Pages

8.19.2011

The Word Focused Life

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."
Hebrew 10:35-36

A few days ago I found myself in a familiar state while listening to one of my kids cry and the other whine.  Yes, it was one of "those" mornings and as the minutes stacked up so did my impatience.  It's not always pretty the places you go when the stress is high and you're the adult :) I'm sure if I my walls could talk they would tell you that a third child often makes an appearance during any given day around here.  As I stood in the shower seeking silence and a minute to myself, it occurred to me that wishing things were easier is often a foolish way to live.  In fact it rarely does any good, especially considering the reality check that we're in a stage with our kids that isn't going anywhere fast.  They are little, they are needy, and they need training in every stage of their lives, period.  But where I often fall short is remembering that they also need a whole lot of grace in the process.  Not an irritated Mommy or a lecture they don't understand but a kind response, a soul-building word and lots of forgiveness.  You know, the very same things we adults need too? 
As I washed my own tears of weariness in the hot water, the Lord brought to mind a few verses that I memorized earlier this year from Hebrews 10.  I spent some time pouring over them this winter and I even encouraged a sweet friend of mine with them, who was about to have her 4th baby and was feeling very overwhelmed at the future.  Funny how we can often read something and think of everyone it applies to...without seeing our own need first.  On this day the Lord brought these to mind and opened my own eyes to SEE what I was lacking...

Hebrews 10:35-36
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."

As I thought about those words, I cherished the relevance of their meaning in this season, on this day... 

"...So do not throw away your confidence..."  My confidence in what?  In me?  In my mothering abilities?  In my resources of energy?  No. Not me, only Him. In the Lord, my rock, my refuge, the lifter of my head...the one who promises new mercies everyday, more grace and new beginnings...the one who gently reminds "no, you can't do this in your own strength but if you'll come to me, I can give you everything you need..."

"...It will be richly rewarded..."  It?  My confidence in Him.  My choice to rely on Him.  Richly rewarded with what?  With peace in the midst of chaos, with a steadfast trust in the unchanging one, with joy despite the circumstances, with satisfaction from the only one who completes and fills and overflows with grace and mercy, with rewards that aren't just temporary and fleeting but are stored up, entrusted and eternal in value.  There is reward, this is not just an empty faith that depletes and leaves us wanting.  As I empty out and rid myself of...self...He fills me up, tops off every hole in my soul until my cups runs over in excess. Rich rewards.

"...You need to persevere..." From the one who persevered all the way to the cross and back, it's a rich calling.  I need to fix my eyes on the goal, on Him, and endure this...the long days, the endless work, the wiping of noses, the mealtime prep, the tears, the whining, the training, the mental drain, the lonliness...persevere...nose to the grind somedays, with JOY and GRATITUDE in all of it, even the worst of it.  It's what He chose for ME, it's what He demonstrated to me, even when He didn't like it, didn't want it, asked God to take it from Him...there are days when it feels like that...but character is often built in the work, not in the rest.  And they (Ava and Carter) are WORTH my perseverence on all days...they deserve a Mom who doesn't throw in the towel when it's hard and doesn't resent the sacrifice of self for them. 

WHY?

"...So that when you  have done the will of God..."  What is the will of God?  Can we know the will of God and be confident that we're understanding correctly?  YES.  To obey Him is the will of God.  To seek Him first is the will of God.  To saturate and believe and be doers of the Word is the will of God.   To love when it seems undeserved is the will of God.  To grant forgiveness when forgiveness costs us something is the will of God.  To sacrifice for the good of someone else when self fights it all the way is the will of God. 

 She is the will of God for me.
And so is he
To nurture, to build up, to teach, to show grace, to extend patience, to love no matter the cost...they are the will of God.  They are what He calls me to and it's a worthy call.  It's worth the perseverence, it's worth the time, it's worth the sacrifice.  He died for them because they are worth His love.  How can I deny their worth and the things it often costs me to raise them, when He loved them with his whole life?
To love, to respect, to cherish, to support, to mutually submit, to make a priority...this is the will of God concerning him, the man God chose for me. 
To stay home and keep the ship afloat, enabling him to go out and obey the call of God...that is the will of God. 
To commit, to forsake all others, to not neglect, to be vunerable and honest and kind...the will of God is found there, in all these choices. 

"...You will receive what He has promised..."  I WILL receive.  When I am faithful to Him, I receive.  And in His scandalous grace, even when I am unfaithful to Him, I still recieve.  Why?  Not because I've been mostly good or the bad isn't extremely bad...No.  There is nothing in me that deserves Him.  But salvation isn't of me.  It's of Him.  His mercy withholds the wrath that is due me.  His grace pours out more than I could possibly earn.  His love reached from the heights of Heaven to the depths of my soul and rescued me.  His perseverence took Him to the cross, to the darkness of sin, to the grave even...to pay the price and take the keys of death from the enemy who thought he held them.  Because of all this, because of HIM, I receive.  I receive what He has promised to his children. And what has He promised?  New life.  An inheritance secured.  A light for my path.  A hope to anchor my soul.  Adoption into His royal family.  Peace. Joy. Strength for today. Vision for the future. Him.  The more I press into Him, the more He envelopes me.  If I seek Him, I will find Him. 

I don't know what you need to persevere in today.  Maybe it's not changing diapers, mountains of laundry, or instruction that seems to be stuck on repeat.  Maybe the will of God for YOU is patiently loving a family member who works your last nerve or staying faithful in a job you hate.  Whatever road the Lord has marked out for you, I hope this word from Hebrews encourages you like it does me.  Life is not all about us being happy.  Our circumstances are not always going to be ideal or favorable or what we would have chosen.  But that doesn't mean we can't have joy in spite of them.  In fact it is very possible to be filled with joy even when life is hard because joy is always a choice.  When we place our confidence in Him, when we persevere because of Him and we do the will of God, not the will of self, we will be richly rewarded and we will receive what He has promised. Always! Because He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ.  And we can CHOOSE joy in the process or we can give in to bitterness and resentment.  We can jump on the ingratitude train at anytime and waste days or worse, years, because nothing is ever what we hoped it would be.  OR we can choose to do life differently...to do it as He designed it to be.

When I view life through my own eyes, when I try to do day after day after day in my own strength, I burn out.  But when I go the Word and view life through that lens, I gain perspective, hope and direction that eases the burden. It's grace that He loves us enough to send us His son.  It's grace that He cares about us enough to give us His Word.  And it's grace that He longs for us to be free and complete in Him, equipping us to do the work and lay it all at His feet.

Can I spur you on today and encourage you to persevere with me?  In whatever God has called YOU to do?  Praying for a Word centered focus today...for YOU and for ME.

Happy Friday, friends...


7 comments:

Darla said...

Thank you, Stephanie, for this beautiful reminder that we are called to perseverence. I needed to hear (or read) that today. The day isn't halfway over, and I can think of many things I already wanted to give up on this morning...cloth diapering, Clara's naps, my hair (ha), and Minnesota. But I know there is something to be gained from pressing on. Times spent with friends like you is always a great reminder that I am richly blessed. Thank you for yesterday. And yes, let's keep that up!

Toni :O) said...

One of my favorite posts! Thank you for the kick in the pants if you will. I am so incredibly blessed and so richly blessed to have found your blog all those years ago, it's always rewarding to stop by! Have a fabulous weekend and keep being a great inspiration!

Christi said...

This post was such a blessing to me at the end of a crazy week! Beginning my 8th month of pregnancy with a 2 year old, my patience has really been tested this week. Your blog is such a refreshing dose of what I need. Thank you!

Ron and Peggy said...

You are doing a marvelous job and no one else can do it. What a blessing you are to your children.

mommy jen said...

I am so grateful that someone sent me the link to your blog! I needed to hear this word today!! I hope you don't mind but I borrowed some of it to post to my friends that I thought would enjoy as well. I have a 16 month old and a 2 1/2 week old so your message could not have been recieved at a better time for me. Thank you and please keep it comming! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It was just what I needed to hear today. My husband was laid off and like so many other fellow Americans he is struggling to find a job. We have two little ones (6 and 7 months) and the weight of finances is starting to take a toll on us, especially my husband. Thanks for the reminders that we DO matter and He will not let us sink...
In Him,
Alexis

Stephanie said...

Blessings to you Alexis, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's job loss...that is tough I can certainly imagine stressful. You are so right though, the Lord has not lost sight of you and you DO matter to Him! Every single one of you...Prayed for your family tonight! Thanks for sharing on here :)