Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday Trust

It was Tuesday and I was having a bad day.  It seemed like everything was going wrong!  As my day went from bad to worse, I became more and more agitated and eventually commented out loud to myself, “I don’t need this!” 
            A still, small voice in my head said, “Oh, yes you do.” And thus began a deeper exploration of the sovereignty of God in my life; my every day life. My Tuesdays.  This particular Tuesday started out with a root canal that was unplanned.  I had been having pain in a molar, and had an appointment at the end of the month. But, my pain increased over the weekend and I was popping pain pills like candy, so I called my dentist on Monday and made an appointment for the next day. When I got there that Tuesday morning, he discovered infection and inflammation and had to do a root canal on the spot!  Having never had that done before, I was more than a little nervous.
            After the root canal, I felt I needed a nap. I was exhausted. It took 2 1/2 hours!  But, I only had time to quickly change clothes and get to my part-time job.  I got there on time only to be told that my part-time position would more than likely be going full-time. When I enquired of my boss what happens to me if it does go full-time, she proclaimed that the company had no obligation to other words, since I can only work part-time, I was going to lose my job.
            Then I opened my email and discovered an email from my husband stating that a property that we thought had sold had not sold after all! We were counting on that sale, and my part-time job, to see us through a particularly difficult financial trial.  That’s when I said, “I don’t need this!” 
            And that’s when I heard, “Oh, yes you do.”
            Why would I need that?  Why do any of us need the trials that we face every day? Why can’t things just go smoothly and easily for us? It’s easier to serve God when things are going well.  We feel happier and like we have more to give.  It’s hard to serve God when things are going wrong and the world, or our fellow believers, are taking advantage of us or criticizing us.  We know the Scriptures, how that James tells us that “the trying of our faith worketh patience” (James 1:3) and how we are not to think it strange when fiery trials try us (I Peter 5:12).  But, I do think we reserve those Scriptures for the big stuff. We don’t apply them to every day life; nor do we always consider the impact the Holy Spirit has on our every day life.
            Our trials do not take God by surprise, but our trials are not limited to the big stuff, either.  Being stuck in a traffic jam, having an overdrawn bank account, breaking a tooth, having to wait in an incredibly long line at the grocery store, receiving a package you’ve waited a week for only to discover the item damaged, the feeling that no one understands you, loneliness, exchanging harsh words with a friend, children who are demanding and uncooperative.......all these things work patience in us as well.  Even if all those things, and more, happen to you all in one day, that does not mean that the sovereignty of God has taken a nap.  The opposite is true.  It means that the sovereignty of God is well at work in your life.  It really means that He loves you more than ever and wants you to grow closer to Him and have more trust in Him.
            When I decided to take a closer look at His sovereignty in my every day life, I started with His character.  Taking a look at His character helped me get a glimpse of the depth of His wisdom and knowledge of me and my circumstances. The character of God is unchangeable, perfect and always just. We can depend on Him because of His character; because He never changes.  He never reacts to us, but He loves us with an everlasting love.
            A good place to start understanding what God knows about you is Psalm 139. Read it. Meditate on it. Learn from it.  I have listed a few initial observations from this passage, but there are many, many more.  Add to my list; create your own as you study out the sovereignty of God in your life. My list:
God has searched us and known us (v 1)
He knows when we sit and when we stand (2).
He discerns our thoughts and He is acquainted with all our ways (3). 
He knows our every thought, even before we do! (4). 
He has put a hedge of protection around us and laid His hands on us (5).
We learn that we cannot hide from Him (7-12). 
He leads us and holds us (10).
We learn that He formed us in our mother’s womb, before our bodies were even formed! (13 - 16).
We learn that He thinks of us constantly and wrote our parts in His book. (17 - 18). 
He will slay the wicked (19)
He will search us and try us, and know our hearts, leading us in His everlasting way
(23 - 24)
            Do we need more?  Won’t that sustain you on a difficult Tuesday? Take God literally. He means what He says and cannot lie.  That’s enough to sustain us through a difficult Tuesday at home with the kids, on the job with the boss or even when we are alone and tempted to sin.  It’s really just a small token of His unending grace; that wonderful grace that is greater than all our sin.
            I kid you not, as I was actually typing this out on my laptop at my dining room

table, (yes, on a Tuesday afternoon), I received an email from a friend that reminded me

of a painful experience in my past, bringing me to tears; and just then, the bread machine

that I had going in the kitchen took a nose-dive off the kitchen counter!  It broke into a

hundred pieces with my bread dough still inside!  As I stood there in my kitchen looking

at the broken bread machine, I had to laugh out loud.  I was not even the least bit tempted

to say, “I don’t need this!” Instead, I laughed and said, “Well, I guess I needed that!”  My

Tuesday trust was intact for today. Tomorrow is a new day with new trials. Big or small

it matters not; they are real and they have a purpose and God already knows all about


Friday, January 7, 2011


We all need a new and different perspective on things from time to time.  Today, I got myself  a new perspective. I've always been interested in business planning.  I have run up to 5 home-based businesses at one time and love the business planning aspect of business.  I do not like the mundane of business, so my husband nearly always handles the books when it comes to our joint businesses or my private businesses.  Now, don't get me wrong. I am interested in business planning, not corporate business.  Right out of college, I worked in a small business office and it was ok work, but I didn't like the mundane tasks that had to be done over and over again each week.  I also worked a corporate job for a few months just a couple of years ago and I found the mundane parts of it nearly intolerable.  After all, I've been "free-lancing" for 28 years as a stay-at-home mom who can basically run my own schedule.

My interest in business planning led me to click on a news link that was about the weirdest questions asked during job interviews.  These were real questions taken from real-life situations and they were beyond interesting to me.  One interviewer asked, "If you were shrunk down to the size of a pencil and stuck in a blender, how would you get out?"  Another was, "How do you weigh an elephant without a weighing machine?"  I would love to be in a position to answer either one of those questions in competition for a real job!

As I thought about all the questions, there were 10 total, I began to think about business and money. After all, isn't money the  ultimate business goal?  The questions prompted me to think about how these businesses, in their quest to hire only the best, had become incredibly creative in their interview processes.  I think this is great.  When it comes to money, it doesn't look like I have much.  My bank accounts are low, my retirement plan went up in smoke and I have not been able to replace that, and my prospects look less than promising for a glowing financial future.

Yet, I calculated what I have earned and spent over the past 28 years and I realized that I am a multi-millionaire - literally!  I'm not talking about the emotional or spiritual value of raising kids and how that is worth far more than any bank account. I'm talking about real, grass-roots money that I have spent over the past 28 years in the raising of these kids.

FYI - we have 8 children.  The government estimates that it costs roughly $215,500.00 to raise one child to age 18, not including college.  Ok, let's be a little more conservative.  Let's say I spent only $200,000.00 on each child.  With 8 kids, taking them at their current ages, that adds up to more than $2M.  So, according to government calculations, I have spent over $2M raising these kids over the past 28 years (the age of my oldest).  No wonder I never feel out of place in a room full of wealthy people!  I'm one of them!

It must be what we do with all that money that makes a difference.  I used it to give 8 children life, love, security, discipline, responsibility, education, values, ambition, and drive, not to mention the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, while my accounts remain low, my satisfaction is high because I have been given the privilege of raising children, the best job on earth....and the only one that I pay to do instead of get paid to do!

The Scriptures tell us that "The love of money is the root of all evil," and, of course, we all know that to be Truth.  It takes money to raise kids, it takes money to live in this world.  I don't love money, butI have no animosity toward anyone who has lots of money.  Apparently, I had lots of money and gave it all away to people I gave birth to.

Hmmm.  What does my theology have to do with this?  Well, today, I was discussing pretty laundry rooms with a friend of mine. That discussion stemmed from me seeing pictures of Martha Stewart's laundry room, well one of them, anyway, at her Maine estate.  I commented how pretty it was and my friend talked about how happy retailers were with her, and with all women, because we like pretty laundry rooms and such.  He's right, retailers are happy when we spend and many of them probably love money.  But, money issues don't bother me because, apparently, I'm a millionaire!  Besides, you can get a pretty laundry room with lots of creativity and very little money.  My theology says God will provide, and He always has. My new perspective shows that He provided much, much more, even materially, than I ever realized!

But, even if He hadn't blessed me so much, He would still be good - all the time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Challenge

The challenge is this:  My oldest daughter and her 5-year-old son are living with us while her son's dad is deployed to Afghanistan.  I home school my kids and the youngest is 12, so having a 5-year-old in the house is a challenge all by itself.  There is extra noise and extra chaos; and this is a lot of extra work on my part - emotional work that I don't feel up to.

How does my theology play into this?  In several ways:
1. I must keep my relationship with my daughter as a priority. This means I might have to overlook some inconveniences and allow her to "go first" in the kitchen, etc.
2. I must keep my relationship with my grandson as a priority.  This means I have to remember my role and place in his life & not usurp his mom's authority.
3. I must keep school as consistent as possible for my 3 kids who are still in school. This means I can't allow 2 new people in the house to disrupt school any more than is necessary.  So, I have to get a little bold & ask my daughter to conduct phone business in her room so as not to disturb the boys' studies in the dining room (which is where we home school).  I also must retain discipline in their lives so that they learn to give and sacrifice, too.  But, at the same time, my relationship with each of them is also a priority, so I can't sacrifice that and they need to see that they are still a priority even with the added people living here.  And I have to accomplish this while making dinner, or folding laundry, or schooling them, because moms do not get to take sabbaticals.
4. First and foremost, I have to keep in mind my objective as a believer in Jesus Christ.  At the end of the day, I want to lie down with a clear conscience, knowing that I've done right by my family, to the best of my ability, and also done right in the sight of God.

As I think of my challenge in a theological way, it's easier to bear, although it's still a challenge and very stressful.

Theologically speaking, nothing about God changes when our circumstances change.  This realization is representative of how theology influences my life.  It's not about ME; it's not about THEM. It's about HIM. The verse which comes to mind on this one is Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."  Praise the Lord, HE never changes.  So, I will rest in this: that HE never changes, no matter how much my daily circumstances change.  And my main focus, even in all this chaos and uncertainty, will be the Lord Jesus Christ, and not myself, my family or my current challenges.  Just Him.