July 27, 2018
Friends, allow me to give you the current snapshot of my evening. My daughter, clad in a purple,“daddy is my superhero,” shirt, one pink and one purple sock and black pants, is attempting to ride her pink and purple tricycle off of a Great Value pack of 40 water bottles. The attempt has failed, so she has now chosen to stand on them and give a speech in three-year-old lingo. My son is slowly eating the same bowl of veggies he’s been working on since I presented it to him nearly 30 minutes ago and my baby boy is desperately working his legs to get in on the action; though looking more like a fish out of water than an expert carpet crawler.
Surrounding my active children is an apartment gone cluttered. A sink holding the days dishes hostage is calling my name, a bag of socks that have been separated from their mates for at least a year is spilled out onto the floor, yesterdays attempt at organizing is spewed around the edges of the room and the newest season of “Tumble Leaf” is playing quietly in the background while no one slows down to watch. It’s a mess.
And behind blue framed glasses, my mind is sending images and feelings of anxiety deep into my soul. Anxiety because my “work at home” efforts are falling incredibly short. Anxiety because I’m not meeting my own expectations in raising my kids in a godly and intentional way. Anxiety because potty training is becoming a battle. Anxiety because, seriously, will I ever get discipline down and have a peaceful home with smiling children?! Anxiety because I can’t pull together a meal plan that will give us peace of mind, full tummies and keep our wallets intact.
It’s wearing me out.
And honestly, it’s wearing my family out.
And it’s now that I remember the Word of God.
Yet for now, because I desire to keep the “live action blogging” post going, my friends, I must currently be off to love my family, get the kids to bed with a story and a kiss and spend some much needed time with my husband and our God.
But don’t worry, I will most definitely be back to let you know the truth that has calmed my mind and spirit.
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And I’m back! All the kiddos are sleeping (even if it took an hour to get them in that state!) and our home has quieted down. But don’t be too impressed…I didn’t rescue my dishes from their captivity in the sink and my apartment is still in complete disarray.
But it’s time for the Truth…
I wish I could put the entire teaching of Jesus from his “Sermon on the Mount” in this post, but that would be slight overkill. And to be honest, I have more studying to do on this portion of Scripture before I set it on the table to study with you. So for today, I’m just desiring to give you an example from my own life of how the Word of God is truly sweeter than honey (Psalm 119.103) and breathed out by God, profitable for teaching, and yes, even for reproof, correction and training (II Timothy 3.16)…even for an American “attempting to be” homemaker and mom.
At least two months have passed since I wrote on trusting the Lord and how God addressed my lack of trust. Since then, it hasn’t really gotten that much easier for me…though I continually have the knowledge of God’s goodness stored up in my mind, I’ve still found myself with the weight of anxiety sitting on my chest and sabotaging my rest in the Lord. And I’ve found myself settling into a lifestyle that is unintentional and to be blunt, a little lazy. (Which is odd, because I still feel exhausted at the end of the day!)
Can you relate?
But why? Why is my life currently characterized by unnecessary (like beyond what is the norm with 3 young children) clutter, lack of focus, lack of follow through and ultimately, anxiety? Why am I finding myself to be the igniter and sustainer of conflict between not only my husband and I, but even my kids and I? Why am I feeling such unmanageable weight about this blog and the photography that I’m trying to get launched and running?
…Why is that last paragraph solely focused on me?
It’s obvious. I am my focus. And how unstable I am!
But the Lord has made the solution plain. He says,
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6: 33-34
In context, Jesus has just finished telling his audience that they need not worry about what they will eat, drink or wear (physical) but that they need only to seek the lasting and truly important Kingdom of God (spiritual) and the Father will take care of the rest.
And it is this reminder that was sweet to my soul, convicting my mind and drawing me up out of deception and carelessness.
The Truth Understood
If I am seeking the Lord, will he not meet me? I pose the question because I would say of myself that I am one who seeks the Lord. Well, at least I desire to seek the Lord…
I looked up in Blue Letter Bible’s word study resource the definition of the word translated to seek and this is what I found:
Seek: zēteō (V)
1. to seek in order to find
1. to seek a thing
2. to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into
3. to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after
2. to seek i.e. require, demand
1. to crave, demand something from someone
Wow. To seek involves so much more than simply “looking for.” It involves the mind, the emotion, the will, and the body. It involves the whole person. So, again, with this idea in mind, if I intentionally seek the Lord, will he not meet me?
Well, the Word says that those who seek wisdom (or the Lord) will find it in Proverbs 8. It also says in Chronicles (addressing King Solomon) …”If you seek him, he will be found by you…” Of course, there is Jeremiah where He says to his people, Israel, “‘Then (after captivity) you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord….” and if you’re looking for a new testament reference aside from Matthew 6:33, the Word commands in Colossians 3:1 that we who have been raised with Christ ought to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God…[and] set [our] minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth.” And just to give you one for the road, Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that “without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
So yes. The Lord will meet me if I seek him. And I think it can also be said that if I am not seeking the Lord, and have sought after other things (my own anxieties, my own ambitions, myself, my family, etc.) then I can expect to be deeply blind to His presence.
The Truth Applied
So, what does this mean? And why is it encouraging to the anxious, faithless heart?
It means that I can see that I’ve been allowing the deception of the world and of the Adversary to cloud my reasoning. It means that I’ve chosen to seek after the things that lead away from the Father. And it means that I can turn and seek what is important, what is good and what is fulfilling. It means I don’t have to fall to my emotions when they’re blooming out of deception, even as a mother to three kiddos ages 3, 1, and 6 months, I can have a clear and focused vision. I can be their mother, my husband’s wife, and fulfill any other role God has called me to play. I need only to focus on Him and His righteousness and let him handle the rest. Friends, I can look outside of myself, to the Lord and have clear, concise and pure understanding to do the will of the Father.
So as I sat in my car today, listening to the rain hitting the exterior as my kids were still watching Tumble Leaf on my laptop in the back seat, I read Matthew 6 and I thought about what I was currently seeking and how I would transition my attention to what is really important…my God, his kingdom, and his righteousness.
For me, that looks like beating my kids to the sunrise and being in prayer before they wake up and the day gets moving. It looks like taking my role as wife and mother seriously and teaching my kids to seek and desire the things of the Lord and his righteousness. It looks like being intentional and doing the “mundane” joyfully. It looks like being consistent in reading the Word of God to my Kids and praying for them, in front of them and with them. It looks like listening to the needs and emotions of my husband and kids without instantly going on the defense. Outside the door of my apartment, it means stepping into my community with the mindset to serve, not be served. It means being consistently involved in encouraging the body of Christ and in seeking the lost. It means putting things in their rightful spot on the priority chart and making sure God encompasses all! And there is so much more. So much more. Summed up, it’s looking to the Lord instead of my circumstances. It’s looking to the Lord instead of to me.
So, the first step for me is to stop hitting snooze and to pray without ceasing….even while I tackle the sink to rescue my poor dishes!
Just a Little Summary and Bonus Piece of Truth!!
Friends, this is just what God gently taught me today (though dealing with the consequences of living in opposition to his ways is less gentle!) And while there is so much more that could be and should be studied and understood in this passage alone, this little bit is what I needed to refocus and redirect…to repent.
Just one more verse to leave you with before I go to bed (fiiinnnaaallllyy) and before you go back to your life and it’s demands and blessings:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened…if you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! -Matthew 7:7, 11
Friends, if we are seeking the kingdom and walking with our Creator…what need have we for anxiety?
Let’s seek the Kingdom of God first. How much will change in our lives and in the lives of our families if we would just seek God? Shall we hold each other accountable? Comment here or in the thread on the Facebook page to let us know where you are now and maybe even where God has brought you.
Until next time! Walking in newness of life and praying for the harvest and for families that will serve the Lord!