Steps to true obedience:
2. Continue to obey even when you don't want to
3. Eventually your heart will follow.
Simplistic, I know. I think this is how God works on our hearts though. He asks us to obey even though we don't want to. But, the more we walk in obedience He softens our hearts and disciplines us so that eventually we WANT to obey.
I see this in my children. I ask Brown Sugar to do something and have trained her to say "Yes Mommy" knowing full well that she usually does not want to do what I ask. She does it but over time I hope to see that she WANTS to obey me. That she actually likes not receiving bad consequences for her actions or bad attitude and delights in doing what I ask.
In the older children I talk to them about this need to obey cheerfully. They get it...they just have to be reminded that their obedience to me means obedience to God. But, then there is that awful, nasty voice in my head that reminds me that I am not the greatest example. Do I cheerfully obey my Heavenly Father's instructions? In this present time of my life am I cheerfully counting it all joy as I face this trial? He asks me to. Ugh! These are the moments that you realize that parenting is a part of your sanctification. Our children MAKE us grow. I truly do not want to be a hypocrit so it is to my advantage to teach my children through my own actions.
I have been raised in the church and so I have been heard countless sermons on the differences between joy and happiness. I am hoping I can state this clearly...I actually am filled with great joy because I KNOW that Eric is face to face with His Savior. I could not want anything better for him. I am sad because of my own loss but joyful at the same time as I KNOW that God is in control and His ways are higher than mine (thankfully!). Joy means to take delight in. Am I taking delight in God's will for my life? You bet. And when I think that I am losing that joy I immediately start quoting Scripture. In quoting Scripture you solidify it in your heart. You are, in essence, telling your mind to act on these things. Right now I am reminding myself, through Scripture, that I can do this. God has enabled me to take care of this house, the cars, the kids, their schooling, the finances, etc.
The pressure to "perform" during this grieving time is great. I don't like crying in front of others. I would prefer to cry while I am in the privacy of my own room. Even my kids are not often given the chance to see me cry. But, as of late I have not had the luxury of keeping the tears back while in public. Sundays are the worst not because I am sad but because I am humbled in the face of the Almighty God who has seen fit to send me down this path. I am reminded each Lord's day that He is in control and that while I partake in the Lord's supper every week I am partaking with those saints who have gone before...including Eric. Actually, there is a tinge of sadness as we sing the songs he loved and I watch all the intact families that surround us. But, he is enjoying the best the Lord has to offer. The feast he sits at will be the one I get to enjoy for eternity also. I understand that you all are okay with this and I even understand the possible need for you to see me this way. And, when I do weep I am thankful for your sweet hugs and kindness toward me.
I am learning that you grieve no matter what. You don't just step on and off the path of mourning. Whether you see me cry or not I am in the middle of the valley. It just looks different depending on many different factors. But, through all the tears I believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He is faithful and He has promised to sustain us.
That is cause for great joy!