Life can be full of unexpected trials, events, changes and turmoil which can lead to a heap of uncertainty. These trials can be wonderful and exciting as you don’t know what will be around the corner. Sometimes they can be devastating, painful, hard to endure as you feel like the very foundations of your life are being ripped away. It’s these hard moments that sometimes makes you wonder what God has planned for you.
Life has felt like this lately. If I was a jar in my Father’s hands, I’d say that He has been throwing me to the ground then rebuilding me over and over again, not with new clay, but with the same imperfect lump. Softening edges, making adjustments, thrown back into the kiln time and time again. Stuck together with super glue or liquid nails, or whatever you use to glue a jar back together after it has been obliterated.
Even though things have been tough, I can see that these unexpected trials have helped me be a better mum. A better wife. A better sister to my sisters in Christ.
God is teaching me that He is in control. Teaching me that I need to take my hands off. Teaching me that all I need to do is love those around me and walk alongside them as they go through their own struggles. Teaching me that being gracious to others is better than seeking what is best for me.
A few years ago, I read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. In his book, that is an adaption of radio transcripts based on Christian apologetics from the 1940’s, Lewis wrote:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.”
I am a house and He is making me into a palace. I should have a sign on my back saying, “Come back later, renovations in progress.”
This quote has taught me over the years to see trials as opportunities. Opportunities for growth. We need to remember that God does not look on our trials as adversity. He looks at them as being opportunities to make us draw closer to Him. God’s purpose for us in times of trials is to teach us. The trials smash us down, yet the lesson in each of them builds us up stronger. Every time we learn from them, we can see that great promise come to fulfillment in our lives.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
God wants the best for us, but in this life, we will have to deal with the devastating effects of sin and so we should not be surprised when life is not all rainbows and lollipops. He watches to see how we react to trials, and He wants to see us reach our full potential, to become the person that we are called to be, ultimately someone who is able to give Him the glory, no matter what is happening in our life.
So this attitude of gratitude and contentment even during times of trials, where does it come from? It is a gift from God.
How can you deal with trials in your life?
- Read His Word and seek His truths and promises.
- Don’t ignore the problem.
- Confess your sins if that is needed!
- Seek the counsel of wiser, older people.
- Focus on the important things and if needed, hunker down and ride out the storm without the noise of a busy social life.
- Focus on the small things of daily life that bring your closer to God. Prayer life, devotions, church attendance.
Most of all, just imagine your life as an ongoing renovation. Get on your knees and pray, “God your will be done!” and just look forward to the great unveiling of that beautiful palace!
Have you ever considered that it could be really easy for stay at home mums to be super lazy? In this day and age of social media, tv shows and movies on tap, a cafe or shopping centre on every major street corner, we could become very lazy without trying very hard at all. In fact, you might even appear to be super busy, running from here to there and not actually achieve anything worthwhile for days and weeks on end. There is always a better reason not to be at home, and if you are, housework is really the last thing on your mind. And do you know how EASY it would be to get away with this laziness, especially if none of your children are at home during the day, or if your children are very young and not able to give the ‘laziness low-down report’ coherently to anyone?
The facade can’t stay up for long if this is what you want to spend your time doing. Cracks would start to appear, small ones at first and then bigger crevices destabilising the very foundation of your home and family.
You’d start getting behind on chores. Things would be misplaced as you don’t have time to put things away properly. Hygiene goes out the window as who really wants to do the toilet AGAIN for the umpteenth time this week. The kids will forget things and suffer the consequences of your forgetfulness. You won’t want to show hospitality to anyone as the house is becoming a dive and why should YOU have to clean it up on your own anyway? It’s a mad dash to make sure that uniforms are washed and dried each day for school and not unusual for the kids to do a laundry basket dive to find their school clothes. Dinner is a last-minute affair and it’s more often than not that you go for the easy option of takeaways. I could go on and on. I’ve been here from time to time during my years of motherhood.
Well. Do you know what God says about laziness? He says don’t be!
Titus 2:5 “.. so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, working at home.” Working at home! Not lazing on the couch or spending all that money.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 “..we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.” Busybodies or maybe our present day keyboard warriors? Oh, and the busybodies and the lazy people were told they couldn’t eat either. Hungry busybodies!
And then this Colossians 3:23-24 ” Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
You are mothers. A task chosen by God for you, right now in your life. Be content in this and do your task well and heartily as it says in Colossians. Do it for the Lord and you will be rewarded! Every little thing that you do for your family are things that make your home run smoothly. Every little act of service that you do for your husband allows him to do his job well. Be busy being godly mothers and housekeepers.
Be ready to serve your family so that things go well for them at school, in the community, at work or in the church family. Be busy with things in the home and do them cheerfully so that you are ready to entertain and hospitable to those in need. Be busy making your house a home, a soft place for your children to fall. Be ready to teach and train your children in the ways of the Lord.
Yes, it can be mundane. Yes, it can be tiring, especially if you have small children and excruciating sometimes as a mum of teenagers (totally not speaking from experience) but it is exactly what God wants you to do well right now. Your mundane is his Kingdom work. As Paul Tripp says,”If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you. Because that’s where you live.”
So am I saying that you can’t go out for coffees, or just have some ‘me time’? No, not at all. I know the value of time spent with friends with that bottomless pot of tea, or a few hours on your own to readjust your
tiara equilibrium. What I am saying is, you can have an orderly household and have the down time as well. In fact, you’ll enjoy that down time a whole lot more knowing that it is well deserved and things are ship-shape at home.
And on the days where you need to just put the feet up, don’t feel bad as we all have those days. But when it does become a pattern of laziness, or busyness doing a whole lot of nothingness then we need to stop and think – am I glorifying God in this?
Inspiration for this post was taken from the recent Christian Women’s Conference held in Perth on the book of Two Thessalonians.. If you do struggle with laziness, please talk to a friend or ask an older lady in your community for help. This post is not directed at anyone who is struggling with a mental illness or depression. Please seek help from a professional if you feel that you just can’t get motivated to do anything – it could be a sign of something more significant going on in your life.
Rubbish in, rubbish out.
I first heard this quote used in the context of Christian living at a Christian Women’s Conference about five years ago. In the speech, the speaker asked the question “How can you expect anyone to live a sanctified life honouring to God if there was constant rubbish in? If the majority of information going in is rubbish, most of the output will be rubbish as well.”
If we want to live a life pleasing to God, a life full of thankful living, we need to consider this and the bible text from Proverbs 15:14 “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”
If we want to have our lives transformed by Him and His Word, we need to be decluttering our minds, stripping the crap daily, purging the garbage and filling it up with His goodness alone.
What does this look like and how can you get rid of all that rubbish that invites Satan in?
Imagine that Jesus is by your side in all that you do.
Invite Him to look at what books you have on your shelf.
Ask Him to review the television shows that you watch.
Ask Him to look at your Facebook feed.
Ask Him to look at your internet browser history.
Are you filling your mind with a facebook feed full of garbage from women who seem to only be able to speak ill of their husbands and children and use expletives as adjectives?
Are you spending your time watching tv shows that glorify death, make a mockery of the institution of marriage or encourage consumerism and materialism?
Are you caught up in reading trashy novels that glorify adultery?
Is the highlight of your day the moment you open your social media and scroll through countless accounts of people shilling their wares or baring their bodies?
Go through your house. Purge the garbage. Throw out those books, those magazines that only make you covet, those dvd’s you wouldn’t share with your pastor. Edit your iTunes account and delete all the music you know isn’t worthy of the Lord.
Cull the crappy pages you follow. Don’t switch the tv on when trashy shows like The Batchelor is about to air.
Pick up a good book. Read a wholesome article. Ring someone and let them know you are looking out for them. Look for the beautiful things that God has created during your day. Choose a chapter in the Bible to study. Do a chore that you know will bless someone in your life. Put on some God honouring music that will remind you of the wonderful gift He has given you.
Cut out the rubbish.
Two things to read:
The Battle for Your Mind (NOT the Joyce Meyer book!!!!)
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
This chapter sets the scene for the book by looking at scripture passages that contain the first commandment (“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3) and also discusses how the Law of God is relavant to our lives today.
I really like the way that Elyse Fitzpatrick turns the need to honour this commandment into a reminder of all the wonderful things that God has done for us. Rescuing us, time and time again. Every time we stuff something up, He is there with His Grace. He is saying “Put me first, I’ll free you from your slavery to the world and your earthly things.”
During the morning services in my church, we listen to the Ten Commandments. Every single Sunday. I know quite a few churches have never, or have stopped reading them as they are ‘irrelevant’ and ‘old dispensation’ and so it is powerful to read how the author feels that they DO have a role in our modern day, New Testament lives. Because it is read out each Sunday, I do run the risk of it becoming a mundane rote recital, lose it’s beauty and relevance in my life, so I am thankful that God uses His Word, and books like this to remind me of the beauty of His Law!
The Ten Commandments:
- Help me by serving as a tutor
- Humbles me and brings me to the end of my self-righteousness
- Teaches me how thankful I am to be for Christ’s perfect keeping of it
- Becomes the standard of righteousness that I eek to obey out of thankfulness.
Then this.. wow!
Every sin, every idolatry in my heart is rooted in lovelessness and thanklessness. Each time I worship something or someone other than God I forget that He’s a good Father and a great King…
Fitzpatrick then goes on to talk about how obedience (and in this context, fleeing from idolatry) is a real test of faith, and if you seek to fight to keep the law, it is a demonstration of love to a Father who loved us first.
She further backs up the belief that the Law is for us also today by siteing John 14:21, ‘If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.’ New Testament text, new Testament command. It’s relevant. Jesus also quoted from the law, and taught his disciples to use it as a rule of life and then at the end of this chapter we have a small list, which is only a beginning, of all the references to the law in the New Testament.
At the very end of the chapter we read about Lot’s wife again. Her idolatry didn’t start when she looked back to Sodom. It began when she loved Sodom more than God.
When is the last time you read the Law?
Can you look at the Law and see how it all relates back to the first commandment?
Is there anything that is standing in the way of you loving God with your whole heart, soul and mind?
Kids? Relationships? Material Goods? Hobbies? TV Shows? Your Home?
Look back on our book study: