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Steph’s Stuff—The Choice for Humility

By Stephanie McIver

The older I become, and that is an inevitable truth that I face every day, the more I realize that the outer facade is nothing but that—a facade. The outward appearance is appearing to fade and fall and even disintegrate into a face that I don’t recognize or do I? Mom? Is that YOU? What an astounding reality when I was younger, I never saw any resemblance between my mother’s face and my own, but now, in my fifties, I see her more every day. I’m not complaining, mind you. My mom was a beautiful woman and I admired her greatly. But those laugh wrinkles around the eyes and that devious twinkle in her smile? How did I get those and not even realize they were developing?

My mother’s last years were spent in a haze of illness. She fought cancer for five years before she finally passed into glory. In that five years, her pride and privacy were stripped away, bit by bit. The need for other’s care was very difficult for this most independent woman. She had always been the one to take care of everyone else. She didn’t do needy very well at all. It was excruciatingly painful for her and for those of us who watched her and even provided some of that care. But being the woman that she was, she gradually accepted it with her usual grace, wit and charm. Those hospice workers who cared for her in her very last days loved her unreservedly and that was a comfort to me. They saw the woman she really was, in spite of all the extraneous outward STUFF we thought was so important being absent in her life then.

No pretty clothes. No jaunts around town or laughing squealing meals at restaurants with her friends. Just a quiet, reflective woman, who with her last bit of strength, managed to remind us all how very well she taught us to love. I thank the LORD today for the mother I was blessed with. He doesn’t make mistakes—we are who we are because He planned it perfectly. I wish I’d been convinced of that truth sooner so I could have told Mom and seen the process repeat itself in my own mothering.

This weekend, as I spent time with my grandchildren, I reveled in the uninterrupted time I had to hold them, to love them. They need that cherishing touch and I’m good at it. I remember the awe I felt in watching my mother as a grandmother. She was so different with her grandchildren. More patient. More accepting. Delighting in everything they did. Who WAS this lady? I’d never met her before, not in OUR house! But I found out grandmothers are born on the grandchild’s day of birth, not before. There is a quantum LEAP in heart size when you hold that tiny baby in your arms, and it continues to grow, every time you see them or talk to them on the phone or even smile as you think of their very essence—when has there ever been a more perfect child?

Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for
greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world. ~Mother Teresa

I see the rush all around me, and realize that I was definitely one who participated in it. How sad. What a waste of opportunities when all we can do is rush on to the next accomplishment, the next meeting, the next goalpost that measures—what? I must confess, I’m not sure if I ever really knew. And I know now that I would give anything to have some of that time back and let go of some of those temporary goals that in the end, brought no happiness at all.

I wish I’d known then what I’m realizing now. If we let go and become humble, which will happen anyway at some point, we learn HOW to be humble. It is an ART that can be practiced when you let go of the priorities that are of the world. His heart is vastly different from that pulse zooming around us every day. It is quieter. It is smaller. It is about humility and serving and kindness. I saw a bumper sticker on a car the other day. It said, “My religion is kindness.”

As I talk to people about Jesus, I hear a lot of excuses. “Christians are hypocrites! They judge so quickly! They don’t have room in their heart for anything but what they believe in. They are so rigid!” The person I was talking to was someone I love. I know the situations and people they were referring to, and they were right, to my great sorrow. I acknowledged that, and pressed on.

“My faith is not in people, Sweetie. My faith is in God. If not for that faith, I don’t know where I would be today, but if you can’t see the difference in me, I don’t know how to tell you.”

They admitted they DID see a huge difference. I’m softer. I’m more loving. I’m not so uptight or driven. I thanked Him silently and said, “That is not because of people. That is because of HIM. Forget people and talk to Him. And I will continue to pray for you.”

I’ve been thinking of humility and have been most impressed by Mother Teresa lately. She was the perfect example of humility, and her work left an indelible mark on the world, one person at a time. She didn’t seek the limelight, but it came because she lived the words she spoke, unreservedly, to anyone in her path.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~Mother Teresa

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously. Micah 6:8 (MSG)

Can you take some time today to meditate on how to become more humble?

It will come, whether you plan it or not. But the blessings of embracing it NOW will please Him. I realize it is NOT about me—more and more, He calls us to His work, but we can’t do it until we let go of ourselves.

Fondly,
Stephanie

©2009 Stephanie McIver. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Stephanie McIver is a self-confessed “Scatter-brained Control Freak.” Living life in the 21st century as a baby boomer/old hippy chick grandma (with issues) has given her a unique take on life. Always looking to the Lord for the daily bread that comes no matter what other circumstances present themselves, Stephanie has a desire to comfort those who have hurt as she has. The pain of divorce was an unexpected sorrow that has given her new insights into many people’s lives in ways she never thought she would encounter. She has been writing devotionals on the internet since 2000 to an email based subscriber list—it was originally a Monday morning column, but about a year and a half ago, she felt the Lord telling her to write every day. “Are you SURE, Lord? EVERY DAY?!” He has been faithful to give her new words on a daily basis since then. She also is on KORE Radio in the Eugene/Springfield area weekday mornings. She has a five minute radio spot at 7:30 and 9:15 a.m. which has attracted a new local audience. She also writes for the Springfield Times and her church newsletter. To read some of Stephanie’s columns, visit http://lists.topica.com/lists/stephsstuff/read. She is also available to speak at your event. Contact her at steph@stephaniemciver.com.