There is Hope

[box] This was heavy on my heart. I hope you'll bear with a little longer post. Thank you![/box] There have been times when I wonder if I am just writing for myself, but I am learning to accept that even if no one reads these posts but me, it has been a very worthwhile exercise. Over the past five years, the Lord has been taking me on a journey that I would never have imagined for myself. He has been hard at work in the deep parts of my soul, sanding away stubborn spots, filling up broken places, sanding some more, and refinishing latent desires, dreams and plans so that they are more in line with His. (Can you tell I am married to a carpenter? They don't call my husband Tool Man Dan for nothing!)

Anyways, as I reflect on this month's series, I am reminded that compared to some of the other topics that I would like to explore on this blog, this may not be high interest or even practical for moms. With a life that is already full to the brim, it sometimes seems like a supreme indulgence to even consider indulging in our inner lives and thinking about our dreams and desires. Especially if the baby is playing in the toilet again, or the 10-year-old needs help completing his homework, or if the teen is displaying serious attitude issues. (Not that I know anything about that. Really. Imagine me saying this with a sarcastic edge.)

No, moms, when life gets busy and it's crazy around the house, it really isn't practical to think about resting with God. But can I share something with you? I'll let you in on a secret: It doesn't get any easier. Nope. I hate to tell ya, but there really is no time where life is going to let up. Even when your kids are grown up and have their own children, it doesn't stop. We've got to face the facts. I see the older women, the grandmas in our church, running around with their grandchildren, just as busy as I am.

That could be a depressing thought. Or it might not be. For me personally, I am looking forward to going strong for many more years to come. (By the way, I realized I never did update on the health problems mentioned in the past. After additional visits with a urologist and testing, I have been declared healthy. Praise God!)

If you are having trouble just getting by now, the fact that this pace of life isn't going to change may be disheartening, especially if you feel like you're drowning. But I'm going to let you in on another secret: It doesn't have to be this way. Really. God, in his infinite grace and mercy, has provided a way out.

1 Cor 10:13 says this: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." So in our circumstances, what is the temptation? My personal opinion: the temptation to have it all. You know how it goes. Family A has their kids in art, so I better put my kids in art. Family B has their kids in music, so I better sign them up for music lessons, preferably in more than one instrument. Family C has their kids in sports all year round, so I better make sure my kids play too.

Maybe I'm only speaking for myself. I am hoping that you do not do this too. However, I'll be up front with you. This was a burden for me. Deep inside, as a mother, I am afraid. I fear that my children will not have what they need to succeed. But truthfully, I am even more scared of appearing to be a negligent and lazy mother. I am afraid of what other people think of me. So I pile on more and more. I begin to look more and more like a gerbil running in a wheel than a picture of Christ.

But there is hope, dear mothers. Yes, there is. This is not the life God intends for us. Matthew 11:28-30 is an invitation from the One who loves you more than you can imagine. Come, He says, and I will give you rest. Rest. How sweet the sound. He goes on to say that as we take His yoke on ourselves, and learn from Him, we will find a gracious, gentle and humble teacher. In Him, we will find the rest we long for.

Do you long for that rest? Not just a power nap. Not just some downtime. Not even just a lazy afternoon. But rest. Real rest in the depth of your souls.

It was after living in this crazy treadmill of life and burning out that God showed me this way out of that temptation to have more, do more, give more. And that way of escape is through living a life that is connected and rooted in Him. The more I give Him space in my life, the more He has ordered my heart, and then my days.

Now, mind you, this doesn't mean I am perfect. I am human. I do not always live as I desire. But after tasting the sweetness of life with Him, I know where I want to go. There are seasons of life where I lose it, but like the North Star, when the crisis is over, I know how to redirect my steps to get back on track.

This series may not be fun, but I am beginning to see that it is a core message that underlies all the other things this site is becoming. Without a vibrant and growing life in Christ, being a mom can really do you under. It doesn't mean that giving space to God will make your day any better or that it will be any less hectic. There still is work to do, deadlines to meet.

But from my personal experience, when God is central in my life, He infuses each day, each task with a new perspective and purpose. He helps me to live out the things that are priorities to me, such as relationships. He shows me what things I need to do, the path I should take. While things don't always go as I plan, I know that when I am connected with Him, His plan will never fail. Mine, on the other hand, no matter how great they are, don't have that guarantee.

Some of you may have got your life under control. But I also know that there may a mom out there who is feeling way over her head. I may not be in your circumstances, but I know how that feels. I just sensed that the Lord wanted me to say that today. Just for you.

If you want to track with this series, here are the posts. If you are interested in the hands-on journal that accompanies these posts, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter (latest issue going to press soon!). Each journal has additional thoughts, questions and ideas to help you to begin practicing these disciplines. Just sign up using the boxes on the right. Check your inbox for your welcome email. In the PS section, you'll find the password. I will be taking this page down on April 1, so don't miss out!

March 5   March Series: Sacred Rhythms (New!)         

March 6   Desire and Discipline                                          

March 7   My Idol--The Discipline of Worship             

March 8   Steeped in the Word--The Discipline of Scripture Intake                 

March 12 Taking a Break--The Discipline of Rest       

March 13 Becoming Like a Child--The Discipline of Prayer            

March 14 The Morning Watch--Prayer part 2             

March 15 God's Will for Me--Prayer part 3                  

March 19 Unplugged--The Discipline of Solitude     

March 20 Freedom!--The Discipline of Simplicity   

March 21 The Joy of Discovery--The Discipline of Learning       

March 22 Looking Back, Seeing Clearly--The Discipline of Examen    

March 26 Just Say No--The Discipline of Fasting       

March 27 Speak No Evil--The Discipline of Controlling the Tongue     

March 28 Stirring Up One Another--The Discipline of Fellowship