By: Melanie Reeves
I was saved in my late 20’s and was delivered from many things: years of cocaine and marijuana addiction, alcohol abuse, extreme anger, depression and anxiety (I was able to get off of prescription medication after almost 10 years), In addition, I had a failed marriage restored. There are so many testimonies of the goodness of God in my life, but perhaps my greatest testimony is how He taught me obedience; one step at a time, like an “obedience staircase.” As I learned obedience, I learned one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned as a believer: God’s ways are greater than my ways, and if I decide to follow Him, blessings will follow.
Obedience in the everyday, small things leads to us obeying Him in bigger things. This took me a long time to learn. Looking back, I believe my pride was the thing that hindered me from submitting my choices to His will. I had my own plans and goals and did not need God to lead my life for me. It sounds a bit like I had some stubbornness issues as well!
Walking in obedience does NOT come easily, or naturally, but it is what we are called to do as followers of Christ! In doing so, God assures us that we will be blessed.
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:25
Walking in obedience is like building muscle, the more you use it, the bigger and stronger it becomes. Even Jesus struggled with obedience in doing the very thing he was sent to do: self-sacrifice.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood hitting the ground.” Luke 22:42-44
As a mother, I expect my children to obey me (in love, not fear) because I am looking out for their best interest. I have rules and ways of doing things that are in place because it is what is best for THEM. If God loves us more than we can even possibly love our own children, can we not expect the same thing of our Lord? He wants us to walk in obedience because He truly loves us and wants the best for us.
"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." -2 John 1:6
We won’t always understand or want to obey! However, we need to obey ANYWAY, because God's commands are for our benefit – even if we don’t see the “why” immediately. Sometimes we won’t see God’s “why” for months or even years; I know I didn’t see it for a long time.
Six years ago, I had finally gotten to the “place” in my career; the place I had worked tirelessly to get to for five years. “I have arrived,” I remember thinking proudly to myself. A year after taking that position, I was radically saved and beginning to transform my life, doing my best to shed my old ways to become more like Christ. During that same time, my youngest daughter began a rapid decline in her overall health, her recovery is another testimony in itself! I took her from daycare to daycare due to the inadequate care being provided. Eventually, I decided to keep her at home, a friend and a relative alternated weeks caring for her.
During this entire process, I began to hear a voice tell me that I needed to be the one at home with her. At the time, I did not know this voice was God and I did not know it was the first step in a long staircase of obedience that would completely change my life and my family's life as well.
In those years of career planning, my mother-in-law asked me if I could ever see myself as a stay-at-home-mom. I remember laughing out loud, literally. I remember saying, “that life isn’t for me, I have a five year plan that is almost complete”. Little did I know, God had a completely different plan for me. In fact, it took a year to take that first step in my staircase of obedience.
Initially, my husband was not on board at all, with me quitting my successful job to stay at home with our youngest daughter. It took an entire year of prayer and back and forth with my husband before coming to this difficult decision. It would require sacrifice and honestly, my career was something I did not want to lay down.
As the year went on the desire to obey God became so loud it consumed my everyday life. Finally, I took the plunge and gave a one month’s notice at the beginning of May 2015. A year later, God put homeschooling on my heart. I have a degree in Education, but I never saw myself as a homeschooling parent. I felt comfortable teaching other children, but college didn’t prepare me on how to teach my own children at home. The next step in my staircase? I brought my oldest daughter home from a private Christian school and began to educate her at home.
The following year, God gave us a desire to grow our family. Next step? New baby! The next year, God REALLY challenged my faith in obedience. At that time, our third child was 9 months old; I was giving away all of my maternity and baby items. God spoke to me and said our family was not complete. This was a complete shock to me. Honestly, I thought my “big life transitions” were behind me and I certainly didn’t have a fourth child in “the plan”. After a year of praying with my husband, we finally obeyed and became pregnant our first month trying to conceive. Baby number four is due on November 1st, 2019.
This journey has not been easy, in fact, there have been many moments I’ve spent crying out to the Lord asking if this was His plan. However, despite the challenging times, the fruit of my obedience is indescribable. From the moment they wake up, to the moment they lie their heads down on their pillows to fall asleep, my husband and I are able to model a Christ-like lifestyle for our children. They are with me during the day when I read my Bible, pray, and worship. I even invite them to join me! When we go for walks in the park, they are able to see their momma pray for whomever the Holy Spirit guides me to pray for, and they join. Throughout the day running errands, I am given numerous opportunities to talk with them about what Jesus would do in various situations. Our lives were once filled with so much “busyness,” now they are filled with precious family-oriented time. This includes spur of the moment visits to the museum or zoo. I am able to guide my children in their education and help them learn from a Bible based curriculum. When they are struggling with a subject or concept, we can slow down and take as long as they need to master it. When they are excelling in a subject, we can accelerate! My children now spend a small fraction of their day learning and the majority of their day playing together and truly growing up with one another.
Obedience has shown me my true identity in Christ. I don’t have to strive for my place in life, because His way is better every time. I may never know why He called me to become a homeschooling/stay-at-home mother of four, but I do know our lives and hearts have never been more full or complete.
Beloved sisters, our staircases may look completely different, (they probably do) and that's okay! You may be single or married with no children, or even an empty nester. Where ever you are in your life, the Lord is wanting to take your hand and lead you to live in His will. What areas of your life has He been drawing you into obedience? I cannot tell you how to walk in obedience to our Lord, but I can testify that you will be abundantly blessed in doing so!
About the Author:// Melanie has served on the NL Prayer Dream Team for several years, and has been married to the love of her life for 10 beautiful years. She is a mother to, soon-to-be, four children, and is now a stay-at-home/homeschooling momma. She has a degree in Elementary Education and in her free time loves to play board games, read books, is an amateur gardener, nature lover, and documentary watcher.