Have you ever noticed how hectic our lives are in today’s society? If our children go to school, they are up before 6 (and us along with them), race to get ready, race to prepare breakfast and lunch for them to take, race to get them either on the bus or dropped off at school. Even if we homeschool, we are up and get breakfast and get busy with schooling, then lunch, doing laundry while grading, getting the house cleaned after an afternoon of crafts and/or school projects, then supper and evening events.
Work hours are long, more and more companies are requiring mandatory overtime. Sometimes long drives to and from work/school. My husband teaches at a college and teaches evening classes and grades, what seems like, all the time. Our children have sports, church, ministry things they are involved with, and we are not even a big sports family. Plus our own church ministry. We are on the go all the time.
What is margin anyway and why do we need it?
According to Webster’s it is:
- The part of a page at the edge left uncovered in writing or printing.
- Something allowed, or reserved, for that which can not be foreseen or known with certainty.
When I was in school, all my coursework was hand written on lined paper. We had to keep a certain amount of margin on both edges of the page. This allowed a few things. It gave us space if we had to write a word so we wouldn’t go off the page, and it gave space for the teacher to write their comments or corrections for us to address.
In other words, the margin was a bit of leeway on each page to give breathing room so we didn’t run off the page into oblivion.
How often do we allow margin in our lives today? Are we involved in so many things that, if anything goes wrong, our lives “run off the page”? Do we give ourselves some breathing space in case things get too hectic or do we max out the commitments we have in our days?
Years ago the woman who was involved in overseeing my discipling used to say, “For the believer, the good is the enemy of the best.” That seems, at first glance, to be an odd statement. But if we look a little closer, we see the great wisdom in it.
- a bible study is a good thing
- being involved in ministry is a good thing
- doing play dates for our children is a good thing
- mentoring others is a good thing
- counseling others is a good thing
- taking classes is a good thing
But here comes the point:
If any of these GOOD things are not what God is calling us to be doing, they actually become the ENEMY of the best things God has for us in our lives. If we are spending all of our time, effort and energy on these GOOD things, we do not have the opportunity to do the BEST things God has for us.
And it is all of these good things that generally cause us to live our lives WITHIN the margins of our lives. They sap our strength, our energy, our focus and have nothing left to give to the God ordained responsibilities in our lives.
Have you ever noticed that Jesus would take Himself away to a secluded place, away from the crowds and even His disciples? Jesus knew full well when His life had run into the margin and that He needed to be filled with the peace, rest, refreshment and power from the Father. He knew when He needed to allow His physical body to be given time be filled from on high. He knew the BEST the Father had called Him to and lived right there, not allowing the demands of others to thwart His following the Father’s best.
But so often we forget to take that intense time of fellowship with God. We run on our own strength and fill up the margins of our lives so that we no longer have the time or opportunities to find those secluded places of refreshment and filling. We run out of gas in our engines with no time to fill up – we run our lives on fumes and wonder why we are living without the power of the Spirit.
Please know I am NOT saying that any of the things I’ve mentioned above are bad, or that we shouldn’t be doing them. What I AM saying is that ALL of the things in our lives need to be brought before the Lord. We need to be willing for Him to weed out all the things that are sucking life from us so that we have room for the life-giving things He has for us.
Also remember that this will change as our lives change. When I was a young mom with numerous young children there were few things God opened up for me to be involved in. Just being home to raise and disciple those young children (and then with homeschooling as well) and minister to my husband took most of my energy and focus. Adding bible studies or other ministries would have caused me to live using up all the margin of my life. Now that my children are older, I have more leeway to be involved in things outside the home. As my life responsibilities change, so do the things God opens up for me.
But for each of us, no matter WHAT situation we are in, we need to be sure that we are taking EVERY event, task or ministry before the Lord to see if it is HIS best or just a good thing that keeping us from the calling of God for us. Don’t let your margin get filled up so that when trials come (and they will), you have no space in your life.
Let God design your schedule so that there is opportunity for those times of refreshing, so that you don’t fill up the margin with every day events that will sap you of joy, peace and power of the Lord.
Blogs I might be linking to:
Menu Planning Monday, On The Menu Monday, Erin Branscoms, Marital Oneness, The Better Mom, Multitudes on Monday, Hear it On Sunday, Sharing His Bounty, What Joy Is Mine, Playdates at the Well, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Time Warp Wife, Funky Planet Frequent Flier Club, Encourage One Another, The Welcoming House, Legacy Leaver Thursday, What’s Up Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home, Thankful Thursday, Thankful Thursdays, Thankful, Thankful Thursday Brown-eyed Bell(e), Big Family Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays, Feasting In Fellowship Friday, Fellowship Friday, Homemaking Link-up Week-end, A Little R&R, Pieces of Amy
All of us seek significance in our lives. Some seek it through fame, others through wealth, still others through power. Sometimes we hear the expression, “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.” How do we deepen our message?
The longer I walk with Jesus, the more I’ve come to believe that our significance is found only in who we are IN CHRIST. <Tweet This>
Now, I know it might sound trite and weak, as if I’m begging the question. People might think, “DUH! Of COURSE that’s it.” But so often we just don’t live that way. We live our lives in fear, insecurity and anxiety thinking that we just aren’t good enough. I know I have!
- I’m not that smart
- I’m not that pretty
- I’m too fat
- I’m too thin
- I’m not athletic
- I’m not talented
- I’m shy and quiet
- I’m too loud
The list goes on. We compare ourselves to those around us and NO MATTER WHAT WE FIND in others, it causes us to reject what we find in ourselves. 2 Cor 10 reminds us that when we compare ourselves with ourselves or even one another, we are without understanding. It all comes down to the work Jesus does in us…who He has created and is creating us to be.
But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD.
For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends. 2Cr 10:17-18
This makes me think of all the things God is teaching me in my life. I may not have many people interested in hearing about it, I may not have a following like Paul or others did/do, I may only be a wife, mother and homemaker. But God is calling me each day to let Him deepen the message in my life.
As I walk closer and closer with Him, as He corrects, reproves and refines me, as I seek to imitate John the Baptist by having Jesus increase while I decrease, then His message is taking root deep into my heart, soul and spirit. His truth is becoming so much a part of ME that the time will come that when others look at me, they see Jesus. <Tweet This>
THIS is how I deepen my message.
- it isn’t by all the theology that I know or can dispute (although there is NOTHING wrong with being sound in our theology)
- it isn’t in the crowds we can bring to tears with our speaking talents (although there is NOTHING wrong with being a powerful speaker)
- it isn’t the great books we write or blogs we post (again, NOTHING wrong with any of that)
The truth is that all of those things can also be counterfeit. They can be imitated without really having depth of spiritual passion and change or without a deep reliance on the Holy Spirit.
Who I am in Jesus. Who He is creating me to be. How I purely reflect His image in my life.
THESE are the things that deepen my message.
THESE are the things that bring life to others.
THESE are the things that will last for eternity.
Lord, teach me to set my heart on the things that matter, help me to deepen my message OF YOU. Help me to decrease while You increase in my life.
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Blogs I might be linking to:
Menu Planning Monday, On The Menu Monday, Erin Branscoms, Marital Oneness, The Better Mom, Multitudes on Monday, Hear it On Sunday, Sharing His Bounty, What Joy Is Mine, Playdates at the Well, Back to School Monday, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Time Warp Wife, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Funky Planet Frequent Flier Club, Encourage One Another, Living Well Wednesdays, The Welcoming House, Legacy Leaver Thursday, What’s Up Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home, Thankful Thursday, First Day of My Life , Thankful Thursdays, Thankful, Thankful Thursday Brown-eyed Bell(e), Big Family Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays, Feasting In Fellowship Friday, Fellowship Friday, Homemaking Link-up Week-end, A Little R&R, Pieces of Amy
This is a re-post from the past on beauty.
The question of “is it appropriate for a Christian woman to wear make-up” came up as a comment and I’d like to address that in a post. First, as always, I’d like to look at some scriptures.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Prov 31:30 (this seems to be the theme verse for this series)
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
In all of this, it is important to remember what true beauty comes from. It comes from a heart centered on and surrendered to God. Physical attributes of a button nose or silken skin will fade with time (and gravity). They might show beauty on the outside but when our souls are empty, even the external beauty rings hollow. We’ve all seen women who are flawless in their features but there is just something about them that we find wanting. On the other hand, other women have a depth within their eyes that draws us to them. They may not be beautiful, but they are so attractive! Their beauty comes from within – from a heart and life of purpose and and richness.
Now when we look at this verse in 1 Peter 3, is this saying that trying to do things to accentuate our beauty is wrong? Well, if THAT were the case, we would all need to take off our wedding bands and never wear dresses again! (I should say here that there ARE some believers who feel that we are not to wear gold jewelry for this reason, but they are not consistent as they DO wear dresses.) Also, I need to add that the word merely is not in the original text. Does this make a difference? Re-read the text without that word being there. What is Peter trying to say to us?
I personally do NOT believe that this passage is telling us make-up (or dying our hair or wearing nail polish or wearing earrings) is wrong. BUT I think it is important to remember that the FOCUS of our beauty, the HEART of our beauty comes from the hidden person of our heart. There is nothing wrong with adorning the outside SO LONG AS we work to adorn the part of us that really counts!
- Abraham’s servant gave Rebekah a gold ring and gold bracelets as he sought to bring her for Isaac’s wife. (Gen 24:22-30)
- God tells how He adorned Jerusalem (His beloved) with gold and precious jewelry and luxurious and fine clothing in Ezek. 16:9-13
- The father of the prodigal son took gold and rich clothing to place on his son in Luke 15:22
- The imagery of Song of Solomon is often about the adornment of fragrance and clothing and jewels as part of the romance of the bride and groom
I do think we have some questions to ask ourselves in our using outward adornments to enhance our own beauty:
- Are we supplanting our relationship with God with fads for defying age or beauty treatments?
- Are we living a life of discontentment with God’s design of our bodies?
- Are we never satisfied with how we look?
- Are we so obsessed with trying to find that perfect beauty that we make beauty into an idol in our lives?
Years ago when I lived in a discipleship household, we were encouraged to make sure and spend AT LEAST as much time with the Lord in scripture and prayer as we spent getting ready to present ourselves to the world. It was a great heart challenge for us as to where our priorities lay!
Are you putting your hope in seeking beauty that doesn’t fade? Are you looking for that in developing a heart that seeks after God?
Blogs I might be linking to:
Menu Planning Monday, On The Menu Monday, Erin Branscoms, Marital Oneness, The Better Mom, Multitudes on Monday, Hear it On Sunday, Sharing His Bounty, What Joy Is Mine, Playdates at the Well, Back to School Monday, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Time Warp Wife, Funky Planet Frequent Flier Club, Encourage One Another, Living Well Wednesdays, The Welcoming House, Legacy Leaver Thursday, What’s Up Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home, Thankful Thursday, First Day of My Life , Thankful Thursdays, Thankful, Thankful Thursday Brown-eyed Bell(e), Big Family Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays, Feasting In Fellowship Friday, Fellowship Friday, Homemaking Link-up Week-end, A Little R&R, Pieces of Amy
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What is left 30 minutes after they are out of the oven!
Back in 1979 I got this recipe from an elderly neighbor in West Virginia (thanks, Effie Holbrook). I have used it for these past 33 years and have found it to be, by far, the BEST brownie recipe I’ve ever tried. I love fudgy brownies rather than cake, and these are wonderfully fudgy.
- 1 c butter (NOT margarine)
- 2 c sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 t vanilla
- 1 c flour
- 2/3 c baking cocoa
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 c chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
In a pan, melt butter and add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, but do NOT beat or overmix (this will cause the brownies to fall).
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Add nuts, if desired.
Pour into greased 9X13 pan.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Do NOT over bake. Cool (if you can — we never do).
Blogs I might be linking to:
Menu Planning Monday, On The Menu Monday, Marital Oneness, The Better Mom, Multitudes on Monday, Hear it On Sunday, Sharing His Bounty, What Joy Is Mine, Playdates at the Well, Back to School Monday, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Time Warp Wife, Funky Planet Frequent Flier Club, Encourage One Another, Living Well Wednesdays, Legacy Leaver Thursday, What’s Up Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home, Thankful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows Thursdays, First Day of My Life , Thankful Thursdays, Thankful, Thankful Thursday Brown-eyed Bell(e), Big Family Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays, Feasting In Fellowship Friday, Homemaking Link-up Week-end
This is a re-vamped post from January 2006
When I was first saved I was privileged to be in a wonderful church of disciplers. I was trained in the basics of the Christian faith:
- how to study the Word of God
- how to share my faith
- how to disciple others
- how to persevere in prayer
- how to live a life of faith
What I DIDN’T learn was practically how to look at my life as a woman with joy and acceptance.
Most of it was my own sin that God hadn’t touched on yet, but part of it was an independent spirit that was all around me.
By Joseph Karl Stieler (Internet) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Gen 2:18
The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Gen 2:22-23
Have you ever met women who tend to see their husbands as THEIR helpmates, rather than the other way around.
Or they act as if they are helpmates to their CHILDREN, meeting all of their needs and placing their children first and foremost in their lives, but they’ve lost track of their roles as wives. This has led to a great build up of frustration and resentment in their hearts which tends to focus on the husband. This resentment and frustration is often a result of a misunderstanding of our roles and purpose.
We were CREATED to be helpers to our husbands. Want to hear something really cool? We are created as helpmates in the same way that the Holy Spirit is called the Parakletos. This word is translated:
comforter, helper, counselor, advocate. It means ‘to come along side’ or literally ‘called to one’s side’.
The word used to describe the wife as the helpmate is used in only two ways in scripture: of the wife and of the Lord!! This puts our role as helpmate to our husbands in a much more powerful light. Our job of being a help, support, comfort, counsel for our husbands is in reality a very high and honorable calling.
A real and deep understanding of this truth can cause a complete change of our views. We now see that all we do (including raising our children for God’s glory) is part of ministering to our husbands. Our goals and vision for our family should be our HUSBANDS’ goals and vision (of course with our input as well); we should be like ducks-in-a-row lined up behind our husbands (metaphorically speaking), following the way he leads and having our family be a visible expression of his heart and purpose before the Lord.
Of course this raises all sorts of questions:
- why do I have to be the slave?
- when do I get what I want?
- how come I don’t get any voice?
- how do I get my needs met?
- what about when I’m burning out and need a break?
- how am I supposed to get it all done?
The key element in all these questions is “I”. But the longer I walk with the Lord the more my heart cries out like John the Baptist “He must increase, I must decrease.”
My life has been bought by Christ by the weightiest cost – His precious life. He owns me now, He controls what I do, how I serve, whom I serve and my very purpose in existing. My life is poured out as a drink offering before the throne of grace. And if He has chosen to use my life in ministry to my husband, considering his needs as more important than my own, then I am honored and blessed to be able to glorify Him – knowing that service to my husband is service to my Lord.
And I know that in doing so, God Himself will meet every need I have (and many that I don’t even know that I have!)…sometimes through my husband or children and sometimes in ways I can’t even begin to imagine. The point is, when we do things HIS way, we NEVER lose out!! He can even choose to exalt us with earthly glory if that is His best for us.
So, learning to raise our children for the Lord is just the beginning of the journey He has for us. Now He wants to restore to us the joy in our creation that was lost at the fall but was redeemed at the cross. We just haven’t completely learned how to walk in that redemption. The first step in learning to honor our husbands in our actions is to understand how to honor them in our hearts by embracing our roles as ministers/servants in our homes to our husbands.
It IS a joyful journey of freedom!
The Better Mom, Multitudes On Monday, Sharing In His Beauty, Monday Musings, Making Mondays Meaningful, Domestically Divine, Time Warp Wife, Gratituesday, Encouraging One Another, Women Living Well, Winsome Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Marital Oneness, Big Family Friday, Heart 4 Home, Finding Him Friday, Playdates At The Well, On Your Heart Tuesday, Soli Deo Gloria, Teach Me Tuesdays, Marriage Monday
With Kevin’s family reunion just ahead of us, I am reminded of our first one and the challenge for each of us to complete a template to create our own I Am From poem. It took me a long time to get the hang of it but I really liked what I ended up with…it is a good picture of who I am because of where (and what and who) I Am From.
I am re-posting this today and really encourage you to follow the link to the template and try it yourself – and maybe share yours in the comments or link to it in a comment. I’d LOVE to read yours!
photo credit: Joe_Andrews
I am from New England, from coffee milk and Del’s. I am from sharing a bed with 2 sisters and midnight trysts under the porch to finding myself tucked safely in bed the next morning. I am from popping the hostas, from asphalt and cement, from string telephones and party lines.
I am from being awakened from sleep to watch thunderstorms on the porch while eating popcorn, and trips to the relatives for vacations, from Meme, Saturday night French and Canasta nights and missing her badly, and from having my freckles counted. I am from poodle perms and believing I was adopted, and from feeling like I never quite fit in.
photo credit: ForestWander.com
I am from college and Fred, from a blessed new life and seeing the value –finding joy – in the old, and healings and baldness, from re-creation and West Virginia and finding the core of who I could be. I am from blue grass music and dulcimers, from Spirit Sisters and crazy landlords axing down their front doors! I am from seeing the southwest with eyes of despair without green or flowers yet praising God for every blessing and trusting Him for food and jobs. I am from countless cars and daily miracles and learning to give glory to God while doing my dishes.
I am from Sharron and Evie, from Dianne, Denise and Joyce. I am from Chelle and Michelle, Andrea and Lisa. I am from soul mates and hard friendships I didn’t want but learned to find God’s joy in the middle of. I am from poverty without knowing I was poor. From struggling and sorrowing over weight and the feelings of inadequacy it brings, yet knowing I am loved and accepted in His sight.
I am from being “Kate of my life” and abundant blessings of years with no light bulbs yet children aplenty, from teeny rooms and frozen tundra and delivered milk. I am from internet friends and seeing the seasons of my life as wonderful phases to be savored and treasured rather than as obstacles to what I REALLY might want to do. I am from New Year’s poems that flood my heart with love and being desired, from learning to trust God for joy in times of darkness and loneliness. I am from schooling and learning, from teaching and growing, from discipling and giving when I sometimes felt I had nothing left to give, only to discover the freedom that it was all God.
photo credit: pawpaw67
I am from North Dakota winters and New Mexico summers, from New England mountains, the haunting sound of the sea and the prairie winds. I am from the joy of wanting each precious child and from the loss and longing as this season is passing. I am from the joy of looking to the new seasons coming, from the hope of someday being mature and wise, and from knowing that it all is from Him and for Him and that eternity awaits with a thousand years of sleep (which is really only a day to Him). I am from missing my mom and old dear friends, from all the things I’ve learned through every trial and joy and knowing that the day will come when it will all be over and will have been worth it all.
Here is a link to a template for an I AM FROM poem. You might enjoy taking some time and writing one up yourself. If you do, PLEASE SHARE IT HERE! I would be very very interested in reading them!
Re-posted from May 2010
Now, most of us really wouldn’t like the comparison between our hearts and the smell of decomposing rodents in our walls. We live in a 135+ year old house in a very rural area. We’ve apparently hosted a Mouse Hotel for a number of years and have recently closed down this project, but the mice have yet to get the idea. Even the poison we’ve put out to try and deter their visits don’t always keep them away. Every once in a while we have a visitor who refuses to leave and eventually they definitely outlast their welcome! They drop dead in our walls and we must wait out the decaying process. This has also happened with birds in our chimney.
As we’ve been waiting out the “fragrance” I’ve had an opportunity to ponder the similarities between the unpleasantness of this situation with the issues we all deal with in our lives. Now, if these mice died in the open, I could simply pick them up (or I could have my SONS or HUSBAND pick them up) and dispose of them outside in trash and enjoy the fresh air of the living. But they tend to go into the dark places to hide and eventually die. This is so much like the sin issues in our hearts.
We don’t want to expose our sin. Not to others, not to God and often, not to ourselves. So we continue to hide it. And there, in the darkness of our hearts, it begins to rot, and eventually to smell.
Now some of you may think, “Oh that never happens to me. I’m completely open and honest.” Like Loker in the TV show Lie To Me, some people actually believe they practice radical honesty. But the truth is, we all hide things. Sometimes we hide things because we are just not ready to deal with them. Sometimes we hide things because we are hoping they will go away. Sometimes we hide things because we just don’t want anyone to see them.
Many times it really isn’t that big a deal because God will bring things into the light of our hearts in His timing. But sometimes, it is the smelly putrefaction of the sin that brings things to light. When we come to a place in our lives that we are FORCED to deal with them…because we cannot stand the stink of them anymore, we can finally begin to clear the air and allow the Spirit to work these things out in our lives.
If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
So, the question is, how does your spiritual heart smell? If it smells like my kitchen, then it is time to allow the Spirit do some revealing and cleaning. It makes things seemingly unbearable for a time, but the result will be refreshing and freeing – a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord – and well worth it in the end!
Big Family Friday, Faith Filled Friday, Comfy In The Kitchen, Proverbs 31, Thought Provoking Thursdays
From December 2008
I’ve been thinking lately about the value of pain in our lives. I’ve noticed that very often our experiences are so vastly different from one another.
I think about my dad who lived with severe pain since his teen years when he was a POW in German prison camps and endured beatings, starvation, forced marches, and exposure in the frozen wilderness areas of Poland and Germany. His physical suffering over the years affected his mental and emotional health and it affected his relationships – primarily with his wife and children.
I know some people who have never really experienced long term pain. I’ve been thinking about the value of pain in our lives, from God’s point of view. I think about folks like Joni Erickson Tada who has suffered for decades and Corrie ten Boom whose sister and father died in pain and who also suffered much at the hands of the Nazis.
What is the value of pain in the eyes of God?
The world certainly sees no value in pain and does anything and everything to avoid it — at ALL costs and sometimes even to its own detriment! Job experienced physical and emotional pain and determined at the end that it allowed him to see God in a very real way that he never knew Him before.
I know that in my own life, it is very easy to try to rest in my own strength without pain. I feel like I can handle things on my own. When I’m struggling with pain, I find that even speaking cheerfully to my children is a labor and I cannot do it apart from the power of God; let alone being able to accomplish the tasks and responsibilities that are mine each day as a wife and mother.
I find walking in the joy of the Lord is not just a platitude, it becomes a lifeline for my mental health and walk of faith.
I guess God does His own special and unique works in each of our hearts and lives through the trials He chooses to bless each of us with. The one that God seems to have designed for me is the concept of Joy in the Lord. Over the past 10-15 years I have learned so much about walking in the joy of the Lord – but only see how sorely I fail and how dearly I need to understand and experience it more. But I have also seen that it IS the lifeline that keeps me connected to His Love and it is the strength of my faith.
When I lose my joy, I lose sight of God and I begin to flounder in the muck and mire of the circumstances around me. When I choose to walk in His joy, I feel that nothing else matters except for God and His love. And that begins to affect how I view and act toward all those around me; and it affects how I view and act toward God. So, Nehemiah wasn’t just whistling Dixie when he said, “the joy of the Lord is your strength”!
Now to go out and draw on HIS strength and power to allow me to do just that.
Marital Oneness, A Handful of Heart, The Better Mom, Multitudes on Monday, Hear it On Sunday, Sharing His Bounty, What Joy Is Mine, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Time Warp Wife, Encourage One Another, Winsome Wednesday, Living Well Wednesdays, Raising Homemakers, Thankful Thursday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Proverbs 31 Thursdays, Hearts 4 Home, Big Family Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays
Here is a post from October 2007
Just pondering today about homeschool moms and the pressures we put on ourselves to have it all together. So many times I’ve seen loving dedicated homeschool moms stressing out because they can’t do it all. Over the years, I’ve been one of those and spoken to countless others. We have this mental list of being afraid to take time off from school to regroup or do some serious character training or take a much needed rest during times of serious stress (illness, death of loved one, a move or birth, etc.).
- Is our fear of falling behind stemming from our worries over how the world will see us?
- Is it from fear over the negative comments we’ve already gotten from relatives or neighbors?
- Is it from our fears that we already feel inadequate and ill-equipped?
- Is it from our training in our own upbringing or education?
The one thing is clear, it stems from fear.
I’ve struggled with it in the past and periodically still struggle with it. I don’t want people to look at me and see what I see…someone who worries that her children won’t make it in college or life, someone who doesn’t have a perfectly groomed yard (and quite possibly never will), someone who lives with piles rather than perfectly organized beauty (and even THIS is a step up from the “heaps” of the past!), someone who doesn’t have perfectly behaved children, whose children fight and argue and periodically fall into patterns of disobedience and (gasp) rebellion (sounds like ME instead of my children!!!), someone who struggles with shame and anxiety because of her weight, someone who fails over and over and over again.
Why is it that, when we have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we still struggle with fear that keeps us in bondage? I think we need to spend a lot more time encouraging one another with freedom and joy and victory in the Lord. We need to speak more grace to one another – to share the reality that those fears DO NOT define us!
Isn’t it amazing how time spent with someone who turns our eyes to the Lord can bring such freedom and joy into our hearts? When we (like Peter as he walked upon the water) keep our eyes turned to Jesus, we are able to walk in victory and peace and power. But when our eyes are turned to ourselves, our inadequacies and fears, we begin to fall into the very failures that hold us captive when we allow them to.
I want my life to be one of hope and blessing to all those around me seeking to walk in victory with Christ. I want my words to encourage and bless and bring Life.
Deeper Roots At Home, Time Warp Wife, Women Living Well, Raising Mighty Arrows, Faith Filled Fridays, Big Family Friday
This is an old post from April 2007
I love the line from Anne of Green Gables where she says, “Today is always fresh with no mistakes in it”!! These have been a few weeks of successes and failures…often more failures than successes! I seem to get caught up in one area only to fall behind in at least one (often several) area. But I am always encouraged with the verse that tells us, “the righteous man falls 7 times but rises again.” Phew!
Creative Commons License photo credit: wili_hybrid
God is the God of redemption – and He even redeems my failures as I surrender to His will and walk in repentance (whether in known sin or just omission) with a willing heart to please Him in all I do.
Sometimes my failures are of my own making. I CHOOSE to sin; to give in to my flesh. Whether it be in eating that handful of M&Ms or getting frustrated with my child, I too often step out of His power to keep me in His hand and set my foot upon the rocky and shifting soil.
Sometimes my failures are beyond my control. There are so many areas in my life where I need training from the Lord, areas where I’ve never learned how to do certain things. There are also areas in my life that are dependent on others for completion. If they fail to do their part, mine also falls apart ending in failure for me as well.
Sometimes my failures are part of God’s training for godly character in my life. There are times when I think I’m doing exactly what He wants me to do, but the end results are not what I had hoped for or expected at all. They are now used to help me learn how to respond in godliness and faith rather than in despair and anger.
So, as I look and reflect (not a great strength for me!), I know that even if I’ve found much failure in today…I can look ahead to tomorrow because HE is faithful to work His best in my life, no matter what the failure was today. And I look further ahead to eternity, knowing that it will all one day fade away, leaving only HIS glory. I pray that my life will grow to be a part of His eternal praises, even when I fail!