Within our congregations, and even the broad spectrum of the "Christian" community, there are people who are considered "pillars" by virtue of their status, deeds, or popularity. They might be the individual who brought us to Christ, the preacher in our local church, or a widely respected speaker or author. Sometimes these pillar-people are dear friends or members of our own family. Pillars all have something in common: they are human, just like you and me.
As a child of God, you are swimming against the current. If you try doing this alone (without Christ) it won't work. You will fail. We need Christ---His power, His wisdom, and His saving grace. Jesus also established the church so we would have support from fellow believers.
Within each one of us is a longing to be seen. It is this very longing that makes social media such a powerful medium. Every post offers a glimpse into our daily life. We can share our favorite foods, our cute pets, our cutting complaints, our magical moments. Better still, we get to control how much we reveal, making our lives look "practically perfect in every way"! Yet does anybody---on social media or in our day-to-day---really see us as we are? Do they see our grueling work (or, at times, embarrassing laziness)? Do they see the tears? The frustrations? The joys? The longings?
When our valleys last longer than expected, the people we expect to be with us grow fewer and farther between. Take, for instance, the long road of grief. When we lose someone, there is an instant outpouring of support. The refrigerator fills with meals. Phones vibrate with texts. The ads in the mailbox get outnumbered by sympathy cards. The scent of lilies and roses permeates every nook and cranny of our home. Our front door becomes a revolving door as people come and go in order to sit with us, and possibly cry with us. Within a few weeks (or even days), the flow of support slows to a trickle. Life moves on, but the grief does not. And that, my friends, is one of many such valleys. Take heart, God will get you through your valley.
People used to say things like, "the devil made me do it," or "I can't help it, I was born this way!" Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The facts remain clear: our own desire lures us into sin.
Wishing to be someone else or longing for life to be different sounds understandable on the surface---particularly in our culture where self-fulfillment and happiness are counted among the highest goals. However, there is an underlying insidiousness in these longings.
Am I looking at what God has given me as though it isn't good... or isn't good enough?
The kids and I are currently reading through Numbers. We've already tackled the first three books of the Pentateuch and they are well-acquainted with the Israelites' litany of complaints since their departure from Egypt. Shaking our heads in disgust at their obvious lack of faith is a knee-jerk reaction. However, if we are looking into God's word like a mirror, we may see some glaring (and disturbing) similarities in ourselves!
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27.13-14, ESV I typically try to limit my consumption of "the news" because being prone to depression, it interferes with my ability to… Continue reading When All the News is Bad News
Before having children, I knew little about Autism, ADHD, or even how food affects behavior. Children, I have discovered, require us to participate in continuing education. I've attended seminars, poured over books, and worked almost as feverishly as I did during my undergraduate years. One of my children has a disorder that doctors have yet… Continue reading Lessons from Parenting a Child with an Atypical Disorder
Whether you are reveling in the joys of this season, or (like me) struggle with the limited sunlight and pressures accompanying Christmas, it is my sincere hope that this focus on a joyful heart will uplift you this month. We have the hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus, and that knowledge should sustain us through whatever griefs or delights we endure in this life.