A Spirit of Thankfulness 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 fter some unexpected circumstances, I recently had a very long, solo road...
A Traditional Christmasvery year when I pull out our personalized Christmas ornament from 2009, I laugh. Instead of reading “Staggers Family—First Year of Homeschooling,” it reads “Straggers Family—First Year of Homeshooling.” Thankfully, I had...
Living in the Moment This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 hen was little, my neighbor lived with her Sicilian grandmother who would make us homemade pizza. She has since passed, and I often dream...
A friend and I were recently discussing our plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I mentioned that in years past, we would typically spend it at home, with an open invite to my husband’s extended family as we usually did for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. “Wow,” she said. “Offering to host both holidays, every year? Isn’t that exhausting?”
I do understand the many ways that our parent-child relationship is a microcosm of the relationship God desires with His children. So many of us find it easy to model ourselves after God’s word when it is right in front of us, but how many of us do it when we don’t feel Him as closely? How many of us give in to following our own selfish desires when His purpose feels distant or isn’t clear?
During the teen years, I’ve gotten to watch our daughter and son transform from baby-faced middle-schoolers into one adult and one almost-but-not-quite-adult before my very eyes. Yes, there have been challenges and many tears (on both their part and mine!), but I love seeing the people they have become and are still becoming.
Do you feel in need of REST? Turn to Jesus. I once hear that we can either live as a rowboat or a sailboat. In the rowboat we can be feverishly striving, rowing with all of our might, exhausted in our own attempts and efforts to please God. In the sailboat however, we catch the wind of God’s Holy Spirit and surrender to where He is at work and God takes us where He wills in useful service.
Last year, I started a new position that required that I work from home. A difficult adjustment on its own, this was also during the public school’s holiday break, and all three of my small children were also home. I created an office space in our spare bedroom in the basement, and within weeks, a usual occurrence began happening.
Like that puzzle, I am often presented with circumstances in life that are frustrating, challenging and disappointing. The pieces of my life don’t seem to fit together and I’m left with only questions. As if that were not enough, it can seem as if God is not inclined to answer my questions and willfully remains silent. “God, why don’t You answer me? Don’t You care about me?” Nothing.
2020 has been the year of waiting. Many of us have had to pause our lives and rearrange our days to suit this strange time. We wait for normal to return and lives to resume. As months flip by, we wonder how much longer? At times, I’ve found myself wondering where God is in this wait? Quickly, I am reassured that God is exactly where He’s always been. God is in the wait WITH us.
Have you ever thanked God for the bad things that have happened to you? I can picture your face, because I’m probably making the same one. Bad things are bad! They cause hurt, doubt, fear, confusion, and every sort of pain. If you’re like me, you spend your life trying to avoid bad things. You work hard, you read self-help books, you lock the doors, you study for tests, you go to the doctor, you try to pay the bills on time…the list is endless. But then one day, inevitably, something bad happens.
The Lord calls us to build a foundation that can withstand every slammed door, every lost job, every accusation, every diagnosis, every disappointment, every betrayal, every loss, every sadness, every death and every dashed dream.
God’s answers to a lot of my “Why” questions often seem slow, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a purpose for my struggles in the waiting. Even if we never get an answer for our “Why” questions during this unexpected year, God is still moving and using this time in our lives to teach us and grow us. And He is right there comforting us in our pain and doubt. We can trust that while we wait, we can cling to a God who knows what’s best for us.