Thursday, January 23, 2014

Living out this Prov 31 stuff is exhausting!

Tonight I completed a somewhat exhausting day. I got up early to run an errand before work. Got there just in time to check a few e-mails before heading into a counseling session. Finished that around lunch time only to start working on…. well work. Went to a 3 o'clock meeting that got done at 4:20 (I usually leave at 4 on Wednesdays). Finally got out the door at work at 4:50. Drove home, made dinner, gave my kids baths, went to church. Tried to love on and encourage a few college girls. Texted back and forth with my counselee all through church Scripture to encourage her during a rough night. Brought the kids home, quickly drove to my sisters (we're sharing her T25 videos!), came home, cleaned up the bedroom a bit, and I just finished prepping for the Counseling Women class I'm teaching tomorrow morning at Baptist Bible College.


While prepping for my class I was reading through Proverbs chapter 31 and these three verses seemed to describe my day.

Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 

The last 6 months have been a trying time as far as trusting God with the future. We just. don't. know. what's. next. It's one of those seasons of waiting and wisdom as we seek to do the next thing. But God has prepared me for this time through lots of other seasons of waiting and proving Himself faithful to the task. He always takes care of us. He always provides in ways that we couldn't have imagined starting out. So I've had the joy of learning to laugh…. to whole heartedly trust what God has in the future. Sometimes I just chuckle that we're here again and I'm sure it won't be the last time in our lives.

She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
I hope what I had to share today was wise, and that I was kind in all my presentations of it. God has thrown me some kind of crazy situations lately that I wasn't expecting to get right now as far as walking with girls through some just tough situations in life and my prayer day to day is that I am always pointing them toward the Lord. That HE will be their all consuming joy.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
And idleness…. yeah, that didn't get to be me today. This semester is just a plain old busy season of life for me with all the different roles I've been put in in work and ministry. (You ever have a season like that, where you just sit there and think, what did I get myself into? Yeah, I'm in one of those!) And all those things are important. Really important at some level. But I don't want to neglect my own household. My first responsibility lies there. So I took the extra minutes with my 3 year old daughter to snuggle her as she went to sleep tonight. I sang her the songs she wanted to hear and those extra minutes settled her like only mommy time can. It was pure joy, for both of us. I can't be idle at work, but those dishes need washed, and the clean clothes put away, and those exercise videos really should be done at home too. And now into the wee hours of the night (ok it's only 10:45, it's not that late!) I'm ready for bed. Because it all needs to be done tomorrow. But this Woman Who Fears the Lord of Proverbs 31, she is consistent. She keeps going. She doesn't do it all at once, but she moves with the ebbs and flows of all the different seasons of life, recognizing that none of it will last forever, enjoying each one and working hard through it all. And what a blessing she is to those around her.

I pray I might be called that woman at the end of my life. And that you might too.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Here's to a New Year!

My husband and I were joking on New Year's Eve that last year on January 1st my daughter came down with Influenza B….. over the next week and a half each of us fell to it for what was one of the more miserable couple of weeks of our lives (as far as sickness goes). And so began one of the hardest years of our lives. 2013 came in with a vengeance and proved to be a year that would try our faith in some of the strongest ways. Personally, I'm glad to see it go. While I wouldn't trade my kids' growth or the experiences with them, I would've preferred to do without some of the other trials. But the neat thing about hard times is the growth it produces. James 1:2-4 teaches us this: 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

This was a year full of various kinds of trials in our family, but they produced their desired effect in the long run. God grew us in ways we didn't know that we needed to grow and our faith is stronger than it was at this time last year. Here are a few things that I'm  praising God for doing in me:

-I trust Him more with the ugly stuff. God doesn't always bring prosperity, or help us accomplish our personal goals. He has a bigger plans in mind. It's easy when life just keeps throwing junk at you to question His goodness. I get that. I questioned his goodness this year. But through His Word God grew my faith and I'm thankful that I see Him more clearly today than I did January 5th 2013 and I trust Him to do His good even in the really hard times of my life.

-My heart is more generous, even though we have less. 

-I trust Him to provide even more than in the past.

-I've seen God answer some specific prayers in the last 6 months that have grown my faith and caused me to pray more, and be very, very thankful! 

So even though in some respects in my book 2013 was a total bust, in God's timeline of my life 2013 was exactly what I needed to look more like Jesus and to, as James says, be a mature Christian. 

Here's a little video recap of the year for ya. As is typical, the instagram pics show lots of smiles. You'd never know how hard life has been! (Something good to remember as you watch everyone else on social media. Their lives aren't as pretty as they look on camera!) But it shows off some of the fun stuff of the year. We truly do have much to be thankful for!