Contentment

Kids are a delight.

They have the sweetest, most excited generosity.

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They wear cute clothes.

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They know how to delight in everything from cats to fountains to roof tops.

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They have adventures in their heads, and look beautiful no matter what they are doing.

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Kids are a delight- but most days I am miserable.  I can see how awesome my life is, but I can’t convince my heart to stop generating overwhelming waves of frusteration, disastisfaction, and self pity.  I don’t think I’m unusual in this.

God created us women to serve.  Look in Genesis and 1 Peter and you will see that God created us so that our beauty shows up most in serving, gently and quietly.

So if we were created with the ability to be God’s hands and love towards others it makes sense that Satan would much rather we focus on ourselves.  God made us women to serve others, but Satan has robbed us of the joy and peace and beauty that God built into this purpose by convincing us we must also ensure that our needs are met.

I can write a long list of things I should have that I don’t.  I could give that list to any christian woman and I bet they would agree with it and tell me I needed to “fill my emotional tank.”  I even saw an awesome movie recently that told moms they needed to put on their own oxygen masks first, but I have to stop and think- what is there on that list that can fill me?

Can girl time make me stop feeling like no one cares?  Could a run or an adequate wardrobe make me feel beautiful?  Could a romantic date with my husband make me not care when my kids won’t listen?  I think I could get every good thing a girl could have and still be miserable.  I think my list is just an excuse to not fight the battle in my mind.

God calls all humanity to joy.  Philipians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and again I say rejoice.”  And the gospel- Christ dieing so my stupidity isn’t my definition- is reason enough to rejoice.  Psalm 118:29 says “Give thanks to the Lord, He is good; For his lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 118 says God has opened the gates of righteousness and thanks to God we can go through them.  God has saved us.  Not only has God removed every mistake you’ve ever made- and for me that is the only way I can hold my head up- but He has taken charge of the future and will spin it to your advantage.  Finally, He has crafted this very minute to give you a taste of Himself.  All that means freedom from guilt, from fear, from stress, from all my excuses for misery.

As women, Satan knows He can block us from this joy if he can just get us to focus on ourselves.  Our emotions make his job easy.  The Bible says to take every thought captive, and I think that also means every feeling.  Daily I am overwhelmed by my feelings, but God is calling me to contentment- to spending my energy on the purpose He has given me rather than my feelings.  To trusting that He will meet my needs and I need only to live the life He unfolds before me.  To call on Him in my stress and act on the answers He gives me.  God made me for a beautiful job, and He is waiting to train to me to perfect joy in it, if I will choose to be ruled by the gospel instead of my feelings.   So, I am making a commitment to contentment- to say “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it- no excuses.”

(Psalm 118:24)

 

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Luke 10

God I hate this! I stink at parenting. Look at her across the pool deck.  She’s about my age but she’s still bikini thin and  pretty, and she’s laying out reading a book!  I don’t even have my bathing suit on because the short people who run my life wouldn’t give me the time to change!  I want to do something I’m good at and be praised.  I want to be in charge of my own time and not feel like screaming or crying 50 % of the time.  I don’t want to do this!

Luke 10

Verse 1-2  “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.  He told them ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'”

THIS IS THE JOB I AM GIVING YOU TO DO.  GO WORK IN MY FIELD.

Verse 4 “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

IT’S GOING TO FEEL LIKE CRUD SOMETIMES.

Verse 21-23 “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to the little children.  Yes, Father, for this was for your good pleasure.  All things have been committed to me by my father.  No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’  Then he turned to His disciples and said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what  you hear but did not hear it.'”

YOU ARE BLESSED TO DO IT.

Verse 25-27  “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ He replied.  ‘How do you read it?’ he answered ‘Love the Lord your God with all your  with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.

Verse 30-37   “In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.  they stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him, ‘ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’  The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'”

LOVE YOUR KIDS AND SERVE THEM LIKE THE GOOD SAMARITAN.

Verse 38-42  “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She has a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked ‘Lord, don’t you care my sister has left me to do the work all by myself?  Tell her to help me!’  ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from  her.'”

SIT AT MY FEET.

 

THIS IS THE JOB I’M GIVING YOU.

IT DOESN’T ALWAYS FEEL GOOD,

BUT YOU ARE BLESSED TO DO IT.

SO…

LOVE YOUR KIDS, SERVE THEM,

AND STAY AT MY FEET.

All Together

“Grace, grace, God’s grace…”  Blending a family of five kids can sometimes feel like a train wreck.  Being perfectly honest and just letting what’s in my head fall into the paper today I have to admit that I fall apart over our attempts to bring our family together.  Even as I am sitting here there are things happening that are making my skin crawl, and Satan is just outside the door with a big bucketful of despair waiting for the chance to douse my heart.  A kindergartener throws a temper tantrum.  Elementary schoolers bicker, make messes, and cause more noise that our apartment can contain.  A highschooler stirs up strife.  Kenny and I have to stay up to 1 am in order to have a private conversation and stay in touch.  All the parenting advice in the world, all the self-admonition to be patient, to control my temper, all the structure and family policies- nothing can make me strong enough for this job!  I can’t get myself under control, much less my household- it’s a mess!  “Grace, grace, God’s grace.”  At a moment of blood boiling, will-this-ever-get-better-ness, I suddenly remembered that line.  “Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all my sin.”  Take out sin and plug in “family” or “kid’s foolishness,” or whatever in that moment is stopping me from resting- resting in the finished work of Christ on the cross.  My five year old just fell on the floor in a temper tantrum in the middle of the crowded subway station.  God has a plan to redeem her heart from her sinful nature just like He did mine.  I don’t need to panic.  My six year old just spoke words he never should have heard.  My God is still bigger.  My eight year old has a heart ache because of the unkindness of a sibling he admires, God knows this. He is in control of my baby boy’s life and will work all things into the fabric of Their relationship.  We only have two months before our nine year old leaves us again- it doesn’t make it hurt less, but God is with her.  Our teenager spews forth all the foolishness of youth, but God is big enough to bring him into a relationship with Him, and that alone can make his life what it should be.  I blow it and sin against a kid, or my precious husband, and I don’t have to hide because God has already forgiven me, and His plan to bless my family and grow them into strong, life consuming relationships with Him won’t be thwarted by me.  “Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that is greater.”  Greater.  Grace that is great enough.  Great Grace.  That’s our family.

Family Trip to I'Park Mall  Kenny loves malls; can't you tell?

Family Trip to I’Park Mall Kenny loves malls; can’t you tell?

We climb on statues.

We climb on statues.

The optometrist's waiting room.

The optometrist’s waiting room.

Acting out a statue at Seoul Grand Park.

Acting out a statue at Seoul Grand Park.

Bathing Beauties at Seoul Grand Children's Park

Bathing Beauties at Seoul Grand Children’s Park

Daddy daughter dance- where Dad went on to win the hula hoop contest!

Daddy daughter dance- where Dad went on to win the hula hoop contest!