In this season of my life, I often feel like a soldier returning from battle weary and exhausted. I don't have the strength for one more correction, one more discussion. one more failed expectation. I don't want to referee one more sibling dispute or remind one more child to use kind words. I don't want to have one more discussion on purity and why it's important. Training and disciplining take their toll and I want to just give up and give in.
On those days, I just want peace and quiet. I want to just go back to bed and cover up my head. I want to ignore the disobedience and disrespect. Or if it's too blatant to ignore, I want to find ways to justify it so I don't have to deal with it.
Those are the times when I want to believe the lies of the enemy. He tells me that I expect too much of them and need to back off. Or that their disobedience isn't really a big deal. He tells me that compared to other parents, I'm way to strict. He wants me to believe those lies so he can gain a stronghold on them and lead them down a path of destruction.
This week has been one of those weeks of day after day weariness of parenting. I've spent much time in prayer t seeking guidance and asking God, "Do I expect too much of my children?" This morning He gave me a huge resounding "NO".
My spirit was so refreshed by the message of Dr. Chuck Lawless. He preached about spiritual warfare and how the enemy is still using the same tactics he did in the garden. And one of the enemy's prime targets is the home!! He wants to destroy the family so it looks nothing like Christ desires it to look. He doesn't want husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church. He doesn't want children to honor and obey their parents. He wants us to be so busy that we do not have time to "bring our children up in the strength and admonition of the Lord".
The enemy distracts us with the world's idea of being a good parent. One that makes sure our children are happy, entertained, successful and allowed to be who they want to be. But God's standards are so much higher. God commands parents to teach their children about Him all throughout the day. God's Word should permeate our homes. It should be our guide for every choice and every decision. Raising children who love Christ and want to be like Him should be our goal. We're to be making disciples who are willing to "Go"!
My weariness often comes when I lose sight of my eternal purpose as a parent. Or when I forget that my children have a sin nature just like their mom. A sin nature that does not easily comply with God's standards. They have a heart that is deceitful and desperately wicked. A heart that only God can change. They too are in a daily battle against the enemy, flesh and the world.
In my weariness God wants me to depend on Him and His strength. He doesn't want me to give up or give in. He wants me to give it over to Him. He wants me to take every opportunity in our home to teach the importance of obedience, honesty, purity, faithfulness and then leave the end results up to him.
So I will continue fighting the battle for the hearts of my children. I will continue to train and disciple and discipline. I will go against the grain of this world and expect greatness from my children. Not worldly greatness, but greatness in the eyes of God.
What about you? Do you grow weary in parenting?
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
God has called us to be a light in this world. We are to shine in a way that points others to Him. When He does something in our lives or through our lives, we should proclaim it for all to hear. When we do that then we are proclaiming God's glory and power to those around us.
We should not be afraid to share our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and our disappointments. Through all of the ups and downs of our lives, we can give God the glory and make Him known. As a Christian our life has one purpose. In Galatians 1:24 it says "And they glorified God because of me". Our purpose here is not personal wealth, success, happy families, or living the American dream. Our purpose is to bring glory to God!!
Everything we do here on earth impacts that purpose. Every choice we make in our day to day lives will either brighten or hide that light. We need to ask ourselves "Will __________ point others to Christ?"
Fill in the blank with whatever choice you are faced with. For example "Will gossiping point others to Christ?", "Will my attendance at this movie or concert point others to Christ?", "Will this outfit point others to Christ?", "Will my drinking at this event point others to Christ?" , "Do my words point others to Christ?".
The bottom line is this, Are others glorifying God because of you? Are you boldly proclaiming the greatness of God in your life? Can others see God's hand at work in your life? Are you giving God the glory or are you seeking the applause of man?
You must choose to reflect the light of Christ in this dark world and you must choose every day to point others to Him with your words, actions & attitudes. Don't be afraid to share your stories of God's greatness in your life. You never know when one of your stories will encourage someone else to keep persevering. You never know how many people will glorify God because of your testimony.
So I encourage you to start each day by choosing to shine.
Obedience to Christ means that we must walk by faith. There will be challenges, obstacles and bends in the path that we cannot see around. We must walk into the unknown expecting God to show up in a big way. There have been many times over the past year when things happened only because we asked big and God showed up in a big way.
As we start a new year, we find ourselves like Peter, standing on the edge of the boat being called upon by the Lord to step out into the unknown and follow Him. The question is "will we believe that Jesus is enough?" Do we trust Him to be there to catch us when we start to sink? Will we trust Him when we're over our head and He is all that we have to hope on?
We believe that God has called us into full-time ministry with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Scripture tells us that nothing is impossible with God and whatever He ordains will come to pass. But we must take that first step out of the boat. We cannot allow fear to prevent us from taking a risk.
Fear of the unknown can paralyze us and keep us from moving forward. Fear can keep us from stepping out of "our boat" and into a life of extreme discipleship. What if Peter had allowed his fear to keep him in the boat? Put yourself in Peter's place for a moment. The Lord is passing by and is inviting you to go on the adventure of your life. But at the same time, you are scared to death. There is the storm of a lifetime out there. If you get out of the boat there's a chance you might sink but if you don't get out of the boat there's a guarantee that you will never walk on water. If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat.
You and I were made for something more than merely avoiding failure. We were made to live an abundant life in Christ. Living the abundant life means we must leave behind a comfortable existence and step out of the safety of our boat. Our "boat" could be our job, our bank account, our relationships, our possessions or even our successes. Our "boat" is anything that represents safety and security apart from God. It's that thing that keeps us so comfortable that we don't want to give it up even if it's keeping us from drawing closer to God.
For me my "boat" was financial security. I wanted to know that money was there to pay the bills, buy necessities for the kids and put food on the table. And even though I know God faithfully provides for all of those needs, I wanted to make sure that we had some backup funds to help God out. Over the past year, I've had to choose to step out of that boat and put my faith in God's provision for my family.
There have been times when my faith has wavered and I've begun to sink. I've allowed the voices of doubt to invade my mind and cause a million little "what ifs"....what if we can't pay the electric bill, what if the car breaks down, what if gas prices continue to go up, what if God doesn't come through this time. But God always comes through in His timing!! Jesus has always been right there to show me that "He is enough"! He shows me that when I continue to look to Him and not get distracted by the turmoil and doubts around me that my faith will increase and I can walk on water.
Things have been tough over the past year but I wouldn't go back to the way things were for all the financial security in the world. My relationship with God is so personal now. He isn't some distant character that I read about in the Bible. He is my Abba Father and He loves me and has a plan for me. He cares deeply for me. So deeply that He sent His Son to a cross for my sins.
Today I read a blog that really spoke to my heart and really summed up my feelings as we embark on another year of raising ministry support and the unknown of how & when we'll be 100% funded. Joy from The Graceful Mamma wrote: "I want this temporary life to be one that I can’t live on my own, one that I need His strength for each and every day. Living in this way brings joy deep down in my soul. My sweet Jesus gave it all for me on the cross. He loves me so intently and He has given me the chance to offer back to Him a life of sacrifice. And the truth is my life, the messy one, where I have to rely on Him to get me through, is more beautiful than any sea view, any candlelit dinner, or any afternoon spent journaling at Starbucks. The messy life I have, the one He chose for me, is far more beautiful than any comfortable relaxing moment I can imagine, because He is in it. And, now, knowing exactly what I am in for, I choose it all again. "
This life that God has chosen for me is hard, wonderful, messy, joyful, and His perfect plan. And because of that, I choose to step out of the boat and walk on the water.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.