Right in the smack dab middle of Jesus loving, teaching, encouraging, and training his disciples, they simply embark on crossing the familiar lake where they have lived all of their lives, and suddenly a life-threatening storm overtakes them.
What could Jesus possibly be thinking? Does he want to lose all of his disciples at once? Is he trying to discourage them? Afterall, they had given up their whole lives to follow Him. Their hearts were dedicated to worshipping Him. They were busy serving other people---really, now this? Is this any way to treat those who are following you? And so sometimes the "whaps" on our lives feel personal, invasive, too much.
Have you ever felt that way? I have cooked. I have washed dishes. I have lost years of sleep. I have loved and served and given--does anyone notice? Does it matter? --and now this? Another storm? Another problem? The relentlessness of life is about to drown me, Lord. "Do you not care that we are perishing, Lord?" That is the question that we, like the disciples, have on our hearts.
Just when we have the ideals of our lives in place, and we have defined what the Kingdom of home is, and we determine to commit to creating our homes as a place where the life of Christ will flourish, storms and battles begin to overtake us, and we feel that we may be overcome.
If you are experiencing weariness of discouragement, it just means you are engaged in the battle. The battle and its raging are not a measure of your success or failure--but how you respond in the battle will determine the outcome. Often, people have said, "Well, I am glad Sally has ideals, but that is not what my life looks like and I don't even know how to get there."
My life was a constant swirl of ideals and reality, grace and storm, walking in faith, and railing against heaven--this is the picture of fighting to bring light into a dark world, and the home is no different.
I know that I am mixing metaphors and have moved from storms of life to the battles, but hopefully you know what I mean. But, when we determine to make our homes a place of life, Satan is determined to thwart us. Satan knows that the most precious treasure in God's economy are His children, his handmade creations--those who have souls that will last for eternity. And so the battleground for our future is at the soul level of life.
We are living in homes where the laws of thermo dynamics take place every day--that energy is depleting at a constant rate and everything is moving toward disorder. Knowing this--understanding that it will never change--and give yourself grace. Do not expect perfection. Do not condemn yourself or become angry at your children because they are not perfect.
Walk in grace. Celebrate life. Look for joy in the corners of your life. Always find a friend to pray with, to share life with, who holds your ideals and values. Know that all moms have the same issues--just different puzzles to put together.
Our children are selfish and sinful, our husbands (and even we) are fallible and imperfect; things fall apart, get broken, cost money, people are unloving, we are unsupported by the culture around us, and we lack support systems to support the ideals we believe.
In order to know how to raise godly children, we must have a refined picture of the ideals we are aiming for, but the second part of being productive in this venture of motherhood is understanding the battle. All of our homes are broken, our children are broken and without the grace of God, we will not be able to make it. But, I believe, and have seen, that with God on our side, and with faith, our labor is not in vain, and becomes a story of His power and goodness throughout eternity.
Warfare gives us such great examples. A seasoned general becomes astute in battle because he has been successful in weathering many years of battles, and has learned to fight valiantly and enduringly. An officer at war will also not be able to advance in experience and victory if he does not understand and know how to fight against his enemy.
And so, the kingdom of our home is a battlefield from others who would steal our dominion over our family.
Feeling weary or discouraged or inadequate or guilty from failing is a normal part of the process. You are in training. Engaging in the discipleship of my children became the training ground where little by little I learned what it meant to become a more mature Christian.
But remember this---it is not the people who start the race who win, but those who finish the race. So, if God calls you to ideals, and you begin running, don't give up--don't quit. Keep building a picture of your ideals, fan the flame of your vision. More soon about the tension between the vision and the reality of life and how to walk the journey with grace and peace.
I am discombobulated, writing this on the road, between an emergency with my own family. But as a battle worn, general of life, I know He will be with me. So I will pray for you, you pray for me and for my children who are targets--and if anyone can figure out how to put this article up on face book, please help me or leave a comment as I am off to speak. Love and grace to you precious ones who are in the trenches. Love and prayers going your way today!