As we wait for tomorrow to dawn and bring with it the beginning of a new school year, fears from how last year was creep in and overwhelm and God gives words that comfort and encourage. I didn’t know one could suffer from post-traumatic stress just by home schooling, but there is definitely a high level of anxiety as we prepare to open the books on a new year. I know we are called to this and I am called to do something I am not gifted in so that He can fill me and enable me and all glory can go to Him because it’s definitely not me.
God will make all our obstacles serve His purposes. We all have mountains in our lives, and often they are people and things that threaten to block the progress of our spiritual life. The obstacles may be a untruths told about us; a difficult occupation; a thorn in the flesh; or our daily cross. And often we pray for their removal, for we tend to think that if only these were removed we would live a more tender, pure, and holy life
‘How foolish you are and slow of heart…!’ (Luke 24:25). These are the very conditions we need for achievement, and they have been put in our lives as the means of producing the gifts and qualities for which we have been praying so long. We pray for patience for many years, and when something begins to test us beyond our endurance, we run from it. We try to avoid it, we see it as some insurmountable obstacle to our desired goal, and we believe that if it was removed, we would experience immediate deliverance and victory.
This is not true! We would simply see the temptations to be impatient end. This would not be patience. The only way genuine patience can be acquired is by enduring the very trials that seem so unbearable today.
Turn from your running and submit….There is nothing in your life that distresses or concerns you that cannot become submissive to the highest purpose. Remember they are God’s mountains. He puts them there for a reason, and we know He will never fail to keep His promise.
I don’t know what this year will hold. We have prayed and discussed and planned and done everything we can think of to make this year better. But we’re still a family of fallen, broken sinners, so struggles will come. We will pray to be stronger people and live on the grace He gives everyday. We will cling to the hope that He is doing something great in our lives and that one day we will see the benefit of our struggles.
Never pray for an easier life – pray to be a stronger person! Never pray for tasks equal to your power – pray for power equal to your tasks. Then doing your work will be no miracle – you will be the miracle.
We must remember that Christ will not lead us to greatness through an easy or self-indulgent life. An easy life does not lift us up but only takes us down. Heaven is always above us, and we must continually be looking toward it.
Some people always avoid things that are costly, or things that require self-denial, self-restraint, and self-sacrifice. Yet it is hard work and difficulties that ultimately lead us to greatness, for greatness is not found by walking the moss-covered path laid out for us through the meadow. It is found by being sent to carve out our own path with our own hands.
For today and tomorrow and many days ahead, I will continue to count the gifts He gives. I will count as blessings the beautiful days and the ugly days, the days I wish would never end and the days that cannot end soon enough. Because if the good things are gifts – sunshine and flowers and laughing children – and all things come from God who only gives good gifts, then aren’t the days full of tears and broken arms and broken hearts gifts too? Not because we are supposed to be all happy-Pollyanna about those hard things, but because of what God can do in our life if we will only submit to those trials. As I look back, I am lying if I don’t say that it is the ugliest, darkest seasons of my life that have worked out the greatest beauty. No, I don’t want them there, but my Jesus He did something amazing with those years and I wouldn’t know Him like I do, wouldn’t love Him like I do, if He hadn’t walked with me down those paths. And He continues to do something amazing with these broken years. Years where I struggle to lead and mother and love well and I fall into bed each night, feeling like I could have – should have – done more. And yet, He’s always there to pick me up, hold me close, and whisper truth into my heart. There’s something amazing about the grace that picks you up out of the mud and makes you clean and beautiful and lovely and once you’ve experienced it, you can never give thanks enough.
1984. Olympic watching with friends
1985. laughing hard
1986. four and one half hours of sleep
1987. coffee to get me moving
1988. time in the Word to get me focused
1989. long lasting rain
1990. all asleep by 8:45 last night
1991. candles flickering
1992. morning coffee (again)
1993. all these feelings of failing, inadequacy
1994. my God who carries me
1995. a twelve year old today
1996. feeling less crazy
1997. dinner at 9:00 p.m.
1998. beef broth spilled everywhere – everyone helping clean it up, including the dog
1999. only a few more days of summer
2000. lovely, productive Saturday
2001. date night happiness – finally cool enough to enjoy eating outside
2002. extended family reunion
2003. sleeping with windows open
2004. lazy Monday morning, last day of our summer
2005. all of this amazing grace
Praying that today you know His goodness and see the gifts He longs to give.
For His Glory ~
quotes taken from my well-loved Streams in the Desert