Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jesus at the Center?

This Sunday we ended our musical praise time with the song, "Jesus at the Center of it All," by Israel Houghton and it began to stir up some questions from deep within me.  Then, as if God Himself was trying to shake me awake, the pastor (whom I am madly in love with :) preached on staying focused on Christ.  If I didn't know any better, I would think God was trying to get my attention!

Take a peek at some of the lyrics:
                  Jesus at the center of it all, from beginning to the end
                  It will always be, it's always been about You Jesus, Jesus
                  Nothing else matters, nothing in this world will do
                  Jesus You're the center, and everything else revolves
                  around You

The questions that was stirred up?  How is this done?  Am I really living this out?  In the day in and day out of life, could people look at my life and say, "Wow, Jesus is definitely at the center of that girl's life."  I want to say, "Yes!"  but remember that I am trying to keep it real this year with my blogs, so if I had to answer the question I would have to admit that often I let other things crowd Jesus out of the center of my life.

Many of you know that my husband (and pastor in case you didn't know that and are worried about me being madly in love with him!) and I have been engaged in an incredible battle for the lives of three, and soon to be four, precious lives.  This battle started 5 years ago when DCFS removed my niece from my brother's home and she was placed with us.  Since that hot July day, 2 more babies have been born into that situation and also placed in our care, and the news is that soon a fourth baby will be added to our midst.

The battle has been long, and wearying.  It has taken great strength and tenacity to continue in the often daily struggles against a broken system.  Hours have been spent with court hearings, visitations, case reviews, home visits, home inspections, fulfilling licensing requirements, documentation, the list goes on and on, not to mention the time it takes to actually care for these precious babies.  Our days are long and as my Facebook status read this morning, "Some mornings I think they do not make a bottle of Calgon big enough, or a cup of coffee big enough!"   I posted that after spending my morning trying to get both boys ready for a visit with their birth mom, baking two cakes for my youngest son/nephews birthday tomorrow, and getting supper in the crock pot so it would be ready to eat before the basketball game my older kids were going to.  All the while, both boys wanted to be held and cried every time I sat one of them down.  Jesus at the center of that?  How is that even possible?

Seriously, how am I suppose to keep Jesus at the center of it all when I can't even hear myself think.  I sang, "Nothing else matters..." but the truth of the situation was that it very much mattered that my boys were crying, that time was slipping away, and I still had much to accomplish.  Likewise, in the midst of a very stressful court battle and the daily demands for my am I suppose to stay centered on Jesus?  Can you relate?  (Oh please, someone out there say, "Yes!")

This is the part of my blog where I usually offer some sort of witty insight, an answer to the dilemma that I have posed, but the trouble is, I don't have one!  Sure I have some verses:

Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto     you."

Colossians 3:2, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

Proverbs 4:25, "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you."

These are all great verse, commands about how we should approach the problem.  However, I am still not clear on how I am to go about this, the application is a bit foggy.  Do I want Jesus to be at the center of it all?  Yes, of course I do.  Is He at the center of it all?  Yes of course He is.  Do I always feel like He is at the center of it all?  No, sadly no I do not.  Is it because He has walked away?  Well Joshua 1:5 gives us that answer, "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."  So the problem must be with me.  The truth is that I have let the troubles of the world, the busyness of life, the cares and concerns I am facing, push Jesus, inch by inch, out of the center of my life.  Great now I know the problem, they say that is half the battle...

Perhaps the answer is simple.  Maybe I need to give myself some grace?  I am not saying that I don't need to make some changes...maybe spend less time on Facebook, and more time in His book, but I also need to be realistic.  Raising 7 kids is crazy, hard work.  It takes a lot of time and energy.  God knows that and understands that.  Besides 2 Corinthians 12:10 reminds me to... "delight in weaknesses...For when I am weak, then He is strong."

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Marla, thank you for your transparency! I think that time in the Word and asking the questions that you are asking, are the first steps to putting (and keeping) Jesus in the center. :o) You're doing it! Stay the course! Sometimes I can get so caught up in my feelings, but the walk of faith (like a marriage going the distance) has mountaintops and valleys. I have been called to be at home this year and sometimes during the mundane day to day chores, I am asking the same question: is Jesus in the center of this? Is this where I am the most effective for Him? Yes, it is. He has felt so close during some of the most difficult of our child's past autistic behaviors. The situation was almost unbearable for close to a year, but that was when I felt the closest to Him. I depended on that quiet time to get me through the day. Each hour was tempered by several short prayers: "God, just help me to get through this. Help me to be loving to her. Give me the strength to parent all three." There are no clear-cut easy answers, except to stay constant in His Word, because that is where we most clearly hear the voice of God. That is where the strength and true answers come (which are usually counter cultural :o) I so appreciate you as a sister in Christ, Marla. You are a great mom and I love to follow your blog.

  2. Marla, I think most of us can relate to this at some level or other. It is so easy to focus on the precious family God has given us and lose the focus on Christ. The simple answers are not always easy to implement. I think part of your simple answer involves accountability and you have even done that by involving us in your answer. Thank you, Marla. Love, Sharon Lynn

  3. it IS a battle. There is a war going on and Satan wants to take these kids out. So NO WONDER you feel such weariness --- you are standing in the way of Satan's goal. You are not 'wrestling against flesh and blood....'. I encourage you to keep being real and keep asking others for prayer. There will be many times you are too weary to pray, but we all can. And many of your friends will gladly hold up your arms in battle.


    1. Linda~Thank you so much for the encouragement and the prayer! I can relate to Moses when he had to have his arms held up during the battle and when they were being held up the Isrealites were winning..need some arm support!