Living through many seasons of challenges and difficulties, has taught me that I am capable of more than I sometimes feel I can handle. When a mom learns, by faith, to reach beyond what she thinks is possible, when circumstances "feel" too difficult, to search for and look for joy and beauty in life, she glories God with a beautiful service of worship. When things go wrong as they so often do (why is it so often, anyway?) I might feel like having a spiritual tantrum, and sometimes, I do! But I have learned that complaining and pulling into the darkness doesn't really change things. Slowly, I have learned to choose to take the higher road of looking for Him and for His wisdom at every turn in the road.
It has been all of the twists and curves that have made me humble to understand others, stretched my capacity to serve and believe, and caused me to see that God is much bigger than my problems and has greater purposes than I could see at the time.
As Christians, we are supposed to reflect God's character, because we were made in His image and His Spirit lives within us. It's natural to be selfish; it's supernatural to be loving. It's natural to be arrogant and prideful or complaining; it's supernatural to be humble and ask for forgiveness and give gracious love. We are the reflection of God, everywhere we go! How do you become more like God? By worshiping Him and pondering Him in all of the places He takes us in life!
In the same way that a child develops maturity and strength over days, months and years, so as God's child, we develop slowly over time. Each new challenge builds our spiritual and character muscles--but it is a process over time.
I think sometimes we feel that if we just did the right things, our lives would be easier. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out the abc's that will lead to a happy, simple, fuss-free life. And it's very aggravating when we find that doesn't work! For some people, it's more than aggravating; it can lead to a loss of faith. Yet that's not what God has invited us to do. He desires us not to perform works or to follow formulas. Instead, we are invited to a loving, deep relationship with Him that will grow with time. As we want our children to trust us and obey us, so God desires our trust in His ability to Father well.
And so we must live that way with our children too. Having a great home life is not about a formula; not a matter of getting the right quiet time book to read or a formula for keeping the house orderly all the time. It's really all about the rhythms and culture of our homes. It's about the way life flows within our four walls. Even now as our own children have grown and moved into their adult lives, I can see it's still our love, the traditions, the rhythms that they miss. When they were little, we danced while doing dishes. We put on loud, fun music when the kitchen got too messy. We celebrated life together through the good times and the bad. You can do that, too! The grace you give, the way you work when no one is looking is being seen by your sweet ones who are taking it all in. Your life is the story being watched carefully by your children--they are taking mental notes!
Laziness and resistance to the work load was common for me as a young mom. I was inexperienced (as a mom) and I didn't even know it! Now I see work is a glory to God. I learned to serve my kids, to get up in the mornings and practice working, and now I can see the results. My children say they can't wait to get home because they miss our dinner table times, the home that became a haven, and the predictable life that took so long for me to develop. God is winsome; you have to celebrate God and love Him in front of Him for your children to be able to see Him. It's the reality of God's life that your children will fall in love with.
God is truly the easiest person to please when you just have a heart of faith and understand His mercy, patience and grace. To Him we are mere toddlers and He gives us time to grow. Your home is the practice field for maturity and character.You will never be perfect--don't waste time feeling guilty or inadequate! It just leads to a road of discouragement. But accept your limitations as God does, as a good parent doesn't expect adult behavior from His toddler.
In the same way, don't give up on your children. Lean into the process of life. Live beyond what you think is presently possible. Keep praying and believing and loving and disciplining. Children give you a reason to civilize culture. There is no silver bullet and if you're trying to find it-- thinking, "If I could only find the right book or formula, life would be perfect,' you're not living in this fallen world with the reality of trusting God.
The sooner you give up your perfectionist determination and plans, the quicker you're going to be subject to the grace of God to work in a real way in your life.
It's not about how you feel, it's what you do with how you feel.
Hangeth thou in there. And trust that He can help you live beyond what seems possible!
There's much more of this message, and it's this month's featured audio! You can grab it as an instant download here: MomHeart Audio: Restoring God's Mom Heart.