Posted by: Sally | April 21, 2008

Practicing Believing in and Loving God

The past few days have been a little daunting to me. I am getting ready to go to Canada to speak in a few days. Joy has a leadership project that we will work on and present tomorrow night (including making cup cakes for those who attend.) We celebrated Nathan’s 19th birthday this weekend–with all the pressure of a birthday breakfast and presents–tonight we will have family over for dinner to celebrate the birthday dinner with them as they are close friends. Wednesday, Sarah and Joel are leaving for a long trip to Boston in search of some possible answers to a new college for Joel (if anyone has any spare room for prayers–please pray for God’s favor and grace for Joel as he pursues his dreams!) and need my help to get ready for the trip. I have to teach two Bible study classes tomorrow both for the encouragement of moms and then I have to teach 2 leadership classes  on Wednesday for the junior high children in my coop class. In the midst of this, everyone still wants to eat and wear somewhat clean clothes and I need to pack for the trip and finish preparing my talks for Canada and provide for my two children who will hold down the fort at home. Did I forget to say I am helping Sarah turn in some book proposals to publishers before she leaves on Wednesday. And, oh yeah– I guess I should at least acknowledge Clay and a few of his needs as I help him get ready for our trip. Not to mention financial issues we are struggling with, long range decisions for Nathan that have to be made this week and on and on. You get the picture! And  I know that each of you have lists of duties, worries and pressures to match mine!

I awakened early this morning with the stress and worry about all of these things and more. One thing I know, though, is that it is a familiar place to be. Every season of this journey has been fraught with ups and downs and demands. I have come to view my life as somewhat of an obstacle course never knowing what hurdle will need to be jumped, what mountain to be climbed or what path to be forged.

Yet, the advantage I have is that I have perspective. I have seen the Lord bring me through so many such courses. When I come into His presence and spend time in his word, He has been there for me–I didn’t always feel His presence, but I took His word and promises at face value and rested in them and then practiced taking steps of faith, one day, one issue at a time. And now I can look back and see that He has used each part of the journey to shape me–my character, my love, my humility and compassion and learning to rest in Him. But the more I have learned to put all of my issues into his hands (along with my feelings of loneliness, fear, weariness and deep emotion), I have learned to leave them there–with Him who is able and will accomplish His will in His time in my life.

These verses have been some of my anchors:

1. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (I need heart  and mind guarding so that I don’t spend unnecessary energy and time on worrying–so I give it into His hands and picture him taking everything and working on my behalf as his daughter.)

2. “In this world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b    The definition of courage is: the ability of facing difficulty, danger, fear or pain without being overcome by present circumstances and instead acting with resolve and strength of mind and behavior.   I have made a decision of my will to take courage–practicing being strong, practicing habits of putting one foot in front ot the other to believe in a good outcome from a Father who is good. Courage is believing and behaving as though God will indeed be faithful. These habits create a life of faithfulness which lays a foundation of a life well-lived and well-built.

3. “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances and I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and having need. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” I have had to grow in character as I walk in God’s ways–to stretch my capacity to work, to stretch my capacity to love–to resist the down feelings and to learn to cultivate a content attitude and to practice being joyful in front of my children and family.

It has been through these things that I have had to grow up–but obeying the Lord in these places has made me more the person I wanted to be. Obedience usually leads me to peace and ultimate joy. I can indeed only do all that I have to do in the power of His Holy Spirit–not by might or by power–but by His spirit. I can, by faith, and by putting one foot in front of the other, do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I have told my children that it is best to decide to like and embrace God’s will–because having a bad attitude about it will not make it go away and indeed will make the pressures and circumstances worse. I have also noticed that bad attitudes or depressed feelings or content feelings behave much like plants in garden. If I water and nurture the depressed or negative attitudes they are what grow even stronger. If I water and fertilize faith and obedience, they are what grows.

I am a wimp at heart and was never prepared to have such responsibilities. I do think it helps all of us to know that we all feel overwhelmed and most moms never get the break they deserve. (That is why you brave and generous women are my heroines!) But I see that those sweet moms who find themselves able to persevere, to not remain in a complaining spirit, to trust God, are building in their homes wonderful souls who reflect the gold of their mother’s multiple decisions of faith in God’s word. These children are developing into great people and God knows it is because of the faithful labor of His precious mothers who knew that their labor would result in godly generations.

I must off to start on my list-but this is my prayer for all of you precious ones in the midst of your labors today: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

II Thessalonians 2:16-17

Blessings,

Sally

Sally@wholeheart.org

Advertisements

Responses

  1. What a GREAT way to start the week! Thank you for the lovely chat about God’s faithfulness and my wimpiness. (I, too, feel overwhelmed in the face of SO MUCH! Praise God He is BIG and everpresent.) I have just returned from a week of “visiting” with dear ones and my routine is shot full of holes (tired holes full of laundry). Your sweet and HONEST words encourage me so much. Thank you! Prayers go up for your sweet children as they stand at crossroads and seek direction. Say “Hi” to Miss Sarah and Master Joel; I miss their blogging (now I know why they are silent … they are in prayer over much). Hugs to you and all of your family. You are in my prayers. : )

  2. 1 Peter 1:7

    These trials have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

    A friend of mine put this verse to song for our Ladies Bible Study, to help us memorize them.

    It has been a trying week at my house to say the least; one child with Whooping Cough, another child failing algebra, another child not retaining ANY of his math, husband with new job working upwards of 80 hours a week, temporarily.

    It is a trial.

    Sometimes I want to give up or hide under my covers.

    Our Merciful Savior, keeps bringing this verse in song, to my mind.

    There is a reason for the trials, a purpose; and their results, one day, will be beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles and your verses. It was just one more confirmation from the Lord that I can peek out from under the covers. :o)

  3. Oh Sally, once again you have touched my heart. I have been feeling so overwhelmed lately, with the pressures of homeschooling, extra activities, keeping up with housework, and house hunting. Reading my favorite scriptures and your insight on your blog was so encouraging. Thank you so much for your uplifting words. It’s comforting to know there are others out there that are experiencing similar issues and that understand. God bless you! I am praying for you and your family.
    Love in Christ,
    Michelle

  4. I sooooo needed to hear/read that. Thank you! May God bless you for faithfully encouraging us.

    Blessings!
    B

  5. I pray that you all have a peaceful next week or so with every step ordered of the Lord, with traveling mercies and joy at all of the great things God will do! Blessings!

  6. Thank you so much. That was just what I needed to read after a sleepless night w/ a baby fighting an ear infection. Complaining and a bad attitude was threatening to get the best of me. Thank you for the reminder to walk in obedience.

  7. Dear Sweet Sally,

    I love how you spoke of watering our garden of negative feelings or positive feelings… I love how you just press on whether or not you *feel* the Lord’s presence or not. Thank you for this encouragement, Sally. Your family is *so* blessed to have you! Praying for you…

    Love, Carrie.

  8. May the Lord Bless You for your efforts~ I often have to remind myself to just “do the next thing”. The Lord is so faithful to see us through our busy days and hours.

    I am so thankful that you are making the trip to Canada~ I am praying that it will be a wonderful time of refreshment~ I KNOW it will for those of us fortunate enough to have you sharing with us, but ALSO may the Lord refresh you in your time with us. ~ lisa

  9. Thank you dear Sally for your words of encouragement. We’ll be praying for your family this week. You have mentored us more than you know and we are so very blessed to read your God inspired words. God Bless!

  10. Your words encouraged me, too. I am new to reading your blog, but it is like a glass of cold water on a hot day. Refreshing. Your trust in the Lord and submission to Him shine through. Thank you for that example.

    We have not homeschooled this year, after having our 5th child I fell apart. Next year we are putting them in a small Christian school. I pray to get back to homeschooling someday, if that is God’s will. But I know this is what my dh deems best for our family right now.

    The verses you gave were encouraging to me to be content and to not be anxious, but keep giving it to the Lord and trusting Him.

    I keep promising myself that I am going to take the time to order your books….soon! I will be praying for your family.

  11. Wow! What a great look at how the Lord can calm us. It is a great reminder that we are to give every concern over to the Lord.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Praying for you as you teach and speak.

    DJ

  12. I am soooo excited that you are coming to Canada, and even more excited to hear you speak. You are such a blessing to our family. We will uphold you in our prayers!

  13. I’m not a mother in the classical sense, but I have been struggling lately with overwhelming circumstances. Thank you so much for your encouraging words full of wisdom and grace.

  14. Sally,

    Thank you for making the trek to Canada, despite so much going on in your life. It was apparent that you really put everything on hold in your mind to deliver wonderful and uplifting talks that were exactly what this momma’s heart needed to hear. I walked away from the OCHEC conference feeling very refreshed and rejuvenated…as well as challenged in several areas of my ministry to my children. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to this large group of strangers. I will pray that the blessings come back to you a hundred-fold!

    Erin

  15. Sally — Thank you so much for your uplifting and encouraging words at OCHEC! Know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord — you touched many lives with a magnificent ripple effect that will spread across our province, if not our whole country!

    BTW — both my friend and I lit the candles and set the music playing for a family meal today! You’ve started something . . . 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories