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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wise and Kind

There are two things that I have never been accused of in my life. One, no one has ever called me shy. And two, no one has ever said I was short on words. I mean, my own husband once told me in the car, when I was in the middle of some general observations, that "those were things that he just didn't need to hear."  (He will never live that one down, by the way!)

So, I know my posts can get long sometimes. I feel like keeping in short today by just sharing some of the Bible's great wisdom that has been helping me this week.

I have been trying to work on my attitude in the face of stress. I'm aware that in a stressful situation, I act out in a way most unbecoming, i.e. I FREAK OUT! I don't handle being in a rush well. My kids eat too slow when we're late for school. Freak out! They can't find one of their shoes. Freak out! My husband asks me to help him with one little thing when I'm already busy. Freak out!

Hey, the first step to change is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, I know I struggle with stress. I'm an exploder, as Lysa TerKeurst would say in Unglued. I can't handle really stressful situations so I explode, most of the time at my kids and husband.

Not good. Not what I want to do.

You know what else? This stress is often self-imposed. Sometimes I don't get up on time, or give us enough time to get out the door. I create the stress. This bugs me even more!

Sometimes you can't avoid stress. For example, this harvest season I am in is just stressful. There is more work for everyone in our family. Sometimes, it is a rush to feed the farmers and the kids supper and get back home to give baths and put the kids to bed at a decent time.

My hope and my help?  The Word of God. I used this verse in a much earlier post, but it is one of my essential verses to help me through motherhood. This verse is taken from the very descriptive passage in Proverbs 31. It's a description of the Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 31:10-31).
"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness" (Prov. 31: 26).
Most of us are probably familiar with this passage in scripture. There are many actions and attitudes that us modern women can aspire to. It describes the woman as an energetic and strong hard worker. Good. It mentions the many ways a woman can provide and help her family. Good. But this verse specifically speaks to an area that I need to work on.

For the past few days, I've been meditating on this verse. I try to say it to myself before a stressful situation, like bath/bedtime, when I know I am prone to spewing loud commands. You know what? It's been helping me. It makes me aware of the situation and what attitudes it might bring out in me. Then I can be prepared to keep myself mellow and actually enjoy the situation more.

That's really the goal for me, and I think all moms too. I want to enjoy my children and the cute things they do. I want to live in the moment and not be concerned about the next big thing on my to-do list. I want to speak out to them with wise words. I want to teach and guide with kindness, not with raising my voice. These are two things that I would like to be accused of. This is how I would like my children to remember me.



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