My heart skipped a beat as he walked into the room. He asked about my day, and then shared about his. It was like that, easy conversations ranging from light topics to deep issues of the heart. I enjoyed our discussions. But soon I realized I anticipated them more than I should. Why?
Because I was a married woman, and this man was not my husband.
Like weeds in a garden, wrong emotions had strayed into my mind and left unchecked began to grow. I started to pour time into this other man. I chose to receive emotional support from this man. I looked forward to the companionship of this other man. And before I knew it, I was on the brink of an emotional affair.
I could hang my head and weep.
My man was a good man. A hard-working man. Consumed with the worries of this world, a boatload of work buried him. He'd come home, eat dinner, and then dive into his work sometimes 2 to 3 hours long. Maybe I felt cheated or neglected, or second place to his work, I'm not sure.
But all I know was my emotional cup was empty, and I looked to refill it in the wrong place.
Temptation comes from our own desires,
which entice us and drag us away.
We women can easily slide into an emotional affair if we feel there is physical or emotional distance in our marriages. Having talked to many women on this very issue, I've felt compelled to share my story. By the grace of God, I caught mine early on, but that isn't always the case.
In the throes of an emotional affair, we are convinced:
- This other man understands me better than my spouse.
- This other man loves me more than my spouse.
- This other man is my true soul mate, unlike my spouse.
These thoughts knit discontentment into our minds, and before we know it we’ve entered the danger zone!
These desires give birth to sinful actions.
And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Having a thought is one thing, but playing it over and over in our mind is not only dangerous to us emotionally, but also spiritually because we're harboring sinful thoughts.
Thoughts such as what it would be like to be in this other man's embrace, to be kissed by him, and for scenes to unfold in our minds which should be reserved for our husbands. Too soon these thoughts lead to actions, and before we know it, we are having sex with someone other than our spouse.
My friend, an emotional affair is the path to a sexual affair. Jesus girl, you do NOT want that.
So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
Don't be misled! How do we slam shut the gate before we slide down the slippery slope? Next week, I'll share my climb back onto the path of life. Until then I have two words for you.
If this post has hit a tender spot in your precious heart, my friend, I beg you to flee whatever emotional situation seems all glittery and good. It's not. It's toxic and will steal your joy and your peace. Block his number, stop meeting him at your rendezvous spot, stop getting in his space, stop pursuing him, get another job, go to a different church, move, etc.
Whatever it takes, flee as if your life depends upon it, because it does.
If your thoughts are for any man besides your husband, take those thoughts captive like we are commanded to in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Think of it this way: My youngest daughter loves animals, the smaller, the better. We've had one too many hamsters in her short lifetime. These furry rodents are escape artists extraordinaire. When one escapes, a mad flurry is made to capture the escapee, place it back in its cage, and firmly secure its cage door.
So it is with our errant thoughts about men who are not our husbands. We need to pounce on those thoughts and manhandle them with the Word of God. A few good verses to help us take our thoughts captive include:
1 Peter 1:13
I'm praying for you, my sister. I'm praying for conviction, repentance, and life for you. I'm praying for the scales to fall off your eyes and for you to see this situation for what it is, an affair. A sin. A shallow crumb compared to the feast the Lord has for you.
Don't be mislead! Run, Jesus girl! Run to the cross and live!
One final note: perhaps this isn't you...today. We ALL must guard our hearts. All of us have desperately wicked hearts and are one step away from sin. My sister, keep your guard up, keep your heart soft to the Spirit's prompting, and keep pursuing a life of holiness and purity.
Unraveling An Affair - Part 2
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Eating Tide Pods, leaving class to march for #enough, and gaming into the night are just a few indicators that this current generation is restless. Granted, each generation has its own cauldron of woes, including my own. Ha! But I've been in much thought and prayer for this current generation, the one I birthed my terrific three into.
So what exactly is it to be restless? Is it bad to be restless? One definition for restless is "Anxious and bored." But it also means "not satisfied and wanting change." The difference between "anxious and bored" and "not satisfied and wanting change" boils down to what we believe is the answer to the question, "Why am I here?"
When we believe
- we are here by chance and
- life is all about me
we can easily drift into boredom and anxiety.
Such a mindset causes the answer to "Why am I here?" to vacillate with each passing trend.
But when we believe
- we were created intentionally for this time and place by our Creator.
- God wove a purpose and a plan into our DNA
we are not satisfied with the status quo and want change.
This mindset knows the answer to "Why am I here?" is found in believing Ephesians 2:10.
"For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Think with me of the heroes of the faith. We think of them as cute little Sunday school stories, but these were real people just like you and me! They had hopes and dreams as well as fears and doubts. But their actions showed they were confident in their "Why am I here?"
Such examples like:
Noah - While others lived a debauched existence, he skillfully and faithfully built an ark. He knew why he was here.
David - While others quivered and wrung their hands, he charged toward the God-mocking giant, Goliath and defeated him! He knew why he was here.
Daniel - While others gluttonously partook of the king's sumptuous food, he ate fruits and vegetables and was found to be 10x smarter than those around him. He knew why he was here.
Mary - While others whispered and speculated, she washed Jesus's feet with her tears. Jesus's feet! Can you imagine! She knew why she was here.
and the list goes on and on.
They were restless but channeled that restlessness for their good and for the glory of the Lord. Why?
They knew the answer to "Why am I here?" To fulfill their part of God's amazing plan.
We too should be relentlessly restless for God's kingdom and so should our kiddos.
Think of water, it can be life-giving and good when channeled and functional, like a river or a water hose. But when a river breaches its banks or a water hose cracks and busts, chaos erupts. So it is with restlessness.
As believers, restlessness channeled by anything other than God's will is chaos.
But what if Christian parents were as intentional as the #enough movement to inspire an awakening in our kids?
What if we pointed them to THE answer to "Why am I here?"
What if we helped channel our kids restlessness for something bigger than themselves?
The sleeping giant called the church would wake up! Wow! Revival would break out! Yes! I believe anxiety and depression and suicide and school shootings would decrease all because our kids - the light of the world - chose to live securely in knowing the answer to one of life's most troubling questions, "Why am I here?"
Next week, I'll share some of the ways my man and myself are intentionally pointing our kiddos to the answer to "Why am I here?" In the meantime, how about you? Do you know why you are here? Do you wake up satisfied knowing you are here for a reason and a purpose. Look again at Ephesians 2:10. Ask the Lord to increase your faith and to shine the light as to "Why am I here?"
"For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Kate Spade, an iconic designer, was at the top of her game. Sought after and highly revered, she had the world at her fingertips. Yet beneath the glitter and glam, darkness lurked. Its deadly whisper eclipsed the truth and suffocated her joy. Depression’s whisper snowballed until Kate succumbed to the avalanche of lies and took her own life.
Her success and fame didn’t buy her lasting happiness, or deep contentment, or abiding peace.
This makes me sad.
I can sympathize with Kate as I too suffer from depression’s relentless grip. In fact, I’m just coming out of a stretch of it myself. It descends upon me unaware and un-welcomed.
Like toxic fumes leaking into a room, dark thoughts seep into my thinking skewing reality. Depression is a thief. It is a liar. And sometimes . . . those dark thoughts even flirt with suicidal thoughts.
But it also makes me mad.
Deaths like Kate Spade and Robin Williams not only snatch them away from their loved ones, they glamorize suicide. We wrongly think that if they were so successful and chose to end it all with suicide, it must be ok.
No! Suicide is not ok. The thought and act of suicide is from the pit, from the evil one. Jesus warned us that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10)
The evil one wants to steal our joy.
The evil one wants to kill anything beautiful in our lives.
The evil one wants to destroy us.
Those three facts together define everything leading up to and including the act of suicide. The evil one is such a bully.
So I’ll tell you the truth I wish I could’ve shared with Kate Spade.
You, precious one, are loved with an everlasting love. You are enough because of Jesus’s completed work on the cross.
You are not defined by your successes or failures of this life, but by who God says you are when you are His child: loved, forgiven, chosen, redeemed, holy, righteous.
You are wanted. Bask on that. When we feel unwanted by man, we are wanted by God.
Depression is hard. Yes, it can be debilitating, but suicide is NOT the answer.
Jesus is, only Jesus. He alone is our hope. He alone is our help. He alone is life.
Lean into Him for`His peace is stronger than depression. His love is deeper than depression. His joy defeats depression’s death grip.
Anything you are believing that contradicts with this truth is a lie.
You must fight the lies with truth. Allow the truth of God’s Word to flush out the lies of the enemy of your soul. Read Truth, listen to Truth, and speak Truth to your soul.
Fight, Kate, fight! Choose life, the abundant life found only in Jesus!
Praying for you,
Unfortunately I wasn’t privy to speak this truth into Kate’s life. But I can speak this truth into your life. Since truth is truth, the truth I wish I could’ve shared with Kate Spade is true for you, also!
My friend, if you are overcome with depression and/or anxiety, there is help!
1. Immediate help can be found at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24/7, free and confidential resource, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) <or> text "TN" to 741741
2. Cry out to Jesus. He said He came to give abundant life in John 10:10, so ask Him to show you how to attain it. And then do it!
As I was writing this, a song by for King and Country called "It's Not Over Yet" kept coming to mind. Laura attached it below. Please read and listen to the life-giving lyrics.
If you would like us to pray for you, please message us. We would be honored to kneel by your side. But most of all, lean into Jesus. He, precious one, is your knight in shining armor.
Fight, friend, fight! I’m praying for you!
Other posts about depression:
Titanic no more
How thankfulness helps heal depression - part 1
How thankfulnesss helps heal depression - part 2
Glorious…hard…rewarding…exhausting! The list of adjectives is endless when I think of this adventure called parenting. But mostly, awe rises to the top of my list. I am in awe of the 180 switch the Lord birthed in my mothering. Gone are the days of joyless parenting. In it's place, joy has watered the desert places and created something beautiful - a joy-filled mother. Only God can do that!
As I pondered my transformation, a "tricks of the trade" list began to emerge. There is no rhyme or reason to the order, just tricks that have made this mommying job a whole lot more enjoyable.
1. Playing in my Strengths
It's easy to fall into the comparison game when it comes to talented moms: this one is athletic, this one is artsy, this one can spin a tale, etc. etc. etc. Early on, I learned that I enjoyed motherhood best when I stop trying to be like other moms and embrace my own uniqueness. I love books and games and the great outdoors. So that's the way I'm intentional with my kiddos. When we have downtime, we pull out a game or a puzzle or walk/bike/hike in the great outdoors. Gone is the guilt that I don't play dolls or trucks or ball like other mommies. In its place, contentment has filled my heart knowing that I mommy well just by playing in my strengths.
2. Have Favorites
My “Terrific Three” consist of a girl, a boy, and another girl. Just like God does not have favorites (Romans 2:11), I strive not to either (1 Timothy 5:21). I've assigned labels to my Terrific Three and regularly call them by it. I have a "favorite oldest girl," "a favorite boy," and "a favorite youngest girl." They’re all my favorites in their unique way and don’t need to fight for my favor.
When our kiddos hit the tween years, we knew we needed to keep the airwaves open. We happened to be eating Oreo McFlurries when one of them shared something close to their heart. Born was the code phrase "Oreo McFlurry" for times when our children wanted to share something with us but were fearful of our response or the impending consequence. Now when they approach us and say, “Oreo McFlurry.” we prayerfully brace ourselves (ha) for what they're about to say while calmly listening without.saying.a.word. It’s a safe-zone, and they honestly haven’t abused it.
4. Apologize with No Strings Attached
It is easy to excuse my angry response by pointing to my child's wrong action which prompted my anger. This causes my apology to fall on un-listening ears, especially the older they have become. Instead, I have taught myself to focus on what I did wrong and ask for forgiveness. Not only does this show them that parents can make mistakes, but that it's important to apologize for them!
5. Calm in the Storm
If child A was "on my good side" but child B was not and had gotten into trouble, I caught myself disciplining them differently. I would irrationally lash out or be harsh and impatient with the not "on my good side" child B. I began to purposely visualize how I would lovingly discipline child A if they were the one who had just gotten into trouble. Then, I would pray that the Spirit would help me disciple child B with the same gentle heart. This practice alone was revolutionary for my parenting!
6. Laugh at Yourself
Last summer, we had just finished floating a local river, and I wanted to get one more group picture. As I was gesturing for the group to move over, I was side-stepping on the rocky beach. My toe caught under a rock causing me to trip and in s. l. o. w. motion I splatted on the rocks in full view of everyone! Quite embarrassing and painful! But as I collected myself, I just laughed and laughed at the spectacle I made. This released the group to laugh with me and recount my performance. I could’ve been mad and nursed my pride and ruined a glorious day together. Instead, I chose to laugh and make a fabulously funny family memory.
7. Text and Drive
If I “need” to message someone while I’m driving, I ask my kiddos to serve as my scribe. I dictate my message to them as they type it into my phone. They then read it to me before pushing send. This trick serves three purposes:
1. I’m safe and not looking at my phone as I drive.
2. It teaches them how to communicate effectively and (hopefully) kindly via text messaging.
3. It serves as an example of when they’re -gulp!- driving on their own.
8. From Darkness to Light
One of the hardest prayers I pray for my children is that any sin they are hiding would come to light. It’s quite breath-taking what the Spirit reveals, and they’re always like, “What!? How did you know?!” ha, ha! But I much rather deal with childish heart issues while they’re under my roof than them having to wade through their childhood junk as an adult.
9. Momma Timeout
If I feel my mommy tank quickly depleting itself of joy, I take a momma timeout. I may take a hot bath, take a walk outside, or sit in my room by myself praying and calming down. This trick allows me to rejuvenate and relieves my kiddos from being the recipients of my less than lovely attitude.
10. Bedtime Bonding
Most nights, I choose to sit on each child’s bed and connect. It can be as short as 5 minutes finding out about their favorite thing of the day, or it can stretch into a lengthy discussion about a life issue they're working thru in their heart and mind. We then end our time with prayer and a kiss on the cheek. Hopefully, they are left going to sleep with a heart a little lighter because I chose to invest the gift of time into them. It is always worth the time and effort to give up a bit of "me time" at the end of my day to get a little more of them.
Looking over this list just fills my heart with awe. God has truly filled and continues to fill my parenting gaps. But that shouldn’t surprise me, for He parents me so well as my Heavenly Father, the giver of every good thing. James 1:17
How about you? What are some of your favorite parenting tricks of the trade? Or perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed in this great adventure of parenting. Pray Matthew 7:7 and purpose to implement one or two of my tricks. Trust me, if I can do this mommying thing joyfully anyone can! Through Christ’s power, you can mommy joyfully as well! Philippians 4:13, my friend!
"No, I don't want children!" I declared to my shocked newlywed husband. Even though I had played with dolls and pretended to be a mommy as a young child, time had drastically changed my wanting a quiver full of children to wanting zilch, zero, none.
Time and counseling (ha) were followed by one, then two babies. Yet, as a new mommy, the days and many nights were painfully long. I lived for nap-time and bedtime just trying to sanely make it thru each day with little ones needing my. every. waking. second.
I loved the title of “Mommy” but I didn’t love being a mommy.
Looking back, I discerned that I had bought into the lies the evil one had whispered into my heart. These lies, while different from Eve’s, were just as deadly:
- children are a hindrance,
- they’ll keep me from climbing the job ladder,
- they’ll steal my life, etc. etc. etc.
These lies were sucking the joy out of my mommying.
I came to a crossroads during my third (surprise!) pregnancy. God showed me I was just surviving rather than thriving as a Momma. I realized it was essential to flush out the lies, and fill myself with the truth. I would have to reinvent myself and there was no better place, then in God’s life-giving Word.
“He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children.” Psalm 113:9
“A joyful mother.” Webster’s dictionary defines joyful as: merry, glad, and showing joy. Ha! That didn’t describe me except at bedtime!
I was sleep-walking through one of the most amazing blessings God grants women: motherhood. This sleeper was tired of pushing the snooze button. It was time to wake up!
1. Choose Joyful Motherhood
“Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Even on the hard days, I chose to rejoice (be glad, be well, thrive) in the blessings of motherhood. My children needed me
2. Mimic Joyful Motherhood
Secondly, I looked around at those who were joyfully mothering. Proverbs 31:26 was my criteria, “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Countless women were mommying well. So, I intentionally:
Takeaway: To thrive as a joyful mother, I changed my perception by watching, listening, and mimicking other joyful mothers.
3. Exemplify Joyful Motherhood.
I had to train my brain to fully immerse myself into each season my kiddos walked through.
- Thoroughly Enjoy - I found myself longing for different seasons, therefore I made myself choose to revel in my kiddos current season of life. I reminded myself on the hard days, “The days may be long but the years are truly short. Choose joy, Tammy!”
- Be Thankful - “In everything give thanks” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. I remember crossing the floor from my bedroom to theirs for the tenth time one night, schooling myself, “Be thankful, Tammy. You are blessed to be their momma and to have to walk across this floor for the tenth time to tend to their needs.”
- Be Intentional - “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 This is my appointed time to be a momma. Therefore I told myself, “Be intentional, Tammy. Pour into them while there’s time. Put down your phone, look into their eyes, and just listen. The day is coming when they won’t be under your roof.”
Takeaway: To thrive as a joyful mother, I needed to “pay attention to my thoughts and purposefully focus my mind to lead to a great transformation!” (SOYB p. 67)
4. Champion Joyful Motherhood
Lastly, I now feel the call to champion joyful motherhood. Society bullies us to believe that the best mommies dress their kiddos in the latest trends, put them in the most activities, and take them on the best trips. But that’s just not true!
The world’s mommying standard is always changing, thoroughly exhausting, and a completely unattainable pursuit for mothering.
Rather, our hearts should allow the life-giving beauty of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Proverbs 31:10-31, & 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 be our mommying standard.
We need to believe:
My 180 = Joyful Motherhood
God, in all His kindness, has transformed me into a joyful mother. Are there hard days? Absolutely! But I now see those hard days as bumps, rather than roadblocks.
I now strive to laugh with and enjoy the little and the big with my kiddos. In a blink of an eye, they will be driving off to the new adventure of adulthood, and all I’ll be left with are fading memories. By faith, may those memories be warm and full of contentment, because I chose to believe that I was given one of the greatest titles this side of glory, Momma, and I lived out that title joyfully.
How about you? If you're blessed with physical children (or grandchildren, or nieces/nephews), would they describe you as joyful? If not, what changes can you make to become more joy filled during this season of life? Who around you exemplifies joyful mothering? If you are joyfully living out this season of life, who can you come alongside and mentor? A sweet momma is out there longing for you to reach out to her and breath life into her. Do it, my friend! You both will be blessed.
Last month, I came across my own "Barbara Bush." Over Spring Break, we went on a mission trip to TX/MX. I met the most beautiful silver-haired lady from Kansas named Mary. She’s 89! You'd never know it by watching her serve with love and laughter. Her goal: to celebrate her 90 birthday on another mission trip! Amazing! I want to live like that!
Last week, the world said goodbye to Barbara Bush. She was known and loved the world over. Her signature snow-white hair and strands of pearls added to her charm. She extracted as much as possible out of living with little concern for her own wrinkly, age-spotted skin.
She resisted culture's lure and poured more energy into her inside than her outside.
Reminiscing about these two older ladies, it hit me! We have been duped! From songs and commercials, to magazines and sitcoms, aging has been frowned upon and something to be feared. And slowly, we Jesus girls have bought into that lie hook line and sinker.
With each commercial and social media ad, we pour more and more of our money and time into something that is fleeting. Yes, quickly slipping away. We can delay the sagging and spotting, but we can't stop the toll aging takes upon our face and body.
What are we thinking?
Am I advocating we rise up and flush our anti-aging miracles down the toilet?
My concern though is where are we finding our worth? As Jesus girls, we need to ask ourselves hard questions:
"Is my worth found in the reflection of a mirror or in reflecting the Maker?"
"If all my anti-aging magic suddenly disappeared tomorrow, would I still feel worthy? Beautiful? Needed?"
So what is the remedy? How do we in our 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's grow old gracefully? I don't know Barbara Bush's faith story, but I do know Mary's.
Here are seven pro-aging pearls from their lives to string on the silken cord of aging well no matter the age.
Pearl #1. Embrace God’s Perspective on Aging.
Our hearts were made for eternity. This earth and these ole bodies are passing away. In past generations, the elderly were revered. They got it right! We need to, also.
Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.
Pearl #2. Be a Woman of the Word
Spend your downtime in the Word reading and growing in wisdom and knowledge. The old hymn sings, “Sweeter as the years go by…” May knowing God more, truly be sweeter, more rewarding, and so much more satisfying each year of our lives. Proverbs 31:30. Matthew 13:45-46.
Pearl #3. Lead by Example
When you were born, phones were attached to a wall, not to your hand. Therefore, model how to interact one on one or in a crowd. When you’re with others, resist being on your phone.
Take notice of those around you. Speak a kind word to the weary momma. Encourage the disgruntled youth. Thank your server. Make eye contact. Smile. 1 Peter 3:4. Colossians 3:15.
Pearl #4. Embrace Your God-Given Beauty
Trust me; I too wrestle with the effects of aging. The mirror doesn’t lie. Nor do photos. (Selfies are of the devil every aging woman knows! Lol) We must marvel at the truth in Psalm 139:14 whatever our age!
Pearl #5. Don’t Grow Frumpy.
Just because we’re aging isn’t a license to let ourselves go. It’s essential to maintain our health and body as much is possible for the glory of God.
God has given us a bevy of resources to fight the toll aging takes on our bodies thru exercise and eating. It’s good to still style our hair and dress attractively. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Pearl #6. Testify of God's Goodness!
As the years pile on, so do the faithful acts of the Lord. Psalm 71:18. 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- Testify to that young momma that the long days of toddlerhood will soon pass, and she’ll make it!
- Testify to the young widow that God hasn’t forsaken her. She is still dearly loved. He is fighting for her!
- Testify to the weak that God hasn’t given up on them. God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness and steadfastness is their stronghold!
Pearl #7. Step up and serve!
God hasn't called you home yet, so do something!
- rock the babies in the nursery.
- serve as a greeter at church.
- make the coffee for this coffee-loving generation.
- write encouragement notes to new visitors.
- bake a cake and deliver it to a new momma or a recovering member or to your pastor.
Barbara Bush's final gift to us women? Barbara poured more energy into who she was becoming rather than pining over who she was. Beauty from the inside out. Her silver hair and wrinkles didn't stop her from living beautifully.
I want to do that, to become more beautiful on the inside as the years pile on the outside.
Like my friend Mary, I long for my worth to be found in reflecting my Maker rather than the reflection in my mirror.
I'm with you, my friend. The mirror reminds me I'm aging. My joints moan and groan one too many mornings. My clothes fit differently than they did a couple of decades ago. (ahem.) BUT! I pray I am becoming more beautiful for Jesus. I pray I am contagious in living a life full of love and joy and laughter and kindness and truth.
Join me, dear one. String the 7 pearls on your silken cord of life so you too can bloom in this next season of sagging, wrinkling, and creaking. May your worth be found in reflecting the Maker rather than in the reflection in the mirror.
May others be drawn to you because your inner beauty is irresistible. Just like Barbara Bush. Just like Mary.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in him.
You are restless. Life doesn't look like you envisioned it. You keep thinking if only I had a different job, or a different spouse, or a different child, or a different ___________. Right now, the proverbial grass on the other side of the fence looks to be your favorite shade of green.
But what if? What if the job doesn’t improve, the spouse doesn’t change, the kid doesn’t wise up, the ______________ doesn’t change? Then what? Do we live in neutral or in a “woe is me” state or just give up?
God didn’t create us and put us in this time-period, in this location, in this situation for us to give up! As Christ-followers, we have the power of the living God inside of us!
In fact, Romans 8:37 reminds us that we are MORE than conquerors through Christ. But in reality, many of us are living as the conquered. We’re continuously striving, grumbling, complaining, and are down-right grouchy.
Goodness. We need to shake this Eeyore mentality of woe is me... my life is so wretched... my situation is so hard...etc. etc. etc. Wake up, O Sleeper! This life isn't about me, nor is it about you. It's about God and His glory.
That hard place you are all grumbly about? That's God's invitation to test Him, to try Him at His Word! He's inviting you to get up! Throw off the shroud of winter! Allow spring to bloom in your soul!
You know Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.” Have you glanced back two verses? Check it out?
“…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. “ Philippians 4:11
Content. Wow! Paul learned to be content in whatever situation. Do you know what content in this context means? It means independent of external circumstances. No matter what situation presented itself, Paul was at peace. He unwaveringly believed whatever hard situation - beatings, imprisonment, ship-wrecked, etc. - was before him; it was God’s will for him to make the most of it. That, my friend, allowed him to boast “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.”
That’s the secret, dear one. Contentment. Peace. Right where you are, whether in a stressful job, or a loveless marriage, or a terrible parenting situation, or _____________. Like Paul, we must learn -- get in the habit of -- to be content.
I wish I could take your hand into mine, look into your eyes, and speak this to your soul, "You, dear one, were made for hard things. Because of Jesus, your life should exceed the normal humdrum existence.
Bloom, Jesus Girl!
Bloom in that hard spot! Let God's resurrection power soften the soil of your precious heart with hope and joy and peace!"
When the marriage is hard, press in to God's promises. When the job is frustrating, press in to His life-giving Word. When the parenting is hair-pulling, press in to His peace and long-suffering. When the _____________ is tough, press in to Jesus.
Press in. Learn to be content. Like Paul, unwaveringly believe that whatever hard situation is before you; it is God’s will for you to make the most of it.
How do we bloom in those hard places?
Our hearts have to repeatedly pray, "Your will, not mine, Lord. Your will, not mine. Change my heart to beat like Yours."
Our minds need to fix on life-giving advice found in the Scriptures such as:
Marriage - Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:1-4, 1 Corinthians 7:16, Ephesians 5:22, 31-33,
Parenting - Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Malachi 4:6
Job - Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 6:6, Titus 2:10-11
People - Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12-17, Galatians 6:1, 1 Peter 3:9
Situation - Psalm 56:3, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 15:13, Exodus 14:14
Dear one, I don't know your hard situation. But if God hasn't closed the door, you are probably exactly where you are supposed to be. May you learn to be content so that you can thrive! I'm cheering you on as you press in and bloom in the midst of this hard situation. <3
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Other great posts to help you push thru the hard:
Self - When You're the Lost Sheep
Marriage - Winning at Marriage
Parenting - The Best Kind of Parenting
Situation - Confrontation. the Dreaded Word
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.