From Fear To Faith: Facing the ‘What Ifs’ Of An Unknown Future

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“Bye Mama!”

She looks back at me one final time to smile and wave, before disappearing excitedly into the buzzing throng of her new classroom. Pony-tail swinging, her small frame weighed down by the sparkly Disney Princess backpack and lunchbag she so carefully picked out at the beginning of summer, she looks every inch the incoming kindergartener. Though my mama heart almost bursts with joy and pride at the sight of my baby girl transformed, I can also sense a familiar, yet unwelcome, visitor. A burden that lays heavy on my heart, interrupting this precious, milestone moment, and threatening to rob me of its joy: The ‘what if’ phenomenon. 

What if she has a hard day?

What if she needs me?

What if something happens to her?

What if this is the last time I ever see her?

From the trivial and mundane to the downright unthinkable, I have, from a young age, wasted valuable time worrying and fretting over life’s various ‘what-ifs’ and worst case scenarios. Then I became a mom and fear truly moved in and made its home in my heart.

From the moment my two little babies took their very first breaths, it was there. Right alongside that fierce, first rush of love, there was fear. Fear of the overwhelming responsibility I now held over their tiny, precious lives. Fear that I wouldn’t  be enough for them, and that I couldn’t possibly protect them. 

And the worst one of all: fear that I might one day lose them. 

It may not be something any of us typically want to dwell on, but the what-ifs of the world are nevertheless rarely far from our thoughts. Growing every day with the strengthening bond of motherhood, they can haunt our waking hours and keep us up worrying long into the night.

Perhaps you can relate. Lying in bed at night you snap awake, gripped by a sudden and inexplicable terror—a paralyzing, suffocating dread. Or maybe it stalks you as you go about your everyday routine—getting the children on the school bus or dropping them off at camp. You watch anxiously at the window as they ride off with friends on their bike, or—heaven forbid—in their new car, counting down the days, hours, or minutes until they are safely back in your arms.

It’s exhausting. It’s all-consuming. And it’s not the way God designed us to live. 

He did not give us a spirit of fearfulness, after all (2 Timothy 1:7). He has told us time and time again that we need not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34), and that we should not live afraid  (Isaiah 43:1).

So how does a culture of anxiety-ridden, prolific worriers face the what-ifs of life with courage and quiet trust, reclaiming our faith from the prison of anxiety and crippling fear?

The answer lies in the mighty, unshakeable promises of God and the truth of His Word.

 FROM FEAR TO FAITH

The story of Job is one such example. Despite being a “blameless and upright” man (Job 1:1), he lost his livelihood, his health, and even his children in quick, devastating succession. Yet though his life came to epitomize the worst case scenarios so many of us fear, his story also became a powerful testimony to the character and promises of God. It is one that serves to encourage us as we, ourselves, face the what-ifs of an unknown future. 

God Is Sovereign

“Don’t worry, God is in control!”

It’s a popular go-to response within the Christian community, yet as I have watched terrible, gut-wrenching events unfold across our nation and the world—senseless violence, market crashes, and even a global pandemic, I admit to having wondered at times, Can this be true? As I have borne witness to heartbreaking circumstances in the lives of friends and loved ones—a devastating diagnosis, job losses, miscarriage and infertility struggles—I have thought to myself: What if the same thing happened to me? Could I still say with such assurance that God is in control—and still good?

Job could.

Immediately after suffering the loss of almost everything he owned and held dear, Job fell to the ground and ‘worshipped’ God, acknowledging His ultimate sovereignty: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21, NIV).

Yet, as he wrestled with his circumstances and the ensuing silence from Heaven, Job began to question God until eventually God responded, fully asserting His dominion over all things, Earth and Heaven. He reminded Job once and for all Who was fully in charge. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Job.

Completely humbled, Job replied: I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted…Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (Job 42:1-3, NIV).

It can be difficult at times to see evidence of God’s goodness and sovereignty in the midst of our suffering. Yet Romans 8:28 (NIV) reminds us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Oh, we may not understand His ways—for they are not our own (Isaiah 55:8-9), but that does not make them any less good, or His hand any less sovereign. For this is a God who has a plan for our lives, to prosper us and give us a hope and a future. A God who uses every trial, every hard thing to shape and refine us in His image, for our good, and His glory, who doesn’t waste a single opportunity to make His name known to a lost and weary world.

Like Job, even when the hard times come and the very worst fears of our heart are realized, we can put our faith in the One who holds our future in His hands and is always working out our circumstances for good. We can trust that even when fear rises, and our faith is tested to the limit, there is always reason to praise Him, hope to hold onto, and joy to be found.

God Will Restore All Things

Job’s story ultimately ends in a display of God’s restorative provision and power for “the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before…He died, an old man and full of years” (Job 42:10,17, NIV).

Job teaches us that we need not fear the what-ifs of the world because we serve the God of restoration—He who painstakingly puts the pieces of our shattered, broken lives back together and makes beautiful things out of the dust. As Elisabeth Elliot said, “Of one thing I can be perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.”

And yet for so many hurting people, this is not their reality. “What about me?” they cry out to God. “What about ‘my’ livelihood, ‘my’ health, ‘my’ children? When will ‘my’ life be restored?”

Life has taught me there are sometimes no answers on this side of heaven. Yet thanks to the saving power of the cross, we can look forward with hope and confidence to the promise of the eternal restoration to come. As we are promised in 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV), “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

As Christians we must view our life through a heavenly perspective with the knowledge that the suffering we experience on earth will one day cease, the tears will no longer fall, and there will be full restoration of that which was broken and lost for “all these things are gone forever” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:4‬, NLT‬‬).

The assurance of this future restoration is the unswerving hope we can hold onto as we face an unknown future, and the fuel our faith requires to live a life unafraid of the what-ifs to come.

LIVING BY FAITH

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength” Corrie ten Boom. 

As finite human beings living in a fallen world, suffering is inevitable. Yet Jesus gives us this promise in John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” In this stressful world, where the threat of danger lurks around every corner, that peace can be hard to come by. But though Jesus goes on to warn us we will ultimately face hard times, He ends the verse with this encouragement, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus is calling us to a life of joyful freedom, anchored in His promises and built on His love. But first we must untangle ourselves from our web of worries and surrender the cares of tomorrow at the foot of the cross. Trusting that the God who holds our tomorrows is big enough to carry them—and overcome.

Job himself said: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself” (‭‭Job‬ ‭19:25-2,‬ ‭NLT‬‬).

As we cast our cares on to Him, one by one—pinning every worry, every fear, every anxious thought to the foot of the cross, we can rest in the knowledge that they can no longer enslave us. The victory has already been fought, the battle won. Fear has been defeated and the Great Redeemer lives. And this alone, gives us the strength to face tomorrow and the faith to walk through today—and every day. 

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” ‭(Psalm‬ ‭4:8‬, NIV‬‬).

This article first appeared on the Joyful Life Magazine Blog. You can find it here: https://joyfullifemagazine.com/from-fear-to-faith/

Living Extraordinary Lives: Lessons from Biblical Motherhood

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One by one, they took to the stage—a dazzling array of smart, fearless, accomplished women, each with a story to tell and a testimony to share. Authors, speakers, Bible teachers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and more—these were extraordinary women making big waves for the Kingdom of God in their own unique and impactful way. 

Yet as I live-streamed this inspiring conference from the comfort of my living room, something else was tugging at my heart. These women were wives and moms, just like me, but instead of feeling a kinship with them, I felt every inch of the miles between us—and not just the physical ones. From where I was sitting—surrounded by piles of laundry and unfinished Sunday night chores—the contrast was a little too jarring, and left me feeling discouraged, inconsequential, and more than a little bit ordinary.

The feeling was not a novel one. As a stay-at-home mom to a preschooler and a toddler, my day-to-day life teeters mostly on the edge of the unglamorous and the mundane, the majority of my time taken up with the daily demands of keeping everyone alive and maintaining some kind of order in my home. There is not a lot of room for anything else—especially not anything extraordinary. 

Yet, I am thankful we serve a God who is in the business of ordinary. As Chip Ingrim writes, “God specializes in using ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”

Even moms who are three weeks behind in laundry and haven’t had the energy to change out of their sweatpants?

Yes, even them. 

We need only look to God’s Word to see for ourselves—to meet the mothers whose stories are sprinkled throughout the pages of Scripture. Like the majority of us, they were ordinary mothers living ordinary lives—raising children, serving their husbands and families, and managing their households—except without the sweatpants.

Yet from their lips, prayers were uttered and answered. From their wombs came warriors, missionaries, teachers, and kings. They lived ordinary lives, but through them God built His kingdom on earth and delivered His ultimate story of redemption and rescue. 

These women did not have the benefit of hindsight. They didn’t yet know how their day-to-day actions and decisions would shape the future of humanity. They didn’t know how all the pieces would fit together in God’s divine plan and how their lives would become a testimony to God’s extraordinary provision, purpose, and power. 

Yet we do. And as we re-visit their stories, tracing their enduring legacies back to such humble beginnings, we realize how much these ordinary, extraordinary women have to teach us.

They Acknowledged the Sovereignty of God  

These mothers of the Bible were born long before the existence of gender equality—their lives directed and controlled by their male relatives, their worth and reputation dictated by the fruits of their womb. Yet what so many of these women did have was faith in a Sovereign God, who had ultimate control over their lives and who could bring about change in their difficult circumstances, no matter how unlikely it seemed.

Hannah was one such example. Brokenhearted over her inability to have a child and facing cruel taunts from her husband’s second wife, Hannah turned to God—the only One who could bring about change and give her the blessing she so desperately sought. 

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:10, NIV). And she kept on praying, pouring her soul out so fervently that she was mistaken for being drunk on wine. “Lord Almighty,” she prayed: “If you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11, NIV).

Hannah had no doubt of God’s sovereign power. When her circumstances seemed hopeless and despair set in, she chose to pour out her heart to the only One who had the power to change them. 

And change them He did. 

“…and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.’” (1 Samuel 1:19b-20).

Hannah’s story is an extraordinary one. The same woman who knelt before the Lord in deep anguish and pain, finally received the blessing she had dreamed of in the form of Samuel—the Samuel—who would grow up to be a prophet of the Lord and play an instrumental role in the history of God’s people.

In the difficult seasons of life, we are called to be like Hannah—pouring our hearts out to the Lord as our first thought, instead of our last hope. Trusting that He is Sovereign over all, with the power to answer prayers and transform hearts and lives in the process, we are to look to Him for help.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Father God, help me to be a mom like Hannah—to acknowledge Your sovereignty over my life and turn to You first, trusting that You alone have the power to answer my prayers and change my circumstances for my good and Your ultimate glory. AMEN.

They Surrendered to His Will

Then, there was Mary—a young Galilean teenager with a divine assignment: to birth and raise the Messiah and Savior of the world.

Young and unmarried, from a small, unimportant town, she seemed an unlikely candidate. We might wonder why God would choose her for such a momentous task. Why not someone with means, with influence, with power?

Yet the Lord, who “sees not as man sees” (1 Samuel 16:7), looked at Mary and saw a humble, willing heart—a young woman who, like Hannah, not only recognized the sovereignty of God, but also surrendered to His will completely.

As the angel relayed the holy message, Mary’s response was resolute and clear: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). 

There were no ‘what ifs’ or ‘buts,’ no hesitations or negotiations—only full acceptance of the calling God had placed upon her life. And in that one defining act of complete surrender, God responded to her willing faith by making her the mother of Jesus. Mary’s ordinary life became extraordinary.

Her decision was not without its consequences: explaining her pregnancy to a stunned fiancé and a speculative community; enduring slanderous accusations and whispers from those who doubted the miracle of her divine conception; delivering her baby in a stable after an arduous journey, and then fleeing for safety to an unknown land; raising Jesus from infant to man, and then witnessing first hand His brutal, public death. But then, oh then, she experienced the wonder of seeing Him once more. Resurrected and risen, His earthly mission was fulfilled, and the fruits of her labor and her womb were finally revealed—her living legacy for all of eternity.

What a journey! And to think it all started with a young, unassuming woman who simply and humbly said, “yes!” to God.

Mary’s story reminds us that when we surrender our lives to God’s divine plan and purposes, He will take us on an unimaginable journey of faith, expanding our horizons and pushing us beyond our wildest dreams, making miracles in the midst of the mundane and filling our lives with true fulfilment, beauty, and joy.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬, ‭NIV‬‬).

Father God, help me to be a mom like Mary—to surrender humbly and willingly to the plans and purposes You have for my life. Help me to trust in Your faithfulness as You guide me through challenging times, and to experience the fulfilment and joy that comes from living a life wholly surrendered to Your will. AMEN.

They Did What was Needed

Shortly after receiving her divine assignment, Mary “arose and went with haste” to the house of Elizabeth—another ordinary woman who was experiencing, first hand, the miraculous power of God (Luke 1:39). She too, against all earthly odds, was pregnant, and would shortly birth to none other than John the Baptist—the prophet and evangelist who would prepare the way for the arrival of Jesus. 

And it seems that perhaps Elizabeth, as an older, wiser woman of faith, was chosen for much the same role as her son—preparing Mary for the journey that lay ahead. Receiving Mary at her home, where she would stay for the next three months, Elizabeth quickly encouraged and reaffirmed her role in God’s sovereign plan: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:42,45). 

God not only worked a divine miracle in the form of Elizabeth’s improbable pregnancy, but He also used this well equipped and perfectly placed woman of God in a powerful and practical way: to provide encouragement, support, and care to a young woman thrust into the spotlight of God’s ultimate rescue plan. In the same way, God uses ordinary mothers like us to reflect His love and use our God-given gifts, material possessions, and unique life experiences to meet the spiritual and practical needs of the people He has placed in our path.

As Paul writes in Titus 2:3-5: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live… to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands…” 

As women of God, this is a calling God has placed on all of our lives—and it can be relatively simple! We can run an errand for a friend in need or offer to care for their children. We can deliver a meal, send an encouraging card, or simply visit and offer a listening ear when required. It may not seem like a lot, yet to someone else, it could be everything.

Through mentoring others and meeting the needs of our friends and neighbors in practical and meaningful ways, we are spreading the aroma of Christ around our community—demonstrating His mighty love in action, and directing a hurting, broken world toward His Light. And this is what elevates our lives to the level of extraordinary. 

“If we are rich and see others in need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love God? My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (1 John 3:17-18, GNT). 

Father God, help me to be a mom like Elizabeth—to respond to the needs of the people God has placed in my life in meaningful, practical ways. Help me to look for opportunities to mentor and support younger women in the faith, and be a powerful witness of God’s love in action. AMEN.

Testaments to His Grace

You might be thinking: What about the other moms? What about the women in Scripture who messed up, took risks, and made terrible mistakes—the ones that had severe consequences for themselves and all of humanity? 

Eve, I’m looking at you. 

It may be tempting to try and forget about these women and their stain on Biblical history; to simply erase them from the story, hoping their ink blot on the page will fade with time. Yet these women—flawed and imperfect as they were—also had an extraordinary contribution to make to the Kingdom of God. Their lives are a living testament to His grace. 

There was Tamar, who tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her so she could finally conceive the children she had been waiting for. There was Bathsheba, who committed adultery with King David—an affair that ultimately led to the death of her husband and an illegitimate son. There was Sarah—wife of faithful, righteous Abraham, no less—who laughed at God’s suggestion she would ever be a mother and schemed to manage the situation in her own way, at great cost. There were the outcasts: Rahab, who made her livelihood as a prostitute, and the nameless woman at the well who had quite the reputation. And there was Eve, who fell into temptation at the hands of Satan and enticed her husband to sin. We all know how that turned out. 

And there were so many more—women whose lives were marked by sin, yet who shared one common theme: grace.

For God, in His unfathomable grace, chose to redeem their shattered stories and restore their broken lives. Babies were born and woven into the lineage of the Messiah. Women, once shamed, were given new lives and opportunities to bear witness to the incredible, life-changing power of God. Hearts were transformed, nations were restored, humanity was saved—all through the miraculous, incalculable grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

And He can do the same for all of us. When we lay our brokenness at the foot of the cross—every bad decision, every poor judgment, every foolish mistake—something extraordinary happens. We are made new. Our lives are reclaimed from the grave and we are freed from our past sin and shame—from the terrible, unmentionable things in our pasts that we carry with us every single day. 

We become ordinary women, redeemed and restored, with an extraordinary story to share. 

You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that!” (Colossians 1:21-23, The MSG Paraphrase).

Father God, thank You for Your life-changing grace. Thank You that You choose to redeem and restore our broken, sinful lives into something beautiful. Help us to live as testaments to Your grace, sharing the transformative power of Jesus so that those around us would hear and experience it for themselves. 

***

Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, and so many more—ancient women of faith whose lives and legacies live on in the pages of Scripture, demonstrating there is no such thing as an ordinary life when it is lived for God. Our to-do lists may tell us otherwise. We may look at our lives in the midst of the exhausting, all-consuming monotony of motherhood and dream of doing something extraordinary for the Kingdom of God. We may look at powerful, accomplished women through a computer screen, or even across the school playground, and wonder what it is that we’re missing. 

Do not let yourselves be fooled. For if the mothers of the Bible have one thing to teach us, it’s this: It is not what you do, but God in you, that makes your life extraordinary. Your job is simply to hold on for the ride. 

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV).

This Article first appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Joyful Life Magazine

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Don’t Give up: Cultivating a Harvest in the Trenches of Motherhood

“How was your day?”

It was a simple enough question, yet one I found almost impossible to answer. How could I possibly condense the last ten hours into one concise response?

I immediately wanted to reel off an exhaustive and impressive list, showcasing the full range of my mothering and homemaking capabilities. Except I couldn’t—not today or any other day, if I was being honest.

How was my day, really? The truth was it had been a long, relentless, overwhelming blur. I was worn out, weary, and had barely drawn breath. And though I had been home all day with my two young children, somehow it didn’t feel like I had much to show for it. Toys still littered the floor, while the laundry from three days ago was still in the dryer. My girls had spent large chunks of the afternoon arguing and had barely eaten dinner. 

It was only Tuesday. The rest of the week stretched before me and I wondered—not for the first time—if I could do it all again tomorrow.

A PURPOSE, A PROMISE, AND A PLEA

The days are long, and the nights are longer.

That’s probably how many of us could describe life in the early years of motherhood. Deep in the trenches with our little ones, the days (and nights!) can be difficult, energy-sapping, lonely, and long. Down in the darkness with us are the nagging doubts, the quiet, secret thoughts we dare not speak aloud:

I can’t do this.

I’m not enough.

I’m not making a difference.

Unseen, underappreciated, and so very tired, we wonder when, or even if, we will see a return on our labor.

Yet God sees. He sees it all: The daily struggle and the sacrifice, the worry and the tears, the selfless, overwhelming, unconditional love poured out day after day after day even when it takes everything we have. And He responds—with a purpose, a promise, and a plea: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

THE WORK YOU ARE DOING IS GOOD

“Let us not become weary in doing good…”

In the mayhem and monotony of daily motherhood, it can be easy to forget the significance of what we’re doing. “I’m just a mom,” I’ve heard women say, quickly downplaying and devaluing their God-ordained purpose and significance. Raising children and “training them in the way they should go” is Kingdom work of the utmost significance because these little ones were His first, bestowed to us as a blessing, “a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). 

Every day, in big and small ways, from the moment they wake us up in the morning until we tuck them into bed at night, we are fulfilling the Great Commission. In the ordinary moments and the mountaintop ones, we are given opportunities to model and reflect Jesus to our ever-watching little disciples. Our life is a window through which our children can glimpse the Father and experience a taste of His grace, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, servant heart, and fierce life-giving love. As moms, this is our ministry, our calling, and our greatest purpose. As Andy Stanley once said, “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

Do not let yourselves be deceived—the work you are doing is good.

THE HARVEST IS COMING

“…at the proper time we will reap a harvest.”

In my kitchen sits a treasured gift from a mentor mom I met at church, a plant pot inscribed with vibrant hand-painted letters: “Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.

It’s a reminder of the harvest that can come from the tiniest of seeds.

“God’s kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge tree, and eagles build nests in it” (Matthew‬ ‭13:31-32‬, ‭MSG‬‬).

A mighty giant does not grow overnight. Beneath every tree lies a vast network of roots, representing countless years of unseen growth. Supporting, nourishing, and nurturing, the roots give the tree everything it needs not only to survive but to fulfill its purpose and reflect God’s glory.

Consider the farmer. He cuts a lonely figure, but every day without fail, in sunshine and rain, he is in his field, tending to his crops. He is cold and weary. The work is beset with setbacks and difficulty, and he receives little thanks. Nonetheless, every day he shows up. His eyes fixed not on the daily struggle, but on his future vision for the field—the promise and possibility of these tiny saplings and the harvest he will one day reap.

This is the legacy we are creating as we faithfully nurture our children in their journey toward independence and adulthood. In even the most mundane tasks we are endeavoring through God’s grace to provide them with everything they need—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—to grow, flourish, and bear fruit. For these little people who almost smother us with their love and incessant, desperate needs, and these adolescents who simultaneously drain every last ounce of pride and patience, are the future men and women of God’s kingdom with a plan and purpose of their own. This season of cultivation may be painstaking, backbreaking, thankless work, but we can be encouraged that “in the Lord our labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). We have received our inheritance in Christ and one day will be granted the reward He has promised us.

DON’T GIVE UP

“…If we do not give up.”

Through the long days and longer nights, the fear and the failures, the discouragement and the disappointments, the invisibility and the thanklessness, how do we keep going?

Motherhood is not a job that comes with an abundance of daily validation and praise. There will be no certificates of excellence when I finally see the bottom of the laundry hamper and no one will ever offer me a sticker for making my children dinner. This is not a job with a tangible reward system. The accolades and affirmations can be in short supply.

“Do it anyway,” God says. “Do it for Me.”

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” ‭(Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24, NIV)‬.

God doesn’t demand perfection, Martha Stewart meal plans, and homes Joanna Gaines would be proud of. He desires only us, our wholehearted obedience and unflinching surrender to this worthy calling He has placed on our lives.

As we look to Him for our daily portion—to carry, sustain, and strengthen us in this season—we find ourselves transforming, too. Our own journey of growth not yet complete as He molds and changes us into the women He created us to be, continuing His legacy.

The season we are in may feel equally thankless and exhausting, messy and mundane. There will be hurt and heartbreak, disappointments and discipline. But we must not lose sight of the vision God has given us and its eternal significance. As legacy builders of God’s Kingdom, we must persevere because the harvest is coming. And oh, what joy there will be when it is time to reap!

“Those who shed tears as they plant will shout for joy when they reap the harvest” (Psalm 126:5, NET).

This article first appeared in the Redeem (Fall 2019) Issue of Joyful Life Magazine

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It’s all in the attitude

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“I wish September would just get here already!”

One week in and it was safe to say the summer holidays were not going all that well. Despite my best intentions we had still spent much of the week in the same exhausting cycle. Fighting, tantrums, discipline, and a worn out, stressed out defeated mom at the end of the day. Not exactly the fairytale summer we had all been hoping for…

But if I’m being honest, it wasn’t so much their behavior that needed a reset, but mine. That is, my attitude. It wasn’t all that positive from the get go. Instead of embracing the possibility of a more flexible routine, i was anticipating a frustrating, difficult ten weeks, and dreading the months that lay ahead.

And then I saw the shoes. Two small pairs of water shoes drying outside on the front step.

Shoes still soaking from a spontaneous morning spent paddling in a stream. A morning full of giggles and excitement and childhood adventuring. A morning to treasure, certainly not wish away.

It was the jolt I needed to wake me up from my pity party and see the blessings right in front of me: Two happy, healthy, fun loving little girls to parent and love, and the health, the means and the opportunity to enjoy a long lazy summer with them.

Perspective really is everything, isn’t it.

“Do everything without grumbling or complaining” we are told in Philippians 2:14, choosing instead to give thanks, rejoice, and pray (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Oh how might my summer be different if I followed this advice from Scripture!

One day these little shoes will no longer be drying on the front step. And I know, in spite of my new found flexibility and freedom, I will miss them. Miss the sticky, grimy, sunscreen soaked little bodies that once wore those shoes, and the long, lazy summer days I once wished away.

So today I will try again. To count my blessings and live in the moment. To look beyond the moments of frustration and exhaustion and choose joy. To be thankful for today—the day that the Lord has made, and the memories it will one day hold.

Send Somebody Else

After a challenging weekend with the girls — including a croup-induced ER visit in the middle of the night, I was in recovery mode. Gearing up for a Sunday evening with pajamas, tea and a good book.

Yet looking at the title of this month’s book club selection (that I’ve yet to start reading!), I had to laugh.

‘Here am I Lord… Send Somebody Else.

It could not have been any more apt. Summarizing, in that very moment, exactly how I was feeling about the calling of motherhood.

I’m not up to the job God. Find somebody else who is.

Sometimes the task assigned to us just feels too hard, too overwhelming, and beyond what we are capable of. Doesn’t it? Moses certainly thought so.

“Who am I that I should go?” he declares in Exodus 3:11.

Who am I? I’m not enough. That’s what he’s really saying to God. Not eloquent enough, not skilled enough, not impressive enough. Not enough.

“Find somebody better”, He tells the Lord, “I’m just not up to it.”

And we do the same. Find reasons and excuses for why we’re not up to the task. Not enough. For our children, our spouse. For God.

Yet God doesn’t care about our resume. He cares more about our obedience. Our willingness to follow the calling He has placed on our life.

“I will be with you,” He replies to Moses in Exodus 3. “I will help you speak and teach you what to say.”

Do you hear what He’s saying. We don’t need to be enough, because He will be enough for us. No matter how tired we are or how insufficient we feel we can rest in the promise of His presence. Knowing His strength will meet us in our moment of need.

Rest assured  that God doesn’t want to send somebody else. He has already chosen you. No matter what lies ahead of you today He simply asks you to say three words in surrender. “Here I am.” And He will do the rest.

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