In the summer of 2012, I spent so much time reading James that I ripped a page of his letter from turning back and forth in my Bible so much. If I did that to my Bible, can you imagine what those words did to my heart?
Consider trials joy. Persevere.
Be slow to anger. Be quick to listen. Be slow to become angry. Do what the word of God says.
Don’t show favoritism. Show mercy.
What is faith without deeds?
Tame my tongue because where it goes, the rest of me goes.
Be wise, and wise people are peacemakers.
Draw near to God. Be humble. Realize we’re not in control.
James reminds me (and that’s putting it nicely!) that God wants me to live out my faith with my hands and my feet and my words and my actions and my attitudes and my relationships and my decisions and my whole entire life.
Believe it. And then do it. Every day, regardless of what circumstances come my way.
Sometimes my pride sneaks in and I boast in my own mind that I found peace when I surrendered biologically producing children and was given these amazing adoption stories. But then real life slaps me in the face again.
That summer I tried to focus on letting God change my heart while I did laundry, made dinner, supported my husband, trained my kids, played with my kids, lived in community with my friends, ran errands, and cleaned my house. I felt like I was on the brink of changing, but then right as I took a step forward, I stumbled backward. I let my frustrations with Greg come out as harsh words. I let my frustrations with my kids come out in a tone I want to take back. I spoke my opinions too quickly. I set my expectations too high – again.
Yet I kept reading James and thinking about how these truths he has written apply to my life. Life with God as my foundation. I knew I’d be better off for it – and so would the people around me.
Mothering is pleasure and work – often in the same moment. Thankfully, just when I was ready to cry out my inadequacies and failures, I was reminded one day that summer this work isn’t meaningless.
Life is a process, like the adoptions.
James talks about perfection, not in our please-everyone, clean-everything, always-succeed way, but rather perfection as a process to be made mature and complete by God’s standards. We are to live out our faith despite our circumstances and because of our imperfections. I’m not perfect, but I’m being perfected by a perfect God. Notice the drastic difference when “perfect” is an unattainable adjective and when it’s an ongoing verb.
I was being reminded to believe it and live it when Ben, 2½ at the time, accidentally locked himself in his bedroom just before I needed to walk out of the house to get to the Bible study on James on time. Then when I made it to the van with both my kids, I realized Ben has put his shoes on himself. Hooray for independence!
I needed that same faith that God is perfecting us when I exchanged high fives with the same boy because he peed in the potty for the first time because as soon as he stepped away from the toilet he peed larger amounts all over the rug. My same sweet boy squeezed a nearly full tube of expensive scar reduction cream all over his legs. Granted, his left thigh was one of the places that needed said cream. Still, the excessive one-time application wasn’t what I intended. I shouldn’t even try to erase the scars anyway.
James’ hard truths mattered to me when plans changed and when loved ones disappointed and when strangers didn’t move fast enough and when milk spilled and when I was ready for a new day.
Kristin Hill Taylor tells about the hard season of infertility, two adoptions that made her a momma, and the days since in “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available at Amazon. In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, the ebook is on sale for $2.99 throughout November. Kristin believes in taking road trips, living in community, and seeking God as the author of every story – many of which she shares at http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her college sweetheart husband and their two kids.