Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Places in Motherhood

Summer came and went in a flash, as summer usually does. Then, the inevitable happened: school began. I've been on many sides of this annual event. I've been the student. I've been the teacher. I've gradually eased into being the parent by taking my two oldest kids to 3 day-a-week, half day preschool. But this year, I've entered a new zone. My oldest has started his own relationship with school. He started kindergarten today.

This same little boy had many other firsts this summer, all signalling to me, his mom, that he was growing leaps and bounds. He learned to ride a bike without training wheels. He learned to tie his own shoes. He actually began to eat "big people" food. And just recently, he lost his first tooth. 

Yes, that first precious little baby tooth that I analyzed and agonized over JUST FELL RIGHT OUT OF HIS HEAD!  Or more accurately, the boy just yanked it out himself. Like is was no big deal. 

(Pause for tears.)

And this morning, as my husband and I drove our precious first born off to school, I looked over to him and said, "It seems like we just named him, like we just picked out his name." 

(Pause for more tears.)

Why is motherhood so hard? I know and you know that it is hard for a number of reasons. That is why parenting well is the hardest thing many of us will ever do.

Its moments like these that make a mom emotional. I mean, in what other career does doing a good job break your heart?

We work to make our children ready for the next phase of life as it comes. Then, when they are ready, we face the paradox of pride and sadness.  Our hearts are full but they are broken a little bit at the same time. 

Since it is only my first day of this with my first born, (I will experience it in new ways with my younger two kids, I am sure) I have no advice. All I know is this: The Bible tells us that we are to "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

God invites us to tell Him everything we are worried or concerned about because, He cares for us. May I just say that that phrase, while nice, is a huge understatement! God loves us with an unending, unconditional, unfathomable love. He sent His own little boy to die for us. As a mother of two boys, I can't understand this at all! We are talking about mind-blowing love here.

So while I spend the day wondering if my son ate his lunch or if he had someone to play with at recess, God is right there with me. As I worry about the bus ride home, God asks me to give my worries to Him. Because not only does God love me an immeasurable amount, He loves my son that way too. He loves him more than I do, in fact.

And while this is not something my mind can grasp, I am comforted and at peace with that knowledge. And that peace will get me through this day, this week, this year. 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Motherhood: An Honest Look in the Mirror

So, we brought a new baby into the world! My third child, a boy, was born March 7th. He is absolutely wonderful! Such a little sweetie!

But little did I know, his birth would bring about some unexpected changes. My daughter, the now middle child, turned into a disaster! A mouthy, sassy, disaster at that!

Within the first weeks with the new baby, she had performed many attention-seeking acts. From screaming at me for the simplest requests to using the cat to scratch up the door of our brand new vehicle: she did it all.

She was sweet as pie to the new baby though. I am thankful for that, at least!

At our most recent MOPS meeting, we had a marriage and family therapist speak to us on parenting. She was awesome! She was so nice about telling you the truth without directly laying blame. For example, one hot topic was back talking. (I was all ears for this!) She delicately said, "Ok. So your younger child learned the back talking from their older sibling. Well, where did they learn it from?"

Yikes. Needless to say, I left the meeting feeling convicted, but encouraged. She gave us all many tips to try to stop the back talking.

And, I have really been trying to employ them. That very day I successfully dealt with a slew of sass! But then, that terrible, witching hour struck: bath time. My progress quickly vanished, and I slid back into my old ways of raising my voice to try and deal with my daughter.  When she went to bed, I just asked myself, "What happened? How did I fail so suddenly and so badly?"

I know why. I'm flawed. We all are. And we all are a work in progress. Thank God!

God knows we're flawed too. That is why He longs for us to turn to Him for help. He wants to make us new. He wants to change us into the people He has planned for us to be. Best news: He doesn't give up on us when we fail. He keeps working as long as we keep working.

God gave us a lot of encouragement on this topic. I'm so thankful for these verses that speak to my imperfect heart. 

  • "Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength" (1 Corinthians 15:43).  
    • In Heaven, we will finally be without sin. We will be without weakness. We will be perfect!
  • "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" (Philippians 1:6).
    • One of my favorite verses! God doesn't give up on us; of that we can be certain!
  • "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness"  (2 Corinthians 12:9).
    • Even the apostle Paul, writer of over half of the New Testament, had weaknesses. He learned, as we moms need to do, that God works best in those that admit their weakness and turn to Him for help. He offers us grace!
  • "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning" (Lamentations 3:23).
    • When we mess up, we get a fresh start. God forgives us of our mistakes and lets us try again. Whew! What a relief!
Some days, we feel we make so many mistakes as moms. Being a mom reveals your flaws every day as you see your children act out your worst habits. (I'm not saying my daughter got her sassy talking from me, but...ok, maybe.) Yep, being a mom forces you to take an honest look in the mirror. My reflection shows me so many things I need to work on. But that's okay. God's helping me. And He is powerful enough and patient enough to get the job done.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Just Imagine

A new toy has hit the scene, making little girls oh so excited. What is this new revolution, you ask? They are a little something called Shopkins. Maybe you are familiar. If not, I will do my best to enlighten you, but I am not an expert. My 3 year old daughter is just getting into them. Here is a picture: 
Shopkins are little figures in the shape of things you would buy. They range from clothes items, shoes, accessories, to food and household items. They are all smaller than an egg. That is it. That is what they are.

What is the purpose, you might ask? (I have asked myself this too.) They encourage imaginative play. If you are like me, you get that. Sure, it's great for kids to use their imagination. It's awesome. But as an adult, it is hard for me to imagine how you could even play with them. What could you even imagine with a little boot and a skirt with eyes and names? (Yes, they all have names. My daughter was playing with Penelope Pleat the other day, a skirt.)

Isn't that just like adults? We are not very good at using our imagination. We just can't see what our kids can see. We work hard as parents and teachers to encourage the imaginations of our kids. However, somewhere along the line, our own imaginations just quit. They stop growing, and in some cases, they are never used again.

I have been reading Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest for my daily devotion each day this year. One recent day got me thinking about imagination like I never have before.  The title of this particular day was, "Is Your Imagination of God Starved?" The entry pointed out that nature is full of evidence that our God has a huge imagination, and we should too.  Nature, such as a beautiful sunset, should really get our imaginations pumping as we consider the character and abilities of our God.

Chambers states that if your imagination is starved, "when you are up against difficulties you have no power, you can only endure in darkness...Do not look back on your own experience; it is God whom you need. Go right out of yourself."

We do that, don't we? When faced with a problem, we tend to limit God's response and His ability to help us. Sometimes, our prayers lack imagination, which to me means they lack real faith. We must "go right out of ourselves" because our human minds are so great at limiting God's awesome power and His unfathomable plans for us. We really have no idea what God can do in our problem situation. 

The Bible does not call us to stop being imaginative. It encourages us to use it and to have faith without human limits. 
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen!" (Ephesians 3:20-21).
We are to give our God glory for ever because He is more than able to accomplish great and mighty works, no matter what our situation! He can do even more than our wimpy, adult imaginations can muster. We are encouraged to dream big and believe with a faith that knows no limits. His boundless power is at work. Amen!

Let's be more like our children. Use our imaginations when it comes to God. He has given us evidence time and time again that He is bigger than what can ever dream up. Each sunset is different. Every snowflake that ever falls is unique. Each and every person He creates is one of a kind and known by Him. What a big God! Just imagine!



**This may be my last blog for awhile. Baby #3 is set to arrive any day now! I will return to blogging as time allows. While I feel called to write, I know that I am also called to be a mom first! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Can You Handle It?

As 2016 begins, I am preparing for a major change in my family: we are adding baby number 3 in March. 

This was a huge decision for my husband and I. Two kids seemed like a no-brainer. Vacations are created for families of four. Normal cars fit two car seats easily. Our house has three bedrooms on the same floor. One kid's not enough; one kid needs a playmate. A third kid would undoubtedly rock the boat that had been carrying our little family of four. Needless to say, a third baby would return us to the world of sleepless nights and diapers. 

But, we just felt like we should go for it, so we did.  And, here we are, on the brink of rocking the boat.

One of the main emotional obstacles that I faced when considering a third child was my own abilities as a mother. My children are not exactly what I would call easy-going.  I think the politically correct term is "spirited." I questioned myself: could I really handle a third spirited kid? Could I give even more attention to yet another child? Could my brain and heart be divided by three instead of just by two? 

Could I handle it?

Let me tell you the answer to that question, moms and dads, friends and family. 

No, I cannot.

And whatever it is that you are staring down, that thing that seems impossible and overwhelming to you? You can't handle it either.

I'm not trying to be negative and discouraging here. I'm being truthful. We can't handle everything well; we can't excel or flourish or soar on our own. And I just don't want to handle motherhood. I want to be amazing! I want my kids to be the absolute best they can be. I know that is what you want too. You want to be the best, do the best, and give the best. However, we as humans cannot do anything well without God.  

This is a topic Jesus addressed during his time on earth. He must have known (of course he did!) that we would be faced with tough and overwhelming situations. In John 15, Jesus said,
"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing" (v. 5, emphasis added).
We cannot do anything of real value without the help of Jesus. We must fully rely on him, just as a branch relies on the vine for life. Being a good mother is one of the most valuable jobs we can do.  We must rely so heavily on Jesus each and every day if we want to do more than just "handle" a situation.

 So, I am looking forward to this new baby. I believe that he will just draw me even closer into relationship with Jesus, the only one who can help me excel as a mother. And in those times when I feel I'm really struggling, I'll turn to His word for truth and encouragement. 
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
 "Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand" (Psalm 37:24). 
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23). 
So you see, friends, we are not able to "handle" everything on our own. We weren't made to (sigh of relief!). We were made to remain attached to our source of life. Jesus is our source of life, hope, and strength. Thank goodness I have someone to turn to! I thank God every day for his help and strength...and I know my kids do too!




Linking up (usually) with these great sites:#soulsurvival,  #intentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #threewordWednesday, #livefreeThursday, #belovedbrews, #dancewithJesus, #fellowshipFriday, #graceandtruth, #coffeeforyourheart, #TellHisStory, #Reflect, #livefreeThursday, #thecozyreadingspot



Friday, December 11, 2015

Our Christmas Baby King

It is at this time every year that we celebrate the fact that Jesus came to earth as a baby. We spend time and money teaching our children about the baby in the manger, the stable, the animals, the shepherd, the wise men, and everything else that accompanies the Christmas story in the Bible. My children love to talk about the star in particular.

For those of you with kids that are a little bit older than mine, maybe you have added in the part about the cross. After all, the baby ultimately became a man who, ultimately, died on the cross for the sins of the world. That is the whole point of the baby in the manger after all.

As Christian adults, many of us have been celebrating the Christmas season for years and years. I'm not saying this happens to everyone or that it happens every year, but it is easy to miss the real reason for Christmas. Sure, we know it in our heads, but sometimes the real joy and peace of it all is pushed out of our hearts for whatever the reason. I mean, we all know that Christmas is a BUSY time of year. And, even if we don't want the busyness, we want to give our children as many good Christmas memories as we can. It is easy to forget to stop and think about what Christmas means to us as adults.

This year, I have been privileged to study the book of Revelation in Bible Study Fellowship. The detail in which I have been able to study this last book of the Bible is really neat. I have noticed that the verses are really sticking with me. Cool, but how does that relate to Christmas? Well, let's go back to the beginning of Jesus' life on earth.

First, what was Jesus as a baby like? We know this description well. Mary wrapped the little baby in swaddling clothes and placed Him in a manger filled with hay. Not necessarily your typical delivery scenario, even for those times, but definitely not a kingly birth.

What about Jesus, the man? Isaiah 53:2 describes him like this: "There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance. nothing to attract us to him."  He was an average looking man. His godliness was unknown or unperceived by his own brothers and by the people of his own town.

His disciples knew the true Him and believed in Him. John, one of Jesus' main disciples, wrote Revelation. In Jesus' ministry, Peter, James and John seemed to be the three privileged disciples that got to experience a little bit extra of Jesus. John is referred to as "the disciple Jesus loved" in his own book. And, those three got to see Jesus transfigured on a mountain top (Matthew 17). Ok, so what I'm getting at here is that John knew Jesus well. He was loved deeply by Him and had even been allowed to see a little bit of Jesus-as-God revealed as he was transformed a little bit into His heavenly glory on that mountain.

These disciples saw Him as he died, too. The image of Jesus on the cross is one that most Christians can picture easily in their minds. It is, after all, the whole point of Christianity. To be saved, to be a Christian, or Christ-follower, one must believe in Jesus' work on the cross.

These descriptions of Jesus are the descriptions that I had been pondering all my life. At Christmas I would think of the little baby in the manger. At Easter, I would think of Jesus on the cross. In between times, I remembered the work Jesus accomplished during his ministry on earth, the actions and miracles he completed that revealed his character and his love and his message.

Now to Revelation. It was mind-blowing for this traditional Church girl, ya'll. John, writing Revelation, tells of a vision he had of Jesus. This was not Jesus the baby, Jesus the man, or Jesus on the cross. And remember, John knew Jesus. He knew him very well. This, my friends, was the real Jesus. The Son of God. The Jesus of Heaven, The one who created the earth and everything in it. The Jesus, our King.
"And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance" (Revelation 1:12-16).
This description is anything but ordinary or average! This picture of Jesus is a grab-your-attention and hold-your-gaze-forever kind of picture. Now, I could get into all of the symbolism here (thanks to BSF!) but that is not what I want us all to focus on. I want to focus on John's reaction to this Jesus.
"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead" (Revelation 1:17).
That is what John, the disciple Jesus loved and knew, did when he saw this Jesus. The true Jesus. Can you imagine seeing this Jesus? We can relate to a baby in a manger. We can relate to an average looking man. Thanks to movies and paintings, we can even relate to a man on a cross.

But this Jesus, Jesus the King, can you even imagine? John couldn't. He fell down as if he were dead. He was completely overwhelmed by this Jesus of Heaven. This vision of Jesus was more than he could behold.

Friends, it is this picture of Jesus that I want us all to imagine and cling to this Christmas season. For I have found that when I picture this majestic, brilliant Jesus of Heaven, the true Son of God, it makes me love that little baby in a manger even more.  It makes me experience Christmas in a whole new way.

The sacrifice was huge. Jesus left a place that we cannot even begin to imagine. John could hardly describe it in words. It left a huge impression on him. It left a huge impression on me. Let it make a huge impression on you too.

Because of the picture of Jesus, the words Paul wrote in Philippians 2 take on a whole new weight. Picture the Revelation Jesus as you read these next verses.
"Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position as a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross" (Philippians 2:6-8). 
Jesus left the majesty of Heaven and abandoned all of the privileges of God to become our Savior. God sent Him, and He willingly came. What a love! What a Savior! What a Christmas Baby King!


Here's an awesome song that I just learned for church worship team. It totally goes along with this Jesus! "Savior of the World" by Ben Cantelone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9zEjO-7Gf8


Linking up with these great sites:#soulsurvival,  #intentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #threewordWednesday, #livefreeThursday, #belovedbrews, #dancewithJesus, #fellowshipFriday, #graceandtruth, #coffeeforyourheart, #TellHisStory, #Reflect, #livefreeThursday, #thecozyreadingspot





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Are You Flourishing?

I'm blessed to be the MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) coordinator for my community. Each year, we have a theme to focus our meetings around.This year, our theme is a Fierce Flourishing. MOPS encourages us to notice goodness, celebrate lavishly, and embrace rest. Great concept for this year.  I’m really enjoying it!
            Who doesn’t want to flourish?  I think we all do. We all want to have life to the fullest.
            So why is it so hard?
            I’ve been asking myself this during times that I do not feel like I am flourishing. I want to flourish and have joy in my life. But I feel like we, as women and moms, have some big obstacles in our way.
            First, women live in their minds. As moms, we are constantly thinking through our to-do lists and schedules. We think through and process social interactions, as well as interactions with our families and significant others. In my case, I process conversations and, let’s face it, sometimes that leads to negative thoughts. These negative thoughts, either about myself or the other party, taint my entire outlook on the day sometimes. And sometimes, it is just hard to let some things go.
            Secondly, and maybe the is just unique to me, but it is all too easy to throw my own pity party. I dwell on what I don’t have or what went wrong or what I’m missing out on, and I feel sorry for myself. Not only does this take away my joy, but it steals joy from those closest to me. In other words, nobody thrives during a pity party.
            Last, sometimes I just feel blah. Could be a rainy, gloomy day. Could be a string of rough days. Sometimes you just don’t feel it. I have found that usually when I’m feeling blah, I’m not spending time with God like I know I should be. I have let life and schedules crowd Him out from my day.
            After God made me aware of these problems that steal my joy, I found something to be excited about. It had me all excited last week, and its carrying over into this week. I really wanted to share it with you all.          
In a Jesus Calling I read last week, one of the scriptures was Colossians 2:2-3. It’s Paul writing to the church in Colosse. He wanted them to “have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In Him are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (emphasis added).  This got me thinking about those treasures. Knowledge and wisdom are two of the greatest gifts God gives to believers. And how do we get them? Through Jesus.
These verses brought to mind another verse. I had to do a little searching on biblehub.com, but I found it. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, again Paul says that Jesus is God’s ultimate yes. “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means yes) ascends to God for his glory.”  Jesus is God’s resounding YES! Sounds like celebrating, if you ask me.
And again, this point was brought out to me in my Bible Study Fellowship homework last week. We were studying the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation. These were letters Jesus asked John to write to 7 existing churches, and they also speak volumes to believers today. We were in chapter 3 with the final letter to the church at Laodicea. This church can only be described in one way: blah. They were neither on fire for God, nor had they completely turned against him. They were just blah. Living life as they always had, not acknowledging that they needed anything from God. To be honest, it reminds me of many churches and Christians today. The term “Sunday Christian” comes to mind. Someone just going through the motions but not completely allowing God to have their lives. Just someone living a blah life. Not flourishing.
At the beginning of this letter, like all 7 letters, Jesus reveals a truth about himself to the church. He says, “This is the message from the one who is the Amen” (Rev. 3:14).  He was telling that church, a church that experienced great wealth, that He was every promise of God fulfilled. In other words, He is the secret to real wealth.
Jesus is the Plan. He is God’s yes to us. He is the key and the answer to every promise God ever made to His people.
He promises in the Old Testament several things. To never leave us. To forgive us. To bring us peace. To give us joy. To give us hope and us strength. To extend to us unfailing love.
Jesus fulfills every one of these promises. And in these promises alone, we find life to the fullest. We find a life that flourishes. Let these verses remind you of who Jesus is.
Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, God will never leave us. "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us'" (Matthew 1:23). 
We are forgiven by the blood Jesus shed for us. Romans 5:8-9, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.”
We have everlasting peace. “"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid,” John 14:27.
We have non-circumstantial joy. “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” Romans 5:11.
We have eternal hope and strength for today. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”
We have the never ending, never failing, never conditional, love of God Himself. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
If you have Jesus, all of these promises are yours. These things, these truths, excite me and give me joy. To me, Joy = flourishing.
But what do you do if you aren’t feeling it? First, you have to accept Jesus. Jesus fulfills all of God’s promises, but if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, the forgiver of your sins, you aren’t guaranteed these treasures. Please contact me if you want more information about this!
If you’ve accepted Jesus, the yes’s are yours. Yay! But, how do you experience them? I like practical advice, so here's what works for me. This is how I experience the yes's of God:
1.     Ask to see them. Ask God to show you them, to open your eyes to them.
2.     Look and expect to see them. By spending time with Jesus, you can notice these yes’s in your life. Wait expectantly. If you aren’t paying attention, you won’t see them. I know for me, it’s like driving sometimes. If something else is on my mind when I am driving, I can go right passed my destination. Once my distracted state of thought even got me lost in the country! But if our focus is on Jesus, we will catch the yes’s. We won’t miss them
3.     Thank Him. When you experience even a glimpse of these promised treasures, or any blessing of God really, thank Him. It keeps this cycle of flourishing going. It allows you to live in a constant state of abundance.  Even in the bad times, ladies, the blessings still flow. We might just have to look a little harder.

I hope this message excites you as it does me! We can know the secret to a life that is flourishing. It is Jesus Himself. I’m jumping the gun here before Christmas, but really ladies, (and myself), he is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. We have everything we need in him. Let’s all seek him and look forward to a life that is flourishing!



Monday, October 26, 2015

Doubt v. Truth

Harvest is nearing a close here in Minnesota. Some rain has slowed us down a bit, but, hey, that is giving me a chance to write this! I'll take it!

The harvest season is always a rough time for me. It is really a time of year that God uses to work in my heart and make some changes. My overall goal for this harvest was to have a better attitude about it. To change my perspective, viewing it in a positive light instead of thinking of all of the extra work it means for me. It is, after all, an important time of year for my family.

I think I started off well. I was flexible if asked to help with something that was not on my original day's schedule (something that is very hard for a planner like me). But in the middle of October, things got rocky. Looking back, I know the cause of it.

Doubt.

After about a month of not seeing my husband and having normal communication with him, I began to doubt his affection for me. I didn't doubt that he loved me. I knew he did, of course. But, I doubted his ability to care about me, to think about my feelings. It was the combination of the lack of quality time and the overall consumption of his mental capacity. It sounds bad, but during this time of year, my hubby's brain is just overloaded with other thoughts. This is the time of year for him that he provides for our family. He is somewhat one-track minded. I know this, but it is still hard for me.

Doubt.

Also during this time, I question my parenting skills. I am the only one at meals, bath time, bed time. The parenting duties fall mostly on me. I find myself less patient and more overwhelmed. The kids only have me most of the time, and I feel like I don't meet the standards.

Doubt.

It may sound like I'm whining about my circumstances. That is not my intention. We all have hard, stressful times in life when we feel under appreciated, under par, or overwhelmed. There are many different jobs that have seasons of busyness.

I just want to share what I have been learning about life in the hard times.

Somehow, during this season, I have managed to make time to attend a Bible study. (So important to my overall well-being. Don't cut this out of your life just because you are busy. Studying God's word is life giving.) We are studying the book of Revelation. I just recently read a passage that was written to a church whose people probably felt a lot like I have been feeling. They were facing suffering and persecution. They were probably experiencing doubt too.

In Revelation 3:8, Jesus says to them,
"I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me."
Listen, in our times of doubt, Jesus sees us still. He sees us struggling, but He also sees us obeying. He sees us staying true to Him and His word even when we feel weak. This door that Jesus mentions? This is the door to Heaven. It is the way to eternal life. Trust and obedience to Jesus, even if it is from a weak person barely making it, leads to eternal life.

In our doubts, we must cling to the truth of God's word and persevere.  We must remind ourselves of God's promises to us and keep going. Satan, the enemy of our souls, the father of lies, loves to use this tool of doubt. It is how he got Adam and Eve to sin against God for the very first time in the Garden of Eden. He caused Eve to doubt the truth God had told them.
"God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil]; if you do, you will die.' "You won't die," the serpent replied to the woman. "God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil" (Genesis 3:3-5). 
From the beginning, Satan has tempted us to doubt the word of God. He uses every lie he can think of. Too often, he succeeds. This is why we must arm ourselves with the Word of God and allow it to shine light on the doubts and lies we are tempted to believe. Here are some of my favorite bits of truth that I have been clinging to lately.
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up" (Galatians 6:9).
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as thought you were working for the Lord rather than for people" (Colossians 3:23).
"Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
"'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:8-10),
Might I encourage you to find your own doubt beaters? Find verses that speak truth into your current situations and the doubt you face. Because, when doubt faces truth, truth always wins.



Linking up most weeks with these encouraging blogs: #soulsurvival,  #intentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #threewordWednesday, #livefreeThursday, #belovedbrews, #dancewithJesus, #fellowshipFriday, #graceandtruth, #coffeeforyourheart, #TellHisStory, #Reflect, #livefreeThursday, #thecozyreadingspot