Saturday, June 26, 2004

Meltdowns and God's Signet Ring

After weeks of enduring the companionship of a toddler and a baby during my early morning (before 6am) quiet time, I have found that I am going through a sort of withdrawal. I am a person who CRAVES alone time. I love people, but I need a fair amount of quiet time to myself to study God's Word, commune with Him and gather my thoughts each day to maintain my sanity. I really have a loner nature. In a household of 6, I am finding it more and more difficult to carve out this time to myself each day. I usually rise early to beat everyone else awake. I find it so much easier to get up early now that it is summer and the sun rises early as well. Unfortunately, my two youngest children are ALSO finding it natural to rise early, too. I have done my best to keep a good attitude and just roll with it. Many mornings we utilize our Thomas the Tank Engine DVD collection which are my son's absolute favorite. These entertain him and he entertains the baby. It's not bad, but it isn't the same as the private quiet time that I crave. I have chosen to be thankful in this circumstance anyway. ("Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes. 5:18)

Now, I should also add that the baby, Abigail, is teething. I don't know if time has dulled my memory of how difficult this was with the other children, but she seems to be having the worst time of it than any of them. During the day when there is a lot of activity and distraction she is not too bad as long as she is kept full of Tylenol, although she hasn't been taking good naps. Nighttime is another story! We started this a week ago last Tuesday. She was awake nearly every half hour crying all night and nothing seemed to settle her. I finally realized at about 3:30am that she must be teething and in my sleepless stupor administered Tylenol and gum numbing gel and was able to get a precious few hours of sleep. After a couple of days she seemed to be in less discomfort, but those stubborn teeth are still just under the surface of the gums. So a few day later, her fussiness began again. Although under normal circumstances she is a good natured baby, she now has been getting in these icky crying jags.

Why am I sharing all this? Well, of late, I have had so much on my brain. There's the normal stuff, housework, teaching the children, apartment duties, bills to pay, and much much more. Add to that the fact that we are planning to build a new house on our property. What we feel we need is bigger than what we feel we can afford, so we are in the process of thinking planning and most of all praying that God will "show us the money" to pay for it or show us what the excess is that we need to trim off our house plan. This is the home we plan on living in forever, so we want it to be right. Then add to all that the fact that our home right now has become very disorganized and cluttered. This affects everything we try to do. I have been trying to get a grip on the clutter, but it is a slow and difficult process for me.

Anyway...yesterday as I drove the children home from swim lessons, I was feeling totally overwhelmed. The girls began bickering, Patrick was whining about something and Abigail was screaming. I reached the end of me. I reached the end of my rope; had all I could take. I am thankful that I didn't explode, get angry or scream. I have done this in the past and am not proud of it. But I did share with the children that I was stressing out. When I got home, I changed Abigail, gave her meds and tried to feed her (which she refused) and layed her down in her bed. I needed to escape, so I grabbed my notebook and my bible and went out and sat in the van alone.

After a good cry, I gathered my thoughts and begged God for His help. I opened my bible and it fell open to the beginning of the book of Haggai. This is not a book that I am very familiar with and I began to read. I felt such trust that God had just what I needed right there in His Word.

The book of Haggai is an account of how God revealed His Word to Haggai the prophet. The Lord was displeased with His people because they had been ignoring His temple which was in ruins but instead had put their own homes as a priority. "How is it that it's the "right time' for you to live in your fine new homes while the Home, GOD's Temple, is in ruins?" (Hag. 1:4 MSG) Hmm...what is God trying to tell me? Here we are focusing on a new home for ourselves right now. I really don't feel that God is trying to tell us that this is bad, but are we placing more importance on this instead of God's home. What IS God's home? It is our hearts. Our bodies are the temple of God. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" (1 Cor 6:19 NIV) I have to confess that I have been neglecting my body both physically and spiritually.

God also said that because of there neglect of Him, the people have been toiling without gain. The Lord had made this so because He desires them to return to to Him. He commands them to "Climb into the hills and cut some timber.
Bring it down and rebuild the Temple.
Do it just for me. Honor me." (Hag. 1:8 MSG)
They do!

I won't go into all the details. The entire book of Haggai is only two chapters long and well worth reading completely. But I do want to share the thing that impacted me the most in this short book. God was pleased with the rebuilding of His temple and said how he would bless His people now. Then He told Haggai to speak directly to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah who was responsible to leading the people in all this. He told him, "I will take you, O Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, as my personal servant and I will set you as a signet ring, the sign of my sovereign presence and authority. I've looked over the field and chosen you for this work." (Hag 2:23 MSG) As I read this, I felt God telling me that He wants me to be like His signet ring as well. (Just He wants all of those who believe in Him to be.)

I got to thinking about what a signet ring is. They were usually worn by royalty and used to make an impression in wax or soft clay leaving a seal. This seal bore the mark of the owner and was proof that it was of him. So, if I was God's signet ring, I would have His seal engraved upon me, and would be used as His tool to leave the impression of Him wherever He placed me. Wow! That's big! What an honor; that's what I want.

So how is a signet ring created? Is it carved? If so, that would mean that the creator would have to carve parts away from it until all that was left was the image of the seal. This morning I decided to look up signet rings. What I found was yes indeed, that traditionally they are hand carved into either metal or stone. The image is carved into the ring as a mirror image of the seal. The image does not stand out in relief like a sculpture but is instead the material is carved out of the ring to create the image of the seal. I feel so clearly that God is telling me that He needs to carved away so much of the excess in my life so that all is left is what will reflect His likeness. Another verse is brought to mind: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." (John 15:1-2 NIV) The Greek word for "prune" is kathairo {kath-ah'-ee-ro} which means to cleanse, of filth impurity, etc; to prune trees and vines from useless shoots. This word is used only one other time in the bible in Hebrews 10:2 and refers to being cleansed from sin. God is making it clear to me that there is so much in my life that is useless and therefore to hang onto it would be disobedience and sin. This brings a whole new light to my current battle with clutter. But its not just physical clutter, but spiritual clutter as well. It is SO IMPORTANT that I allow God to carve away everything in my life that is not of Him to that I can be used by Him as a tool to leave His mark on the world around me. How exciting is that? Lord, please reveal to me what needs to be removed from my life so that I can be used fully by you!

For more information on what the bible says about signet rings read:
Genesis 41
Esther 3 & 8
Jeremiah 22:24
Daniel 6

1 comment:

Emily said...

I am a homeschooler. My name is Emily, and I was wondering if you knew what God's favorite signet ring was. I don't, and I need to for a class assignment. Please let me know: you may post a comment at: