I have been struggling with SG. Big time. It has been ugly. I have been ugly, she has dug in her heels. I have grown weary, overwhelmed, and have sobbed heavily two nights this past week. Crying to my husband, crying out to God, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Well as I was seeing my sin in this and asking God to change me, to show me how to love her like He does, being honest that I CANNOT love her like Christ without having the strength of Christ in me. All of this led to some amazing answers from God. I was reading Psalms 105 last night and wrote down some things I CAN do when I feel like I don’t know what to do. I CAN…

Give thanks
Call upon Him
Make known His deeds
Sing praises
Speak of His wonders
Seek His face
Remember His wonders and His words

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭

I realized I was getting caught into the trap of speaking about it a lot (to my husband and a friend on the phone, and at a play date) instead of trusting God in the middle of this. I was presenting a defeated attitude. I was wanting concrete examples of exactly what to do in the middle of a tantrum or testing or battle of wills. I realized every child is different, what one parent says may not work for mine and every parent has their own sin issues in the middle of their parenting. So a specific example from another parent may not take into account my sin in the situation. Psalms 73 is a good example of what God says I can do. He has been bringing me back to this word so often this year; PERSPECTIVE.

“If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.”Psalms‬ ‭73:15-17‬.

This speaks of how the wicked seem to be winning and prospering, until the godly man goes into the temple and remembers the end God has for wicked ways. The flaming arrows of doubt thrown at me, the hopeless feeling the enemy wants me to have, the idea that this will NEVER end, the thought that I will always be losing this battle of parenting are all rooted in the wrong perspective; it seemed to me a wearisome task, UNTIL I went to God, THEN I discerned. I was “speaking thus” more than I was going “into the sanctuary”. I can focus too much on the evil and wicked of the situation which produces worry and fear. He has already overcome evil, it is finished! By renewing my faith, by going into the temple, praying, seeking God and repenting of my sin in the situation, then my perspective is changed and corrected by God’s promises. PERSPECTIVE.

I realized also when I was speaking to her, instructing her, disciplining her, I was preaching back to myself. Every time I would say “it’s not obedience if you don’t do it the first time.” “Your heart is being selfish right now, let’s pray for God to change that.” “My job is to keep you safe and teach you what the best choice is”. Those things were haunting my head and I was feeling the weight of them, as God wants those things for me as well. I was not being obedient in two areas.I kept making excuses and going back to them.

The main one being Facebook. It is so silly but it was causing me to sin. Staying off of Facebook always resulted in an abundance of positive things but then I would get sucked back in, being deceived that is was good and I had good reasons for being on it. Since the word obedience comes out of my mouth daily to my daughter I felt the weight of my disobedience and decided the next right thing to do was to hear what God was showing me, over and over and over again. Ah so stubborn (ME not her). So this morning I deactivated my account. Can I just tell you when that thought first entered my mind I was fearful. Anxious. No, not that! What about all my pictures and memories? What about my blog, how will I share it? What about people on there that I only communicate with through Facebook? What about information I will miss out on? Quickly, God replaced those fears with the truth. What about your obedience to Me? What about your children and your role as mom? What about getting back to sending people cards and calling them and really connecting? What about you trusting me with your writing and how I want to use it? What about your sanctification?

So this morning I am free.

“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.”Mark‬ ‭9:43

I‬ ‭cut off that hand that consumed me. It feels good. God is connecting some dots for me. Yesterday was an amazing day with SG. We only had one little incident when leaving a play date where she ran away and disobeyed. That’s okay. I don’t want her to feel pressured to be perfect. I want her to be His! I don’t want her have all the answers about her behavior, I want her to know the One who does. I don’t want her to get “better and better” at doing and being good, I want her to know that apart from Christ she can do nothing. I don’t want her to hear the word obedience more than she sees the word love in action.   HIS love. That is my job, to show her and tell her about Christ’s love for us. Today I know will be another great day. Not because it will be perfect, but because God is in control, He always has been and He always will be and He has lifted my eyes to where my help comes from! He has reminded me of His grace and that SG will learn that as well through her mistakes, not through her perfection. I have written about this before, and I will probably write about it again, as God continues to confront me and HELP me as He is glorified in it all.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭

The next mom you come across that has kids still in the home, give her a big hug and a sweet whisper that her labor is not in vain, she needs it.

(Feel free to share. My name isn’t on FB anymore but I am fine with the blog being shared there).

Mary Vs. Martha

We know the story. The words of Jesus, “but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:42. Too often I am finding though that this story is being used by women to label themselves and each other in a way that isn’t helpful. I do not think God intended us to use this passage to pat ourselves on the back for being a “Mary” while trying not to make the “Martha’s” feel bad so we thank them for their “servants heart” and “hospitality”.

Both women loved the Lord, both women had great faith in Christ. Jesus loved their family and was comfortable in their home. Just as all of us, Martha wasn’t fully glorified yet, her sanctification was in process. Martha was rebuked for her complaining. She called Mary out in front of Jesus for not helping. In that moment she was serving herself, not others. She was putting her pride above Mary. Her service wasn’t what was being rebuked, her hospitality and the way she opened her home wasn’t the issue, it was her attitude in it. The lesson is that service to Christ must always be subordinate to worship of Christ. What if Mary though complained to Christ about Martha for making too much noise in the kitchen and doing too much while she sat with Jesus. We can label ourselves as Mary’s while self-righteously defeating the purpose of why Mary was chosen as a worshipful follower and example to us.

I don’t think because you can make Brie and jam tarts and organize gatherings that you should be labeled a Martha. Someone who is a student of the Word and loves to write and speak about God’s Word shouldn’t be labeled a Mary. I am a follower of Christ. That is the only label that highlights what He did for me on the cross, the redemption of my wretchedness into His gift righteousness. Out of that pours a desire to worship Him and know him intimately through the living Word of God and there is also the desire to love like He did and serve and give and use my gifts to encourage the body of Christ. Our gifts are different.. How I serve out of my home, how I serve at church, may look different than yours, as it should be. As followers of Christ that service and hospitality can’t come in a humble and God honoring way that ONLY points to Him unless we are first seated at His feet and filled with the joy that comes through the Holy Spirit’s illumination of scripture and truths that show us who God is. Believe me, I have experienced what it is like to serve for the wrong reasons. I have also experienced dry seasons where my worship of God wasn’t being put before all else. But God tells us there can be both. There should be both. “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”‬ James‬ ‭2:14-17‬. We shouldn’t compare, esteem, or condemn how a woman’s hospitality looks (chalkboard menus vs. paper napkins) or what her time with the Lord looks like (2 hour prayer sessions vs. 1 minute devotional). We SHOULD be encouraging each other to put God first in ALL we do. God knows our hearts. “Martha allowed her anxiety about what she must do for Christ overwhelm her gratitude over what He would do for her.” (John MacArthur) There are self labeled “Mary’s” that can have this same anxiety as well. ‬

We all have moments of the good Martha serving out of love and humility and bad Martha serving with pride. We can be Mary truly soaking in and spending time with God in His Word or could be a prideful Mary who is esteeming herself. Labeling someone a Mary or a Martha gives connotations that just are not true and miss the point of this passage in the Bible. It’s not about being a great event planner vs. being great at studying the Bible. The point is to show us ALL, no matter what our bend or tendency is in our personality, that we should put knowing Him first, put being intimate with him and growing our faith and relationship with Him and His Word first. I would love to see those labels go away as we see ourselves as the Lord sees us. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians‬ 3:18