Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keys to Contentment

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

I'm fortunate enough to be part of a Sunday School class that aims to get closer to God and walk deeper with Him. We are currently going through Living on the Edge, which is a study/book based on Romans 12. In going through, this verse stuck out to me.

Our circumstances are always changing, whether it's of our own doing or because of things out of our control. New children arrive and join our family. Children grow up and change. Jobs come and go.Family members move or live in disfunction or die. Responsibilities for housework, service at church, and school obligations ebb and flow. The only thing that stays the same (other than God's unfailing love) is that things are always changing.

We often question, "So, how do I deal with this situation?" ~ How do we cope with a husband who doesn't do everything we want him to? ~ How do we keep up with the messes made by several small children? ~ How do we cope with the lost job that was needed? ~ How do we deal with the disappointments of people who aren't faithful to their word? ~ What do we do when we're hurt or discouraged?


No matter what, we can be joyful in hope. True? You think not? That depends where you hope lies. If it lies in the Lord, you can always cling to it and be joyful. God promises to never leave us of forsake us and that He always has our best interest at heart. If these things are true, we have no reason to ever lose hope. Even when what we see is hard. If we turn our eyes from what we see, to God, we can soak in the joy that comes from hope in His omniscient control and unfailing love.

Affliction will come. There will be difficult times. Trials happen. Discomfort, pain, and things we dislike are a part of life. God never promises othewise. Time and time again, He tells us what to do during those times, which lets us know they will come. This scripture tells us to be patient. In James, we are told to count it joy when we go through trials. How do we do that? By knowing that it will end. By knowing that we can get through it with God's help. And by knowing that if we cling to Him and stay focused on His purposes, He will work them out for our good. Then, we can hang on until the trial, affliction, discouragement, heartache, passes or diminishes.

Lastly, we are to stay faithful in prayer. We are to pray about everything. We are to praise God in everything. We are to be still and listen to Him. That's how we get through and know what step to take next - even if that step is the same one we've been taken for eons. Sometimes, God calls you to make your next step to stay right where you are. Sometimes, He calls you to move to the next thing. To be assured and gain divine support on that next step, it must be taken in prayer - not for what we want, but for guidance to do what He wants. That's how we hand over our family members we are worried about or disappointed in. That's how we stay connected to God and His love, and overflow that love to others in our lives.

So, no matter what you're facing at this time, be JOYFUL in HOPE, PATIENT in AFFLICTION, and FAITHFUL in PRAYER.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get Encouraged

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. (MSG) 2 Corinthians 4:1

I absolutely love this version of this verse! How many times as a mom have I wanted to throw my hands up and walk off the job? I can't count them. Occasionally, I declare a Mommy-vacation where everything is let go for a day or a week, then I return to normal.

It's not because I don't love my children. No, loving them is the easy part. Snuggling with them. Talking with them. Playing with them. Those are the fun things. But, they are not the things that make up the bulk of motherhood (as if I had to tell you that!) It's all the work that comes with motherhood that is repititious, redundant, and unappreciated that makes me want to throw my hands up and quit.

There are hard times in motherhood. For some reason, I was totally unprepared for these hard times. I was also unprepared for the constancy of hard work and lack of control of my own time. These three things sometimes rush in all at once, crashing over my head and overwhelming me. Like being caught under a wave in the ocean, with another on the way and undertoe trying to pull me down, I struggle to catch my breath, much less make headway.

I am more than grateful for verses like this one found in 2 Corinthians that can speak to me and act like a hand pulling me above the wave, helping me to get my footing, and hang on until the deluge is over. God is there waiting, He never moves, and all I have to do is continue to reach up and rely on Him to provide everything I need. He has given me this task of raising these four invaluable gifts and He will equip me to do so. And for that, "thank you" doesn't seem adequate.