Lord? A Barf Bucket?

(And no, this isn’t a natural health article – not any too pleasant to start the day with either. You might want to come back later.) : ) I love Molly. I really do. (She even knows this…don’t you Molly Esther??) She just plays havoc on my sleep when I read her blog late at night. 🙂

So, I go to bed, “women in ministry” dancing in my head. (There were also some young ladies milking cows and some swans swimming, geese laying eggs and these gold rings were flying around, but those don’t pertain to this discussion.) Two a.m. – I’m awake nursing the baby – “Lord, something is niggling in my spirit about the whole idea of women in ministry. It isn’t that I don’t think You can or do call women into ministry. It isn’t that I don’t think You gift women for ministry. But there is something from that discussion that is unsettling me. Help me grasp it. What do You have for me to glean from this???….” (Granted, at 2 am, it wasn’t that coherent, but God knew this is what I was saying – you just wouldn’t get it if you read what I actually said to Him.)

Suddenly my mind is filled with the memory of the days right after LittleWoman3 was born, when we all had the stomach flu. (Someone brought it along with dinner, when she was 3 days old) We were ALL throwing up. I distinctly remember holding something for child #4 to throw up in, while I was throwing up over the head of nursing newborn #5 and watching child #1 run to the bathroom and child #2 watch Veggie Tales, while throwing up in his “barf bucket” (he’s a boy – does that explain it?) and child #3 watched us all, sympathy wreathed on her face – and promptly did the same. Days later, this “ballet of barf” fresh in my mind, reading from Romans – I come across this: “Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?” (Rom 9:21) I wept. You see, in my mind, that meant I was relegated to life as a “barf bucket.” After seeing us all battle the flu, there was, in my mind, no more common use for a vessel than that of emesis basin. (I have since seen that Scripture translated as “dishonorable” rather than “common”…but common was the version I read that day.)

I wrestled against that for days. “Oh Lord, I don’t want to be common. I want to do SOMETHING! I want some VALUE. I have VISION, I have GIFTS.” (Granted, a few days before I would have given a great deal of money to ensure we had sufficient “common vessels” around here.)

“Uh, thanks for the trip down Memory Lane, Father, but what does this have to do with my unsettledness in regards to this discussion??…..” And OH SO graciously, the Lord gives me this Scripture, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to Your word.” Dear Mary – when Father asks her to be a basin for Him, what is HER response? Does she cry out – “NO LORD, I don’t want to be used for this common service!” ? (Not that carrying the Son of God was common – but that the act of carrying a baby would have been considered common.) No, her response is one of laying her entire life – for that is what it would have been in those days – down to embrace, with complete joy and humility, the plan that the Lord had for her. Talk about feeling like your own dreams, your own gifts, your own hopes were done for! I don’t see that Gabriel said, “OH and don’t worry about Joseph or the neighbors. We’ve got that covered. You’ll be “in” with them.” She has no reason to think that she will not be brutally cast away from those she loves to bring forth the Son of God, all alone!

Yet, after this announcement, her heart’s response is the Magnificat! Oh that I would be so willing to be poured out for the Lord. Oh that my eyes would be so completely upon Him and His glory that I needn’t worry whether or not He would choose to use me! (ugh!!)

So what did the Lord impart to me at 2 am this morning? Did He negate giving good gifts to women for use in ministry? No, nothing of the kind – in fact, He simply confirmed that He definitely honors women – but what He did show me is that when my focus is on ME (my gifts, my desires, my vision) then I have more time to spend in the caves. Like David, who was rightfully King, it was only when he was broken, hidden in the caves, completely poured out – content to be nothing more than a barf bucket, only then was he – am I – ready to be picked up and used for an uncommon use. Where better to learn to be this humbled but in my home, wiping…well, lots of things, redoing my work, day in and day out. Learning to be common. Oh Lord, may I embrace, with COMPLETE joy and humility, being a barf bucket for You, for Your glory, for Your pleasure.

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