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3:34 p.m. Go Cougars! Go Chad!
Today I was just going about my work: buying Gatorade (the red kind) and mixing jello (the green kind) for my sick husband; trying to get Tori to eat her peas and carrots (and then cleaning up the peas and carrots she threw on the floor); training Jack to obey “right away, all the way, and with a happy heart” (and “quietly” when we’re in the library, please!) and write this post.
Then Mom sent me this quote by Charles Bridges:
“It is most important habitually to contemplate our work in its proper character as a “work of faith.” As such, it can only be sustained by the active and persevering exercise of this principle. This is what makes it a means of grace to our own souls, as well as a grand medium of exalting our Divine Master.
It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It commits every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall be overruled for his glory; and thus relieves us from an oppressive anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of our responsibility. The shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for daily pardon of deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking too eagerly for present fruit.”
Faith transforms my work. I can find forgiveness for my impatience with the kids, I can have hope that my training efforts will not be in vain, I can wait patiently for the evidence that what I am doing for my family is doing some good after all, and I can be “enlivened with perpetual cheerfulness.”
Most of all, faith makes the laundry, the dishes, the editing, the diaper changing, the praying, and the care-giving a means of grace to my soul and a means of exalting my Savior.
It isn’t just work anymore. It’s a “work of faith.”
—from the archives
For many of you reading this blog, “Back to School” is where you are going in the next few weeks. Whether a private or public school, high school, college or university, you may find yourself surrounded by those who do not believe in or love the Savior.
You may be tempted to join the party scene (rebelliously indulge your sinful desires, James 1:14-15), to downplay your faith (hide it under a basket, Matt. 5:14-16), to keep an open mind (question the only eternal truth, 1 John 1:1-4), or to chase your dreams (pursue selfish ambitions, James 3:13-18) instead of running after God’s commands.
As you consider these potential temptations, you may feel weak, unable to stand, desperate for God’s help. Good. If so, may the words of the Lord to Joshua encourage you today: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
—from the archives
We leave you this week with a woman whose age caught up with her. Have a good one! Nicole for the girltalkers
A woman was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, she remembered that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in her high school class so many years ago. Could this be the same guy I had a crush on way back then? she wondered.
She quickly discarded any such thought when she met the balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face. He’s way too old to have been my classmate, she thought to herself.
Still, after he examined her teeth, she asked, “Did you happen to attend Morgan Park High School?”
“Yes! I’m a Mustang,” he gleamed with pride.
“When did you graduate?” she asked.
“1959,” he replied. “Why do you ask?”
“You were in my class!” she exclaimed.
“Really?” he said, looking at her closely. “What did you teach?”
—from the archives
Speaking of dream houses, do you (like me) find yourself desiring what you do not have?
You may be longing for the day when you can move away from your parents or get rid of your roommates in exchange for a husband and home. Or maybe you can’t wait until you and your husband can finally afford to purchase a house rather than pay rent on an apartment. Or possibly you resent being stuffed into a small house with a large family. What you wouldn’t do for a larger dwelling place!
Do you (like me) find yourself tempted to be discontent with your home?
If so, then this counsel author Randy Alcorn once gave a discontent couple is for you (and me) today:
“When I was a pastor, a couple came to my office and told me they wanted to be able to give more money to the church and to missions. “But we’ve always had this dream for a beautiful home in the country,” they added, “and we can’t seem to shake it. Is that wrong?”
No it isn’t. In fact, the dream of a perfect home is from God. It’s just that such a dream cannot and will not be fulfilled in this life. Our dream house is coming; we don’t have to build it here. In fact, we can’t. (In Light of Eternity, pp. 155-156.)
We may never have that perfect home we desire here on earth. But “our dream house is coming!” It’s in heaven, waiting there for us, as Jesus promised: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)
Dear Lord, may my mind and affections be set, not on the things of this earth, but on my eternal home in heaven where I will one day be with you. This is my ultimate dream house—and not just a dream, it is a certain hope! Thank you for the work of your Son on the cross, which brought me into your family, and, one day, will bring me into your home forever!
—from the archives
After reading Friday’s post, girltalk reader Andrea encouraged us to check out an essay from John Piper’s A Godward Life entitled “Talking to Your Tears.” We’re quoting a small excerpt here, but you’re really going to want to read the rest; so go ahead and buy the book!
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6
“This psalm teaches the tough truth that there is work to be done whether I am emotionally up for it or not, and it is good for me to do it. Suppose you are in a season of heartache and discouragement, and it is time to sow seed. Do you say, ‘I can’t sow the field this spring, because I am brokenhearted and discouraged’? If you do that, you will not eat in the winter. Suppose you say instead, ‘I am heartsick and discouraged. I cry if the milk spills at breakfast. I cry if the phone and doorbell ring at the same time. I cry for no reason at all, but the field needs to be sowed. That is the way life is. I do not feel like it, but I will take my bag of seeds and go out in the fields and do my crying while I do my duty. I will sow in tears.’
If you do that, the promise of this psalm is that you will ‘reap with shouts of joy.’ You will ‘come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you,’ not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping. We need to remember this even when our tears tempt us to give up sowing.” A Godward Life, pp. 89-90
So what fields in your life need to be sowed today? Even if you cry while you do your duty, you will, one day reap with joy.
—from the archives
My three-year-old Caly often wakes up screaming in the dead of night. Jolted out of sleep, I run to her room as fast as I can only to be greeted with the same two words: “I’m scared.”
“What are you scared of Caly-girl?” I ask
“I’m just scared,” she whimpers.
A few hugs and kisses and she’s happy to be tucked back in to bed.
Well do I remember my own night-time fears as a child. Just ask me about my lobster dream sometime. It still gives me shivers.
So how do we help our small children deal with middle-of-the night fears?
Dr. Russell Moore—himself a father of small children—recently offered this insightful answer:
“The kids know—they instinctively know—that they’re living in a universe in which something’s gone awry. It’s not our job—as parents, or as Sunday school teachers—to disengage that. It’s our job to come in and to provide an answer to that. Yeah, you’re living in an enchanted world. Yeah, you’re living in a haunted world. You’re living in a world haunted by demonic powers. That’s exactly right—what you deeply fear is indeed the case… Your worrying about the monster under the bed isn’t unreasonable; there’s a monster under the fabric of the cosmos. Instead, we give them a story that provides the only comfort that really is lasting comfort; it’s a comfort that the enemies have been defeated.”
I am going to add a few words to my middle of the night hugs and kisses routine. Yes, Caly-girl, we live in a scary world, but we don’t need to be afraid. The monster has been crushed. And the One who crushed him, He’s right here in this room.
—from the archives
(Janelle is out of town with Mike’s family this week, but she gave us five pictures from the recent Mahaney family vacation to show you. Enjoy!)
“The mother is the hub of the home, holding all the spokes in place. Without her being at her post, the family spins out of control and falls apart.” Mark Chanski
When school starts, do you find that it gets more difficult to “hold all the spokes in place”? I sure do.
On a typical day I must get my son, Andrew, out the door for school (with homework, lunch and back-pack), clean up from breakfast, homeschool my two younger boys, pay the bills, drive to an afternoon activity, get home in time to meet Andrew and help him with homework, prepare dinner for my family and a guest, do dishes, catch up on laundry and finally clean up my house which looks like it has been visited by a tornado.
Just another ordinary day in the life of a mom. But so often, I go through these ordinary days far more aware of what I am giving than whom I am serving.
I need my gaze lifted beyond my daily duties to my eternal mission as a mother. In his book, Womanly Dominion, Mr. Chanski brings us encouragement right where we need it:
“There she sits exhausted on the edge of her bed, her face in her hands, wondering, “Where’s the glory in this?”
She needs something more empowering to keep her going.
She needs to gain and maintain the deep conviction of the glory, honor, and nobility of selfless service. This she finds at the foot of the cross, looking up to the One who earned for Himself “the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9), by “emptying Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” (2:7), humbling “Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:8). There she beholds her Savior who mopped up the damning vomit of her own sin with the precious sponge of His perfect life and atoning death. The love of Christ constrains and compels her to press on (2 Corinthians 5:14). The Spirit of Christ empowers her” (pp. 120-121, emphasis mine).
Are you having a hard time being “the hub” today? Then “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2-3), ask Him for help and strength, and thank Him for the honor of being a mother.
—from the archives