I have subtly hinted to you, on more than one occasion, about my struggles with the lackluster Christian life. I am a busy mom of four, trying to maintain a household and run a business. Life is full of distractions, and I often let them take over.
I spend a lot more time than I care to admit, questioning God and doubting His goodness. I struggle with so many of the same things everyone else does; money, relationships, gossip, greed, selfishness, impatience, and anger. Often, in spirals of constant discouragement and frustration, unable to meet my goals, I find myself playing the role of victim rather than victor.
And this is not who God has called me to be; not who He has called any of us to be! The love and blood of Christ alone, declares us victorious. When we are feeling defeated, let down, frustrated, or deficient in any area of our lives, the world will tell us we just need to pull ourselves up by the boot straps, so to speak, and work harder, when really we should be falling to our knees seeking Him. Our contentment comes from the Lord. Our desire for Him is great. Our need for His presence expands a vastness which we cannot fill of our own volition.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Commune with Him. Make time for Him. Seek Him first and foremost in all that you do, and He will have answers. But when we try to press on ahead of our own free will, often destruction is imminent. Do not compare your failures to the successes of others. Commit your way to the Lord. His way; not your way or anyone else's.
Might He sometimes call you to work harder in certain areas of your life, to reach your goals? Perhaps. But don't just assume that that is all it takes. Include Him in your plans. Infuse every aspect of your goals with His presence. Be open to how He might guide you, and how your goals might shift and change to meet His will.
This is something I continue to learn every day as my business grows, often at a slower rate than I would like; as our savings account grows at a much slower rate than I would like; as my husband's goals of pursuing higher education become put off yet another year. Cars break down, jobs become stressful, health deteriorates, people in our lives become difficult. WE become difficult. This is life.
But our contentment is found in Him, and Him alone. We cannot force things to happen for us, nor can we force ourselves to be happy in our current station in life. What we can do, is make sure that in each and every moment of our journey, we are not alone. God doesn't ever leave us, but we often ignore Him. Don't ignore Him.
Pursue Him. Let Him have your heart. Let Him be your goal, and watch how He leads you.
I missed you guys last week! I'm very sorry that I didn't have a Monday Message ready for you, but we had a lot going on in preparation of our vacation, and family time took precedence.
As we have just returned from vacation, and are trying to get our lives back in order, I have a very brief message for you today about appreciation and gratefulness.
For vacation last week we went to my hometown area of North Central Pennsylvania. There are so very many little known towns in the rolling hills of Northern PA, and Southern NY. The town I grew up in had a population of approximately 1,500 while I lived there. My graduating high school class had only 31 students...and it was a public school. We had one traffic light in the center of town, and at 11pm every night, it changed from the standard red, yellow, or green, to blinking yellow. The town is almost exactly 1 mile long, and not even that wide, as it sits in a narrow end of the valley. The back windows of my parents' house, where I grew up, look out to the mountains.
The thing about small towns like this, is that you rarely appreciate them while you're there. When you're a kid, even a kid with a good relationship with your parents, all you can think about it getting out of that town. All you want to do is grow up, and live somewhere where people don't know your whole story; somewhere you can change your story or follow your dreams. You take for granted all the people that were looking out for you. You fail to notice the rolling hills, and the beautiful sunsets. You quickly forget the shooting stars so easily seen from your back yard, without any street lights to dim them.
While we were driving through these rolling hills last week, I became aggravated with the sunset. I'd nursed a mild to moderate headache almost the whole week, and as we were driving, the sun seemed to refuse to go down. I felt as though it was never going to give up. I slammed down the visor in complaint and said, "I just need this sun to go down already!"
My husband, who is usually the more impatient one of the two of us (but does not have my sensitive blue eyes, I might add), calmly stated, in a very nonjudgmental way, the beauty of this earth we so often take for granted. It was a sobering moment, as I looked to the hills, and remembered that I don't get to see sunsets like that anymore. I took them for granted for the 19 years of my life I lived there, and I was still taking them for granted as an adult. But there it was, staring me in the face, the gloriousness of God's creation. He was so much as telling me, look what I've made for you, and I was whining about the sun in my eyes.
We don't have to live in these rural places to appreciate God's creation. It is all around us! From what He's made, to how He's cared for us, we often need to step back a moment and remind ourselves to marvel at the gifts He has given us.
I encourage you to take the time this week (and always!), to look around and appreciate all the things, big and small, that God has done in your lives and around you. From the setting sun to the depths of the earth, there is so much to be thankful for!
Have you ever learned anything from winning? What do you gain when things always workout for you? What knowledge do you acquire from things always going your way?
Don't get me wrong. There is something wonderfully fantastic about winning. There is something delightful in things always going our way, or coming with great ease, but in reality, for most people, that is not real life.
This verse is one of my all-time favorites, not because I laugh and cheer with joy during difficult times (though maybe I should!), but because, as a former athlete, I can relate. This spoken of joy is not a joy that our worldly minds think of, but rather finding joy in our perseverance, our growth, and mostly, the knowledge that God (not us) is in control.
In this, I feel the world and the scriptures truly intersect. Michael Jordan, a world renown athlete who is known by even those who do not follow basketball, understood that without failure, there was no growth, no gain, no success.
You see, this joy is deeper than any earthly joy you've felt. It is rooted in Christ and a wisdom from the Lord. It comes from only Him, and the knowledge that He is with you in whatever you may be going through, and the understanding that you are growing in Him.
Without the cross, there is no hope.
Without defeat, there is no glory.
Without death there is no life.
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
Want the Monday Message sent to your inbox each week? Sign up here!