We are all stretched when we face things we’d rather not to or things which are hard for us. How we respond to the stretching is what really matters. This is encouragement for those who are feeling the strain.
Are you busy? Would you say your life is full? Do you ever find yourself dwelling on how overwhelming life can be?
Um, yes, yes, and uh, YES. Life with four kids was full enough, but when we started school last month, the added school hours pushed us to the limit. It is all I can do right now to teach my oldest two, while still taking care of my toddler and young baby, to do the laundry, to clean the house, and to make sure that my family is fed everyday with relatively healthy food in an I’m-attempting-to-stick-to-it grocery budget.
This is a really stretching season for me. If I am going to get half of what I would like to be accomplished done, then I must be very intentional about where I am applying my energies throughout the day. I simply CANNOT do it all, and if I try to take on too much (a common struggle for me), the result will be rushed days spent more concerned with checking off my to-do list instead of enjoying this time of life which is already speeding away faster than I’d like.
I also MUST be intentional about how I allow myself to think about my work. When I am in the middle of a school lesson and the baby wakes up from a nap at the exact moment I discover my toddler needs a new diaper, it is in my nature to get flustered–to think “this is too much” and to allow a momentary challenge to completely alter my mood. Like the flick of a switch, as soon as I start feeling overwhelmed, irritable mommy emerges and the precious souls in front of me become what I need to “deal with” so we can get back to whatever it was that really wasn’t actually that important in the first place.
I know that many of you can relate because you tell me so on Instagram and over the phone (you know, the rare occasions we get to talk).
So I’m going to share with you what I am clinging to when I feel like a nap but get up and make dinner instead. And, because we are all so prone to forget, I’m including each encouragement as a printable. Put them up where you will look at them and dwell on hope and the solid promises of God. Just remember the change doesn’t happen when we tape an encouraging verse to the wall, but when we daily live in it and diligently apply it to our minds.
Don’t Let the Stretching Pull You Out of Joint
Last night I was sitting on the floor in my boys’ room and I reached up to ask my husband for help getting to my feet. He grabbed my hand, strong and tight, but then at the last minute I changed my mind. I was holding our baby and didn’t think I could stand up like that. Before I could get the words out, though, he was pulling on my hand.
The problem was I wasn’t moving with his tugging. He was trying to help and I was trying to stay put. I felt like he was about to pull off my thumb.
As I was considering this moment later, I thought how it is a picture of what happens when God is making the effort of sanctifying us to be more like His Son, but we are stubbornly staying put. We choose our own way, wish for another set of circumstances, and all the while He is giving us the help we need if we would simply submit to His leading. The stretching hurts a lot more when we don’t lean into grace and trust Him to do what He has promised.
I love these verses because they remind me what my primary focuses are meant to be during this season of my life. They help me remember to keep the first thing the first thing.
These verses also push me to strive to act out of love, and not simply a feeling of obligation. All too often we can drag our feet, grumbling about what has to be done, and then pat ourselves on the back for making another meal or picking up more toys. However, if I want my actions to be honoring to God, they should be motivated from a heart of love and a sincere desire to serve the Lord.
It is so easy to lose perspective when each day is filled with the same tasks and Monday looks like Thursday which looks like Saturday. The days can run together and I can forget that what I am doing has a greater significance than what first appears.
When I have already made twelve meals for my family that week, making another breakfast can feel unimportant. But when I remember that putting food on the table serves my family in more ways than simply filling their bellies, I can take joy and satisfaction in my work.
The same goes for the lunches you pack everyday or the conversations about princesses you carry on every night before bed. In doing all these seemingly inconsequential parts of your day, you are building a foundation of love and trust and security in your home. You are investing in the well-being of your family, not just so that no one will be hungry or have to wear dirty clothes. No, our goal is to be complete in Christ– ourselves and our children. This is why we keep going.
True story– I listened to this song about ten times in a row one day this week. The entire hymn is wonderful, but the second verse is my favorite. Listening to this song helps to reset my attitude and generally refresh my spirit. I am reminded that NO MATTER WHAT I am facing, He will sustain me and give me the strength to push through. There is never cause for despair because Jesus has promised to never leave us on our own.
I sincerely hope that these encouragements will remind you of hope and help you to persevere when you being stretched in uncomfortable ways. Let’s submit to the stretching, trust in God who pushes us for our good and His glory, and be faithful to look for opportunities to rejoice and give thanks.
What has been encouraging you recently?
What ways are you being stretched right now?
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