• Slider 2

Holding Fast Through the Storms of Life: Preparing to Stand Strong

Jan_Porcellis_-_Ships_in_a_Storm_on_a_Rocky_Coast_-_Google_Art_Project

Jan Porcelles

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if

we do not grow weary.”

Galatians 6:9

I think I watched too many romanticized movies or read too many novels when I was growing up. Somehow I came into motherhood, marriage and adult life expecting my existence to be rosy, sweet, loving, conflict-free, and Beaver-Cleverish.

“We will probably never have a fuss,” I said to an older friend as I was entering into marriage. I just knew there would be no conflict! Didn’t take long before I broke that expectation.

Often, when all four kids would have respiratory issues, ear infections and keep me sleepless for days at a time, I would be overwhelmed because I wasn’t expecting it.

Church splits totally blew me out of the water because I had an expectation that all Christians would be loving and kind. The list goes on.

But since God’s will for me was to grow up and grow stronger and wiser, instead of removing me from the conflicts, He walked me through them and I learned wisdom from lots of experiences–sometimes I learned by failing, sometimes I learned by just walking through them and realizing I was still alive at the other end.

But all the while, as Clay and I walked these challenging pathways, holding God’s hand, our children were watching and learning and modeling our behavior. Not long ago, …,

Sitting in the dark shadows of my small cozy library as the sun went behind the

mountain, found me and one of my older children talking quietly of struggles,

challenges, battles of life, and long term endurance. The deep friendship, shaped

over years of shared life, had knit our souls quite together.

I wasn’t expecting this moment to be a memorable one. Just a normal moment in

the dusk of day, that shaped a soul-satisfying memory.

Mama,” my grown child tenderly whispered, “One of the greatest things you

have ever accomplished is to keep our family together through love, faith, laying

down your own life, and enduring with as much grace as Jesus could give you,

so that our lives could be whole, healthy and strong.

I know that only God will know the ways you have chosen to give and serve and forgive,  when you had to

make the choices to do so. But all of us kids have benefitted because you were

willing to weather the storms of life for us and hold us together.”

Sometimes, I think mamas hold the whole world together. Their work is that

important.

Much of our lives as a family has been a battle through raging storms.

But, there are some amazing graces on this side of motherhood, when my four

children have reached adulthood—I don’t have to go back through any of the

storms we barely weathered and much of my labor is behind me. And from all of

it, I see four healthy, strong, vibrant young adults who are also my beloved

friends.

Life is a journey from our present lives,  to the future home Jesus is preparing for

us to live in, with Him, for all eternity. Our own lives are filled with storms and

gales and the blowing winds of a fallen world. Many times, unexpected gales of

life threaten to undo us and overcome us. I hardly know of a family who isn’t

suffering through some sort of illness, loss of job, relationship heartbreak,

conflict and difficulties.

An illusion that some people have about our family is that it has ever been easy

for us to hold fast to ideals. Through 17 moves (5 international); clinical asthma

with three of my children; adhd and ocd to extremes in two children; illnesses,

financial issues, church splits, rejection from family members for ideals–so many

storms that I was never trained for or ready to live through. Then there were the

fusses, messes, long hours and no support systems.And then the weird children

and unusual parents–we are all a study in contrasts and misfits.

All family travel into the eyes of life-storms. It is not an evidence of a bad family,

it is the reality of a fallen world, with rebellion and fallenness evident with every

dark cloud.

And yet, wanting to love God and serve Him through it all, was the glue that

held me, us, our own family, together when life threatened to tear all of us

apart.

It is not the grand, noble accomplishments that are the most

profoundly valuable to God. It is the unnoticed, the invisible

practicing of being faithful, courageous when no one else is looking,

that become the jewels of our faith in the eyes of God.

Accepting a loud, boisterous child and seeking to be patient and gentle over and

over again, when feelings threatened to erupt into frustration and anger.

For the rest of this blog article, find me writing at The Better Mom today–and also discussing Own Your Life with the Book Club there. 

To read more about Owning Your Life amidst all of these seasons, go HERE

jpeg

There is Not Enough Time in LIfe to Waste It on Stress

Image 2_0013

Many years ago, our family left the city where we were living, all the stresses, duties, chores, tension of living in close quarters with too many sinful people, .....We left our life amongst the world of responsibility and the closer we drove into the cool, refreshing mountain air, away from traffic, noise, our hearts began to rest and breathe.We had piled in our car to drive up into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to have an evening exploring the stars with beloved friends in the backyard of their mountain home that bordered the national forest. I have written the story in a chapter in Own Your Life. The grandeur of that evening still lives in my heart.  The spectacular views of ... Keep Reading

Hedging your Marriage about to Keep it Strong

3b80aaa7704dac6d64b847eeaa1da309

  An unforgettable ride Bumping along a rough country road, our view from the upper level of a double decker bus, was breath-taking in the late afternoon sun. Passing the ruins of empty convents and monasteries left as ghosts of a by-gone era brought a sense of mystery.  These had been the vibrant holding places for faith, sanctuary and community, but ordered destroyed by Henry the VIII. These scenes  allowed us to live into the history we had only read about in books. But amazing to us was something we had never before seen--rows and rows of hedges sometimes for miles without a break in the walls of greenery. The 6 foot thick, 12 feet high walls of bushes cultivated over years, ... Keep Reading

Today is the Day

10999909_10204987491181389_7438869434909973977_n

  Today, as you look around you, be intentional about seeing His fingertips. Still yourself to listen for the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. What would He say to you? What burdens do you need for Him to carry? What bitterness or fear is robbing you this day of His peace, love and joy? What voices of guilt or inadequacy are whispering negativity into your moments? Do you see these children He formed in your womb for you as a taxing burden to your day or as a miracle? You are complete in Him, precious to Him, strengthened by Him and He loves being your companion. Today, is a day to invest in, to affirm to restore. Today is a the day to redeem. ... Keep Reading

Lenten Splendor Amidst Life in Oxford

10645243_1060416083984487_7441418670217471355_n

Reading these beautiful words today gave a balm to my soul, a stopping of my distracted mind to watch the sun go down as I pondered how I might stop my life in the days ahead for the season ahead. As my various children have studied in the UK and had trips for ministry and friendship there, our family has developed a love for some of the lovely English churches we have attended. Sarah has so enjoyed a sweet community of believers right down the road from her house in Oxford. Enter her world and find her words a solace today. I didn’t even wear a coat for the walk to my coffee shop today. The air is honey-toned and soft. The sky is so vividly blue it flashes in, arresting as flame through ... Keep Reading