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Shortly after she posted those words, her friends chimed in with their advice and experience. It had really been a rough day for her and I could relate. I’ve had more difficult days lately than easy. I appreciated her honesty about being at home. It’s really no joke!
Ann Voskamp said in a recent blog post, “Love is not passion. It is the pulse of sacrifice.” While she was relating such words to marriage, I couldn’t help but think of my children too.
Every day seems like a sacrifice raising a three and one year old (and the one baking in my belly!) I told Jeremiah the other night before bed how I often have anxiety at the start of each day when it comes to the needs I will have to fulfill and the demands required of me.
Today, we went to the mall for lunch with my parents before they were about to catch a flight. And we must have counted five or so nanny’s taking care of little ones. It’s pretty common to see nanny’s since we live close to one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the country. Typically, they are middle-aged hispanic women and do an incredible job with the families.
As I sat feeding Rebekah her chicken and cheese taco, my heart filled with gratitude. She had rice all over her clothes and on the floor. I loved spending the time with her and was so glad she was with me. My mom helped John with his taco, but he is such a big boy now that he doesn’t need much help. I thought about how it felt like yesterday I was nursing him.
I thought about the baby inside of me. How excited I was, but overwhelmed too at the thought of having three come late June. Most people would think I’m crazy.
But it didn’t really matter. I’ve been given one of the best gifts in the world- the ability to be at home with my children. The gift of having a husband who works like crazy so I can be at home.
The ability to raise them. Nurture them. Love them. And discipline them. The incredible gift of watching all their firsts and most of all, trying with all my might to show them God’s love so that they will in turn love the world around them.
Hard work and sacrifice? More than ever. God is sanctifying me through motherhood. And it’s a painful sanctification, but there is nothing else in the world I’d rather do than make an impact in the lives of my children.
After I got home from lunch and put the kids down for naps, I went on Facebook and read the recent comments from Ashleigh’s update. She was encouraged and wrote: “Today is a new day. Thankful to Jesus for new beginnings.”
She couldn’t have said it better. And I’m so thankful God has a way of showing us moms so much in the midst of great sacrifice.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” — before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain. – Ecclesiastes 12:1-2
I was reading these verses last night before bed and I was struck by the incredible wisdom is King Solomon’s words.
A friend of mine in college had told me once how as the years passed by in her mom’s life, her love and passion for God faded away. She told me how her mom was once “on fire” for God, but how that fire was extinguished because “life just happened.”
I remember thinking, Oh I don’t want that to ever happen to me. How sad.
Little did I know as a college student just how much life would happen… to me. As I got older, I started to understand and sympathize with my friend’s mom. I’m seven years out of college and I’ve gone through my share of suffering, trouble, trials, and pain. Life has squeezed me in ways I never thought it could and at times I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel in following God’s ways.
As I read these verses I realize that I’m still in my youth so to say. I’m healthy (as far as I know), just about to reach 30, have young kids, and I’m able to draw upon the Lord whenever I want. God has given me the strength emotionally, spiritually, and physically to do so.
But Solomon reminds me that there will be a day when it might not be easy to call upon God. “Days of trouble” will happen. That could mean old age, a disability, sickness, handicap- anything that is a barrier to enjoying life to its fullest. Solomon is saying to enjoy God in your youthful years, when your strength is still available to do so.
He pleads for us not to waste our life on evil or meaningless things that can cause our hearts to harden. These could be things that are good, that we find great pleasure in, but can turn into idols. These can also be things that can distance us from God.
Solomon pleads with us to focus on the Eternal, rather than the temporal, worldly pleasures that beckon us in our youth. The pleasures that try to snag and pull us away from God.
The bottom line is that there is no room for excuses, no matter how hard life can get. Loving and knowing God begins right now, while I have been given the strength and everything I need to pursue Him.
My three-year-old pleads with me as we’re riding the elevator up to our apartment.
“Not right now, John. We have to put the groceries away.”
“Noooo! I want to ride bikes now!” He screams a little more and throws himself on the floor.
After a few minutes, the fact that we won’t be riding bikes settles in. He whines, gets up, and follows me into our place.
Even from infancy, patience isn’t a word that we quite understand. It’s not a practice that comes naturally. If anything, no matter how old we are, we often detest the very word and act itself.
I didn’t set any specific New Year’s resolutions this year (surprisingly because I’m typically very goal oriented), but I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to work on practicing patience in my life- simply because I feel like this is one of the hardest virtues and spiritual disciplines to live out.
I need the person standing in front of me to move out of the way because I have two screaming children and need to check out
I want God to lead and guide our family, right now, to the perfect neighborhood after our lease is up in seminary housing
I want my friendships to grow on a deeper level, now.
I want to see the physical results immediately from my strength training class I take every week
I need God to heal the broken and sinful areas in my heart, right now. Why does sanctification have to be such a process?
I want all my dreams to be fulfilled now because time is of the essence. Besides, I turn 30 this year and I’m not getting any younger!
Our concept of time is so different from God’s. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Timing doesn’t thwart His plans or throw him off schedule. Thankfully, He’s told us a lot about patience in His Word, one being that we have to put it on. He knew that patience wouldn’t exactly be a part of our everyday wardrobe.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… Col. 3:12
There it is. A command that we must follow and obey. And we are His children.
Holy. Chosen. Beloved.
He is taking care of me and I don’t need to fret about the things I can’t see clearly or the prayers that have been left unanswered. If I’m to put on patience, then that means I must take off any impatience, anxious thoughts, pride, irritability, anger, and more. Any sin that hinders me from living the life God intends.
In the book Faith That Does Not Falter, Elisabeth Elliot writes:
We want answers now, right now, but we are required at times to walk in darkness.
If God requires me to walk in seasons of darkness, then I know that eventually His light will shine through and prayers will be answered according to His good and perfect will.
As I watched each skier take off and head down the mountain, I was amazed by their speed, precision, and intensity to beat the clock no matter what.
Obviously, these skiers trained like crazy and had worked their way to the top. But what stood out to me the most was when one happened to fall or his foot would slip, he’d get back up and keep going. He would plan on making up for lost time further down the slope.
He didn’t let an unexpected fall interfere with his ultimate goal of crossing the finish line.
How true it is in our faith that we often let a stumbling block, failure or mistake keep us down on the ground. We focus so hard on the fact that we slipped, that we don’t shake the dust (or snow) off our shoes and move on. We forget what Scripture says:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Gal. 6:9
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. – James 1:2-3
God knows that we fall at times. He knows we want to give up in the battle against sin. He knows that we doubt if he will carry us through the really tough and testing times in our faith.
Maybe you set some New Year’s resolutions and you’ve already failed at them. Maybe you set some goals spiritually, physically, or in your relationships and marriage but you’ve fallen short. And you didn’t plan on that happening exactly. And you’re down because it’s only January!
The good news is that the next step for you is to get back up and keep pressing on.
But trust me. You will be tempted to let the failure define you or to let it replay in your mind over and over. Don’t let it.
Christ defines you. He is your identity. He is your hope in the fight against sin. He is the one who gives you the grace and strength to make it through.
So whatever it is that you’re struggling with, don’t lose heart. Because Christ has already promised if you do not give up, you will reap a harvest in due time. And your persevering will be totally worth it.
Do you ever struggle with allowing some kind of slip to define you?
Our honeymoon had been perfect so far. My husband of four days had blown me away with his romantic surprises. We were giddy about being on the breathtaking Hawaiian island, Kauai, and it seemed like every minute we were relishing in our new love together. But suddenly as we walked along the shore near our cabana, the tides in our relationship changed…
Continue reading over on Start Marriage Right & feel free to chime in with your thoughts.