Timely Encouragement

As the days tick quickly away and draw me ever closer to another birthday, I am noticing that I’m starting to feel my age.  Once upon a time, feeling my age wasn’t so terrible because I was young and felt energetic but this celebration of my birth is for thirty (plus five) years.  And, well, I’m feeling every one of them.  I’m tired, my hips are suddenly aching and I just don’t have any extra energy to keep up with the eternally-hyper brown-eyed brood that reside with me.

Also, lately I have allowed myself a great many pity parties.  I get down, get discouraged and just wallow.  Some days I even do a little dunking.  I have allowed the enemy to taunt me with my “failures”; to tempt me into agreeing.  When I am too tired to spend extra time playing with the children or for a good week and a half each month when I’m a little “extra cranky” and I am snappy or even yell at the children for something they’ve done, I hear the faint whispers.  Oh, they start out faint but pretty soon they’re echoing in my head:  “What kind of mother are you?”, “Some Christian you are”, “Your children are going to remember you as the crazy mom”, “Your children deserve better”.  And, so I listen and then I agree.  And, suddenly I’m face down in the pit.  The pit of despair, the pit of failure, the pit of self-loathing.  And then, then I hear the faint laughter.  He has won again.

Or so he thinks.

Because my enemy has an enemy who just happens to be my Father.  From the bottom of that pit I cry out – sometimes in anger because I want so desperately to stop this cycle and I feel I’m missing some great detail that will change me, sometimes I simply cry out for help and He gently lifts me back up and hands me a book.  This book is used to dust myself off and begin again.  And, I love how He likes to slip in bits of encouragement when I’m not even looking for it.  Several times over the last few months, I have received email devotionals that I felt were written completely for me.  Two of these were especially meaningful:  Getting Up Again and When Good Isn’t Always Best.  They were both timely moments of encouragement that helped me to see that I am not alone in this role as a Christ-follower, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend.

For me, I think the answer lies in “taming the tongue”, “being slow to speak and slow to anger” and finding self-control in moments of exhaustion and stress.  But, it could also be that there is something my Heavenly Father is trying to show me but I’m just so busy trying to fix myself that I’m not listening closely enough and must endure the lesson again.  I am a work-in-progress indeed but I know the One who formed me with His very hands, who knew me before I was conceived and who has a plan and a purpose for my life.  And, sweeter still, that book I use for dusting tells me that I can be confident of this:  He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ. (Phil. 1:6)

So, as this birthday creeps closer and my body aches and I have days of uncertainty, I am ever thankful and blessed that I have hope, strength and…my dusting book.

Blessings to you tonight.

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