What did God create you for?
Have you ever stopped to think about all the things that God did not intend for us in this life? I feel like some days I am constantly reminded of these things. Many evenings I will sit down and reflect back over my day. What were my general feelings today? What went right, and what didn’t? Did I get things done? And what did I put off or forget to do? What habits do I need to start to make me feel more successful? And on and on and on…
God gives us a full range of emotions to experience life to its very fullest. In my mind I can be the most fulfilled if I’m feeling generally more positive than negative. That’s my personal preference. Some people are like a piece of metal. When the heat is on they just bend and change to fit the temperature. Some people are more like a piece of paper and they just burn up. I’d like to think that I’m somewhere in the middle. As a result of my military upbringing, I am a pretty flexible person, regardless of my personality. However, having children and running my own household presents pressures and challenges that at times threaten to burn me up and leave behind a little pile of ashes.
Perseverance, not Exhaustion and Defeat
James 1:4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Sometimes it seems as though perseverance for the sake of perseverance alone is the only thing I’ve got left. But God does not want us to feel downtrodden and hopeless. It is not His will for us to be exhausted and defeated by the day.
I love this whole chapter of Isaiah. The Lord is really encouraging His people and giving them comfort. God knows that our journey here on earth will not be easy. There are going to be bad days and tantrums. There is going to be spilled milk on the carpet and sand in their hair, dirty dishes and floors and toilets. I often dwell on and worry about these things and that was never God’s intent. God created me for more than my to-do list!
Letting Go and Letting God
I’m going to make a list for myself of what I am intentionally going to try and let go. Perhaps, this list will be helpful to you as well.
This week I will work to let go of the following:
- Distress over my housekeeping imperfections
- Incessant worrying about my children’s (insert your worry here)
- Frustration at other people because of (for me it’s their driving!)
- Jealousy over someone else’s blessings, calling, or opportunities
- Fixation with my idea of how everything should be
Considering I’m going to work on these for the next week, it’s a pretty long list; however, these are the things that God has revealed to me recently. Some of these things are issues I grapple with frequently while others are rather infrequent. I feel that each of these are relevant to God’s will for my life, and that these things are holding me back from other things God has for me in my life.
I pledge this week to work towards laying these concerns at the feet of Jesus and clothing myself in things that are pure, holy, and right.
Here are my really great reasons to work on this list. I’d like to make more room for these things!
Will you take this pledge with me?
If you’d like to, please share your list with us so we can be praying along with you about what God can take from you to make more room for Him!
Doing Great Things
Recently, a close friend challenged me with her words. She was talking about her children and what each one had chosen to do with their lives. My friend was recounting a discussion with her youngest son about his future. She was trying to emphasize to him the importance of his role in the kingdom of God. In the same breath of sharing how she was encouraging him to go out and do great things in the name of Christ, she mentioned that her daughter and son-in-law decided they were never going to leave their home state to go out and do something great for the kingdom. It was like she was saying in order to do great things for the kingdom you have to go away to a new place.
Am I Doing My Part?
This really got me thinking and praying about whether I was doing my part for the kingdom of God. As a humble, stay at home, homeschooling mother of three, I asked myself, “Am I inhibited from doing great things for the kingdom of God?” I thought she must be right. How can I be doing great things for the kingdom when every waking moment I have is spent wiping noses and bottoms, finding cups and bottles and snacks, trying to squeeze in phonics and reading, and on and on and on? What was the question again? Oh yeah, am I doing great things for the kingdom of God? Where in the world would I find the time to do anything else? Especially something great?
My mind ran through all of the normal arguments.
- If I raise three children who all go out and do great things for the kingdom, that must count as me doing three great things, right?
- It’s not like my life is only in the here and now.
- Someday, the children will be grown and I’ll have all the time in the world to do something.
As I contemplated these things, the Lord quieted my soul, as He so often does. I began to think about the people in the Bible whom God has used right where they are. He did not always call them on a great adventure. He did not always ask them to move across the nations. Rather, He simply USED them. In Joshua 2, we see Rahab, a prostitute, being used in God’s plan. In 1 Peter 4:10, we hear these words of encouragement:
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Like a balm for my soul! Has God called me to leave my family and go evangelize to the world? Certainly not. Has God put me exactly where He wants me, to use my own gifts as a faithful steward? Definitely. So often as women we fall victim to feeling like we aren’t doing enough.
God Will Use You Right Where You Are
We spend day in and day out giving everything to maintain our marriages and meet the needs of the little hearts God has given to us to raise. At times, we may feel so bogged down by our daily responsibilities that we can’t even think about our place in God’s plan. Believe me when I say that God sees you where you are and He knows you. He can use you! Nothing is impossible for God.
Have you ever felt like you aren’t doing enough for the kingdom?
How do you handle your doubts and fears about your place in God’s plan?
Growing up in church, there are several bible stories you get used to hearing over and over again. As a child, it’s usually Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, The Coat of Many Colors, and so on. As a teenager, it’s generally lessons about obeying authority, modesty, and relationship advice. Moving into young adulthood, we’re generally exposed to the rest of the Bible. Believe it or not, there are actually many parts of the Bible that are still foreign to me, and may be to you as well.
I always find myself surprised when I hear a parable I don’t recognize. Not that I feel like I know the Bible in its entirety–however, the parables are usually prime picking for good lessons, so they’re generally pretty well-known. I ran into one the other day when I was doing my morning devotional that really spoke to me. Now I’d like to share it so it can speak to you too!
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Jesus Tells the Parable of the Persistent Widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth?”
Perhaps you are familiar with that particular parable, but I wasn’t. I also wasn’t raised with the mindset that you pester someone until you get what you want. I was raised with a more “southern charm” set of manners. Don’t backtalk, always say please and thank you, and if you ask a question once, you don’t keep asking because that will result in a punishment because it’s just rude. But, the point Jesus makes is very clear.
Jesus wants us to pester the Father.
Be persistent. Carry on. Ask repeatedly. Insist on being heard. Pretty much the opposite of the general manners I grew up with.
Honestly, this one has proven difficult for me. The idea of continuing to petition God the Father day and night makes me uncomfortable. All of my good manners say, ask once and leave it. Maybe ask twice if it seems really important, but more than that is just rude. But Jesus clearly says…
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly.”
The words are clear. We are to petition the Lord and he will see that justice is served quickly.
Will you join me in throwing manners out the window and getting down to the business of being open and real with God?
As a stay-at-home mom, I’m guilty of occasionally overindulging in social media. I find myself looking up something on my phone and constantly getting sidetracked by what someone posted or a suggested article or those crazy little Buzzfeed things full of funny GIFs.
I’m not here to address my personal battle with time management, but I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who gets sucked into their social media pages a little more often than they’d like to admit.
The world of social media is such a bizarre thing. It seems to have become something we can’t manage to live without. Connecting with others who were once unreachable has become the norm. I won’t date myself by rambling on about life before social media; however, there are some peculiarities that are so striking to me that I cannot seem to overlook them.
The one I’d like to touch on today is respect.
I’m not going to rant about youngsters and their lack of respect or teenagers spouting off. No, I’d like to talk about respecting our husbands on social media.
You may feel your defenses going up at this point, but please don’t allow them to. I’m not pointing my finger at any one person, but rather I’d like to provide a gentle reminder to us all of the love and respect we should be giving to the head of our households, even on the internet.
Our society has taken a turn for the worse on the subject of censoring. Having an online profile gives us a sense of freedom and anonymity that we wouldn’t otherwise entertain. We are able to leave a comment on personal photos, stories and thoughts of others, and if we aren’t careful, the devil can find a foothold here.
Recently, there was a blog post circulating among my girlfriends on Facebook.
It dealt with the dissolution of a marriage and was written by the man in letter form to his now ex-wife. He was pouring out his heart about how he had misunderstood the intention behind her words when she tried to tell him how she was feeling. He was berating himself for not recognizing that her small requests were really a big gesture, and if only he had taken the time to recognize what that small thing represented, they would probably still be together. How my heart hurts for this couple!
Scrolling down through the comments I read and identified with many of the feelings expressed. I found myself reading criticisms against the wife for leaving over such a small thing. There were praises for the husband’s moment of clarity, albeit too late.
I was dismayed to see that when I went to the original post there were hundreds of women tagging their significant others in this story.
Pause here and let me say that I am in no way saying that I’ve never called my husband out for something publicly that should have been kept private. I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth.
That being said,
I feel like this was God’s way of shedding a light on an area that I have struggled with in the past, and allowing me to pursue it in this entry so that I can be more aware of it in the future.
Ladies, we MUST respect our husbands, even on social media.
Especially on social media. Once it’s out there, there is no taking it back. We have to consider how our words, or the words of others that we are identifying with, affect our loved ones.
The simple act of women tagging their husbands in this article caused me to speculate on what kind of relationship they had. What were their struggles? What does the husband do or not do correctly? Is their relationship struggling?
But aside from the wonderings on my part, imagine a man hard at work, sitting down to check his news feed over lunch and hoping to connect with his wife during the day, only to find that she has tagged him in a story that identifies him publicly as someone who doesn’t listen, or isn’t doing his part, or is struggling to understand the hidden meanings behind his wife’s frustrations. If it were me I would be embarrassed, humiliated, crushed, that something so private was shared in such a public way.
Matthew 7:12 is the Golden Rule that has been recited a thousand times,
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
I’m willing to bet none of us would feel very good about being called out publicly over a private issue with our spouse. It may seem harmless to share something online, but I encourage us all to place ourselves in the shoes of the person on the receiving end before hitting the button.
Romans 12:10 reminds us to
“Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another about yourselves.”
This one is a challenge to us because our human nature is selfish.
We tend to become focused on our own needs and desires and have trouble focusing on others. However, the Bible gives us this instruction that immediately wipes away those selfish desires. If we are truly devoted to our husbands in love, and we are honoring him above ourselves, we should be able to offer kindness and respect to him with little effort.
And of course it wouldn’t be a proper post on respecting your husband without:
1 Peter 3:1-4
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Christian women have long debated the depth of respect and submission that we are required to give our husbands per the words of Peter. I feel that an actual measure of respect is not necessary. If we are acting in a way that preserves a gentle and quiet spirit, our behaviors will reflect that. Let us be cautious of Satan’s sneakiness. Words which were written by someone else and then publicly forwarded to a spouse can be an open wound that was never intended to be.
Instead let us take to heart the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 that says,
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.”
All throughout my life I’ve struggled with self-confidence. As a young girl I frequently felt out of place. As a teenager I was unsure of myself and my physical appearance, and as a college student I was apprehensive about fitting in. Fast-forward to my adult life. Since I’m married and have four beautiful children you’d think that my self-confidence would be firmly in place, wouldn’t you? I have found, however, that this can be a stumbling block for me still.
Do you ever struggle with self-confidence?
I’m not referring to an uncomfortable moment here or there or even the familiar apprehension of dealing with a difficult situation. No, I’m talking about the kind where you talk down to yourself, judge yourself by the world’s standards, and deny yourself peace and happiness because of your lack of self-confidence. That’s where my soul has rested for so many years. I allow myself to use the world’s standards as a foothold for my negative thoughts.
Dear friends, it is time for us to stop these thoughts. David uses the most beautiful words in Psalm 8:3-4 that are like a balm to my soul.
Prayer to Overcome Negative Self-Talk
It is here that our worth to our almighty Father is apparent. Even as he formed the moon and the stars, he took great care to create each of us in his image. Will you pray this prayer with me today? God created us in his likeness; we can reverse our self-doubt and bring about self-confidence through him.
Dear Father, we come to you today and humbly ask you to calm our spirits. Lord, we ask that you guide our thoughts away from negative self-talk. Guide us into words of beauty that only you can give. Father, we know that in our flesh we are flawed, but you have made us new again. Help us recognize these harsh words we tell ourselves, and give us the words to replace them, words that build up instead of tearing down. We praise you for your wisdom. We ask that you will continue your work in us as we seek our purpose in you. It’s in your loving and gracious name, Amen.
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