lessons for the working, homeschool, mama

Oh, my!  I’m one tired mama.  Since January I have worked full-time, while still  homeschooling the kids.  My husband has been patiently awaiting a permanent place at UPS after working the holiday season.  He’s been painting houses and doing side jobs for the time being.  Okay, we’re both tired.  In a nut shell, it’s been a tough season.

It’s been a long hard season in fact.  Sometimes I have thought that everything that could go wrong has.  We have suffered loss.  We have had our marriage under attack, financial devastation, career change that led to months of unemployment- which led to mortgage debt.  I was wrongfully fired from a coffee shop job just as things were looking up financially.  We’ve been through it!  Just when are about to get a drink of refreshing water, it seems someone kicks the bucket over.  Why is everything SO hard!

Before you completely check out and stop reading, there is a point to my unloading.  I have grown tremendously in the past year.  The season of trials has proven a great season of lessons learned.  It’s a well-spring of spiritual opportunities and assessment.  I understand just a little more about God’s grace and forgiveness.  I have a clearer picture of what it means to run the race set before me.  This race has felt like it would kill me.  I’ve been at the end of my strength, dying of thirst, ready for the demand on my energy and exertion to end, but God’s grace has furthered me down the path a bit more.

Friend, have you been down a path like this?  One that makes you re-think all that you knew or believed?  A path speckled with hurdles that look so much bigger than what you can handle?  You are not alone.  In fact, the more I feel brave enough to honestly share my own struggles, the more those around confide in me their own battles.  I’m learning that people are afraid to share that they aren’t perfect and don’t have “it” all together, but it’s a fact!  With a determined heart I follow Christ.  When I want to give up and get away from my problems, I pray for Him to be the strength I need.  Join me, won’t you?

Acts 20:24

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

I signed up for a race, and I aim to finish it.  I’ll be ragged and disheveled by the end or I’ll get my runner’s high.  Knowing myself, I’ll likely be crawling to the finish line- perhaps an ambulance escort.  I decided to follow Jesus, and there is NO turning back.  I’ll get there.  How about you?  When life gets hard and every step is uphill, What verses do you cling to?  Be encouraged.  HE is our strength.

what is love?

Love isn’t heart-shaped breakfasts, or Valentine cards. Love isn’t flowers and chocolate. Love is an action verb perfectly displayed by Jesus on the cross and sometimes shown (by His grace) through His people.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple.
Psalm 5:6-8

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Psalm 103:7-9

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Luke 6:34-36

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:12-14

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

who I am

In the middle of an everyone’s crying moment (while still wearing my PJ’s– which I still am), caught in the middle of “I’m going to lose it” and “I’m so blessed to have such great children” I was reminded of a story.  I never completely understand why these reminders come at such times, but they often do.  The Lord is so kind and gentle to quietly remind me of, me.

I remembered.

I wasn’t alwayS the “Jesus Freak” that I am now.  No, no, no.  Completely the opposite in fact.  I was a Jesus opposer.  It was the dumbest thing I could think of.  There was certainly no God, and I was convinced.  It’s ironic, really.  Here I am 10.5 years later a pastor’s wife!?:)  I answered a question July 26, 2000.  “Who do you say that I am?”

Let me explain, before I explain.

I am a nerd.  A big one.  I love to research.  If I wonder about something– How to doorknobs work?  How many people live in Rhode Island?  Why don’t people invent something so toilet covers don’t loosen? ect.–  I find out the answer.  I still don’t know the answer to the last question…anyone?

When I wanted to know the “meaning of life” I researched.  It started out with science, then philosophy, until it ultimately lead to the Bible.  Where better to research than the library right?  I checked out every movie available on the Bible, Jesus, and religion.  I actually watched them.  All 15 or so.  I was still confused.  Maybe even more confused than when I set out.  I did have options about who Jesus was.  A teacher, a prophet, a nice guy who lived long ago, a myth, a fraud.

Then I heard it.  The call to come.  I answered.  Ultimately, I answered the most important question of my life.  I had ideas about what everyone else thought of Jesus, but I had to answer that question for myself.  I answered, “Lord.”

Here’s the story that kept running though my mind today in the middle of a near breakdown.

“And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.”  Luke 9:18-20.

What a gift to know Him for who He is.  These words spoke peace into my heart today.  I hope you are blessed as well.

stirring

There’s been a stirring going on in my heart lately.  A stirring to grow, to appreciate more, and to enjoy with less seriousness this life I’ve been given.  I finally finish the book On Being a Servant of God and now I’m ready.  We’ll face so many unknowns in the coming years, but this I know.  Nothing should bring me more joy than serving Jesus.

This certainly starts in my home.  I’ve mentioned before that I firmly believe that just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m not working.  I am.  Not just taking care of kids, but being a frugal, hard worker.  My conduct here is to be just as it would with an employer.  I’ve lacked.

First it was being tired (pregnancy), then I was having back pain, then I was suffering from migraines, and before I knew it I just was being lazy.  One of the last thing I read in the above book was, “If you pamper yourself every time you don’t feel good, you’ll end up doing less and less and eventually will do nothing.”  Ouch.

“When He was dying on the cross, our Lord was never more in the will of God; yet His body certainly didn’t feel good.  I think of that when my arthritis bothers me.  What’s arthritis compared to nails being driven through your hands and feet?”  Double ouch.

It’s time for me to stop having pregnancy, headaches, and gallbladder attacks stop me from being joyful in ministry.  If it’s going to happen anyways, I might as well be useful and loving to my family through it.  Jesus wasn’t focused on Himself while He was dying, He focused on the will of the Father.  His calling.

Have a great weekend.  Happy Valentines Day.  May His true love change you forever.