, stopping every so often to admire, close-up, the effect.
I was feeling exceptionally beautiful when an, “AYE-YA! Becky!” broke the thick silence. Busted, I was thoroughly scolded in a blend of English and Chinese. I had gotten foundation all over my new Mickey Mouse t-shirt.
Mostly though, what I remember is that close-up mirror.
As I was asking the Lord what I might share this week, He reminded me that circumstances act as mirrors for our hearts. Marriage is a mirror. Parenting is a mirror. And, for me this year, homeschooling is a magnifying mirror, much like my Paw Paw’s makeup mirror.
Really, the more challenging the circumstance, the higher magnification of what’s in our hearts.
One recent weekend, after failing at getting through all “our” schoolwork and demonstrating to my kids, rather thoroughly, some terrible ways to be frustrated, I realized through tears that my heart and mind just weren’t doing well. I would have liked to blame my circumstances. This dramatic change from traditional schooling to homeschooling is intense. But, changing circumstances wasn’t going to change my heart. It was what was already inside me, agitated by my circumstances, that had resulted in this behavior.
Maybe you have been experiencing some variation of this? It could be homeschooling, it could be friction with a co-worker or frustration with the government. It could be any number of other circumstances. We have all been experiencing uncertainty and frustration since 2020. I dare say we’ve all responded in ways that weren’t *quite* presentable. As our circumstances reveal another startling layer of our hearts to ourselves – magnifying things to vulgar proportions – rather than sink into shame, let’s remind ourselves that it’s not surprising to Jesus. Jesus looks on us in our ugliness and beckons us to offer the ugly to Him. The resurrected Jesus longs for you to look with Him – upon those magnified places in your heart – so that He can pour His power deeper into your soul for His great glory.
So, today, this week, let’s allow the truth of what yet remains to be transformed to sit on the surface, before God, so that He can work His miracle in us. He appointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in us, as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:22). Pray with me?
Jesus, we admit that we aren’t quite as far along as we would like to be in life. Here we are, real-life adults – me, with my kids looking on — and we can be pretty bad examples. Thank you that we don’t have to beg you for your mercy. You came and surrendered your life on the cross while we were still opposed to You. These last months have revealed that there are still parts of our hearts that are in rebellion to You. As shocking as this is to us, it is not a surprise to you. Despite our need for deeper sanctification, you say in abundant grace, “I see it and I love you. You are mine. I will make you stand firm.” As the apostle Paul said: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He appointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in us, as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). May your Spirit in us speak Amen for your great glory. Amen.